We’ve just launched some cool new anodized aluminum sheets that are a great way to create unique jewelry components. You may be wondering how anodized aluminum is made. Well, we’re here to explain. Much like anodized niobium, the process of anodized aluminum increases the natural layer of oxide on the material by soaking it in a solvent bath, manipulating the electrodes with an electric current in order to achieve a specific color. This makes the aluminum much harder than natural aluminum and also increases resistance to corrosion.
First, wrought allows are cleaned in either a hot soak cleaner or a solvent bath. Then, a direct current is passed through the electrolytic solution and the aluminum piece is used as the anode, or positive electrode, to complete the current. This current releases hydrogen at the negative electrode and oxygen at the surface of the aluminum anode, creating a buildup of aluminum oxide.
The electric current running through can be manipulated to change the final color and the layer thickness, but this all depends on the chemical makeup of the solvent bath.