Anodizing 101

Anodizing is defined as an electrolytic process that coats a metal with a protective oxide layer. Here are a few questions and answers to help you better understand anodizing and its role in modern industries.

Anodizing tips

(Pixabay / Hans)

Why anodize?

Anodizing can enhance the surface of a metal component to make it more attractive and corrosion-resistant. It also makes it stronger so that it won’t chip or flake.

What are specific applications of anodizing?

Anodized aluminum is used to shield satellites from the harsh influences of space. It is also used to make computer hardware more durable and corrosion-resistant. It can improve the aesthetics of metal components (think anodized aluminum bathroom and kitchen hardware). It also makes building exteriors and roofs more durable. For example, anodized aluminum can be seen on the famously tall Sears Tower in Chicago.

What metals can be anodized?

Aluminum is the most commonly oxidized material, but other non-ferrous (non-iron) metals can also be anodized, including magnesium and titanium.

What are the steps in the anodizing process?

All metals oxidize. Anodizing hastens the oxidation process in a highly-controlled way. Here’s how the process works:

  • Submerge base metal in an acid electrolyte bath in an anodizing tank with a cathode mounted inside. (A cathode is a negatively charged electrode that acts as a conduit for electrons to enter a device.)
  • Pass an electric current through the medium.
  • The aluminum serves as an anode, which allows oxygen to be released from the electrolyte solution and join the atoms on the surface of the base metal.

Though most people don’t know the ins and outs of anodizing, they reap its benefits on a daily basis. From scientific instruments to buildings, escalators, and home appliances, we depend on anodized products.

For more information about anodizing services and metal plating kits, contact Gold Plating Services.

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