Anodizing, sometimes called electroplating, involves changing the surface of metals. It protects materials from corrosion, enhances appearance, and increases durability and scratch resistance. A common metal that is stuck in an anodizing tank is aluminum. Here are some of the facts you should know about anodized aluminum.
How Is It Anodized?
To anodize an aluminum part, it will be cleaned and placed into an electrolytic solution. A positive charge is then applied to the metal, which causes the negative ions to flock to the metal and the positive ions to flow into the solution.
What Is the Barrier Layer?
The reaction results in pores on the aluminum as positive ions are drawn into the solution. This causes the top layer to be eroded. The center of the material reacts with the negative ions to create a barrier layer of aluminum oxide. This layer protects against chemical reactions with the metal.
What Does Hard Anodizing Mean?
Hard anodizing is the greatest level of anodizing available and offers the best protection for parts that will be used in extreme conditions. To get a hard-anodized object, the process will be continued until the barrier layer is 25 or more microns deep. This is a lengthy and expensive process, but it offers the best protection.
Is Corrosion Protection Necessary for Aluminum?
While aluminum doesn’t rust, it does go through oxidation when exposed to the air. Oxidation is a common reaction. It occurs when an element reacts with oxygen. Oxygen is highly reactive and will form compounds with almost any other element. When aluminum encounters oxygen, it will form a layer of aluminum oxide through this process.
Anodizing is a common process for aluminum. Through this electrically charged process, a barrier layer is achieved to protect the metal. It offers corrosion protection, enhanced appearances, and increased durability.