Unless you’re in the construction or engineering industry, you might not have heard of aluminum wire. But even if you don’t work with it directly, there’s a good chance that this durable metal plays a role in your life – from the wiring in your home to the cans used to hold your favourite beverages. So here’s a quick overview of aluminum wire and why it matters.
A Brief History of Aluminum Wire
Humankind has been using aluminum for thousands of years. In fact, early humans were likely attracted to the shiny metal for its aesthetic appeal long before they understood its practical applications. By the late 19th century, scientists had perfected a process for extracting aluminum from ore, making it widely available for commercial use.
In the early 20th century, aluminum began to be used for electrical applications. Because it is an excellent conductor of electricity and much lighter than copper, aluminum quickly gained popularity as an electrical wiring material. It was used extensively in World War II aircraft and continued to grow in popularity in the following years. By the 1970s, however, concerns began to arise about potential hazards associated with aluminum wire. These concerns led to a decline in its use in favour of copper wire.
Why Use Aluminum Wire?
Despite the concerns that led to its decline in popularity, the aluminum wire does have some advantages over copper wire. For one thing, it’s less expensive than copper. It’s also much lighter, making it easier to transport and install. And because it doesn’t corrode as easily as copper, it requires less maintenance over time. For these reasons, in recent years, aluminum has begun to come back as an electrical wiring material.
What is Anodized Aluminum Wire?
If you’ve ever taken a close look at jewelry made with aluminum wire, you may have noticed that the wire is often a different colour than the raw aluminum it’s made from. That’s because the wire has been anodized, a process that changes the surface of the metal to create a protective layer that can be colored.
In short, an anodized aluminum wire is an aluminum wire that has been treated with an electrical current. This current causes a thin layer of oxide to form on the surface of the wire. The oxide layer is what gives the wire its colour.
How is Anodized Aluminum Wire Made?
Making anodized aluminum wire begins with, you guessed it, aluminum wire! This wire is then placed in an electrolytic solution and connected to a power source. Once the current is turned on, the oxide layer starts forming on the wire’s surface.
The length of time that the current is applied will determine the thickness of the oxide layer. The thicker the layer, the darker the colour of the wire will be. Once the desired thickness has been achieved, the current is turned off, and the wire is removed from the solution.
And that’s all there is to it! Now you know how those shiny wires get their color. We hope you found this post informative and enlightening.
Why Anodize Aluminum?
Anodizing aluminum has two main benefits – it creates a protective layer on the surface of the metal that prevents corrosion and provides a base for adding colour.
The oxide layer created by anodizing is more rigid than the aluminum underneath, which helps protect against scratches and other wear and tear. And because it’s non-reactive, it prevents corrosion from chemicals or other substances that generally damage raw aluminum.
An added bonus is that anodizing can also add colour to aluminum without affecting its other properties. To do this, manufacturers add pigment to the electrolyte solution before starting the anodizing process. This adds colour to the oxide layer as it forms on the surface of the metal. As a result, you can find anodized aluminum jewelry in all sorts of beautiful colours – from blue and green to pink and purple!
So, next time you see colourful jewelry or electrical components made from aluminum, you’ll know what makes them tick – or rather, what makes them look so great!
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Who are we?
We are an aluminum enthusiast who is a local aluminum supplier in Canada and the USA.