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Anti Seize Compound

Brad Quartuccio

One of the more frustrating workshop situations is a parts seizure, when a bottom bracket, seatpost or bolt just won’t budge not due to overtightening or deformation but because of a chemical reaction locking the two metals in place. Defense is the best offense, with the appropriately named anti-seize compound the shield of choice.

Bearing grease works well enough to prevent corrosive seizure in most cases, but anti-seize is inexpensive insurance against galvanic seizure between dissimilar metals. When in contact two metals can form a galvanic cell, especially in the presence of water and salt, forming anode (current flows in) and cathode (current flows out) with deposits forming on the cathode as the anode corrodes. Galvanic reactions of dissimilar metals exchanging electrons is what powers cheap batteries, and what can lead to a seatpost or bottom bracket cup stuck in place as the deposits cause the post or cup to “grow” enough to become mechanically stuck. Anti-seize is a lubricant with solid particles of copper, aluminum and/or graphite suspended in it that prevents the galvanic reaction better than a barrier of grease alone. Beyond that, the solid particles suspended in anti-seize continue doing their job of preventing seizure even when the grease is washed away, contaminated or all together dried out.

While anti-seize is a good idea between aluminum and steel, be certain to always use it with titanium frames and parts more prone to galvanic seizure. When anti-seize isn’t available use grease, but never substitute anti-seize for lubricant in bearings or with carbon parts. In the shop it is worth noting that anti-seize is remarkably hard to remove from your hands or other surfaces, more so than marine grease—application is best handled carefully, with a cotton swab even. Just a few dollars at the auto parts store on a lifetime home shop supply of anti-seize can go a long way to prevent a potentially expensive lesson later.

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