At Tri-State Aluminum, we produce quality custom extrusions that bring your ideas to life. We offer a wide range of aluminum extrusion products and services, including custom extrusions, fabricated products, anodized and non-anodized aluminum, engineering assistance, and more. No matter what size or shape of aluminum product you want to create, we have the team, experience, and equipment to get the job done right.
One crucial consideration when designing and manufacturing aluminum parts is deciding when to use anodized vs. non-anodized aluminum. Although the two have many similarities, there are a few key differences that may make one a better option for your project.
Anodized aluminum has been electrochemically treated which creates an oxide finish that increases its corrosion resistance, durability, and other important material properties. The anodization process involves submerging the workpiece in a bath of sulfuric acid and electrolytes to create a hard external layer of aluminum oxide. Once this porous oxide layer forms, the components must soak in warm water to close up the pores and create a uniform finish.
This process offers a few key benefits, including strength, long-term cost savings, and infrequent replacement, as well as the ability to dye the part’s surface. These properties make anodized aluminum a great fit for several consumer and industrial products, including:
- Commercial and residential building products. Aluminum is strong, and anodization adds an extra level of corrosion resistance that enables it to withstand the elements. Together, these properties make it a great choice for building materials.
- Furniture. Anodized aluminum can take on a variety of aesthetic finishes, including different colors, textures, and lusters. This is important for consumer-facing goods such as furniture, where design is at the forefront of product development.
- Sporting goods, including boats. Corrosion resistance makes anodized aluminum a good fit for sporting goods, especially those exposed to aquatic conditions. Athletic products must withstand sweat, rain, and other harmful contaminants.
- Motor vehicle components. Much like furniture, many consumer-facing motor vehicle components require special finishes. Not only does anodized aluminum offer increased durability, but it also ups the aesthetic appeal of the component.
- Food preparation equipment. Corrosion resistance is a crucial factor for components used in the food and beverage sector. Every food item has a unique set of potentially corrosive properties, from acidic soft drinks to salty preservatives, that anodized aluminum can protect against.
- Artwork and jewelry. Anodized aluminum allows you to add gorgeous colors to your aluminum pieces, making it an essential step when creating art or jewelry.
Even without the anodization process, aluminum is a strong, reliable metal used in a broad range of industries. A few popular use cases for non-anodized aluminum include:
- Transportation. Since it is both lightweight and strong, many aircraft manufacturers choose to build planes out of non-anodized aluminum. It’s approximately 70% lighter than steel but has a relatively equal level of strength and durability. Ships, trains, and cars also frequently take advantage of this high strength-to-weight ratio.
- Electrical components. While aluminum is less conductive than other common metals (i.e., copper), it is much lighter, making it an ideal option for lightweight electrical components like power lines. It’s also a common choice for consumer electronics like phones and tablets for the same reason.
- Consumer products. Aluminum, particularly non-anodized aluminum, is a relatively inexpensive metal. This makes it a great fit for mass-produced metal consumer products such as televisions, window frames, and laptops.
- Household or industrial appliances. Many refrigerators, dishwashers, and air conditioners leverage the strength and corrosion resistance of aluminum in their precision tubing and cooling components.
Anodized vs. Non-Anodized Aluminum
As you can see in the examples above, there are a few major differences between anodized and non-anodized aluminum. Anodized aluminum is less reactive, easier to dye, and offers exceptional corrosion resistance. Non-anodized aluminum, on the other hand, is much more susceptible to environmental contaminants and decay over time.
Aluminum Products from Tri-State Aluminum
Regardless of whether you’re looking for anodized aluminum or non-anodized aluminum, Tri-State Aluminum offers advanced manufacturing capabilities for a broad range of aluminum products. Contact us for more information about our capabilities, or request a quote to get started on your next project.