Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel
In metal fabrication, knowing which metal will best suit your project is critical when it comes to a successful outcome. Both aluminum and stainless steel are well regarded for their versatility, durability, and corrosion resistance. Because of these properties, both metals are widely used in fabrication, such as automotive, household items, and even construction manufacturing.
Where to Find Them
I am sure you have heard of aluminum before, especially if you have ever taken a chemistry class. Aluminum is a chemical and metallic element found in nearly all vegetation, rocks, and animals. At the same time, stainless steel is made by mixing chromium, iron, and carbon. It contains steel and has a much higher corrosion resistance than aluminum, hence the name stainless steel.
Stainless steel is a heavier, denser, and more robust material than aluminum. However, aluminum might weigh a third of the weight stainless steel carries; it still has a higher strength-to-weight ratio. This is important to note when it comes to industries that rely on fuel efficiency and load capacity, such as the automotive industry. On the other hand, due to the strength component of stainless steel, many favor it for architectural features.
When compared, aluminum is a better conductor of electricity than stainless steel. This makes aluminum ideal for jobs like power lines as it is a great conductor and is lightweight. It is also commonly chosen for thermal conductivity, which is why radiators are notoriously made from aluminum. When it comes to being able to handle the heat, stainless steel can take extreme heat while aluminum will become soft and fragile.
When it comes down to welding, stainless steel is a far superior option compared to aluminum. With aluminum unable to handle tension under extreme heat, it becomes a liability once it hardens. Leaving behind cracks and messy welds.
When it comes down to cost, you will notice constant fluctuation. This is mainly due to changes in supply and demand, fuel prices, and accessibility to raw materials. That said, aluminum will run you more money than stainless steel, mainly because of the raw materials and what it costs to gather them. This is only a factor depending on your project size, as aluminum still has a more excellent strength-to-weight ratio which can cost you less in the long run.
Metalworking at Markham Metals
Whether your project requires aluminum or stainless steel, our expert team has you covered at Markham Metals! We have years of experience customizing orders with both materials to fit our customer’s needs. For more information about our large steel and aluminum inventory, contact us today by calling 978-658-1121 or directly on our site.