The Many Surprising Uses for Anodized Materials

Anodizing is an electrochemical process that alters a metal (most commonly aluminum) to make it more durable and resistant to corrosion. The process has been around since the early 1920s, when it was used primarily in architecture. Since that time, anodized materials have been somewhat replaced with cheaper powder coating and plastics. However, anodized materials are still valued for their high levels of resistance to abrasion and corrosion. Anodized aluminum, in particular, is still used in modern architecture and many other projects that require durability and weather-resistance. While the list of uses for anodized materials is long, here are a few industries that rely heavily on the attractive material.

Industrial Uses

Anodizing is often used in industrial settings to produce a protective finish. Industrial anodizing is used to obtain electric insulation, resistance to corrosion, thermal insulation and/or resistance to erosion and wear.  Industrial anodized products include automotive parts, kitchen appliances and washers and dryers.

Architectural Uses

An anodizing tank can be used to add durability and weather-resistance to a wide variety of architectural components. Roofing systems, storefronts and curtain walls are frequently composed of anodized materials. Customers who order anodized products for architectural applications are interested in both the durability and the appearance of the finished product, so the anodizing process must be done to certain standards. The coating quality, thickness and color must all meet certain criteria to be worthy of architectural use.

Decorative Uses

Anodized materials are commonly used in art, cosmetic containers and home products that are designed primarily for aesthetic appeal. A variety of anodized textures can be obtained on aluminum (including mirror-like, matte and brushed finishes) by using different manufacturing processes. Dyes and colorants can also be added during the anodizing process to produce vibrant and stable coloration. Durability may not be as important in decorative uses as visual properties.

The requirements for appearance versus performance in anodized materials differ depending on the industry in which the material is being used. For best results, it’s important to determine the right type of anodized material for your project before you begin.

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