Steel Angle vs Aluminum Angle

Steel Angle vs Aluminum Angle: What’s the Difference?

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of what differences there are between steel angle and aluminum angle, here’s a primer on the material.

Angle is a popular structural material that comes in an L-shape, created to offer better support in situations where two materials meet at a right angle. Due to its right angle, the angle is capable of bearing weight from the top or side regardless of the force that is applied. This makes for one of the most useful, yet versatile materials in not only steel but construction.

Now, as far as the differences of steel angle vs. aluminum angle, it comes down to how they are utilized as each has its pros and cons in certain situations. That said, here are some of the differences between steel and aluminum angles.

What is steel angle?

Steel angle is an L-shaped piece of metal created from various types of steel. It offers many benefits to architectural projects, due to its high strength. Steel is very easy to weld together to create this shape, which is why it’s so commonly used to create angles. It can be used for a variety of structural applications and will help to offer extra reinforcement to withstand the weight of other materials placed upon it.

What is aluminum angle?

Aluminum angle has the same shape as steel angle but you’ll find there are differences between the two materials when comparing steel angle vs. aluminum angle. Sometimes described as structural aluminum angle, this is a lightweight option that’s highly resistant to corrosion. It can be used inside radius corners and has various structural applications. The great thing about aluminum angle is that it is very easy to weld, so it’s likely to be a good option for a variety of your future projects.

Common uses of aluminum angle include for cages, trailers, framing equipment, and anywhere else where you may need to improve the strength of a structure. You can generally buy aluminum angle and steel angle in various lengths and sizes, so you’ll have no trouble finding a solution for your upcoming work.

The Differences Between Steel Angle and Aluminum Angle

Rust

When it comes to rust, aluminum is superior to steel. Aluminum is far more rust-resistant than steel. This is due to steel’s carbon steel makeup as it is more prone to corrosion. That said, while steel is more prone to corrosion, it is seen to have more weight-bearing strength.

Cold

Metals are known for becoming brittle when encountering extremely cold weather. Steel falls into this category. However, aluminum does not. Aluminum alloys are shown to maintain their ductility in frigid temperatures, which in turn combats any brittleness that may occur. Keep this in mind if you are completing a project which will need to withstand freezing temperatures.

Uses

This is where we begin to see steel angle and aluminum angle on the same playing field. This is mostly due to the ability for both to be used around the home for various projects. Some of these projects include bed frames, chairs, benches, support frames for air conditioning, and shelving. Both aluminum and steel angles can be utilized throughout these projects, but it ultimately comes down to weight, aesthetic, and whether it’s going to be indoors or outdoors. Whether you’re a professional handyman or just enjoy doing work around your home, these materials are a dream.

Weldability

If you need to weld angles together, steel is going to be your go-to. To preface this, aluminum is weldable, but you must be precise with how you do so. This is because aluminum angles provide much more room for error as it’s easier to cut/burn through. However, steel is a more forgiving material. Its malleability makes welding steel angles a no-brainer, especially in construction projects. Depending on the application you are comparing steel angle vs. aluminum for, you’ll need to decide if this is something that could have a big impact on your material choice.

Decorative

Steel angles are seldom, if ever, used in a decorative fashion. They are in most cases too thick to be displayed for aesthetic reasons. Therefore, an aluminum angle will be utilized in this situation. Whether it’s for door frames or window frames, aluminum’s lightweight along with its ability to be easily cleaned make steel angle obsolete in this use. While aluminum isn’t as thick, it still provides plenty of protection.

Strength

Both steel angle and aluminum angle offer high-strength options for a variety of projects. That being said, you’ll generally find that steel is a stronger option for heavier and larger structures. Aluminum is known for its lightweight, which offers many benefits, but this doesn’t always mean it’s the best choice for your project. You’ll want to ensure whichever material you choose can withstand the weight you are going to place upon it during the following stages of the construction of any structure or item.

Cost

The cost of steel angle vs. aluminum angle is going to be dependent on a variety of factors. The size of the angle you need will also impact how much you need to spend on this structural support. In general, you’ll find aluminum is a little more pricey for the size, but the type of steel you opt for could increase the price of this option also.

Fabrication

While angles are used primarily in support, they can also be used on their own. One of the most popular examples of this is creating grind bars for skating. While sparks are cool in photography and video, they do not offer the safest environment for anyone coming in contact with it. That is why grinding bars are primarily created out of aluminum angle rather than steel angle as aluminum does not spark.

Now that you’re more familiar with the difference in uses and properties between steel angle and aluminum angle, you can attack your next job or project with confidence.

Visit Tampa Steel & Supply for Angle Iron

Are you in need of steel supplies? Look no further than the professionals at Tampa Steel and Supply. We stock an extensive list of steel products for whatever project you need to tackle. We’re proud to have served our customers for nearly four decades and are ready to assist you with your steel needs. Have questions? Give us a call today to learn more, or stop by our beautiful Tampa showroom.

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