What is Anodization?

Aluminum Entrance Mat Anodization

Anodization is the process of coating a metal with an oxide coat. Aluminum roll-up entrance mats come standard in a mill finish (natural shiny aluminum). Aluminum entrance mats can be customized with an anodized (clear, light bronze, medium bronze, dark bronze, black or gold) finish to match your interior decor.

What is Anodization?

Anodizing is an electrochemical process that converts the metal surface into a decorative, durable, corrosion-resistant, anodic oxide finish.  Aluminum is ideally suited to anodizing, although other nonferrous metals, such as magnesium and titanium, also can be anodized.

The anodic oxide structure originates from the aluminum substrate and is composed entirely of aluminum oxide.  This aluminum oxide is not applied to the surface like paint or plating, but is fully integrated with the underlying aluminum substrate, so it cannot chip or peel.  It has a highly ordered, porous structure that allows for secondary processes such as coloring and sealing.

Anodizing is accomplished by immersing the aluminum into an acid electrolyte bath and passing an electric current through the medium.  A cathode is mounted to the inside of the anodizing tank; the aluminum acts as an anode, so that oxygen ions are released from the electrolyte to combine with the aluminum atoms at the surface of the part being anodized.  Anodizing is, therefore, a matter of highly controlled oxidation – the enhancement of a naturally occurring phenomenon. . .

The aesthetically pleasing results of anodizing combined with the functional benefits of increased durability offer numerous design opportunities for architects, builders, product designers and specifiers, as well as artists.

©Aluminum Anodizers Council

Why Use An Anodized Finish on Aluminum Entrance Mats?

Anodized Aluminum provides attractive, minimum-maintenance, highly durable exteriors, roofs, curtain walls, ceilings, floors, escalators, lobbies and staircases in skyscrapers and commercial buildings.

Anodized Aluminum is considered environmentally safe, producing few, if any, harmful effects on land, air, or water.

The aesthetically pleasing results of anodizing combined with the FUNCTIONAL BENEFITS OF INCREASED DURABILITY (emphasis added) offer numerous design opportunities for architects, builders, product designers and specifiers, as well as artists.

The unique anodized finish is the only one in the metals industry that satisfies each of the factors that must be considered when selecting a high performance aluminum finish:

  • Durability.  Most anodized products have an extremely long life span and offer significant economic advantages through maintenance and operating savings. Anodizing is a reacted finish that is integrated with the underlying aluminum for total bonding and unmatched adhesion.
  • Color Stability. Exterior anodic coatings provide good stability to ultraviolet rays, do not chip or peel, and are easily repeatable.
  • Ease of Maintenance.  Scars and wear from fabrication, handling, installation, frequent surface dirt cleaning and usage are virtually non-existent.  Rinsing or mild soap and water cleaning usually will restore an anodized surface to its original appearance.  Mild abrasive cleaners can be used for more difficult deposits.
  • Aesthetics.  Anodizing offers a large increasing number of gloss and color alternatives and minimizes or eliminates color variations.  Unlike other finishes, anodizing allows the aluminum to maintain its metallic appearance.
  • Cost.  A lower initial finishing cost combines with lower maintenance costs for greater long-term value.
  • Health and Safety.  Anodizing is a safe process that is not harmful to human health.  An anodized finish is chemically stable, will not decompose; is non-toxic; and is heat-resistant to the melting point of aluminum (1,221 degrees F.)  Since the anodizing process is a reinforcement of a naturally occurring oxide process, it is non-hazardous and produces no harmful or dangerous by-products.

©Aluminum Anodizers Council

How To Clean Anodized Aluminum?

Q:        How do I clean anodized aluminum?

A:        Cleaning anodized aluminum is easy with the right technique.  Because anodizing is so hard, you want to use an abrasive cleaning technique with a general soap. Do not use harsh acidic or alkaline cleaners because they may destroy the finish.  Use solvents with care as they may stain the finish.  Regardless of the technique, be sure to try a test area first.  One recommended technique is to use an abrasive cleaning sponge with mild dish washing liquid.  Always try a test small area first to prevent a widespread problem.  (For more detailed advice, obtain a copy of Care of Aluminum from The Aluminum Association.)

Q:        Can anodized aluminum be cleaned with a detergent that has a pH of 10, or would that result in scaling or other surface problems?

A:        Factors such as concentration of the detergent solution, duration of exposure, and temperature will influence the results.  If the anodized aluminum is cleaned at room temperature and promptly rinsed with clean water, then there should be no problem.  If cleaned at an elevated temperature or with prolonged exposure without rinsing, then the cleaning solution would start to attack the anodic oxide and etch the metal.  Mild soap is generally preferable to detergent for routine maintenance cleaning.

©Aluminum Anodizers Council

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