When Bexhill on Sea needed a new barrier for the seafront promenade, Architectural Street Furnishings (ASF) was contacted to look at the project.
For harsh coastal environments, ASF would typically advise the use of cast iron products, however the client brief requested the barrier was constructed from aluminium, in a design that was sympathetic to the architecture of the De La Warr pavilion.
Aluminium is not renowned for being particularly durable in coastal environments. To ensure the barrier would withstand the environmental conditions over time, ASF had the aluminium hard anodised.
The anodising process involved the immersion of aluminium in a bath of sulphuric acid (an electrolyte) and running a low voltage electrical current through the bath. Normal anodising results in a thin coating of aluminium oxide (rust) on the surface of the material, hard anodising is achieved by cooling the solution to freezing temperature and increasing the amount of electric current that is passed through the bath.
Hard anodising produces a much thicker coating of aluminium oxide, rendering the finished material only a few hardness points below diamond and protecting it against harsh environments such as the salt at the coast.
The finished result is a low maintenance, minimalist seafront barrier that will not pitt or corrode over time.
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