Polished Aluminium: Benefits, Uses and Types
Known for its strength and rust-resistance, aluminium is a popular metal utilised in a variety of industries. Polished aluminium improves several qualities of the raw material. From its high-end appearance to its corrosion-resistant properties, polished aluminium is a great choice for many different applications, including construction, automobile production and consumer electronics.
Article in Brief
Polished aluminium refers to aluminium that has been buffed and polished to create a shiny and smooth surface.
The benefits of polished aluminium include its stylish appearance, corrosion resistant properties, and light reflective surface.
Polished aluminium is used for a variety of applications, including construction, automobile production, and furnishings.
In some cases, you can polish aluminium by hand. However, this will depend on the condition and size of the aluminium.
To polish aluminium, you’ll need to clean the aluminium first.
Next, sand the aluminium with a rough grade sandpaper, followed by finer sandpaper.
After this, you can polish the aluminium. Don’t use aluminium polish on anything that is used for cooking or storing food, as the polish is harmful if ingested. Instead, use a homemade mixture of water and cream of tartar.
Finally, you can paint the aluminium, if you wish.
Two of the most popular types are bright polished aluminium and brushed polished aluminium. Bright polished aluminium has a smoother, reflective surface, whilst brushed polished aluminium is more textured and has a grainy surface.
What is polished aluminium?
Polished aluminium refers to aluminium that’s been through a refining process to achieve a smooth and glossy finish on the surface of the metal.
Abrasives, polishing compounds and mechanical techniques are used to remove imperfections, scratches and oxidation from the surface, achieving the final polished appearance.
What are the benefits of polished aluminium?
Why is polished aluminium so popular? There are a variety of benefits to polishing aluminium for your projects...
With its stylish, shiny appearance, polished aluminium looks fantastic. This makes it a popular choice for any applications where the aluminium surface will be visible – for example, on automobiles.
Aluminium naturally forms a thin oxide layer on its surface to provide a level of corrosion resistance. Whilst the process of polishing aluminium removes this oxide layer, it creates a smooth, sealed surface that can actually help to increase its resistance to corrosion and environmental elements.
Polished aluminium is relatively easy to maintain. It can be cleaned simply with mild soap and water or non-abrasive cleaners. The smooth surface reduces the adhesion of dirt, making it easier to clean compared to more textured or rough surfaces.
Polished aluminium has excellent light reflectivity properties. It can efficiently reflect light and create a bright and luminous effect. This makes it useful for applications where light reflection is desired, such as decorative pieces, lighting fixtures, and automotive trim.
For projects that require an especially shiny surface, polished aluminium can be given a mirror polish finish.
Aluminium is a very lightweight material. This makes it particularly useful for projects where weight reduction is important. That includes applications in the automotive and aerospace industries.
Aluminium can be shaped, molded and fabricated into various forms. This makes it suitable for a wide range of applications – including architectural elements, automotive parts, consumer electronics, furniture, household items and more.
Another great benefit of aluminium is that it can be recycled without losing its inherent properties. It’s easy to recycle or reuse, making it an environmentally friendly choice.
What are the uses of polished aluminium?
Thanks to its stylish appearance and easy-clean surface, there are many applications for polished aluminium. Here are just some of the industries where polished aluminium is used…
Polished aluminium is often used in automotive applications for decorative trim, grilles, wheels, and exhaust tips. It adds a sleek and luxurious look to vehicles, enhancing their overall appearance.
Architecture and Construction
With its reflective surface, polished aluminium can create a visually striking effect and contribute to modern architectural designs. It’s frequently utilised in architectural and construction projects for exterior cladding, roofing, window frames, handrails, and decorative elements.
Furniture and Décor
Popular for furniture and decorative pieces, polished aluminium is used in the creation of tables, chairs, frames, sculptures, and more. It adds a contemporary and stylish touch to interior and outdoor spaces.
Polished aluminium is commonly used in lighting fixtures, such as pendant lights, chandeliers, and lamps. Its reflective properties help to distribute and enhance the light output, creating an attractive lighting effect.
Polished aluminium is utilised in the manufacturing of consumer electronics, including smartphones, laptops, speakers, and audio equipment. The stylish aesthetic of polished aluminium gives these devices a premium look.
You’ll also find polished aluminium in various household items, including bathroom fittings and mirrors. It combines functionality with an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
The corrosion resistance and lightweight properties of polished aluminium make it suitable for marine applications. It’s used in the marine industry for boat and yacht fittings, handrails, portholes, and other decorative elements.
Signage and Displays
Polished aluminium is employed in signage and displays for its reflective qualities, making it highly visible and eye-catching. It’s commonly used for shopfront signs, trade show displays, and promotional boards.
Art and Sculpture
Due to its malleability and reflective surface, polished aluminium is a favoured material for artists and sculptors. It allows for the creation of captivating art pieces with unique light interactions.
How to polish aluminium
Polishing aluminium isn’t always as simple as it sounds. It involves multiple steps, which are outlined below:
First, the aluminium surface needs to be prepared using regular washing-up liquid, a mixture of water and vinegar, or a suitable solvent like degreaser or paint thinner. Cleaning with a soft rag or sponge removes any oil or grease before the aluminium is rinsed and dried with a microfibre cloth.
Sanding removes any blemishes on the surface of the aluminium. It starts with rough grade sandpaper, moving up towards finer options until the surface is as required.
Next, polishing compounds – creams, liquids or pastes – are used to make the aluminium even smoother. These include cerium oxide and aluminium oxide, applied using circular motions.
Mechanical polishing is often used to achieve a higher shine. It comprises a buffing machine or polishing wheel, with aluminium pressed against the latter – often with a polishing compound as an aid.
Finally, aluminium has to be cleaned to remove polishing compound residues. Rinsing and thoroughly drying or using a clean cloth are both suitable methods.
Can aluminium be polished at home?
DIY polishing is possible for aluminium. However, there are a few key differences between professional polishing and doing it by hand.
Firstly, professional suppliers have specialist equipment and machinery, allowing them to polish aluminium at a large scale. In contrast, DIY jobs will obviously require more time and effort.
Experienced metal suppliers also have a wealth of knowledge about the different applications, alloys and finishes. At home, you may have to spend a bit more time researching these factors and take a trial-and-error approach.
All that said, DIY polishing can provide decent results for personal use or smaller projects. It’s advisable to practise on scrap aluminium or non-decorative surfaces to improve your technique before moving onto more important aluminium surfaces or pieces.
Types of polished aluminium
There’s not just one option available when it comes to polished aluminium. The most common types are brushed, bright and mirror polish. Bright polished aluminium features a highly smooth finish with a bright, shiny surface.
Alternatively, there’s also the option for brushed polished aluminium, which features a grainy, textured surface. This is suitable for a variety of applications, including kitchen splashbacks.
Whilst both of these polishes are highly light reflective, they don’t provide a mirror effect. For this, you’ll need a mirror polish. With this option, the metal is linished to remove marks and blemishes from the surface of the metal. By buffing the metal with compounds, the finish is refined until it provides a suitable level of reflectivity.
Trusted polished aluminium suppliers in the UK
On the lookout for durable, reflective polished aluminium for your projects? The Metal Store has everything you need!
Whether you’re searching for bright polished aluminium angle, or polished aluminium sheet, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in our collection.
then we’re just a call away