Volume 39, Issue 3, March  2004


Point and Click
Finding Aluminum Resources on the Web

by John McClatchey, Ph.D.

It is almost a cliché to say it, but the World Wide Web is responsible for a revolution in the way we search for information. (Start your aluminum research with this magazine’s websites, www.glass.com or www.usglassmag.com; it has most of the back issues available for viewing, including lots of articles about the use of aluminum.) 

Here are some of my favorite websites to help you find the information you need about aluminum and aluminum finishing without having to wade through some of the more questionable sources out there.

Anodizing Sites
The Aluminum Anodizers’ Council (AAC) at www.anodizing.org has the most comprehensive anodizing site on the web. The AAC explains what alloys are good for anodizing and the meanings of anodizing terms and specifications. It also contains an excellent FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section.

If your interest is architectural anodizing, our company’s site, www.saf.com, covers the subject in depth. We discuss topics from alloy selection to range samples to more precise color measurement. 

Most of the site is directed toward architectural users. 

For other kinds of anodizing, www.finishing.com is another good site. The denizens of this site are mostly finishers who know more about chemistry than about practical applications. 

Along with the above sites, I also recommend ASTM International at www.astm.org, which features a fax-on-demand service for anodizing specifications. Our company specializes in applying PVDF coatings to aluminum and our website has a thorough discussion of painting architectural aluminum. For a technical overview 
of PVDF, see ATOFINA’s site at www.kynar.com. Kynar® is ATOFINA’s trade name for PVDF. The American Architectural Manufacturers association can be found at www.aamanet.org. You can order copies of AAMA 2605, the new standard specification for PVDF coatings, along with the other AAMA specifications at this site. 

A Few More Sites
The powder coating business is one of the fastest growing finishing businesses in North America. The typical powder coater applies epoxy and polyester coatings to steel. It is important to remember when viewing web resources on the subject that most powder coaters do not have the chrome phosphate pretreatment for aluminum required by AAMA 2605. For more information about the powder coating market, visit www.powdercoating.org

The question I am most often asked about aluminum concerns where to find the latest London Metal Exchange (LME) pricing. For the answer, point your browser to www.metalprices.com. Free of charge, this site will give you yesterday’s LME prices for all metals in dollars per kilogram, pound or metric ton. For live updates, you can also purchase a subscription. 

The Metals Service Center Institute has a website at www.ssci.org, which has aluminum data as well as steel, having merged with the National Association of Aluminum Distributors (NAAD). 

Ormet’s site is www.ormet.com and Alcoa’s site www.alcoa.com. Each contains specifications for the alloys they produce. Both companies are members of the Aluminum Association, a consortium of primary metal producers that resides at www.aluminum.org. This site has little information about aluminum finishes, but does promote the use of aluminum. 

For extrusion information, I refer folks to the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) at www.aec.org.
The Internet is a wanderer’s paradise. You start out looking for one subject and end up exploring 20 others. One main search engine I use to cover all of my inquiries is www.dogpile.com.

Happy Surfing.


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