The aluminum exoskeleton of the Pyptek line of glass pipes is further strengthened through anodization. The process of anodizing aluminum thickens the aluminum oxide film on the surface creating a harder, more corrosion-resistant layer. This is accomplished by submerging the aluminum shells into an acid electrolyte bath and passing an electric current through the liquid bath. A cathode, or negatively charged electrode, is mounted to the inside of the anodizing tank, and the aluminum acts as the anode, or positively charged electrode. The anode is a receiver of electrons. When an electric current is run through the system, oxygen ions are released from the electrolyte to combine with the aluminum atoms on the surface of the aluminum. The new, thicker aluminum oxide layer is fully combined with the underlying substrate aluminum thus protecting the surface from chipping and peeling. The top layer has a porous crystalline structure that easily takes on coloring and is then sealed by immersing the aluminum in a boiling, sealing solution. Ultimately, anodizing is highly controlled oxidation of aluminum.1
There are numerous benefits of aluminum anodizing. Increased durability from normal wear and tear due to the anodized protective layer and increased strength from a harder surface are among the most important. The thicker oxidized layer along with sealing also helps protect the aluminum from further oxidization/corrosion. Additionally, anodizing allows us to give the aluminum a lasting and colorful finish due to the porous structure of the anodized surface. Easy maintenance and long lasting life in any conditions are essential assets of anodized aluminum.2
There are a multitude of applications for anodized aluminum including using layers of it to protect satellites from space debris. It is also found in the automotive sector where it is used for trims and protective housings for parts exposed to the elements. Some furniture makers even use it for the framework of outdoor pieces. Commonly, it is found in the food industry as well. High-end cookware uses anodized aluminum for even heat distribution and a non-flaky protected finish. This is an especially important component for the Pyptek line of pipes. By eliminating the flake problem and evenly distributing heat, the anodized aluminum is a much safer option than non-treated aluminum should it come in contact with flame.3 The majority of the heat should be concentrated on the glass bowl and its contents, making aluminum heating already only a minimal concern. However, if the flame does come in contact with the anodized aluminum shell, the heat will be quickly and evenly distributed throughout the metal body virtually eliminating any chance of vapor release. Our anodized aluminum exoskeleton is nothing like that old aluminum pop can turned smoking device that was often used in a pinch in the days when health concerns were not considered.
1. “What is Anodizing? – Aluminum Anodizers Council.” 2008. 12 May. 2015 http://www.anodizing.org/Anodizing/what_is_anodizing.html
2. Benefits and Applications of Aluminum Anodizing – Spectra …” 2010. 12 May. 2015 http://www.spectraaluminum.com/benefits-of-aluminum-anodizing
3. “What Is Anodizing? (with picture) – wiseGEEK.” 2011. 12 May. 2015 http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-anodizing.htm