Will Battery Acid Eat Through Aluminium?

Battery acid is highly corrosive and can eat through many materials, especially in high concentrations and if exposed for a long time. As a result, it is harmful to many parts of the car, but this article explores the effect of battery acid on aluminum.

What type of acid is battery acid?

The acid in the battery helps generate electricity that helps run the car. Unfortunately, a lead-acid car battery can cause corrosion because it contains sulfuric acid. The car battery’s sulfuric acid is diluted with water, reducing its concentration, but it is still corrosive. Battery acid can quickly eat through stainless steel, concrete, limestone asphalt, and other carbonated rocks. 

old car battery

Will battery acid eat through aluminum?

Aluminum is a metal resistant to corrosion, making it an excellent choice in constructing homes, cars, and boats. However, battery acid can corrode aluminum if they are in contact for an extended period. Depending on the acid concentration and the temperature, the aluminum reacts with oxygen from the air and forms an aluminum oxide, which causes rusting. The oxide is a powdery substance that causes the metal to rust. However, the rate at which acid will corrode aluminum is much slower than other metals. It is noteworthy that a protective coating like paint can prevent acid corrosion on aluminum.

Will battery acid eat through metals?

Corrosion can occur depending on the type of metal and how long the metal is exposed to the car battery acid. The battery acids react with metal via a displacement reaction to produce hydrogen gas and salt (metal sulfate). Contact with battery acid will corrode reactive metals like iron, aluminum, and magnesium. However, battery acid does not affect inert metals like gold or platinum.

How to neutralize battery acid on aluminum?

The rate at which battery acid corrodes aluminum is dependent on how much battery acid there is, how long it has been there and what kind of aluminum is in the car. To neutralize battery acid on aluminum, flush the acid’s area contaminated with water for about 20 minutes. Then, scrub the surface with a toothbrush dipped in vinegar or lemon juice to remove the corrosion as it helps dissolve the corrosion from the surface of the aluminum. Finally, the remaining rust can be cleaned with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) paste and water.

Tips to prevent aluminum from battery acid

A few tips can help prevent damage due to battery acid on your aluminum. They are:

  • Always check your batteries for swelling and leakages
  • Coat your aluminum with corrosion-resistant paint
  • Wash the car surface regularly to get rid of acid residue

Conclusion

Aluminum is an excellent building material because it does not easily rust. However, battery acid can corrode metals like aluminum depending on factors like the grade of aluminum used, the amount of battery acid, and the duration of aluminum exposure to the battery acid. A good coating can prevent corrosion, and if exposed, a combination of water, vinegar, or lemon juice and a paste of baking soda and water will get rid of the corrosion.

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