The process of anodizing uses an electrochemical process that converts its metal surface into corrosion resistant, decorative, durable and anodic oxide finishes. A preferred material for the design and manufacture of the anodizing tank is that of aluminum. But it is not uncommon for other nonferrous metals like magnesium and titanium to be used, because these too can be anodized. A primary feature of anodized materials is that it has turned the manufacture of computer hardware on its head.
It is also preferred by industrial manufacturers for the purposes of manufacturing home appliances, a wide variety of consumer use products, scientific instruments for research and development companies, as well as materials for the building trade. The finished (anodized) product also ends up as part of the infrastructure of trade show exhibitions. An anodic oxide structure is taken directly from its aluminum substrate and consists entirely of aluminum oxide.
Unlike paint and plating applications, the aluminum oxide is fully integrated with its underlying aluminum substrate. This also ensures that the finished surface does not chip or peel. It exhibits an ordered and porous structure, making it suitable for secondary processes, for example coloring and sealing. To anodize the subject material, the aluminum is immersed into an acid electrolyte bath through which an electric current passes.
A cathode is mounted to the inside of the anodizing tank. Aluminum acts as an anode in order for oxygen ions to be released from the electrolyte in order to combine with aluminum atoms at a surface of part being anodized. The entire anodizing process is characteristic of highly controlled oxidation. It is the enhancement of what can best be described as a naturally occurring phenomenon.
The finished product remains one of the most valued for numerous industries.