Stripping the paint from aircraft

Stripping the paint from aircraft

There are many metals which are weakened through oxidation but aluminum is not one of them, aluminum can actually be made considerably stronger and much more durable when it is anodized. Anodizing is a process which involves the submersion of sheet of aluminum or an aluminum component into a bath containing acid. The aluminum becomes the anode which is positive and the bath becomes the diode which is negative. An electric current is passed through the bath; this causes the surface of the aluminum to oxidize. This oxidized surface is very strong and durable; the resulting material is called anodized aluminum and is used extensively in the aerospace industry.

During the manufacture of aircraft a great deal of anodized aluminum is used both inside and outside the airframe. Eventually the plane is completed and painted. In the event the aircraft is for commercial purposes it is painted with the colors and logo of the carrier. If the aircraft is for military purposes it is painted in accordance with military specifications depending on the service. As time goes by there is a need to repaint the planes but not until aircraft paint stripping has been completed.

As the anodized surface on the aluminum is extremely important for corrosion resistance and aircraft integrity it is important that the surface is not damaged as the paint is stripped, this eliminates a number of paint stripping methods such as scraping, sanding, wire brushing, etc., the surface cannot be abraded. With this in mind there remains only media blasting and chemicals.

Media blasting is by far the favored method and the media that is used is plastic beads, walnut shells or even baking soda. The objective is to completely remove the paint coating without damaging the anodizing.

When aircraft paint stripping is accomplished using media blasting the process is done under pressure. The media is contained in a hopper; there is a hose which feeds the media under pressure to a nozzle. A skilled operator can remove the paint from the aircraft quickly and efficiently with no damage at all to the surface.

It is not only aircraft that can be prepared for painting or repainting in this manner, automobiles are also blasted with the same media for similar reasons. Although an automobile body is not anodized aluminum it is also important that the metal surface not be damaged otherwise unnecessary surface preparation will have to be undertaken.

aircraft paint stripping is done to remove paint, rust and corrosion from commercial, military and private aircraft. Plastic blast media which is ideal for this process is available from Opti-Blast.

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