Posted on: 7 April 2023
If you manufacture metal parts, then you have to choose the right metal for the job. While steel has always been a popular choice, aluminum has some advantages which might make it a better option.
When should you consider using aluminum over steel?
1. You Need a Rust-Proof Solution
Corrosion can cause problems with metal parts. If your parts will sit in wet, damp, or humid conditions, then you have to factor corrosion into your material choice.
Regular steel corrodes and rusts. While you can treat this metal by painting or coating it to add a rust-proof layer, this isn't necessarily a permanent solution. If steel loses some of its paint or coating, then rust will form on exposed areas. It can then spread through the metal.
Aluminum doesn't corrode or rust. It has a natural oxide surface that protects the metal from exposure to corrosive elements. It is a longer-term rust-proofed option without the need for additional treatments.
2. You Need a Lightweight Metal
If you need to keep the weight of your parts as low as possible, then steel isn't the right option. While strong, this metal is heavy. Aluminum is lighter than steel. It will reduce the weight of your parts and make it easier for you to meet your weight limits.
3. You Need Malleability
While can you shape steel, this isn't always an easy process. Steel is hard and rigid. It doesn't have much natural malleability. If you push the limits of this metal too far, then it will crack and break.
So, you might not be able to create more complex shapes from a single piece of metal. You might need to weld pieces together. This isn't an ideal solution if you want to retain core strength or create cosmetically perfect designs.
Aluminum is more malleable. You can turn it into more intricate and complex one-piece shapes without breaking it.
4. You Don't Need High Levels of Strength
Steel is a strong material. It can take a lot of stress, pressure, and weight loads without breaking. It is the perfect choice for parts that need to have extra strength because of their working conditions.
However, if you don't need this extra strength, then aluminum might be a better choice. Its other advantages, such as its anti-corrosion, lower weight, and malleability properties, counter its lower strength.
For more advice, contact metal suppliers. They can help you decide if aluminum is the right metal for your parts. If it isn't, then they can recommend a suitable steel alternative.Share