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HEMI Technical Info

Anodizing

Anodizing:  

Anodizing is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts.

Hard / Color anodizing (0.00007" to 0.001") specifically for the automotive racing/performance industry is for protecting, hardening and coloring and is completed  in 6 steps:

1) Cleaning 

2) Polishing (optional)

3) Etching

4) Anodizing

5) Dying (optional)

6) Sealing

 Important Information:  

*Anodizing's primary goal is to add a pure layer of oxidization (.00007" to.001") to Aluminum that hardens the surface, Coloration is a byproduct of the process.

*Reanodizing can be performed, if the piece cannot be remachined then a Reverse anodizing process can be performed.  This will have a variety of results, Possible pitting of the base aluminum.  Part can decrease in size. A less Glossy finish. Uneven Finish.
 
*When anodizing the part needs to be as clean as possible.  Used parts can be surface cleaned but with how porous Aluminum is, oils, dirt and grime can be trapped.  This can cause dark or light spots in the Coloring and an Uneven anodizing surface.  Parts that are complex with other components (Rivets, Pins, HELICOILS AND THREADSERTS) will react strongly with the Anodizing process and can result in negative outcomes.

*The Anodizing process requires an electrical connection to complete the electric circuit,  because of this the location where the lead touches the part will not be anodized.  While this area can be minimized, the will always be a location where no anodizing will occur.

Efects of alloyed material :  

1XXX Series - pure aluminum. The aluminum in this series can be anodized. The resulting layer of aluminum oxide that forms is clear and somewhat shiny. Since the underlying pure aluminumis relatively soft, these anodized aluminums can be easily damaged and be lacking in mechanical properties when compared with other series of aluminum alloys.

2XXX Series -  alloyed with copper. The copper in these alloys create a very strong and hard aluminum alloy. While the copper is useful for improving the mechanical properties of aluminum, it unfortunately renders these alloys poor candidates for anodization. When anodized, the 2XXX aluminum series alloys have an oxide layer that is a shade of yellow that is generally not considered appealing. Furthermore, the layer created by anodization offers poor protection for the underlying aluminum alloy.

3XXX Series -  alloyed with manganese . While the anodized layer offers decent protection for the manganese-alloyed aluminum substrate, it creates an undesirable brown color. Also, this brown color can differ from substrate to substrate and especially from grade to grade. This makes it difficult to keep a similar color across a 3XXX series aluminum assembly.

4XXX Series - alloyed with silicon. Anodized 4XXX material is well protected by the aluminum oxide layer created from the anodizing process. However, it is important to note that the 4XXX series has a dark gray color that lacks aesthetic appeal. 4XXX aluminum alloys are often used to weld other alloys such as 6XXX, but if these welded assemblies are anodized,the weld metal will not match the color of the base metal.

5XXX Series -  alloyed with manganese. When anodized, the alloys in the 5XXX series have a resulting oxide layer that is strong and clear. They are excellent candidates for anodizing; however, there are some important considerations that go along with carrying out the anodizing process on the 5XXX series alloys. For instance, certain alloying elements such as manganese and silicon need to be kept within a range; also, the anodizing process used is important. These alloys can often be substituted with a 4XXX series alloy for welding filler metal such that the resulting weld is not a different color than the rest of the anodized aluminum assembly.

6XXX Series - alloyed with magnesium and silicon. These alloys are excellent candidates for anodizing. The oxide layer that follows the anodizing process is transparent and offers excellent protection. Since the 6XXX series alloys offer great mechanical properties and are readily anodized, they are frequently used for structural applications.

7XXX Series - alloyed with zinc as its primary alloying element. It takes to the anodizing process very well. The subsequent oxide layer is clear and offers great protection. If the zinc level becomes excessive, the oxide layer created by anodization can turn brown.

Note: Cast Aluminum can be Anodized with results like above, though the purity of the Casting can result in undesired finishes