Cleveland Black Oxide Proud of its Role in 9/11 Memorial In New York City

Specialty finisher solves surface treatment challenge in "Reflecting Absence" pools.

The two pools (“Reflecting Absence”) that now sit where the Twin Towers once stood are there to remind us of the lives that were lost on 9/11/01. Each name is etched on the pools’ parapets along with those who died in the first attack on the site on Feb. 26, 1993. In turn, each contractor who worked on the memorial considered it a privilege to do so and wanted to do the best job possible in honor of those who died and served.

One such contractor was KC Fabrications of Gardiner, N.Y. The company, which specializes in art and architectural fabrication, installed the huge bronze name parapets at the pools and also had a contract to fabricate and finish the retaining posts for the metal panels that were to be placed behind the waterfalls. The panels and retaining posts are finished in black oxide and must be able to survive the harsh chemicals present in the water. During installation, KC Fabrications found that the blackened panels—made from marine-grade stainless steel—were corroding, leaving a white residue on the surface. Repeated attempts failed to solve the problem and it was decided another black oxide source was needed.

KC Fabrications contacted Cleveland Black Oxide, which determined that a galvanic reaction was the cause of the white residue arising from dissimilar metals in contact with the retaining posts. Tests were conducted at Cleveland Black Oxide’s lab, and the black oxide chemistry was modified to solve the problem. KC Fabrications sucessfully finished installing the 150 retaining posts.

“We were proud to have been a part of the memorial, even if only 2 inches of our work is showing above the water line," said David Tatham, president of Cleveland Black Oxide. "At least we know it’s a project well done.”

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