Galvanic Corrosion and keyboards

Lately I’ve been thinking about all of our aluminum keyboard housings, particularly ones that also contain weights, switch mounting plates and other various accoutrements that are made of dissimilar metals such as brass, or stainless steel. Having worked in industries in the past that have to take into consideration the interaction of metal-on-metal from both a safety and structural stability standpoint, I now begin to wonder what kinds of corrosion we may end up seeing on our keyboards in due time. Particularly for those of us who live in more humid climates, which would create an environment - or “conductive solution” - that may end up speeding up the process.

From what I have read, methods of prevention typically require you to separate the two metals either via protective coating, or just simply some sort of non-metallic barrier. I haven’t seen much of anything in the community that would indicate steps taken for prevention.

Do we know of any real examples on keyboards where this process has occurred? Can we expect to see examples in the future? I ask because I’m certainly not an expert on the matter, but it has got me thinking about it.


Unless you are experiencing so much humidity that liquid water is regularly condensing on your keyboard this is a complete non-issue.


Wouldn’t anodization, e-coat, PVD, etc. work well enough to prevent galvanic corrosion between dissimilar metals (given the protective coatings are not compromised)? Even in a more humid environments? AFAIK GC requires a good bit moisture & bare metals. Although I am not expert in this at all. Just basing my theory off of the many older customs I have that have not had any GC. @WayToBlue could you elaborate on my thoughts since you have actual experience working in industries that had to deal with GC?

Not sure if you’re talking more scietific than this, but the switch plate in Leopold keyboards is prone to rust. Not to the extent that it causes any structural or use problems, just that it occurs and is unsightly but again, is only visible when you open the case!

I also have an original Apple M0110a dated apx 1984 with what looks like a coated steel plate, with no sign of any issues.

I would imagine if issues did occur it would take a long time to have any structural or performance impact, but might be unsightly, if it is an exposed piece.


Well for my previous field it was more a consideration in construction materials in an industrial oil refinery setting. So obviously, much different than cozy home offices.

But yeah, my understanding is that ano, pvd etc would certainly provide sufficient resistance. I guess my concern would be when/if the ano gets rubbed away over time with heavy use, or raw unfinished keyboards. For a raw unfinished surface I can’t imagine not having this problem in time. But I guess rust would be a larger concern.

1 Like