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Durability of Anodised Aluminium

One of the most well understood qualities of anodising aluminium is the long lasting and aesthetically satisfying metallic sheen that is produced from this finishing process.

anodised aluminium

Wagamama restaurants:    Counter panels in natural anodised aluminium

But what about the durability of anodised surfaces. How abrasion resistant is the anodic film that covers the aluminium surface?

The process of anodising aluminium thickens up the oxide film that naturally forms on its surface.

The anodic film is therefore integral with the aluminium substrate rather than being applied on top of the surface, as with powder coating and wet spray treatments. Consequently, anodised finishes cannot chip, flake or peel.

To demonstrate its abrasion resistant qualities GA commissioned tests on various aluminium alloy extrusions.

The first test subjected flat bar samples to the action of P40 grade emery paper being mechanically pulled across its surface.

For comparison purposes both mill (untreated) and anodised surfaces were tested.

The test results revealed the anodised surface being 4 times more resistant to surface marking than the untreated sample.

With the second test an anodised stair nosing with a ribbed tread surface was subjected to 1,000,000 cycles by a bio-mechanical machine that replicates the movement and pressure of a human footfall.

The final report concluded no visible damage other than slight rubber sole marking.

There are other superior performance related qualities of anodised aluminium that will be covered in future articles.

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Anodised Aluminium Products

We have recently expanded our already comprehensive high quality stock range of aluminium profiles with a natural anodised surface finish.

Even more aluminium angles, aluminium channels and various architectural profiles, shapes and mouldings have been added to the ‘off the shelf’ surface finish options at Gooding Aluminium.One of the advantages of architectural anodising is that it adds both protective and aesthetic features to aluminium. The electrolytic process thickens, seals and hardens the protective film that is already present on the aluminium surface.

Anodic films are not simply coatings but are integrated with the metal’s surface structure and are therefore less likely to crack and peel.

It is also good to know that one of the wonders of anodising is that it produces superb metallic translucent effects. This is something that cannot be achieved with other surface treatments.

With an ever increasing emphasis being placed on service longevity and ease of maintenance etc., anodised aluminium is coming up trumps being durable, easy to clean, environmentally safe and economically viable to recycle, while looking great into the bargain!

anodised aluminiumanodised aluminium

More and more professional specifiers’ are selecting silky smooth anodised aluminium as a finish of choice for a wide variety of internal and external applications.

Our ever increasing choice of anodised aluminium now extends to aluminium angle, aluminium channel, aluminium flat bar, aluminium tee, glazing channels, stair nosings, wall board sections and a multitude of aluminium mouldings and profiles.

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Increasing role for Anodised Aluminium in School Design

Comprehensive changes are being implemented in the way schools are designed and built. Building cost reduction is driving the new schools building agenda. However it has also been recognised that inexpensive, short-term solutions do not necessarily produce cost savings over longer periods.

There will need to be an increased emphasis on assessing the life-cycle costs of interior design materials. Careful consideration will be given to select materials that are durable, easy to clean, environmentally safe and are economically viable to recycle.

Perforated & Anodised Wall Cladding: Pimlico Academy
Perforated & Anodised Wall Cladding: Pimlico Academy

You should know that anodised aluminium’s credentials are impeccable in all these respects.

Architectural anodising both compliments and enhances aluminium’s natural qualities. The electrolytic process seals, thickens and hardens the protective oxide film that is present on its surface.

Anodised Balustrade Panels: Christ Church School
Anodised Balustrade Panels: Christ Church School

Anodic films are integrated with the metal’s structure and are therefore less likely to crack and peel.

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Anodised Aluminium in Café & Restaurant Design

‘Spoilt for choice’ would seem to be the case for the diversity of materials available to the Café and Restaurant designer.

It is widely recognised that material selection is one of the defining moments in the ultimate success of any commercial eatery venture.

Anodised aluminium is one of those materials that have consistently proved its worth over many years to the specifier market, both in terms of visual appearance and service longevity.

Anodised bar fascia: Wagamama
Anodised bar fascia: Wagamama

One of the great things about the anodising process is that it’s a fusion of science and nature. Yes anodised aluminium is a finish but also a product!

During anodising the natural oxide film on aluminium’s surface is thickened by an electrolytic reaction resulting in a hardened light fast finish with excellent adhesion properties. It will not chip or peel.

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Anodising aluminium for aesthetic and protective purposes

Before extolling the virtues of anodised aluminium let’s clarify the anodising process itself.

Anodising is an electrolytic process which has been established in the architectural sector for the past seventy years.

Aluminium naturally possesses an oxide film on its surface. This oxide film acts as a barrier to corrosion and is the one of the main reasons aluminium is considered a low maintenance and therefore cost effective metal.

During the anodising process, the natural oxide film present on the metal’s surface is thickened by an electrolytic treatment into a hard abrasion resistant finish.

Perforated aluminium in anodised finish
Perforated aluminium in anodised finish

The thickened aluminium surface has a number of advantageous properties as compared with aluminium in its raw state. These significant advantages include the development of a silky smooth satin finish and a surface which is also more resistant to knocks and scratches and general wear and tear.

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Gooding Aluminium Limited, 1, British Wharf, Landmann Way, London, SE14 5RS. VAT No. 335 6311 72. Registered in England No. 01446419