Aluminum finishes: the steps to protect against wear
Surface finishes have allowed aluminum to become one of the most commonly used materials in some specific sectors such as construction and some industrial sectors. They are still extremely important today: here's all the aluminum finishes provided by Minifaber.
Aluminum and its alloys are versatile, lightweight and economic materials but, on the other hand, they are highly vulnerable to scratches and wear: to poor surface hardness leads to fast oxidation and corrosion. This is why it is important to accurately finish aluminum.
Aluminum hardness is not the only goal.
Aluminum finishes: dual purpose
There are two reasons for aluminum finishes:
- Some make it more resistant to wear and corrosion
- Others improve the aspect, optimising the aesthetics.
At Minifaber we provide aluminum finishes for both purposes and briefly describe them in this article.
Aluminum finishes to improve resistance
There are various types of aluminum sheet metal finishes aimed to improve corrosion resistance and durability; Minifaber can provide the following:
- Anodising (anodic oxidation): a galvanising product where a layer of aluminum oxide is produced on the metallic surface. This layer products the lower ones, preventing corrosive agents from penetrating the metal core.
- Shot peening: a cold and forceful jet of shots launched on the part surface deforms it (millimetric intensity). Deformation increases tensile strength.
- Electro-polishing: it is a reverse galvanising process because instead of creating a new layer, the top most layer is removed, the first to be attacked. Aluminum is thus more resistant to corrosion but also abrasion, easier to maintain and more hygienic.
- Painting: applying a coat of epoxy resin or acrylic paint increases corrosion resistance.
- Galvanising and nickel-plating: the highest resistance is obtained in the first case by a zinc bath, in the second with a nickel bath.
Decorative aluminum finishes
Not just practicality we said: some aluminum finishes are designed to improve the aspect, making the item more attractive, with sparkling and shiny surfaces.
- Polishing: this gives aluminum a shiny and smooth appearance, especially suited for some applications (interior design, home appliances, automotive, etc.)
- Chrome-plating: the aluminum item is submerged in an electrolytic bath that prevents passivation (top layer corrosion) and protects metal against substances found in the air. In this case, practicality and decoration go hand in hand because this guarantees an excellent part finish.
- Sanding: similar to shot peening, but with a jet of sand and air. The goal is to smooth ruined surfaces, removing residue, impurities or encrustations and smoothing undesired corners.