Anodizing is an electrochemical process that converts the metal surface into a decorative, durable, corrosion-resistant, anodic oxide finish. Aluminum is ideally suited to anodize, although other nonferrous metals, such as magnesium and titanium can also be anodized.
The anodic oxide structure originates from the aluminum substrate and is composed entirely of aluminum oxide. The aluminum oxide is not applied to the surface like paint or plating, it fully integrates with the underlying aluminum substrate, so it cannot chip of peel. It has s highly ordered, porous structure that allows for secondary processes such as coloring and sealing.
Anodizing is accomplished by immersing the aluminum into an acid electrolyte bath and and passing an electric current through the medium. A cathode is mounted to the inside of the anodizing tank; the aluminum acts as an anode, so that oxygen ions are released from the electrolyte to combine with the aluminum atoms at the surface of the part being anodized. Anodizing is, therefore, a matter of highly controlled oxidation – the enhancement of a naturally occurring phenomena.