mopalia (mopalia) wrote in scientificwhims,
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mopalia
scientificwhims

Aluminum and cadmium corrosion

I'm working on a project at the Henry Ford Museum, documenting and conserving the television collection.  Today we took the backs off a couple of vintage TVs and were stopped dead in our tracks by - corrosion.  We've figured out that the white fluffy stuff that shows up on rivets is aluminum and not toxic, but the head conservator is worried about this greenish powder that's showing up on some TV chassis.  The chassis generally seem to be aluminum, but some are covered in a greenish powder that's easy to dislodge - obviously some kind of breakdown product, but what?  She's afraid it's cadmium.  So the questions are -
What does cadmium break down into and how could you recognize it on visual inspection, and
Is there an easy test for the presence of cadmium?

And if it's not cadmium, what else would it be?
The time period for these TVs is roughly 1950s-1970s, so anything might have been used.  I don't have pictures of these yet;  we're hoping to work on them tomorrow and have to figure out how to approach them.
Any advice you can give would be appreciated.
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