We all know that iron is extremely reactive in that iron oxide (rust) forms after prolonged exposure to the environment. Aluminium oxidises just as quickly, if not more so, but a quirky virtue of aluminium is that its own layer of aluminium oxide eventually prevents the metal from further oxidation. It does not mean aluminium will altogether be immune to corrosion; in time a white powdery coat will form, further degrading the metal.
Technologically, however, aluminium, like iron, gets a prolific and indefinite second life. A chemical process known as anodising, gives aluminium invaluable use in the industries and the decorative arts. The process requires aluminium to be immerse in an electrolyte bath, and then passing an electric current through it. Oxygen ions are released from the electrolyte to combine with aluminium atoms forming a more attractive anodic-oxide finished metal that is much more durable and corrosion-resistant.
Stainless steel is one of the most commonly used metals in the food processing industries, including commercial and residential kitchen equipment, surfaces, and tools. As with anything else that is expected to be in contact with food, stainless steel applications for food industries have to meet rigid sanitation and safety standards.
Stainless steel with the right quality meets the many specific requirements of the food industry. These include the ability to resist the effects of extreme hot and cold temperatures, and of acids from various food products. Stainless steel is also easy to clean, may be frequently sterilized without getting damaged. It is also highly durable and long lasting.
How do established businesses like Badger Anodising (Birmingham) Ltd. prevent such accidents in their facilities? For one, they make use of dust collection systems to safely shunt the aluminium powder (at a minimum velocity of 4,500 feet per minute) through a series of ducts and into a designated collector. The ductwork itself must have an aluminium fine concentration of no more than 0.040 ounces per cubic feet, and the equipment used for collection must be well-grounded to prevent static electrical discharges.
Meanwhile, employees are advised to conduct regular inspection and cleaning of all work areas where aluminium dust may be generated; these include floors, walls, and piping. Potential sources of ignition such as blowtorches and gas-fired heating implements should align with local fire safety codes and a strict No Smoking policy must be enforced at all times. When handling and storing aluminium fine, employees must wear the proper safety gear (gloves, goggles, respirators, etc
Indeed, a leading international authority holds that three fourths of all the tonnes of aluminium ever produced are still in use today thanks to recycling. It’s not at all unusual for aluminium once used in beer cans to find their way into the very structure of airplanes. Furthermore, the recyclability of anodised aluminium prevents 90 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from escaping into the atmosphere annually. It goes without saying that this promotes an environment more sustainable for life.
Although the anodising process results in certain by-products, none of them are particularly harmful. Liquid by-products are returned to the process while solid by-products can be used in the creation of cosmetics, baking powder, and even water purification systems. One particular by-product─ aluminium hydroxide─ stands out for being a vital component of antacids, which are used to treat heartburn and indigestion.