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Anodized Aluminum Applications
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Anodizing is an environmentally safe electrochemical process that converts the aluminum metal surface into a porous aluminum oxide, ultimately creating an end product whose finish is more durable and weather-resistant. This beneficial result combined with the array of aesthetically pleasing color finishes opens up endless application possibilities for companies who anodize products and components in commercial, industrial, and consumer applications, even jewelry and artwork.

Mirabella Retirement Community; Portland, Oregon
Company: Sapa Extrusions
Architect Firm: Ankrom Moisan
Customer: Hoffman Construction
Medium: Extruded aluminum

The Mirabella Portland is a retirement community in the heart of Portland’s South Waterfront and is anticipated to reach LEED® Platinum Certification. Sapa Architectural Products provided the black anodized custom designed aluminum railing system, aluminum trellis and barbeque canopy to match. Each trellis was built with 6” square aluminum posts and Epi wood across the top. The trellis was anodized black to remain consistent with the railing system. The barbeque canopy was designed using 1/2” clear laminated and tempered glass.

An anodized finish was chosen for the Mirabella project for several reasons. For many years, anodizing has been recognized as a medium for extending the life of aluminum and is seen as the latest trend in finished aluminum products. Unlike steel or iron products, once aluminum is coated, it will never rust. Anodizing combines science with nature to create one of the world's best metal finishes. The result, depending on the process, is one of the hardest substances known to man, second only to the diamond. Anodized aluminum will not show “wear” under UV and salt-water exposure. Anodized products will never fade, chip or peel, making it a great option for this project.

The recyclability of aluminum and the fact that the extruder uses 25-percent recycled aluminum will contribute to the project’s LEED Platinum certification. Aluminum’s lightweight properties reduced installation costs and the potential for on-site injury, as well as decreasing time needed for installation.

Anodized Art
Designer: Naim Akhtar
Company: Gulf Extrusions Co, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Medium : 5xxx-series aluminum alloy panels

To achieve the desirable artistic results, Naim Akhtar starts with unsealed aluminum on which he sketches the initial image in a light gray tone using a soft watercolor brush to avoid gouging the microstructural honeycomb-like surface of the soft metal. Using watercolor painting techniques, Akhtar applies color with a variety of tools from brushes to sponges to spray techniques. After sealing his aluminum canvas, the art ultimately resides within the metal with a diamond-hard protective coating.

For more information, visit

 Cells    Naim Akhtar, AAC Member    Trees


NASA Space Station trusses and handrails
Designer/Company: Boeing
Medium: Aluminum extrusions with anodized finishes

Trusses: During truss component assembly in space, the on-orbit thermal environment's effects are challenging. According to Boeing's Manager of Outboard Truss Elements at Boeing Canoga Park who worked on the project, direct sunlight and shadowing cause wide swings in temperature; the anodized surface finish of the extruded aluminum trusses provides superior optical properties and, because anodized aluminum doesn't get as hot, allows for better overall thermal control.

Handrails: Extruded aluminum handrails are both anchors and lifelines for every ISS astronaut--keeping them from floating off into outer space when they venture outside on a space walk. Handrails are anodized in a bright gold finish to stand out visually against the clear silver truss structures.

For more information, see the International Space Station Aluminum Extrusion Showcase in the Extrusion Applications section of the Aluminum Extruders Council's website at

 Photo courtesy NASA

 Anodized ceiling curtainwall
Common applications for anodized finishes:
  • Structures and architectural categories of all types
  • Appliances
  • Commercial and residential building products
  • Food preparation equipment
  • Furniture
  • Sporting goods and boats
  • Motor vehicle components
  • Jewelry and artwork

Photo courtesy
Pioneer Metal Finishing
Examples of end products using anodized aluminum:
  • Building exteriors, such as storefronts, curtain walls and roofing systems.
  • Appliances such as refrigerators, dryers, coffee brewers, ranges, televisions, microwave equipment.
  • Vents, awnings, dust covers, light fixtures, storm doors, window frames, mailboxes, bathroom accessories, patio covers, and wall switch plates for buildings.
  • Display cases, pans, coolers, and grills for the food industry.
  • Tables, beds, files and storage chests for homes and offices.
  • Golf carts, boats, and camping/fishing equipment for the leisure industry.
  • Hundreds of components for motor vehicles of all kinds such as trim parts, wheel covers, control panels, and name plates.
  • Exterior panels for aerospace vehicles, clocks and electronic products, fire extinguishers, photo equipment, solar panels, telephones, picture frames, and bathroom accessories.
  • Interior decoration and trim.

The aesthetically pleasing results of anodizing combined with the functional benefits of increased durability offer numerous design opportunities for architects, builders, product designers and specifiers, as well as artists.

Photo courtesy
Southern Aluminum Finishing Company