Both metals, steel and aluminium are widely used materials in the industries and for a variety of projects and manufacturing of products. For example, steel is used for everything from kitchenware and cutlery, to the construction of buildings, to a variety of the appliances we use every day. Aluminium is an essential component of the construction for most machines, automobiles and bicycles, and aircraft, and in the architectural mouldings of residential homes and commercial buildings.
With so many different uses for each material, you might be eager to know the difference between the two, and how do we determine which material is the correct option for your specific application. When the strength, weight, corrosion resistance, and cost of aluminium vs steel is compared, you will quickly realize why you can rely on us: for the several advantages of using aluminium for custom extrusions and stock profiles.
Aluminium vs Steel: Strength
In comparing the overall strength of steel vs aluminium, there is no clear and simple answer. This is because, while steel is technically stronger than aluminium, aluminium is much lighter, so you might have to take into consideration the ratio of weight to strength. However, just by focusing on shear strength, steel has a very high amount of carbon which contributes to its general strength advantage.
Also, it is important to take into account when comparing the malleability of the strength of steel vs aluminium. Aluminium is much more malleable, which means it can be successfully bent or extruded into various desired shapes or profiles without cracks in it. Aluminium is also known to be very ductile, which enables it to be stretched without breaking. Aluminium extrusions can be made as strong as they are needed for most applications. Cold-weather applications are well served by aluminium because aluminium becomes stronger as the temperature falls.
Aluminium vs Steel: Weight
As it is a fact that aluminium is regarded and recognized for its lightweight, steel is well known to be heavier when compared to aluminium. As already mentioned, the heavy-weight of steel is due to the high concentration of carbon. The more amount of carbon the alloy contains, the heavier it will be.
The primary benefit to the heavy-weight of steel is that it is incredibly durable. Its tough strength means that it is highly unlikely to bend, warp, or deform underweight, heat, or force. On average, steel will be 2.5x denser when compared to aluminium.
Aluminium extrusions are lighter than most other metals, this makes it easier to handle and less expensive to ship them.
Aluminium vs Steel: Corrosion Resistance
When talking about corrosion resistance, aluminium is the winner. Aluminium is highly resistant to rust, without any requirement of the additional treatments after it has been extruded. Aluminium is already protected by its naturally occurring oxide film. On the other hand, steel is more susceptible to resistance. Carbon steel does require a coating of paint or other finish treatment for protection against rust or corrosion.
This is mostly true if the steel will be used in an environment that is wet or moist, or particularly abrasive. Aluminium can be further enhanced with a different type of finishes such as anodizing, powder coating, brushed finish, media blasting, painting, polishing or also chemical wash techniques.
Aluminium vs Steel: Cost
When comparing these two alloys, the cost of steel vs aluminium is also one of the most important factors in determining which of the materials can be used for a job. When it comes to the cost of steel vs aluminium, steel is less expensive. But when saying this, we have to distinguish what kind of steel we are talking about.
Mild steels and carbon steels tend to be less expensive when compared to aluminium, while stainless steel is more expensive than aluminium. And if you may be tempted to go with the less expensive material for your project, it is important to weigh all factors. When you are designing a custom shape or profile, creating a custom aluminium extrusion is surprisingly not much expensive because of the affordable tooling and die costs.
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VRKP is a manufacturer, stocking warehouse, and supplier of custom and OEM aluminium extrusions. If we do not have the extruded aluminium part that meets your specifications, our professionals can help you in creating and engineer one to meet your requirements. Our custom and OEM extrusion services enable us to meet nearly any aluminium extrusion requirements. You can contact our specialists for more information to discuss which material is correct for your unique needs.