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Differences Between Aluminum and Steel


March 7, 2018 ( Newswire) Steel and aluminum are two of the most-used materials in manufacturing and construction. Whether it's manufacturing, construction, or metal spinning, you only have to look around you to realize their impact on society. Where would we be without steel and aluminum?

Both materials have distinct characteristics that make them perfect for different functions. There are various considerations when choosing how to suitably apply them. Though aluminum and steel look similar, they are vastly different, and you may need to decide between the two or combine them. For instance, New York architects utilize a combination of aluminum and steel when executing construction work, and use their professional judgment to determine what's best in any given scenario.

Strength-to-Weight Ratio

Aluminum isn't as strong as steel, but it is one-third of the weight. This makes aluminum useful for aircraft manufacture, since vessels aren't weighed down and restricted from functioning. Aluminum's lightweight nature makes it easy to transport, and it can easily be worked for decorative purposes. The sheer weight of steel adds to its durability, and its strength is a huge draw for structural support.


Steel is an aggregate of iron, nickel, chromium, copper, and manganese. The chromium contributes corrosion resistance, and its non-porous nature adds to this attribute. Conveniently, aluminum is also corrosion- and oxidation-resistant, and if you add a layer of paint to the material, it actually adds functionality. This means you can create a stylish aesthetic that's protective, too. However, in extreme environments, aluminum corrodes rapidly with chaotic results, so it's best avoided in heavy-use circumstances.

Thermal Conductivity

Aluminum is a conductor of heat, which is why it's perfect for car radiators and air conditioning units. It's also a great reflector of heat, making it ideal for roofing, especially in hot environments. Because it prevents heat from entering the home, you can save significantly on air conditioning during hot weather.


Aluminum is much cheaper than stainless steel, so if you're on a budget, it's an advisable choice. You will also save indirectly, because the cost of transporting the material is less, thanks to its lightweight nature. Additionally, aluminum is cheaper to install, since it's less labor intensive than steel, which is an alloy that comprises varying quantities of chromium and other metals. Basic carbon and mild steels are cheaper, and the general cost of aluminum is somewhere between stainless steel and carbon. Although you're arguably better off with aluminum, carbon steel is generally accepted, despite costing significantly less.


Aluminum is malleable, and can easily be cut and bent into various shapes. Because aluminum can be bent easily, it's great for decorative purposes, and can be used to complement a given aesthetic and create a stylish outlook. Although stainless steel doesn't have the same properties, it does bring an unprecedented level of strength and durability that's essential for providing support in the right circumstances.

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