Black spots in anodized aluminum profile
A discussion started in 2007 but continuing through 2018(2007)
I'm working in an anodizing plant and we have one defect that I hope you can help me to solve it.
Sometimes we notice some black spots in the aluminum profiles. Those spots will not be shown before anodizing; you can see it only after anodizing process. The hardness is very low in these spots.
When we analyze the sample we got the same chemical composition in the good and defected area. We are producing 6063 with below analysis. Can you please clarify this defect to me and how can we avoid it?
Thanking you for your best cooperation.
Production Engineer - Dammam, Saudi Arabia
A. Hi Sultan,
It's an extruder's problem - this is known as HOT SPOTS defect, mostly in elliptical shape and in various sizes. You cannot do anything to it in your surface treatment facility. Extruders have to improve the cooling of hot extrusions during extrusion process. You can send an official complaint to the extruder for the replacement of those profiles.
- Dubai, U.A.E.
May 26, 2008
Q. Does anyone know if these spots can also occur in aluminum forgings (in particular 7049) as they do in extrusions?Rocco Varano
- Longueuil, Quebec, Canada
February 20, 2009
Q. I have the same problem with 7050-T6 sheet, do you think the reason is also these "hot spots"
- Seattle, Washington
April 10, 2009
Q. I am experiencing black spots on parts machined out of AL-7075 after the parts are clear coat anodized at 20 micron. What is causing the black spots and how can they be eliminated and overcome this problem?Arthur Koo
employee - Hong Kong, China
July 14, 2010
A. Yes. I have encountered the same Black spot after anodizing.
There were no black spots before anodizing.
This may be due to heat accumulation during machining. I feel we need to use good quality cutting Fluid during Machining to avoid the same.
- Bangalore, Karnataka, India
January 23, 2013
I am having issues with an aluminum profile extruded out of 6005 that we use on semi trailers. When we get the product it is perfectly fine, then we apply a swirl pattern to it with our brush machine. Next we seal the piece with an Alumaclear coating then clean the trailer. Once the trailers leave we have an issue with black/lines appearing at the seam lines. They occur anywhere from 12 hours to 1 year after the trailer leaves. We have tried to reproduce the effect at the factory and it never occurs. We were getting the phenomena before we started sealing hoping that Alumaclear would be our answer. Can anyone tell me what would cause this to happen after a period of time?
Thank you for your time.
Purchasing - Knox, Indiana, USA
May 7, 2013
Q. Hello respected Anodizers,
We are doing 10% Sulfuric Acid Anodizing with Oxalic acid using titanium racks. Item is made of Aluminium rods, Type 2017.
Degreasing (Caustic + Soda Ash at 40 degrees Cent.)
1 x rinsing in tap water
Chromic acid pickling
1 x rinsing in tap water
1 x rinsing tap water
Sodium dichromate passivation at 85 °C. (in Iron tank)
Sealing in Sealant at 85 ° (In iron tank)
1 x DI Water rinse.
We are frequently getting black spots on the surface of the items anodized which are in the form of small black pits when observed under a microscope.
As per our experience these are due to the oil stains or dirt left over during previous machining operations and left on the items due to ineffective cleaning.
Can some experienced anodizer please help us as to what are these black spots and how to get rid of them?
- Karachi, Pakistan
August 28, 2013
Q. Do you think if the same "hot spot" problem happened to this part, too? We outsourced these parts and hundreds of black spots appeared on the surface.
We use Al 6061 alloy to machine parts, but these parts were outsourced to China. They were supposed to use the same alloy. However, I realized that the parts before anodizing were more bright than our parts.
I was wrong in my previous message.
The parts were etched (NaOH) for 3 minutes, and then de-smutted (HNO3) for about an hour (I don't know why so long) when they developed these spots, which are actually small "craters". So they haven't even reached the electrolyte bath for anodizing. I'm attaching here a better picture.
I've just tried with another batch of parts (also Chinese, brighter parts) and there was no problem."
- Salatiga, Indonesia
September 5, 2013
A. Has enough nitric acid dragged over from the deox into the anodizing tank, or do you have high chloride contamination in the anodizing tank? You can make holes like this in 6061 if the anodizing solution is contaminated with nitric or chloride.
Robert H Probert
Robert H Probert Technical Services
Garner, North Carolina
April 17, 2014
Q. We are experiencing black spots on polished sheet metal (Aluminum 2219, T62) formed parts after anodize, which is outsourced. Before anodize parts are visually inspected for pits, black spots.
Can anyone tell us what the cause is and how to prevent it? Thanks in advance.S Gunnam
Aerospace - Los Angeles, California
April 19, 2014
A. Parts look DA sanded for your finish. It's hard to say for sure, but the first place I'd start would be your sandpaper. It's possible you are embedding media from the sandpaper into your aluminum. Make sure you use sandpaper that has AL2O3 as the media, do not use Silicon Carbide sandpaper for anything that gets anodized.
anodizer - Idaho
April 23, 2014
Thanks Marc. We use only aluminum oxide media.S Gunnam [returning]
Aerospace - Los Angeles, California
April 24, 2014
A. S. Gunnam,
I'm not clear as to whether you're the end user of the product, the anodizer, or whether you're the manufacturer and you just outsource the anodizing. It would help to know what parts of the total process on this part that you have direct control over, so we'd know what your limitations are in solving the issue.
It sounds like we've ruled out the obvious, and easiest to fix potential problem with the sandpaper. I downloaded the pictures and blew them up a bit to try and get a close up. Of course, I lost a bit of resolution. It really appears to be some type of contamination, now, whether it's coming from the base metal, something in the machining process, or yes, perhaps something still could be in the finishing process, and finally, something going on in your anodizing process.
Are those black marks raised, or are they pitted? Are you getting continuity on the black marks? When I enlarged the pictures, they look like pits, but hard to say for sure.
Does the issue still appear if the parts are reworked?
It really looks like you're seeing a base material issue. Now the question would be, is the contamination in the material itself, or is it being embedded during subsequent machining or surface finishing operations.
I'm a bit spoiled as an anodizer, as my shop has SEM/EDX capabilities to analyze stuff like this. And that's how I'd start, would be to sacrifice a part, and run an EDX analysis on the black area, to identify what I suspect is some type of metallic contamination. Once it's identified, look at the process from start to finish to narrow down the source of the contamination, beginning with the material itself.
Solving issues like this by looking at pictures with extremely limited process information on the internet is practically impossible. I could list at least dozen or two potential causes. So all I can do is tell you where I'd start, and that would be with the EDX analysis.
Identify the contamination, and then find the source.
anodizer - Idaho
April 22, 2014
Q. Hi Guys,
We experiencing the similar black spot after anodizing. In our case the Aluminium parts 6061 been tumbled then sand blast at our customer side.
Then we'll do Chemical Polishing then anodizing. The black is more visible only after anodizing. Need some inputs very urgently.
- Penang, Malysia
April 3, 2015
Q. How to avoid black spots on 2XXX & 7XXX series aluminium alloys after anodising? We are getting repeated issue.
We controlled the machining speed (reduced the speed, feed & depth of cut) and reduced anodising voltage ramp-up rate and protect them with rust preventive oil. But even after. we are not able to arrest the aluminium getting black spots after anodising.
Metallurgist - Bangalore, Karnataka, India
June 24, 2015
A. Typically, with 7000 and 2000 series you'll notice an extremely quick dye time. I've found that most of what I run of that alloy dyes in five to 7 minutes. I too have experienced the pits and it's fairly simple to avoid. Basically your parts are getting attacked from to much time in dye. I suggest when dying the parts monitor them (stand by the tank and look at them); when they are black, remove from dye, rinse well and seal also. If you leave for long duration in seal with this alloy you may also see white spots; all can be avoided with better attention to parts and tank chemistry. Good luck.jake zees
metal finishing - marysville Washington
January 9, 2017
A. Gentlemen, this black spotting in this thread is traditionally due to the oxidizing of the aluminum which can occur through acid contamination in the pretreatment process. Several have noted that they have seen this prior to anodizing or prior to coating, and that would support creation of the defect in the pretreatment process.
- Morton, Illinois USA
March 8, 2018
We are an aluminum door handle producer.
We use ALMG3 alloy with 3% Magnesium content.
We casting the door handles by gravity die casting with a small ladle.
We are facing a problem of black dots that are showing only after the anodizing process.
Please help us to find a solution.
STE ALUCAST SARL - Fouchana, Tunisia
April 10, 2018
A. Hello Mr. Daaboul,
I am assuming that you have made it through all the great information in this thread and eliminated things like chlorides in your ano tanks as suspects...
Although I cannot answer your question, one simple thing you can do to give the community more clues and maybe help you, is to take a couple of your finished castings and cut them down the middle and then anodize the halves and see if the spotting appears in the centers of the castings as well. What this will at least tell you is whether your problem is arising only at the interface between the die and the part, or whether it is throughout the material. Tell us what material your die is as well, and also if any other materials might be introduced into the mold, intentionally or as contamination, and how you are cooling the casting, over how long a period of time, and how/if you are cleaning it off after it is unmolded.
Another piece of information would be whether you are then polishing down the castings, and with what type of abrasive, and how thick a layer are you taking off.
I must declare that I have ZERO real-world experience with the casting process; these questions are only from a basic theoretical understanding from an anodizer's perspective of where one might begin troubleshooting- I have certainly seen parts milled from castings behave badly when plated (poorly-done extrusions, too!), someone with more specific experience relating to your issue will no doubt see your question eventually :)
The more information you give, the more you will get in return! Good luck!
Plating Solutions Control Specialist / Industrial Metals Waste Treatment - Brattleboro, Vermont
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