May 23, 2022
Modern trends are all about pops of bold color, cool shapes, and fashion-friendly pieces for one’s wardrobe. Due to the growing popularity of the retro color blocking trend, more and more people are loving anodized aluminum jewelry. Whether you prefer a brilliant pair of lilac-colored earrings or an attractive green bracelet, anodized aluminum is the trend to try. Not only are these pieces light-weight, but the anodized color is permanent and are sure to last the test of time. They will not fade or discolor unlike many other types of jewelry. The process of anodizing aluminum is one that should be left up to the professionals. Learn more about this process and how it’s being used by jewelry designers everywhere to create chic pieces of jewelry.
Preparation is generally required for any aluminum item that is to be anodized, regardless of shape or size. Before the metal can be anodized, the aluminum must be cleaned well with a strong caustic formula, such as sodium hydroxide. It may need to be heated up to 145 degrees to extract any oils or residues to the surface. Once the metal has been thoroughly cleaned with the caustic solution, it should be rinsed well with deionized water and allowed to dry.
Aluminum anodizing begins when the metal is placed into a solution of acid, while attached to electrodes. These electrodes are attached to an electrical source that sends alternating currents of energy to the aluminum. On average, the voltage used in the anodizing process is between one and three-hundred volts, with the average volts being between fifteen and twenty-one.
Sulfuric acid is a commonly used method for anodizing aluminum. This involves coating the metal in a fifteen percent solution of sulfuric acid. In the acid solution, a cathode is also placed while connected to a negative terminal. The positive terminal should be placed on the aluminum that is to be anodized. On average, this process of anodizing aluminum requires five amps of current at a seventy degree temperature per square foot of the aluminum. When the current is turned on, it releases CO2 molecules which combine with the metal to form an Al2O3 aluminum oxide coating.
Some pieces of aluminum are hard-coated, which leaves a darker finish. When pieces of aluminum jewelry are hard-coated, they are not suitable for dyeing. To hard-coat aluminum, a fifteen percent sulfuric acid formula is lowered to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The anodizing process requires twenty to one-hundred twenty minutes at twenty-three to thirty-seven amps, depending on the thickness of the coating. Due to the thickness of the aluminum, hard-coating aluminum generally results in a tougher surface area.
Another method of anodizing aluminum uses a less corrosive acid, chromic acid. Since there is less corrosion than there would be using sulfuric acid, the metal is generally easier to rinse. When chromic acid is used to anodize aluminum, it lowers the risk of metal fatigue that can occur during the sulfuric acid or hard-coating methods. The biggest advantage to using chromic acid is that it’s easier to rinse more complex designs. On average, this method of anodizing requires an amp of four per square foot at a temperature of sixty to seventy-five for about ninety minutes.
Many jewelry designers are turning towards anodized aluminum jewelry due to its trendy appearance and versatile color palate. If you love pops of brilliant color and shine, this trend is certainly for you. Anodized aluminum jewelry brings back the retro color blocking trend full force, giving fashionistas everywhere something to get excited about. If you have yet to try anodized aluminum jewelry, don’t miss out any longer.