Aluminum and steel are very common substances that are used in everyday life and in almost everything we use. Aluminum is the most abundant metal on the Earth. Steel is one of the most popular alloys. Though these two are used in similar applications, they are completely different from each other. Here are the comparisons of each:
1. What is Steel? | What is Aluminum?
It is an element that is found in the Earth’s crust and is the third most abundant element and the most abundant metal.
Steel is an alloy made by combining iron and other elements, the most common of these being carbon.
2. Characteristics of Steel and Aluminum
It is soft, lightweight, durable and malleable metal. Bauxite is the base ingredient of aluminum which is a mineral mined primarily in tropical areas. The bauxite is ground into a thick paste called alumina, which is then smelted with molten cryolite and shocked with electricity. The ions separate, and the residual liquid cools and becomes the aluminum.
Steel is flexible, strong and durable. Steel is a mixture of the elements iron and carbon. Iron is mined, smelted the impurities are removed, carbon is added, and the result is carbon steel. This is the base for other types of steel, such as stainless and chrome-moly.
3. Which is Stronger Aluminum or Steel?
Weaker in general than steel. Some aluminum alloys are stronger than steel.
Steel is stronger compared to aluminum. The amount of carbon in steel makes it heavier and unyielding. The higher amount of carbon in an alloy, the harder it becomes.
4. What is Aluminum Used For? What is Steel Used For?
Aluminum is used for transportation, packaging, construction, utensils, electric transmission lines, paint, etc.
Steel is used for roads, railways, other infrastructure, appliances, buildings, transportation, aerospace, etc.
5. Which is Heavier Aluminum or Steel?
Lighter compared to steel and preferred for its lightweight composition.
Heavier compared to aluminum. One of the biggest differences is in the material’s weight. Carbon steel is heavy.
6. Which is Stiffer Aluminum or Steel?
Aluminum is stiffer compared to steel. Aluminum is a very desirable metal because it is more malleable and elastic than steel and can go places and create shapes that steel cannot.
Steel is less stiff compared to aluminum. Steel is a very tough and resilient metal but cannot typically be pushed to the dimensional limits without cracking or ripping.
7. Which is More Corrosive Aluminum or Steel?
Aluminum is less corrosive. Aluminum generally doesn’t rust. There is no paint or coating to wear or scratch off. It has a high oxidation and corrosion resistance. When aluminum is oxidized, its surface will turn white and will sometimes pit.
Steel is highly corrosive and usually needs paint or treatment to protect it from rust and corrosion especially if it will be in a moist, damp or abrasive environment.
8. Are Steel and Aluminum Recyclable?
9. Which is More Expensive Aluminum or Steel?
Cost is always an essential factor to consider when making and using any product. The price of both Aluminum and Steel is continually fluctuating based on supply and demand, tariffs, fuel costs and the price and availability of iron and bauxite ore. Typically, steel is generally cheaper per pound than aluminum.
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