Aluminum is one of the remarkable metals and its unique combination of properties makes it the most suitable material for many applications. Aluminum on exposure to air instantly forms a thin oxide layer on its surface and this film is resistant to corrosion. Even if the metal is cut or gets abraded this layer re-forms immediately thus maintaining the protective covering. This film of aluminum oxide gets damaged only when it is subjected to temperatures higher than 10,000 degree Celsius.
An aluminum coating increases the aesthetics and enhances the durability of the material. The most used types of aluminum coating are powder coating, anodizing and paint coating. All techniques are different and suitable for different applications. Further in this article you will understand the nuances of the different coating so that you are better equipped to choose the most suitable aluminum coating for your upcoming project.
Choosing the right coating
The application and the expectations of appearance determine the selection of coating.
- Anodizing: This is an electrochemical process of forming an oxide layer on the aluminum surface. This type of coating is less expensive and it does not peel off as it is a part of the metal itself. With anodizing the aluminum surface gets a rich and deep metallic appearance which is not possible with other coating methods. Anodized coating is resistant to ultraviolet rays as against organic coatings. However, continuous exposure to chemical substances can cause damage to the coating. This type of coating is considered more suitable for high traffic exposure where the material sees more physical abuse.
- Powder coating: Powder coating is a pigment encapsulated in a resin. When using, a powder coating we achieve gloss and hardness. Powder coatings are usually manufactured in large batches of specific colors and hence getting a custom color is difficult. Powder coating is more susceptible to peeling when exposed to environmental elements.
- Painting: Paints and powders both are categorized as organic coatings and their performance greatly depends of pre-treatment done before application. The choice of resin and pigmentation also play a huge role in determining the application. Experts advice that the painting should be done in the factory to ensure the coating is strongest. The choice of resin varies depending on whether the product will see indoor or outdoor usage. A lot of options are available in terms of colors when it comes to painting. Painting gives more chemical resistance making it more durable to exposure to chemical cleaners.
Advantages of adding a coating to your aluminum surface
The three main advantages of adding a coating are:
- Better appearance: In consumer products finishing is often required for aesthetic appeal as appearance is the most important criteria. Depending on the look desired like a bright color, or a mirror finish or a textured look different techniques of coating can be used.
- Protection of the surface: The aluminum oxide layer protects the aluminum surface but in extreme conditions added coating is needed for protection. Extreme conditions like moisture, temperature and humidity accelerate corrosion. A layer of coating helps mitigate the ill effects of exposure to environmental elements.
- Surface preparation: If the surface is to be painted or coated and additional surface finish may be required. Anodizing adds a layer of oxide and increases resistance to corrosion.
Depending on your needs and expectations from the coating your professional partner can help you in deciding the most suitable technique of coating. You must share your criterions around expected finish, budget and durability with the professional so that they are able to make the best recommendation to you and you make the right decision.