For metals such as steel and iron, exposure to oxygen can be a nightmare during the manufacturing process. This is because oxygen results in corrosion and rusting of the surface and can render the metallic raw materials unfit for downstream manufacturing. However, when aluminium is exposed to oxygen, its properties can become enhanced in many different ways.
Anodising refers to the process of oxidising the surface of aluminium in order to enhance aesthetic appeal, add durability, or create a specific finishing on the surface. During anodising, the surface of the metal is exposed to oxygen-containing compounds, and the reaction results in a hard outer layer. Aluminium oxidation has many benefits in industrial and manufacturing processes. This piece will explore aluminium anodising in multiple practical applications.
Anodising in the Automotive industry
Vehicles often require advanced protection against corrosion, physical damage, and rusting. In addition, the external parts of vehicles are often customised with unique colours, textures, and designs that would not be achievable without advanced manufacturing.
Anodised aluminium is used in a wide range of vehicle parts to provide the durability, corrosive resistance, and aesthetic appeal that is characteristic of vehicle components. Anodising is regularly used to coat the surfaces of wheels, oil tanks, windows and trim parts.
Anodising in Buildings
The building and construction industry is perhaps the biggest user of anodized aluminium. Anodising is used to develop building components that will not corrode easily, will remain durable for a long time and will contain unique finishes that match interior décor.
Anodising is used to coat bathroom fixtures, roofing components, awnings and window frames. The process is particularly useful for outdoor components of buildings such as awnings, patio covers, and security doors. This is because the wear and tear from external weather conditions tends to exert pressure on aluminium that hasn't been strengthened with this extra coating.
For marine equipment to remain useful, it needs to have superior corrosive resistance and outward durability. Anodising provides a tough outer coating to aluminium surfaces to make them last longer in the water.
In order to provide electronic components with the heat resistance, electrical conductivity and durability that is necessary, anodising electronics is a common process. Circuit boards that generate and distribute electric current are anodized to increase their conductivity and make them less prone to melting when things get too hot.
The exterior surfaces of electronics are also anodised to make them aesthetically appealing during use. Items such as phones, computers and cameras are typically polished with a clean and coloured coating to make them more durable and attractive.