Hard Anodising

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Sulphuric Acid Anodising

Often known as natural, clear, or silver anodising, this is the most common type of anodising. The description covers a wide range of processes at different levels and differs from hard anodising in that the electrolyte temperature is higher, and the current density employed is lower. The types of sulphuric acid are sub-divided into classes mainly determined by the field of application. All anodising processes are sealed unless the film is used as a primer for paint or adhesives.

Anodising for Protection

This is the most common form of anodic coating. Film thickness usually between three and thirty microns. The thinnest films stopping aluminium blackening the hands when handled, the thickest offering substantial corrosion resistance and electrical insulation without the loss of fatigue strength that can accompany hard anodising. The oxide layer is less dense than that of hard anodising and readily accepts a dye. Thicker, high-quality films are often referred to as semi-hard anodising.

Decorative Anodising

As the name suggests the main purpose of this process is to provide a pleasing aesthetic appearance of components and covers a wide range of products of differing levels of integrity from publicity gimmicks to high-quality instrument panels. As the natural colour is silver or light grey, dyestuffs may be used as colouring dyes. Prior to anodising the aluminium may be brightened or dulled chemically to achieve a required texture.

Architectural Anodising

This is a specialised area aimed toward components used for external architectural applications where designs dictate a combination of aesthetic appearance, corrosion resistance and mechanical performance. Very attractive effects can be obtained by choosing the correct alloys and mechanical finishes prior to anodising. These films are often coloured using integral colour anodising or dyes that are plated in after anodising. Sealing is therefore very critical to ensure good corrosion resistance.  Architectural Anodising is, seemingly, much more common in the US and mainland Europe than it is in the UK.