Aluminum canvas is the name I coined to describe the product of applying a
sheet of self-adhesive contact paper or overlapping strips of 2-inch duct tape to
the 'dull' side of a sheet of aluminum foil. Figure 1 shows one application of
aluminum canvas in solar disinfection (SODIS). After some experience, I found
it easier to apply duct tape instead of contact paper. However, contact paper is
less expensive. If you use contact paper, you may find it easier to cut the large
sheet into smaller 1-foot squares and apply these overlapping pieces. I like to
use aluminum canvas whenever I need a surface that's shiny plus water and tear
resistant. You make the aluminum canvas mat by first laying out a strip of
aluminum foil. Next, if you are using contact paper, press an equal sized sheet
(or smaller overlapping pieces) of clear self-adhesive contact paper onto the 'dull'
side of the aluminum foil. Press the two layers together and smooth with your
hands. Remove air bubbles by pricking them with your scissor (or other sharp
point) and flattening with your fingers. Use clear packing tape or strips of
contact paper to cover any rough edges and bare spots. Trim away any excess
material with your scissors.
The result is a tough, tear resistant, reusable sheet of aluminum foil that is
protected from wear and water. You will be placing the contact paper (or taped)
side of the surface mat face down on the ground and the shiny side up.
Depending on your situation, you may want to add another sheet of clear
contact paper onto the shiny side of the foil for extra wear and water protection.
However, this may dull the shine (slightly), so see how things work with only a
single layer of contact paper.
The aluminum canvas can be folded or rolled-up for storage and transport.
With use, it will begin to look wrinkled and creased, but it will still shine brightly
which is what matters. Over time, the wrinkles cancel each other out and the
surface will get smoother. Keep the aluminum canvas clean and dry and
it should last for years.
In sunlight, aluminum canvas is very bright and may damage your eyes.
Please use sunglasses when working with this material in sunlight.
Figure 1. Sheet of aluminum canvas being used to reflect and amplify
UV/IR solar energy for solar water disinfection (SODIS).