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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for feedback\experience on the idea that anodizing spokes black could actually weaken then (Clyde)
 

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Anodizing is a net-loss process so, unless the part was designed for a certain amount of material loss, the part could weaken simply through loss of material during ano.

Help?
 

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Aluminum is anodized but not stainless steel... and any wheel you build or have built will use steel spokes. I don't know what process is on steel, but I think they are just coatings that don't effect the base metal's strength.
 

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In simple terms, "anodizing" means increasing the natural oxidation layer of a metal. If you would anodize steel, you would increase the natural oxidation layer of steel, which is rust. No go.

Perhaps the terms "ano" or "anodize" have been corrupted by marketing writers who wanted a fancy word for "black"? The bicycle world is full of engineering terms arbitrarily redefined then and misused in marketing blather.

/w
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies guys! So if I'm understanding you correctly the answer to my question would be NO black spokes shouldn't be any weaker than silver. Which begs the question is my wheelbuilder misguided in this belief or does he just not have any black spokes in stock?
 

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If you have to stock black and silver spokes in all the sizes you need, you double the inventory you have to keep. That is probably why he doesn't have black spokes. No weaker than silver by any means.
 

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wim said:
In simple terms, "anodizing" means increasing the natural oxidation layer of a metal. If you would anodize steel, you would increase the natural oxidation layer of steel, which is rust. No go.
Except the steel in question is an austenitic stainless so the oxide layer would contain nickel and chromium oxides.

As it happens you can anodise stainless steel and the oxide layer is black in colour due to the chromium oxides. I do not believe that this is the process the spoke makers use, however, as the surface layer on anodised stainless is notoriously easily damaged.

BTW anodise comes from "anode" from the Greek "anodos" meaning "uphill" (so named because it is the electrode at the higher potential, the opposite one is the cathode from "cathodos" meaning "dowhill".
 

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Mark Kelly said:
As it happens you can anodise stainless steel and the oxide layer is black in colour due to the chromium oxides. I do not believe that this is the process the spoke makers use, however, as the surface layer on anodised stainless is notoriously easily damaged.
Technically correct, but I hesitate to use the term "anodizing" for steels of any kind. The process is just too different.

You can protect the surface layer of treated stainless with clear-coat. There's also a process which puts an aluminum coating on stainless, enabling you to then anodize the work piece.
 

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Black steel spokes generally undergo some type of vapor deposition process to achieve that black color, or they may get oxide coated not unlike a gunsmithing "blueing" process ("blueing" can also be black). I'm not entirely positive a blueing process can occur on stainless steel, though, so I may be off the mark there.
 
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