Conductive Greases

Aluminum and Hawaii's Caustic Air

In Hawaii corrosion, especially on aluminum, is a constant war. The air is full of salt and the humidity is high. Corrosion is terrible. Various solutions have been tried such as hosing down a new beam with WD40 before putting it up. Particularly troublesome are sliding, nesting aluminum tubes on beams and verticals.

In my experience, the more noxious and offensive a substance is to work with, the better it protects. An example is Aqua Lube, a substance that comes in a can like a paint can, has a consistency of melted green chewing gum, and seems to crawl up your arms like some living goop out of a Science Fiction movie. It is extremely effective even in areas where it is subjected to salt spray.

Here is a document from the ARRL on various so called "conductive greases." Actually they do not conduct at all. They are corrosion fighters designed to keep a decent aluminum connection protected from corrosion and degradation. Many contain "sacrificial metals" in addition to grease. But sticking an ohmmeter in these things generally will not produce a reading, other than open circuit. Their value is in keeping what started out as a good connection, alive and well as it is exposed to the harsh Hawaiian elements.

By Michael Tracy KC1SX (mtracy@arrl.org)

Here is a list of products and suppliers we keep on hand at ARRL HQ. These are all for protecting connections, but a good mechanical contact is still necessary. There is a grease available (I think it's called Conducto-Lube) that you can stick an ohmmeter in and get a low reading, but it is quite expensive (it contains silver).

The following is a list of paste and grease-like products for the prevention of oxidation of aluminum in electrical connections and antenna installations: (Prices could be out of date)

Ficus

Manufacturer:
    Butternut Electronics Company
    831 North Central Avenue
    Wood Dale, IL 60191
    Tel: (708) 238-1854
    Fax: (708) 238-1186
Product Name: Butter-It's-Not
Source: Direct if not stocked by local authorized dealer.
Price: $3.50/ Envelope
NOTES: Contains copper dust in a molybdemum suspension.
LOCAL NOTE: This one gets really good press from those who have used it.

Manufacturer:
    GB Electrical
    6101 N. Baker Road
    Milwaukee, WI 53209
    Tel: 1-800-558-4311
Product Name: OX-GARD
Source: Available from many electrical supply houses and retail
	outlets such as Sears, Home Depot, Ace and True Value
	Hardware stores.  No Factory direct sales.
GB catalog number OX-100B.
Price: Approximately 3.00/ 1-oz tube

Manufacturer:
    Ideal Industries, Inc.
    Becker Place
    Sycamore, IL 60178
    Tel: 1-800-435-0705
    and: 1-815-895-5181
    Fax: 1-800-533-4483
Product Name: NOALOX
Source: Distributors (Call 800 number for nearest one)
Price:  Ideal list price $2.58/ half oz tube (#30-024) and
	$8.64/8oz bottle (#30-030).
NOTES:  Also available from many electrical wholesale supply houses.
        No factory direct sales.  Contains zinc particles suspended
        in a carrier.

Manufacturer:
    KLM Antennas Inc.
    PO Box 694
    Monroe, WA 98272
    Tel: 1-360-794-2923
    Fax: 1-360-794-0294
Product Name: Conductive Paste
Source: Factory direct and larger dealers.
Price: $3.50 plus shipping & handling/ 1 ounce containers
NOTES: Anti-seize thread compound Hi-Temperature MIL-A-907E.
	Contains copper and graphite flakes suspended in a petroleum
	base.  Manufactured for Mirage/KLM by Chemical Commodities
	Agency, Inc.  of Highland, CA per MIL-A-907E.

Manufacturer:
    Sanchem, Inc.
    1600 S. Canal Street
    Chicago, IL 60616
    Tel: 1-800-621-1603
    Out of State: 1-312-733-6111
    Fax: 1-312-733-7432
Product Name: NO-OX-ID
Source: Direct from Manufacturer
Price:	$11/16oz can or $8.80/8oz tube (plus shipping)
	Minimum order - $35
NOTES:	NO-OX-ID comes in several consistencies.  NO-OX-ID "A" and
	NO-OX-ID "A-Special" are suitable for most antenna installations.
	NO-OX-ID "A-Special" is similar to NO-OX-ID "A" but has a small
	amount of solvent added for ease of application.

Manufacturer:
    Thomas & Betts Company
    1555 Lynnfield Road
    Memphis, TN 38119
    Tel: 1-800-888-0211
    Fax: 1-800-888-0790
Product Name: Aluma-Shield
Source: No direct factory sales.  Available from many electrical
	supply distributors.
Price:	Approximately $11.44/ 8oz can.
NOTES:	Customer may call 800 number for location of nearest distributor.
	Contains zinc particles suspended in a petroleum base.

Manufacturer:
    Burndy Electrical
    101 E. Industrial Park Dr.
    Manchester, NH, 03108
    Tel: 1-800-346-4175
    Fax: 1-800-346-9826
Product Name: Penetrox (PEN-A)
Source: Electrical wholesalers
Price:	Approx. $6/ 3oz tube
NOTES:	Zinc particles suspended in a natural based compound.
LOCAL NOTE: Loaded with metal, needs a lot of stirring before use with
            a stick etc., seems to work well on sliding, telescoping
            aluminum elements.

Manufacturer:
    Ilsco Corporation
    4730 Madison Road
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45227
    Tel: 1-513-533-6200
    Fax: 1-513-533-6274
Product Name: DE-OX
Source: No factory direct sales.  Available from electrical supply
	wholesalers and distributors.  Customer may call for
	nearest distributor.
Price:	Approximately $2.90/ 1oz, $4.90/ 4oz and
	 $7.30/ 8oz squeeze bottle.
NOTES:	Used in the electrical trade for Al/Cu and Al/Al connections.
	Green colored grease with no noticeable particles in suspension.

Manufacturer:
    Antennas West
    PO Box 50062
    Provo, Utah 84605
    Tel: 1-801-373-8425
    Fax: 1-801-373-8426
Product Name: Goose Grease
Source: Factory direct sales only.
Price:	$1.00/ 1oz + and $1.00 p&h.
NOTES:  Transparent silicone grease.  Antennas West also recommends
	this product for ground rod clamp connections.

Manufacturer:
    Mosley Electronics, Inc.
    10812 Ambassador Blvd.
    St. Louis, MO 63132
    Tel: 1-800-966-7539
    and: 1-800-325-4016
    and: 1-314-994-7872
    Fax: 1-314-994-7873
Product Name:   1) Mosley Penatrox (Conductive Grease)
                2) Weather Guard (Clear spray coating)
Source: Factory direct sales only.
Price:  Mosley Penatrox- $4.45 / packet + postage. 
        Weather Guard- $12.75/ 8oz spray can + shipping
NOTES:  Mosley Penatrox is a grease-like product.  Weather Guard is a
        clear spray especially recommended for marine and coastal
        environments.  Weather Guard cannot be shipped via the post
        office; UPS required.

Manufacturer:
        Loctite Corporation
        1001 Troutbrook Crossing
        Rocky Hill, CT 06067-3910
        Tele: 800-842-0041
Product Name: Permatex  ANTI-SEIZE LUBRICANT
Source: Many Automotive Supply Distributors
Price:  N/A
NOTES:  Comes in 1 oz squeeze tube, 8 fluid oz brush top container,
        and a 12 oz aerosol can.  Can be used on the threads of
        U-bolts to prevent "seizing, galling, and corrosion."
        It aids in the disassembly of the the antenna's hardware.
        Not for use on electrical connections.  The part no. on
        a 1 oz tube is 133A.

Ficus

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08/99