When comparing the look and corrosion resistance of aluminum and stainless steel, the two materials are somewhat similar. However, there are some differences between the two in terms of durability, conductivity, cost, machinability, and strength-to-weight ratio, to name a few. As a result, before deciding on the best material for manufacturing, you must first understand how they differ to make an informed decision.
Events like COVID, as seen in recent months, can disrupt supply chains and put a lot of pressure on businesses and governments. Manufacturing is gaining traction, particularly among companies looking to become more self-sufficient in producing vital items.
Stainless Steel vs. Aluminum
This business post will look at two materials: aluminum and stainless steel, both of which are widely used in automobiles, manufacturing, building, and your laptop and smartphone.
Aluminum is less expensive than stainless steel. This is demonstrated by the material’s natural availability, ore market expansion, and manufacturing ease, among other factors. On the other hand, stainless steel is more expensive due to other alloying metals, including copper, manganese, iron, chromium, and nickel.
Aluminum is a more cost-effective option for businesses on a tight budget. It is easy to save money on materials this way. Aluminum products, including railings and beams, are also lighter, making them easier to install and reducing costs in the event of product damage. Additionally, because aluminum is inexpensive and profitable, you may buy it in quantity and sell it.
Stainless steel is more durable than aluminum in the same design, shape, and thickness. By comparing the tensile strength of each material, the difference in strength may be calculated.
The resistance of a material to breaking under tension is called tensile strength. The actual strength figures differ based on the alloy utilized.
The tensile strength of stainless steel alloys begins around 515 megapascals (MPa) and can rise to 1300 MPa. Aluminum’s tensile strength starts at roughly 100 MPa and can reach 400 MPa. However, the tensile strength of these materials can be increased through treatment.
Stainless steel takes the lead based on its initial potential when it comes to strength. Therefore, choosing stainless steel over aluminum is recommended if you want to work with substantial materials.
While aluminum lacks the strength of stainless steel, it has a higher strength-to-weight ratio. The strength-to-weight ratio of aluminum is 12.5 percent per volume, whereas the strength-to-weight ratio of steel is 6.25 percent per volume.
If you’re making something out of aluminum or steel, consider that aluminum has a stronger structure than stainless steel. Railings, roofing, shelves, and cladding made of aluminum, for example, will give stronger structures than steel.
Strength in general
Stainless steel takes the lead due to its high chromium concentration when it comes to general strength. The chromium content of steel can range from 10.5 percent to 18 percent, depending on the grade. Tensile strength, hardness, and corrosion resistance are all determined by this component.
While steel is more durable than aluminum, it has its own set of drawbacks. It is heavier than aluminum, rendering it unsuitable for the application. Steel, for example, is unsuitable for making aircraft and car components. Aluminum is suitable for firms looking to reduce weight in various goods because it is around 33% lighter than steel.
Because stainless steel is a poor heat conductor, it is unsuitable for making electrical power lines or heat sinks. On the other hand, aluminum has high thermal conductivity and is used to make heat sinks, electrical goods, and motherboards.
Unfortunately, the melting point of aluminum is lower than that of stainless steel. Stainless steel has a temperature range of 1375 to 1530 degrees Celsius, while aluminum has a temperature range of 660 degrees Celsius. As a result, aluminum is an excellent choice for items that require strong thermal conductivity.
Aluminum and stainless steel are both corrosion-resistant metals. When deciding between the two metals, other aspects such as cost, size, conductivity, and weight must be considered.
Stainless steel is quite expensive, even though it does not easily deform or rust when exposed to other factors. On the other hand, stainless steel is great if you don’t mind the expense and want a material with strong corrosion resistance. However, aluminum is an option if you require a more durable material. You don’t have to worry about aluminum being exposed to the elements when it’s powder-coated. Powder coating extends the life of aluminum and makes it more appealing.
Aluminum is lighter than stainless steel, as previously stated. This makes the material easier to bend, cut, modify, and fold while increasing its machinability for subsequent processing. Aluminum is significantly easier to cut than stainless steel when it comes to cutting. Aluminum, for example, takes the lead when creating small structures with adjustments to meet the structure’s size.
Aluminum and stainless steel are both safe under the right circumstances. In the building, both aluminum and stainless steel are safe. However, their levels of safety vary depending on how they are used. Also, both materials are utilized to make culinary equipment. They are both suitable for different purposes; even though steel is thought to be the safest, aluminum and anodized aluminum aren’t far behind. As a result, when choosing the best material for safety, aluminum and steel are nearly identical.
It’s critical to understand the qualities of metals before choosing one based on price or availability when it comes to manufacturing and using them. Stainless steel and aluminum Also, what you wish to manufacture should influence your decision. If you’re making products that require a lot of thermal conductivity, you should use a heat-conducting material.
While stainless steel has outperformed aluminum in terms of strength, it falls behind in other areas. Steel, for example, is more expensive than aluminum, making it unsuitable for budget-conscious businesses. On the other hand, aluminum is less expensive and easier to modify because it is lighter.
That’s it. These are the key distinctions between aluminum and steel to help you better comprehend each. This guide will also assist you in making informed material selections based on the products you’ll be producing.