If you work in the construction or automobile industry – you must have heard about the process of anodizing.
Even if you are not directly linked to these industries, you must have come across the name. For instance, the construction industry uses anodized parts for their construction processes. Similarly, dentists and doctors use tools that are anodized. So, what is the whole process about?
Aluminum anodizing is a metamorphic process which dramatically improves aluminum’s life, looks, and variety. The anodic oxide layer is born by immersing aluminum in an electrolyte solution and placing an electric current on it. This makes aluminum corrosion and wear-resistant.
However, you must know that anodizing is more than just protection: it is a canvas for color ranging from traditional black to sophisticated bronze. Aluminum anodizing expands your horizons in aviation, architecture, and electronics.
Common Colors You Can Play Around With
The anodizing process allows you to play with the color pallet like never before. From the traditions blacks to grey to whites – every color can be achieved by dyeing.
The addition of these coatings increases their lifespan while at the same time enhancing appeal and preventing corrosion and wear.
The simple, sleek, black appearance makes it popular. Aluminum products get an air of sophistication.
The clear anodized aluminum does not change the natural silvery color of aluminum. It leaves it looking tidy and modern. This choice presents the beauty of naked metal itself.
Bronze anodized aluminum gives a warm earthy color which makes it appropriate for interior as well as exterior decorative applications in architecture. It works perfectly in many styling options.
Many people use this process to make various colors. You can make any hue through this process. The good news is that you can mix and max different colors to get a fully customized color.
Big giants like Apple also use the process of anodizing to add the vibrant colors to their laptops and cell phones.
Magical Traits Of Aluminum Anodizing
Anodizing adds two traits to aluminum. First, it adds to the durability by making it corrosion free.
This is done becasue of the layer that covers the aluminum after anodizing.
Secondly, once the aluminum is durable and strong, it can be used for various applications.
The anodized surface forms a base for painting or other coatings that improve aesthetics and offer additional coverage.
This lightweight metal is widely used because it improves the strength and appearance of various products such as consumer goods, aerospace, and construction.
What Does Aluminum Anodizing Offer To You?
It goes without saying that the most basic reason to get aluminum anodized is to increase its lifespan. Moreover, it provides resistance against corrosion.
Nevertheless, it is not the only reason why you should go for it.
The anodizing of the aluminum process is flexible with several choices to suit different instances. This aluminum anodizing can be mainly divided into three types, each of which has unique features for specific purposes.
TYPE I – Chromic Acid Anodizing
This is a technique which results in a very thin layer of anodic film with a high barrier strength on the aluminum surface.
Although it is the least common, it still plays an important part in the pre-treatment of aluminum prepared for adhesive bonding.
It contains a non-conductive thin layer and is mainly used in industries with high adhesive properties like aerospace.
TYPE II – Sulfuric Acid Anodizing
Sulfuric acid is the most common element to anodize aluminum. This is more effective compared to Type 1 because it forms a more substantial anodic layer which improves the wear ability and corrosion resistance.
It is flexible and can therefore be used in many areas such as decorative finishes, consumer goods etc. It can be dyed in various colors as well.
TYPE III – Hard Anodizing
Hard anodizing is more popularly referred to as sulphuric acid hard coat anodizing. It is the most durable of them all. Thereafter it creates a relatively thick, hard and extraordinarily wear-resisting anodic coating.
This particular class suits when durability and toughness are paramount in use such as for the military parts and the equipment used in industry.
The type of selection in aluminum anodizing is based on particular application needs and every type incorporates different features.
Anodizing is available in different forms to suit the needs across industrial sectors and applications.
It comes with adhesive bonding, corrosion resistance, color options, and high-strength wear.
The Tailored Plan-Anodizing Type
Anodizing serves as a great means of improving the life span and looks of metal. The right decision regarding the selection of appropriate forms may appear daunting. But of course, you can do that.
To pick up the most suitable of the three you need to have a comparative analysis of all these with the pros and cons each carries along.
Type I Anodizing (Chromic Acid Anodizing): It is the thinnest anodizing type that should be used in weight-sensitive parts. It has nice corrosive properties and high aesthetic performance but it is not the best for color. Suitable for military and aerospace purposes.
Type II Anodizing (Sulfuric Acid Anodizing): Typically a good option for many uses. This type is resistant to corrosion compared with Type I and it offers a wide spectrum of color possibilities. Suitable for commodities such as mobile phones, and utensils among others.
Type III Anodizing (Hard Anodizing): In terms of exceptional durability Type III is your superhero. It is thicker than Type II but has superior wear resistance. They love this type of military weapons and automotive pistons.
Type II vs. Type III: In the event it is difficult to choose between Type II and Type III then consider what matters most to you. Type II has more color options but Type III is all about brawn. Here weight and appearance do count.
You need to probe deep down into the characteristics of each TYPE so the decision taken is right on target.
COLORS AND DYES: For the best results for your colored metal parts. Type II anodizing provides more choices. Basically, it is just deciding what your metal outfit will be in either red, blue or green.
THICKNESS MATTERS: Type III anodizing protects your product against wear and tear. It is the equivalent of handing the metal armor on which you rely in your epic and brutal combats.
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY: It would be better to consider Type II compared to Type I. It will prove your best deal if you are aware and environmentally conscious.
COST FACTOR: Your budget is vital. The type II is relatively affordable and flexible. That is why Type III is more expensive but this model provides an opportunity for investment in maximum wear resistance.
ELECTRONICS OR ENGINES: When it comes to electronics, Type II gives you stylishly rugged shielding. You will always choose Type III for engine parts and heavy-duty machinery.
The decision you make in this regard will be dependent on the specific details of your project. Balance your priorities: color, durability and budget.
Anodizing is almost like selecting the correct tool for the task. Each of them has its advantages and you should choose the one that matches your priorities most. Be it the manufacture of consumer products, weaponry or automotive components appreciating your options should be the first step towards excellence.
Anodized Aluminum: Does It Conduct Electricity?
The simple answer is YES! It is important to understand the science behind this occurrence. Though it is non-conductive itself, the anodic oxidation layer is very thin usually not more than a few micrometres thick. Thus aluminum being a superb electric conductor has direct touch with the current.
Anodizing is a process that involves dipping aluminum into an electrolyte solution under an electrical charge. As a result, an anodic oxide layer is formed on the surface. Anodization does not involve the passing of a current through the anodic oxide layer but rather the aluminum substrate below it.
This in turn ensures that the aluminum remains an excellent conductor of electricity even after anodizing has been done. This oxide layer is mainly intended to prevent corrosion and wear yet permits the aluminum underneath it to be conducting.
Conductive Anodized Aluminum- The Application
Anodized aluminum can act as an electrical conductor still protecting against corrosion. A few notable examples are:
ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY: Electronic devices often use anodized aluminum components. They are also electrically conducted making them suitable for use in devices like cell phones, computers and internal circuitry casing.
AEROSPACE AND AVIATION: Anodized aluminum is light in weight but has high electric conductivity which is why it is used in aircraft and spacecraft components. Such as being strong enough for the harshest environmental conditions yet able to maintain electrical connection points.
ARCHITECTURAL AND CONSTRUCTION: Anodized aluminum is commonly employed for use on architectural items such as curtain walls, handrails and decorative panels. The incorporated lighting and security systems are electrical allowing for high electrical conductivity.
AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY: The use of anodized aluminum parts for vehicles ensures that electrical systems operate efficiently. It is involved in the manufacture of connectors and brackets used in automotive electronics.
RENEWABLE ENERGY: Anodized aluminum plays a role as an electrical conductor in Solar panels as well as wind turbines. It is used to harvest and transfer power from these renewable forms of energy.
MEDICAL EQUIPMENT: Aluminum is electrically conductive anodized which has to do with medical devices such as diagnostic units and surgical tools that have to be very accurate.
Anodizing VS.Power Coating
When it comes to enhancing the appearance and durability of metal surfaces two popular options stand out: anodizing and powder coating.
The choice is made more difficult because each of the methods has its own advantages that are applicable in specific situations.
The art of anodizing and powder coating concerning one another has to be learned so you can determine which would be best suited for your requirements.
Anodizing: Enhancing Metal From Within
Anodizing is an electrochemical process that creates a barrier oxide film covering the metallic surface mainly for aluminum. It is an excellent barrier against wear, tear and corrosion.
An advantage of anodizing is that it can be used on any type of aluminum alloy to result in a consistent finish and metallic look.
Powder Coating: Beauty In Color And Versatility
The dry finishing process is commonly referred to as powder coating. A hard and stylish covering is formed on the powder after it undergoes the curing process.
Powder coating is the most widely used due to its vast color options and finishes which are usually applied to architectural features, automotive components and even home utensils. A wide array of metals are suitable for powder coating, not just aluminum alone.
Compare The Two
Durability and Resistance:
When it comes to durability and resistance, anodized aluminum is the answer. A well anodized aluminum will last you anywhere from 10 to 20 years. How long it lasts also depends on the thickness of the layer. If there have been multiple coatings, it will last longer.
According to research, there are some buildings that are more than 70 years old. The anodized aluminum used in the construction of these buildings is still intact and going strong.
Anodizing provides a much harder surface than powder coating. When the surface is hard, the anodized parts can take up more pressure, wear and tear and are not affected by sunlight much.
Aesthetics and Color Options
Anodizing usually retains the natural shiny look of the base material with fewer available color choices generally restricted to shades of grey, white or silver.
The various colors and finishes involved in powder coating encompass vibrancy to texture or matt surfaces offering variety and flexibility.
Anodizing is an environmentally friendly process that generates little amount of waste and does not use solvent-based media or heavy metals.
Powder coating exhibits environmental responsibility by creating few VOCs or hazardous wastes.
Anodization is commonly applied in various industrial areas including aerospace, auto manufacturing, and electronic components because of these properties.
Due to color variety and aesthetics requirements, powder coating is mostly used on architectural elements, home appliances, and outside furniture.
Preparation and Maintenance
The process of anodizing must precede thorough cleaning and preparation of the metal surface which is expensive in terms of post-processing maintenance.
The process of preparing a powder coat is easy and maintenance consists mostly of washing and some paint touches when there are damages.
Thickness and Coating Uniformity
Anodizing produces a very thin and uniform oxide layer that does not change the size of the metal but provides excellent edge coverage.
Flexibility is also important when it comes to powder coating thickness because different applications demand different coating thicknesses.
Life Of Anodized Aluminum
For how long do you suppose that anodized aluminum will withstand ageing tests? Well, the answer is impressive. A good quality anodized aluminum could last for decades and also several years.
Hard anodizing can increase the surface hardness and abrasion resistance of any aluminum part. If done correctly, it can increase the hardness of aluminum from 400 to 600 HV on the Vickers Hardness Test. This is the hardness level of some types of steels. This allows the hard anodized aluminum to last for decades even.
In chromic acid anodizing, a thin layer of less than 5 μm is added on top of the aluminum. It will last you anywhere from 10 to 20 years in the best case scenario.
Lastly, in sufluric acid anodizing, the lifespan is dependant on multiple factors. From the thickness of the coat to where it was sealed or not to the external environment – all these determine how long it will last. However, it also lasts from 10 to 20 years.
So, if you want to get alumium anodized, it is best to contact Wellste. With over 20 years of experience and more than a thousand clients, we are your one-stop solution for all your anodizing needs.