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aluminum flakes are a type of metallic powder that is used in spray, pulverized and other particle-based application methods. They also serve as a reflective coating for roofs and can be found in many drain cleaner products that react with sodium hydroxide to generate the gas bubbles needed to break up clogs.
The size and shape of the flakes vary by type, but they generally have a very high surface area to mass ratio (aspect ratio) compared to other metal powders. They can be made to be leafing or non-leafing by varying the thickness of the flake and the size of the hole. Non-leafing flakes tend to have wider particle sizes and a more broad distribution than the leafing grades. The lenticular or silver dollar geometry can create the brightest flakes with the most sparkle effect.
Several strategies are employed to improve the stability of dry aluminum pigments and their handling characteristics, electrostatic application performance and resistance to environmental effects. Many manufacturers utilize a surface treatment like fumed silica to reduce the specific gravity of the aluminum particles, improving their dispersibility in dry powder blends. This allows for easier and more consistent handling, transport and application.
aluminum flakes are often used as an alternative to silver for electroplating and EMI/RFI shielding applications. They have excellent heat transfer properties allowing them to conduct heat more efficiently than other metals. The low emmissivity of the aluminum reflects up to 90% of the infrared energy away from the coating which can help keep the heat inside equipment and out of the environment where it is not needed.