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Thread: How to create different colors on aluminium...

  1. #1 How to create different colors on aluminium... 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    I have no prior experience with chemistry, however a friend of mine recommended this forum for me with my question.

    I'm looking for how to make a "rust-like" appearance on an aluminium-plate.

    I've found a photo showing something similar to what I want to create, however it is most likely showing another kind of metal. See the photo at

    I know that aluminium cant rust like other metals, however I've come to understand that some kind of chemistry can make amendments to the surface. Someone even mentioned peeing on the plate, that your pee combined with other chemistry could cause some kind of feasible reaction.

    Hope someone has some suggestions for me. The chemistry needed shouldn't be any problem for me to get my hands on since I got a friend in the business.

    Best regards,

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  3. #2  
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    When aluminum oxidizes it does not eat away at the metal, but forms a protective coating. There is a process called anodizing that is used to form the coating and this coating can be dyed in different colors. It might be possible to make it look rusty by dyeing it.

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  4. #3  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Cardiff, Wales
    in fact Al2O3 forms a porous columnar growth on top of the metal under some oxidising conditions, the gaps of which can then be filled with any water-soluble die

    at the final stage you change the oxidation condition so that the gaps between the columns are sealed and hey presto, you've got your coloured aluminium

    i've forgotten how the conditions for porous growth differ from those to seal the oxide layer though
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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