Most of us use a wide variety of products that are anodized. From jewelry to refrigerators to coffee makers, anodized aluminum can be found in almost everything. But is the anodizing process safe to us and the environment? Let’s dig a little deeper and look at the facts.
What is Anodizing and is it Safe?
Anodizing occurs when a product is placed in an anodizing tank and the natural oxidation process is accelerated. Anodizing is a type of coating that is considered safe for both humans and the environment. It is a clean process that uses water-based chemicals and does not result in harmful by-products. Even the liquid products that remain after anodizing are recycled and reused. Employees that work in anodizing plants are not exposed to harmful chemicals. In fact, most plants are worker-friendly thanks to well-ventilated surroundings. With this in mind, plant workers only need to wear minimal safety equipment.
So why do we even need to anodize something? Anodizing creates a non-toxic, heat resistant coating that strengthens surfaces and prevents corrosion. There are both aesthetic and functional benefits of anodizing. A metal that has been anodized has less risk for scratching and a better surface for adherence. Glues and paint primers adhere much better creating a better finished product. Metals that experience a lot of friction (think motors) can be protected by the anodizing process because it helps dissipate heat.
Aesthetically speaking, anodizing can add a lot to the surface of a product. Colorization is a common step that creates a sealed surface in a wide variety of hues. Think about aluminum flashlights. You can buy them in bright pink, red, green or any color in the rainbow because of the anodized aluminum they are made from.
Products that take a beating during use can greatly benefit from anodizing. Thankfully, the anodizing process is low-risk and safe for the environment.