What you need to know about Hexavalent Chromium

Erin Brockovich's real-life crusade against the contamination of drinking water with hexavalent chromium was famously dramatised by Julia Roberts in the Oscar winning film in 2000. Seventeen years later Hexavalent chromium for surface treating aluminium is being phased out, by regulation intended to make the world a safer place from harmful chemicals in the environment. Trivalent chromium solutions are deemed a viable and safer alternative for corrosion protection.

How harmful is it?

For manufacturers of the chemical, the dust, fumes and mist of the waste chemicals released contain harsh toxins. Makers of hexavalent chromium solutions need to be in full HAZMAT suits to protect against the carcinogenic properties that can lead to ulcerations, dermatitis and hemolysis as well as nausea, diarrhoea, fever, cramps and vertigo. Cr6+ is toxic and used in processes as diverse as leather tanning, chromium plating, coloured glass making, paint pigments and inks for plastics and fabrics, and corrosion-resistant coatings. These chemicals are no good for the environment, humans and a disaster to recycling too.

What's the alternative?

Acid chromate oxide coatings for aluminium convert the surface of aluminium into a durable and corrosion resistant finish.

Iridite NCP is a chrome-free (no hexavalent or trivalent chromium compounds) coating for aluminium alloys which exceeds the Def Stan 03-38 military standard it is often specified for. Practically colourless (like Alocrom 1000), it's corrosion resistance properties are demonstrated by successful 1000 hour salt spray tests. It works well in high temperature environments with excellent paint, sealant and adhesive adhesion properties. Whilst chromate treatments require up to 24 hours to cure, Iridite NCP provides a hard amorphous crystalline coating as it is formed.
MIL-C-81706, MIL-DTL-5541, MIL-C-5541, Def Stan 03-38

Surtec 650 is a trivalent chromium passivation (TCP) solution for aluminium and magnesium (similar and suitably replaces Alocrom 1200) Very well suited in electronics, automotive and aerospace industries due to high corrosion protection on un-laquered surfaces. But can be lacquered, powder coated or adhesive primed. Surtec 650 fulfils MIL-DTL-81706-B, MIL05541-F and also Def Stan 03-38 specifications for corrosion resistance.

Glenmore Hane is committed to provide fine-limit finishing services by highly experienced and knowledgeable staff who can recommend test-proven techniques as well as environmentally sound solutions. Here's to you Erin. We have probably the best metal finishing plant in the UK operated by staff who strive for excellence.
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About Glenmore Hane

Specifically positioned on the M4 corridor with fantastic links to the rest of the country, Glenmore Hane design, fabricate and finish high quality sheet metal components for the UK. We are fully qualified to work to ISO9001:2015 management standards ensuring reliable and quality controlled production output on demand and on time. If you have a new project or existing production requirement, you can either send it direct through our website enquiry page, and/or contact us and we'd be happy to take look at it.

Glenmore Hane, Nov. 2018

Contact: Mark Hall on 01753 528884