Physically, chemically and mechanically aluminium is a metal like steel, brass, copper, zinc, lead or titanium. It can be melted, cast, formed and machined much like these metals and it conducts electric current. In fact often the same equipment and fabrication methods are used as for steel. The Gooding team have put together some information on the compatibility of aluminium with other building materials whether they are metallic or not.
Providing the plating is correctly applied there is no acceleration of attack on aluminium.
Copper and copper alloys
Contact between copper and aluminium will result in severe corrosion. Where joining these metals is unavoidable always use plastic ferrules and washers. Water must not be allowed to drip from copper and its alloys onto aluminium.
Iron and steel
For relatively clean rural and urban atmospheres the contact areas of steel should be painted with a bituminous or red oxide / zinc chromate paint. Existing steelwork should have any rust removed by scratch brushing. Lead-free paint should be used on any new steelwork that will be in contact with aluminium.
In extremely corrosive environments, a nonabsorbent gasket, such as PVC or similar should be used in addition to paint.
Aluminium will not normally be corroded by contact with lead. In aggressive atmospheres however, both facing surfaces should have a bituminous paint applied.
Stainless steels polarise and become inert to aluminium, and can therefore be safely used together.
Aluminium is not corroded by contact with zinc. In polluted atmospheres it is advisable to coat both facing surfaces with bituminous paint. Please refer to page 143 for information on bi-metallic corrosion.