Fit For Purpose

What Are The Main Differences Between Steel and Aluminium

Lightweight, highly resistant to corrosion and easy to form – aluminium certainly has a great deal to offer. Dense, heat resistant with a high strength to weight ratio, steel forms the frame work of most of the buildings in our modern world. These two ubiquitous materials each have a place in building and manufacture, but how do they stack up against each other?

Steel Versus Aluminium

  • Cost forms the basis for most decisions in business. Obviously, the cheaper the better and the higher the profits. Simple. 

The answer depends largely on the cost of raw materials which fluctuate daily across the globe. Generally speaking, aluminium is more expensive than iron as the extraction of aluminium from its ore is a costlier process than iron ore extraction – the main component in steel. 

  • Malleability and strength are additional important factors to consider if choosing between the to products. Aluminium is a softer metal and can be turned into more intricate designs than steel. Steel can of course be turned (spun) but lacks the elasticity of aluminium.

Aluminium is not as strong as steel, but it is generally about one-third of the weight. This is why aircraft are built out of aluminium and buildings use a steel frame. Both are perfect for their individual uses. 

  • Resistance to corrosion is a major factor. Aluminium offers very high corrosion resistance, as opposed to carbon steel which needs further treating to protect from rust. Of course, stainless steel enjoys the addition of chromium which offers excellent corrosion resistance.
  • Welding and forming can be a determining factor in your choice of aluminium versus steel. Welding steel is common, but aluminium is a far more specialised skill. However, forming and turning aluminium is significantly easier than steel which can be a more difficult process due to its density.

Perhaps your project requires steel versus aluminium, or perhaps both would work. Whatever your needs are our skilled team are always available to offer advice and insight. Feel free to contact us with your queries.