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Old 12-21-2006, 09:33 AM   #1
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Alclad?

WaltL wrote in the VIN thread:

"Another reason for calling AS was to find out when my MH was made, since the aluminum skins were changed in mid-1982. She told me mine was made May '82, late in the production year, so I'm betting it's not alclad... "

What is "Alclad"? Different grade of Aluminium? Did they make a switch in 1982?

I'm curious as the AS I'm purchasing is an 82'.

Thanks in advance
Chris
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:43 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realpank
WaltL wrote in the VIN thread:

"Another reason for calling AS was to find out when my MH was made, since the aluminum skins were changed in mid-1982. She told me mine was made May '82, late in the production year, so I'm betting it's not alclad... "

What is "Alclad"? Different grade of Aluminium? Did they make a switch in 1982?

I'm curious as the AS I'm purchasing is an 82'.

Thanks in advance
Chris
Chris,
Alclad is a certain alloy of Aluminum sheeting with a treated surface that will oxidize to a certain point then it protects the underlayer. I have no idea what Airstream went to after 1982. In the 70's it was T2024. Also a caveat if you search for Alclad today you will get a bunch of information that is the current metals and not necessarily what was in place 20 years ago...technology marches on and drags us kicking and resisting along with it

Aaron
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:57 AM   #3
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Alclad is alloy sheet that is coated with a thin layer of essentially pure aluminum, for both appearance (shiny airplanes) and corrosion protection (it oxidizes, turns our favorite gray, and protects the alloy sheet underneath). As vintage Airstreamers, we're interested in this because alclad shines up nicely and a new sheet of non-alclad, used for repairs or covers, will look noticeably different when shined. Which is my grainy understanding, anyway....

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Old 12-21-2006, 10:02 AM   #4
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To elaborate on Zep's comment, the layer of pure aluminum is about .001" thick, and is usually put over high copper aluminum alloys which don't polish that well.

It is possible to remove the alclad layer if you use a heavy compound and too much pressure during polishing.

If you get 2024-T3 alclad, it is the same as the stuff used 50 years ago.
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Old 12-21-2006, 10:34 AM   #5
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5% of the thickness of the metal, to be exact.

jp
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Old 12-21-2006, 11:45 AM   #6
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82 Alclad

So I guess I'm hoping that my 82' will have been built with Alclad...yes? So one day, when I can afford it, I can have it shined up.

Cheers fellas, thanks
Chris
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Old 12-21-2006, 03:15 PM   #7
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One further caveat on alclad: Many metals lose their anti corrosion properties when they are contaminated. for example, using steelwool on the aluminum can leave tiny steel particles imbedded that can promote degradation. When working on aircraft, the approved method is to use alumionum wool (harder to find, but available).
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Old 12-21-2006, 05:27 PM   #8
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Everybody's got parts of the story of Alclad 2024 t-3 right. Alcad is a Alcoa Aluminum tradename for the laminated sheet. It rolls a thin layer of pure aluminum onto the underlying alloy higher strength aluminum. The 2024 refers to the high copper alloy which has high strength but poor corrosion resistance and had problems in planes during world war II. The T-3 part refers to the heat treatment which gives the alloy its added strength. You can buy any hardness from T-3 to T-6 (which is very strong but has poor elongation) I believe Airstream and most plane companies used for moderately formed pieces. I do not think you could stretch form (the process Airstream uses to make 3 dimensional segments) in T-6.

Yes you can still buy the exact product used many years ago but you will have to pay alot for it and only a few places stock it.
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Old 12-21-2006, 05:49 PM   #9
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I was using 2024 T-3 when I was building a BD-5, but that was the early 70s. I wonder what the kit and homebuilt airplane guys are using today, like Van's RV series?
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Old 12-21-2006, 08:15 PM   #10
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Same old same old...

Zepp-

Van's still uses 2024-T3 Alclad for their airframe materials (according to their website..), though they use higher heat treat (T4) for wing spars... They suggest that use in high humidity and salty environments should require paint primer, not required in drier environments... They also use some anodized parts (chemical coating treatment to seal and protect surface..).

After Airstream went away from Alclad, they moved to clear coating, using flexible clear paint to protect surface of bare metal.. More recently, Airstream began using a coated sheet furnished directly by Alcoa...

John McG

> Sorry to hear about BD-5 project.. Ever get it flying, or investment back?
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Old 12-21-2006, 08:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Condoluminum
Zepp-

...
> Sorry to hear about BD-5 project.. Ever get it flying, or investment back?
No. I got the airframe completed, but never an engine. Most fun was getting the canopy on. That airplane fit like a glove, would have loved to fly one. Gave the project to the University of Utah and took the tax deduction....

Zep
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Condoluminum
Zepp-

Van's still uses 2024-T3 Alclad for their airframe materials (according to their website..), though they use higher heat treat (T4) for wing spars... They suggest that use in high humidity and salty environments should require paint primer, not required in drier environments... They also use some anodized parts (chemical coating treatment to seal and protect surface..).

After Airstream went away from Alclad, they moved to clear coating, using flexible clear paint to protect surface of bare metal.. More recently, Airstream began using a coated sheet furnished directly by Alcoa...

John McG

> Sorry to hear about BD-5 project.. Ever get it flying, or investment back?
The difference between T-3 and T-4 is that T-3 is artificilly age hardened by coldworking after quenching and T-4 is hardened by quenching and then allowing to age harden over time, about 24 hours. T-3 is actually slightly stronger then the T-4. Most formed 2024 parts start their life as 2024-0, or annealled, and are then formed in the soft condition, and heat treated to T-4 . 2024 is still being used today. One of the biggest changes today (besides composite) is in the 7XXX series. 7075 was the standard for many years then it was 7178, and then 7050. I'm sure it will change again if it hasn't already. large comerical aircraft used to use the 7XXX for the fuse and wing frames, 2024 for the fuse skin, and a combination of 2024 for the upper wing skin and 7xxx for the lower skin. Airbus uses some odd numbers that I can't remember right now.
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:25 PM   #13
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Realpank, Getting back to the original question - - - I doubt your '82 would have Alclad. From what I've been able to find out, Airstream last used Alclad on trailers in '68. From then on it was T-6 grade with clearcoats of varying chemical make-ups over the years. The Alclad trailers also had clearcoats, but they were much easier to remove for polishing. Check out the many polishing threads on this forum. Tons of opinions and information. You can still polish your '82, but it will take more effort to get the shine of the Alclad trailers. Darol
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Old 12-22-2006, 07:18 AM   #14
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it will still polish up regardless of grade. the difference between an alclad sheet polished and a non-clad sheet would only be visible side by side. unless you keep the trailer indoors, you have to polish it a couple times a year anyway.

jp
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