Aluminium and stainless steel may look similar from the outside, but they have a range of fundamental differences. Both these metals are widely used across the globe: with stainless steel being used for everything from cutlery and kitchen appliances to transport and architectural projects. Because of its lightweight construction, aluminium is also found globally, and widely used in aircraft, cars, home accessories and window frames. Looking at the main differences between the two can help to highlight which metal is right for your industry or business and which one meets the needs of your customer and functionality.
The difference between aluminium and steel
Aluminium and steel are two distinct materials with different properties, characteristics, and applications. Here are some key differences between aluminium and steel:
Aluminium is much less dense than steel. It has a lower density, making it a lightweight material. Steel on the other hand is denser and heavier.
Aluminium has a lower tensile strength than steel, which means it is not as strong. However, it can still be engineered to be rather strong, especially in combination with other elements in alloys. Steel is known for its high strength. It is a strong and robust option that can withstand heavy loads and is commonly used in structural applications.
Steel is prone to corrosion, especially when exposed to moisture and oxygen. To prevent corrosion, steel is often coated or treated with various methods. Aluminium has natural corrosion resistance due to the formation of a thin oxide layer on its surface. This oxide layer protects the metal from further corrosion. Find out more through our blog on corrosion resistance.
Aluminium is an excellent conductor of electricity. It is often used in electrical wiring and components. Steel on the other hand is a poor conductor of electricity compared to aluminum. Discover the conductive properties of aluminium here.
Malleability and formability
Aluminium metal is highly malleable and can be simply formed into various shapes and profiles, making it a super adaptable material for various industries. Steel can also be moulded and shaped but may require more force and energy due to its higher density.
Aluminium is generally more expensive per unit weight compared to steel which is more cost-effective.
Steel is widely used in construction, manufacturing, infrastructure, automotive, and many other industries where strength and durability are essential. Aluminium is commonly used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, construction, solar power and packaging. Read more about the industrial uses of aluminium here.
In summary, the choice between aluminium and steel depends on the specific requirements of a project or application. Aluminium is favoured for its lightweight and corrosion resistance, while steel is known for its strength and durability. Engineers and designers select the material that best suits the intended purpose and constraints of a particular project.
Aluminium windows and doors
ABS offer fabrication and manufacturing for aluminium windows and aluminium doors across the UK. Used throughout commercial spaces and business properties, our aluminium frames offer security, sustainability and a modern addition to architecture.
Whether you have windows that need replacing or are building a new office space from scratch, get in touch with our team on 01623 721 172 and we’ll find the right solution for you!