What Aluminum Alloys Can be Anodized
- Author Dan Frankian
- Published August 26, 2022
- Word count 543
Aluminum is an eco-friendly metal used daily in manufacturing various products. Aluminum has been increasingly diversified in the past few decades, with new recyclable types and applications growing by the year. Evidently, a large benefit of aluminum is that it can be anodized, which protects it against corrosion and maximizes its long-term durability.
Why is aluminum chosen over other metals — it’s not just because aluminum’s widely available. Aluminum’s modern, adaptable, versatile, much lighter in weight than stainless steel and other materials, and with one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios. It’s also very hygienic as a material, aesthetically pleasing, and corrosion-resistant. That said, not all aluminum alloys can be anodized.
What is the anodizing process?
Anodizing uses electrolytic passivation to provide a thick oxide layer on the aluminum surface. With this layer, a material increases its corrosion resistance and wear resistance while also improving adhesion which can be helpful for paint primers and bonding agents. Anodized aluminum is not the only material in this category but is one of the most popular.
Anodized aluminum is harder than raw aluminum. However, a drawback is it has low wear resistance unless a sealing substance is added. Anodized aluminum can also have a higher susceptibility to thermal stress. According to many manufacturers, the improved lubrication and more effective dyeing capability are well worth the trade-off.
When is aluminum anodizing used?
Anodized aluminum has two purposes — to be highly durable and cosmetically attractive. Some products made completely from anodized aluminum or using anodized aluminum components include aircraft parts, architectural structures, smartphones, flashlights, TVs, kitchen appliances, refrigerators, cookware, guns, aluminum roofing products, sports equipment, window frames, boats, golf carts, solar panels, and more.
As mentioned, aluminum is a material that’s so eco-friendly that it’s evolving with each passing year. Undoubtedly, dozens of future products will use environmentally-friendly anodized aluminum.
The best aluminum alloys to be anodized.
The best-anodized aluminum alloys vary.
Pure aluminum can be anodized, although the resulting layer is soft compared to other alloys and is considered more easily damageable.
Copper is a main alloying agent of some types of aluminum, creating extremely hard aluminum however copper’s not an ideal choice for anodizing for several reasons, including the yellow hue it produces.
Manganese can have excellent protection when anodized, as does silicone; however, both do leave behind certain dirty hues ranging from a brown colour to dark grey.
Searching for the best aluminum alloys, magnesium and silicon are excellent combinations and are commonly used in structural applications.
Alloying with zinc also will provide a clear layer of protection.
Finding the right aluminum for your job.
No matter what industry you’re working in, aluminum fits the profile if you’re looking for a cost-effective and reliable material to build with. Aluminum alloys, anodized aluminum, and aluminum applications continue to grow in number. Today’s aluminum continues to become more durable and adaptable to hundreds of unique processes. In almost any industry you can think of, there’s likely a type of anodized aluminum appropriate for you.
Find the right material when you need it most, and choose anodized aluminum. Select the right alloy appropriate to your need, and rest assured aluminum will always deliver the look and performance you want.
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