How to Anodize Rims

by Tricia Lobo

You can anodize the aluminum rims of cars, wheels, and motorcycles to make them stronger, shinier, and more corrosion resistant. In anodization, technicians stimulate metal oxide production on a surface, by immersing the object in an electrolyte bath and then passing an electric current through the bath. While anodization is best left to the professionals, you can perform it with materials that you can find around your home.

1

Separate aluminum rims from any steel parts (spokes are often steel, and do not respond well to anodization) or any other, non-metal parts.

2

Clean rims, thoroughly. Remove dirt and oils, using a nonetching alkaline cleanser.

3

Prepare two-electrode system. To the anode, or the negatively charged electrode, connect your hub, as well as your car phone charger (do not plug into the outlet until you are ready to commence anodization). Make sure that the metal portion of your charger is in contact with the anode, but do not let it get wet. To the cathode, or the positively charged electrode, connect your platinum sheets. When immersed in the voltage-charged electrolyte bath, oxides will accumulate at the hub attached to your anode. Your cathode, on the other hand, will produce positive hydrogen ions to counteract the negative charges from your anode.

4

Don latex gloves. Fill your bath with sulfuric acid. Immerse the two-electrode system that you created in Step 3 in your bath, and plug in your car charger. Leave the two-electrode system in the a bath for a few hours. Periodically, stir vigorously. Stirring reduces the chances that oxides will accumulate unevenly on the hub, anodizing some areas but not others.

Items you will need

About the Author

Tricia Lobo has been writing since 2006. Her biomedical engineering research, "Biocompatible and pH sensitive PLGA encapsulated MnO nanocrystals for molecular and cellular MRI," was accepted in 2010 for publication in the journal "Nanoletters." Lobo earned her Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering, with distinction, from Yale in 2010.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera mobile phone charger image by Pavel Bernshtam from Fotolia.com