Steel vs aluminium. Which material is right for your product? Both are arguably two of the most popular metals in use today, but they each have a very distinct set of features which ultimately will determine their application.
The Cost of Steel vs Aluminium
In business, it’s all about the bottom line – we get that. So if you can reasonably choose either material, then you’ll go with the cheapest. However, their prices are fluid, affected daily by fuel and transport costs, the cost and availability of raw materials, and of course the global supply and demand.
Although the cost debate doesn’t end there. Aluminium can be used as it rolls off the press, so to speak, and does not require additional treatments for corrosion resistance. Steel, however, will need to be treated to ensure its corrosion-resistance, which ramps up the final cost.
On the other hand, welding of steel is a less specialised skill than welding aluminium, which will also tip the balance.
Pliability and Strength
We know steel to be a tough and strong material – which is ideal if you need it to carry structural loads, but less so if you require intricate formwork for your parts. Aluminium is a far more malleable product which allows it to be shaped, formed and pressed into small and complex shapes with extreme dimensions that would otherwise crack steel in the same application.
On the other hand, we know that aluminium does not enjoy the same tensile and compressive strength of steel which limits its applications. But it’s also not as heavy – in fact, aluminium is almost a third of the weight of steel which makes it perfect if a durable and light-weight product is required.
Other factors which you may consider when deciding between steel and aluminium are:
- Electrical and thermal conductivity
- Effects on food
If you have questions as to which material is right for your application, we’d love to assist. Out skilled team here at Steelmor are more than qualified to answer your questions. Call us on (011) 747 5700.