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What Are the Differences Between Steel and Aluminum?

Metal Fabrication, Metal Products | August 26, 2021

Steel and aluminum are two of the most popular materials in metal fabrication and manufacturing. From automotive frames to large brewery tanks, both materials can be used to construct a variety of high-quality products for many industries. While they share many similarities in terms of appearance, steel and aluminum are completely different materials. As leading providers of quality metal products for many applications, LWS Manufacturing & Welding understands the importance of using the correct materials for your project. That is why we have compiled some information to outline what the differences between steel and aluminum are to help you make an informed decision.

Learn about the types of metal forming processes for steel and aluminum.

How do Steel and Aluminum Differ?

Steel and aluminum differ in the following ways:

Cost

The cost of aluminum and steel constantly fluctuates based on global supply and demand, transportation costs, and the economy. Despite this fluctuation, a pound of steel is typically cheaper than a pound of aluminum. These savings tend to increase when buying in bulk, making steel a great choice for projects that require a lot of raw materials.

Corrosion Resistance

Resistance to rust and corrosion is a crucial factor when determining the right material for your project. Aluminum is covered by a layer of aluminium oxide that protects the metal from exposure to oxygen, preventing rust. Steel often requires a layer of paint to protect it from rust and corrosion, though stainless steel is available as a rust-resistant and more expensive alternative.

Strength

Though steel is at a greater risk of rust and corrosion, it is harder and stronger than aluminum. While aluminum can become stronger in cold environments, it is more prone to dents, scratches, and other forms of damage. Steel is less prone to warping or bending from weight, force, or heat, making it one of the most durable options on the market.

Weight

Steel has a weight/density ratio that is roughly 2.5 times that of aluminum, making it stronger and heavier. This increased weight also makes steel less malleable and more difficult to work with at times. Aluminum is more flexible and elastic than steel, making it a better choice for intricate designs and patterns.

To learn more about the qualities of steel and aluminum or to inquire about our metal products, get in touch with the team at LWS Manufacturing & Welding. We can be reached through our online contact form and will work with you to answer any questions you may have.