Dyeing of anodised materials
The most common anodizing processes, for example sulfuric acid on aluminium, produce a porous surface which can accept dyes easily. The number of dye colors is almost endless; however, the colors produced tend to vary according to the base alloy. Though some may prefer lighter colors, in practice they may be difficult to produce on certain alloys such as high-silicon casting grades and 2000-series aluminium-copper alloys. Another concern is the "lightfastness" of organic dyestuffs—some colors (reds and blues) are particularly prone to fading. Black dyes and gold produced by inorganic means (ferric ammonium oxalate) are more lightfast. Dyed anodizing is usually sealed to reduce or eliminate dye bleed out.
Alternatively, metal (usually tin) can be electrolytically deposited in the pores of the anodic coating to provide colors that are more lightfast. Metal dye colors range from pale champagne to black. Bronze shades are commonly used for architectural use.
Alternatively the color may be produced integral to the film. This is done during the anodizing process using organic acids mixed with the sulfuric electrolyte and a pulsed current.
Splash effects are created by dying the unsealed porous surface in lighter colors and then splashing darker color dyes onto the surface. Aqueous and solvent based dye mixtures may also be alternately applied since the colored dyes will resist each other and leave spotted effects.