Light, strong, a great reflector and conductor and also the earth’s most abundant metal in the form of bauxite; it’s no wonder that aluminium has countless domestic and commercial applications.
Like all metals, aluminium oxidises when exposed to the air. Unlike iron, for instance, which rusts and eventually disintegrates, aluminium develops an oxide coating which protects the metal beneath.
Working with natural processes
The benefit of this is that designers can work with the oxidation process to produce even better aluminium products. Not only that, but the oxide coating can be induced by passing an electric current through the aluminium, which is then placed in an acid bath. This releases oxygen to react with the aluminium, coating it in a protective layer which can be as thick or thin as required, according to the length of time the metal is in the bath.
An easy and effective way to create beautiful surfaces
Lacquer and paint can be applied to the metal using this process. This results in rich and gleaming surfaces that are used across a range of commercial and industrial sectors. Anodised aluminium shines wherever visual qualities need to be matched with supreme practicality. Unsurprisingly, this is a go-to choice for the leisure and hospitality sector, which utilises the stunning finishes in lighting, ceilings, bars and front of house applications. Even a beachfront bar can utilise gleaming lacquered aluminium, since it stands up to UV rays as well as salt spray.
Creating a boutique hotel look at home
Using coloured aluminium finishes in the bathroom or kitchen is a sure way to create the sophisticated visual appeal of a top-rated hotel. This is easy to do, since the process is applied during manufacturing to items as diverse as coffee-makers, refrigerators and light fittings. In fact, there can be few homes (and offices) that don’t benefit from anodised products somewhere, as the range of applications on the web site of anodising specialists Edmo shows.
The choice of artists and creatives
Coloured aluminium finishes make lovely jewellery too, so it’s a good option for artists who love working with metal and colour. Earth’s most abundant metal has definitely conquered the everyday world. Not only that, but it’s set to conquer space too, thanks to its use in the International Space Station, where gold-coloured anodised aluminium not only gleams in the sun but performs supremely in this most demanding environment.