WHAT IS ALUMINUM ANODIZING?
Anodized T-Slotted Aluminum
From workstations to tables and utility carts, t-slot is utilized to make a variety of solutions. T-slot has grown in popularity and is now seen outside the workspace in restaurants, garages, and vehicles.
If you have been searching through all of the t-slotted aluminum profile options, you may have noticed the word anodized. Generally, t-slot comes in standard aluminum color, however, t-slot also comes in black anodized profiles that are sleek, modern, and clean-looking. Anodizing is a process that essentially transforms the surface of the aluminum.
What is Anodizing, and How is it Done?
Anodizing transforms the surface of the aluminum. This transformation causes the aluminum to become more porous, taking on the black pigment. You might think that with more pores, the material would actually become weaker; but the depth at which the pores occur is minimal.
This electrochemical process is environmentally friendly and provides aluminum a durable and attractive finish. To achieve this process, the following must be done.
- The aluminum profile is first cleaned and then rinsed well.
- Once clean, the profile is placed in a tank with an electrolytic solution with metal plates.
- The aluminum profile will be positively charged, while the metal plates will be negatively charged. This charging will initiate the swap of positive and negative ions.
While the aluminum is submerged in the solution, the pores will form on the surface of the profile. As the profile erodes in a geometric pattern thanks to the positive ions escaping, the aluminum combines with O2 ions (negative) to create aluminum oxide. This creates a barrier layer.
Below this barrier, the pores run deeper as current is continued to be applied to the aluminum. For deeper pores, greater current will be needed. For typical non-hard coatings, the depth is about 10 microns. At this point, pigment is added. This is done by way of a metal salt solution. With pigment, the profile is sealed and then rinsed.
Frequently Asked Questions About Anodizing
When purchasing t-slot, we are often asked by clients if they should purchase anodized profiles instead of standard profiles. Depending on the solution and what the t-slot will be utilized for will determine if anodizing is a better choice. Reasons to anodize include safety, aesthetics, improving emissivity, better corrosion resistance, and color stability. Other questions often asked about anodization are:
– What is hard anodizing?
Hard anodizing, also called Type III, is when the current is applied for a longer period. This allows the pores to go deeper than 10 microns (up to 25 microns or greater). Although more time-consuming, hard anodizing aluminum will produce a more corrosive-resistant material.
– Does anodizing improve heat dissipation?
Since anodized aluminum has a greater surface area than non-anodized aluminum, it can dissipate heat better.
– Will anodizing affect the profile’s strength?
Anodizing does not affect the t-slot’s strength. The depth at which the pores form from the anodizing process is that of nanometers. The structural integrity of the material is not affected.
Parco Anodized Product Selection
At Parco, we have black anodized profiles in the following series:
- 10 Series
- 15 Series
In addition to the anodized profiles, we offer joining strips, gussets, corner brackets, plates, and t-nuts that are also anodized. Alternatives to anodization are paint and powder coating. Unlike paint and powder coated t-slot, anodized profiles will not fade in sunlight, withstand wear, and last longer.
When ordering anodized t-slot from us, it is important to note that if the profile needs to be machined or cut, there will be areas exposed. Exposure means that those places will not be black anodized and the aluminum will show.
We are happy to help you with any project that includes black anodized t-slot. If you do not see what you are looking for, feel free to contact us.