Aluminum occupies a respectable spot in the metalworking industry due to its anti-rust nature and lightness. However, many applications require more strength than the natural form of the metal provides. Here comes the anodized aluminum.
Anodized aluminum is made by anodizing, where the metal is dipped in an electrolytic cell, and the electricity migrates the oxide ions from the cathode to the aluminum metal. The process is done on a massive level to produce blocks of anodized aluminum which are then cut into anodized aluminum sheets.
An anodized aluminum sheet is useable in numerous places like coffee brewers’ exteriors, bathroom accessories, door and window frames, etc. However, this article covers plenty of other little-known things about anodized aluminum sheets.
Exciting Facts About Anodized Aluminum Sheets One Should Know
Anodization is doable on various metals. However, it is suited to aluminum due to its intrinsic properties. The process helps increase the anti-rust characteristics of the metal and allows it to maintain its luster. Some other interesting facts are discussed below.
Production Of Anodized Aluminum Sheets
Before diving into the other intriguing things about industrial anodized aluminum sheets, let’s understand how the process takes place. First, the aluminum sheets are thoroughly cleaned and placed in a cell with an electrolytic solution (sulphuric acid, etc.).
The aluminum sheet is made the anode by supplying the positive charge. Another metal piece is dipped in the tube connected to the battery’s positive terminal. As the current flows, the oxide ions of the cathode begin to deposit on the aluminum sheet, anodizing it.
Hard Anodizing Aluminum Sheets
Anodizing is done on different levels depending on the required strength of the metal. The component setup is identical to the standard anodizing process.
However, the process is continued unless the depth of the layer increases to 25 or more microns. Hard anodizing aluminum sheets are more expensive but offer superior rust resistance and longevity.
Essentiality of Oxidization Protection
Aluminum sheets are resistant to rust. However, excessive oxygen deteriorates the metal. When exposed to environmental oxygen or increased oxygen levels, anodized aluminum’s surface develops a layer of aluminum oxide. Therefore, you’ll need to use a protective coating to reduce the oxidization of the sheets.
Coloring Anodized Aluminum Sheets
Adding color to the anodized aluminum sheets is the most exciting part. The pores of the metallic sheets are filled with the respective color and then sealed off. That is why anodized aluminum sheets are so color-retaining because, unlike other pigmented metals, the color of the sheets is deep within the atomic cavities and not on the outer surface.
Impossibility of Anodizing Entire Parts
Reading about the process of creating anodized aluminum often gets one wondering why you can’t anodize the whole component with it. Here is why.
Anodizing aluminum requires suspending the metal in a chemical bath and proceeding with the process. So, naturally, if the part has intricate details and patterns, it will take more time to anodize, and the thickness of the ions will not be optimal. Therefore, aluminum sheets are anodized and then molded into their respective shapes.
The Bottom Line
Aluminum is a rugged metal that offers more versatility and durability than other metals. However, industrialists developed a way to increase the robustness of the metal. It is called anodizing. Anodizing allows you to deposit oxide atoms from another metal on the aluminum; however, the process is ideally carried out on aluminum sheets.
Anodized aluminum sheets require fewer manufacturing efforts. Therefore, most industrialists anodize the sheets (rather than the entire components) and then utilize them in component construction. Moreover, anodized aluminum sheets are color-retaining, multipurpose, and adaptable to hard anodizing.