Macbook Air aluminium is chipping

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Executer, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. Executer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2014
    #1
    Hello guys,

    I bought a Macbook Air from the Apple Store back in July. Today I noticed that the place where I usually rest my hand has suffered some damage (http://i.imgur.com/TQUr7dO.jpg - it looks a lot worse in the pic than it is irl).

    I've read in several forums (including this one) that this might be caused by a special reaction that takes place between my sweat and the computers' aluminium. Not sure if this is the case, but the truth is that it doesn't look pretty and in some occasions it actually hurts my skin.

    That said, I do have a few questions to ask, if you don't mind.

    1. Do you believe this might be covered by warranty?
    2. If yes, I could take it to an Apple Store. The problem is I really need my computer for the next five months and I don't have a replacement. Do you know if there's anything I can do to solve this problem (other than taking it to a store, that it)?
    3. At least I hope it doesn't get any worse. Would cleaning the case more often help avoiding this situation?

    Thanks for your help! All the best.
     
  2. sjinsjca macrumors 68000

    sjinsjca

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    #2
    Unless someone out there has had a similar experience recently, I don't think any of us can predict how AppleCare will react to this situation. It does seem chemical-reaction-ish, or else I've seen nicks of this sort come from watchbands and similar jewelry impacting the alumnium. Or it's possible that there was a metallurgy or processing error that resulted in a compromised surface matrix on the anodize.

    There's nothing to do but make an appointment at a Genius Bar, if you can, and express polite concern that your lovely Air has developed a complexion issue.

    As to cleaning the case, Apple recommends nothing more than a gentle wiping with a lightly dampened, clean, soft cloth. (I am a smudge freak and give my machine a good gentle/damp wiping every couple of days.) Do not use cleaners, ammonia, polishes, etc.
     
  3. Executer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2014
    #3
    Thanks. I was hoping to find someone who'd have faced the same issue.

    I don't use any jewelry at all, so I'm pretty sure that's not the case here. It seems pretty insignificant at the moment (I had a few people trying to figure out what was wrong and no one managed to notice the "scratches"), but that's the only thing I see when I look at my Macbook. :D
     
  4. cbautis2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2013
    #4
    Pure aluminum metal (and its alloy) is quite reactive when directly exposed to oxygen. Therefore, the case have a proprietary coating to protect the sensitive metal from oxygen. You just rubbed off that layer and now Aluminum (and its alloys) reacted to oxygen to form oxides which are mostly black in color (not all oxides are black in color of course).
     
  5. newellj macrumors 603

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    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #5
    I'm not going to dive into search, but I remember a similar thread here or in the MBP forum a month or two back. The following is a serious question, not a joke or a jibe: do you have a relatively high salt diet?
     
  6. Executer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2014
    #6
    Thank you all for your answers.

    Interesting. I know a bit about redox reactions. I also read that the aluminium is anodised. I just expected it to last more than a few months.

    Well, I don't think so. I don't like my food too salty - just a little bit as food seasoning.
     
  7. cbautis2 macrumors 6502a

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    #7
     
  8. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #8
    You should see my brother's MacBook Pro - the whole front-right edge had the same thing happen to it, but a lot, lot worse. I think it may be to do with the pH of your sweat, but I'm not 100% sure.

    It also occurs on the left edge of the laptop where he rests his left hand. It's definitely some sort of reaction, the computer has barely been taken off the desk so it's not damage from anything else.

    I think solutions are to wash your hands with soap every hour or so or use some kind of case and palm-rest guard.

    He borrowed my laptop for a bit and there is some slight damage to the edge, similar to yours in the picture but maybe not as bad. Safe to say I haven't let him use it since... :p
     
  9. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #9
    My 2006 MBP has the same problem, and much worse than what you show in your picture. The entire area below the left side of the keyboard is blackish.

    I even had the top case replaced due to another problem, and the black spots appeared in the new case also.
     
  10. TidyWorks macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    #10
    I have this on my MBP, I asked Apple and they told me it would happen with a new top housing. Something to do with the chemicals released by your skin.
     
  11. shiekh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    #11
    Aluminum oxide is attacked by salt and mercury; not even Apple can defy the laws of Physics (some say chemistry is a branch of quantum physics)
     
  12. dyt1983, Feb 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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    USA USA USA
    #12
    edit: To remove personally identifying info not relevant to the conversation.
     
  13. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #13
    Molecules and chemicals and whatnot are physical things, so chemistry is definitely a branch (or subset, anyway) of physics.
     
  14. cbautis2 macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 17, 2013
    #14
    Well, true. That's why there's a class called Physical Chemistry which is basically chemistry explained through statistical thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. Hard core chem phds love talking about those stuff :)
     
  15. abta1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Location:
    Paris, France
    #15
    This is not judgement on you or your diet OP but lots of foods that we buy today have large amounts of salt in them either as flavouring or for preservation so it's possible that your intake is higher than you imagine.

    However, it's also entirely possible that your sweat composition is more corrosive for other reasons. :)
     
  16. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
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    Denmark
    #16
    Exactly. At least, not after Jobs died.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Dowjohnny macrumors 6502

    Dowjohnny

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    Germany
    #17
  18. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #18
    I agree and it has more to do with the PH than salt but salt is likely part of the problem too. If your laptop is that "young" Apple might just help you out. Worth taking it in a seeing what they will do.
     
  19. cbautis2 macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 17, 2013
    #19
    pH will surely react with the coating, exposing the black anodized aluminum considering low pH can dissolve metals (even pure 24 karat gold for that matter (just make aqua regia)) :eek:
     
  20. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    #20
    There is no black anodized aluminum. The black comes from the chemical reactions with the aluminum.
     
  21. artivideo.nl macrumors 6502

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    Jan 10, 2008
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    The Netherlands
    #21
    Al forms an oxide which protects from further oxidation (passivation). It is kind of white colour (so not black).

     
  22. cbautis2 macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 17, 2013
    #22
    Sorry about that, I was just under impression that many oxides are blackish in color e.g. nickel iii oxide or copper ii oxide. I work in the electroplating company BTW and we do get oxidation rejections after plating and they look black or very dark
     
  23. SFStateStudent macrumors 604

    SFStateStudent

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco California, USA
    #23
    First time not buying AppleCare for my new MBA! Went with (2) year coverage from BestBuy & Geek Squad @$309 OTD after AppleCare+ on my iPhones and iPads was used up both maximum of (2) returns or trade-outs for refurbished or new replacements. After that I wasn't covered for damage...:eek:
     
  24. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #24
    Here's my brother's laptop:

    [​IMG]

    It's four years old so Apple probably won't do anything. He's fine with it, but every time I see it I wince...
     
  25. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #25
    WOW, that is narley! If it is 4 years old and still working I could forgive the cosmetics.
     

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