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Brass Anodizing: The Ultimate Guide

Brass Anodizing

In brass anodizing, you are simply treating the surface of the brass through an electrochemical process to produce a layer of oxide. This oxide layer is also known as anodized coating.

As you read this guide, you will learn the different concepts when it comes to anodizing brass. From the types, how to perform it, applications, and many more. Continue reading to find out more.

How To Perform Brass Anodizing

Anodized Brass Sheet Metal
Anodized Brass Sheet Metal

When you anodize brass, you simply are dipping the brass metal in various electrolyte solutions. Thereafter you will pass electric current through it.

Let’s give you a breakdown of this process:

Cleaning Brass Part

Anytime you want to anodize brass, ensure the material is free from any contaminants. Use clean water and soap to clean the surface of the brass. In addition, thoroughly clean the brass using chemical cleaners or degreasers.

After the cleaning process, wash off any remaining cleansers with warm water.

Preparing Solution to Anodize Brass

In this step, you are preparing the solution that will anodize the brass material. One popular mixture for anodizing the brass is phosphoric acid and distilled water. For every 1 portion of phosphoric acid, use 10 parts of distilled water.

Mix these two thoroughly in a container not made from metal. Besides, if you need different finishes for the brass, ass additives or chemicals.

Applying Brass into the Solution

Start applying the mixed solution to the brass. You can use different application techniques such as spray bottles. Ensure the whole brass is covered with the solution. Thereafter, let it sit for around 30 minutes.

This allows the solution to absorb and set on the brass material. Once the time elapses, use warm water to clean it. Then you will dry the brass material readying it for the upcoming step.

Anodizing Brass

Set up the anodizing machine following the manufacturer’s manual. Set the machine appropriately and power it up. Besides, you need to ensure the temperature is set to ensure success of the anodizing process.

Types Of Brass Anodizing Processes

Anodizing Process
Anodizing Process

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. These two materials behave differently when exposed to anodizing solutions. For this reason, the most common way to anodize brass is using phosphoric acid. In this method, you will mix distilled water and phosphoric acid in the ratio of 10 to 1.

Available Color Options For Brass Anodizing

There are different colors you can produce from brass anodizing processes. Clear brass takes the color of the brass. However, with the addition of dyes, you can produce the following colors:

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Purple
Different Anodized Brass Colors
Different Anodized Brass Colors

How To Know If Brass Anodizing Is Successful

Following the brass anodizing process, you should inspect the final product to ensure it meets the set parameters. Here are factors you should consider when determining if the process is a success:

Thickness

Measure the thickness using a micrometer to ensure it meets the minimum requirements. If the thickness is too thick, it may result in a brittle coating that can crack or flake off.

However, if the thickness is too thin, the coating may not provide adequate protection or durability.

Coat Adhesion

In this process, you can use a tape test to know if it is a success. You will apply a tape on the brass surface and peel it off to check it the coat comes off.

A successful anodizing process should result in a coating that does not come off with the tape.

Corrosion Resistance

Here, you will test the anodized brass by exposing it to salt spray or other environmental tests to see it the coat peels off.

Consider it a success if the coat does not show signs of corrosion or degradation after the test.

Color Uniformity

For this test, visually inspect and compare the anodized brass to a defined sample or standard. The process is a success if the brass surface has a consistent color throughout the surface with no uneven or patchy areas.

Benefits Of Anodizing Brass

Anodized brass offers several advantages over non-anodized brass. Below are some of the specific benefits of anodized brass:

BenefitExplanation
Improved durabilityThe protective layer increases resistance to wear and tear, hence, prolonging the life of the brass product.
Corrosion resistance

 

The oxide layer acts as a barrier against the elements, preventing rust and other forms of corrosion from forming on the brass surface.
Aesthetic appeal

 

It is possible to produce anodized brass with different color shades. This creates unique and visually appealing brass products.
Environmentally friendlyThe process is sage and will not cause harm to humans. The anodizing finish is stable and does not decompose or produce toxins.
Easy to maintain

 

Anodized brass does not require any special care or maintenance. It can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth and mild detergent.
Cost-effective

 

The process incurs low costs in terms of finishing and maintenance.

Applications For Brass Anodizing

Brass anodizing has a wide range of applications due to its enhanced features. Some of the most common applications include:

  • Architectural hardware such as door handles, knobs, window frames, and stair rails.
  • Jewelry items like pendants, earrings and bracelets.
  • Lighting fixtures such as chandeliers.
  • Electronic parts because of its corrosion resistance and conductivity properties.
  • Decorative items like picture frames, vases, and ornaments.
  • Automotive industry to make car decorations and car emblems.
  • Medical equipment such as dental instruments, orthodontic brackets, and surgical instruments.
Anodized Brass Part
Anodized Brass Part

Ways To Remove Anodizing From Brass

Sometimes you may want to remove anodizing from brass because you need a change. Well, here are some ways of accomplishing this:

  • Mechanical abrasion

In this method, you will use abrasive materials such as sandpaper to physically remove the anodized coating. It is relatively quick and easy but is also time-consuming and laborious. It may also leave some anodizing behind.

  • Electrochemical etching

Here, you pass electric current on the brass surface. This cause the oxide layer to break off the metal surface.

Conclusion

When you anodize brass correctly, it will be durable thus, resist wear and tear. This article has covered several inquiries that people ask about brass anodizing. We hope this guide has answered your questions about brass anodizing.

More Resources:

Brass – Source: Wikipedia

Brass Polishing – Source: KDM

How to Anodize Brass – Source: Piping Mart

Brass Finishing – Source: KDM

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