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Aluminum Vs Stainless Steel


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Aluminum and stainless steel both are widely used in the food service industry. You can find it everywhere, from your kitchen to ship-building materials. They both are an integral part of the manufacturing industry. But have you ever wondered which one of these is best? Let’s discuss this in this article.

 

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, chromium, nickel, magnesium, and copper. It contains a minimum of 11% of chromium; hence, becomes completely corrosion-resistant. It is non-porous, non-corrosive, and has a higher resistance to rust. In simple words, stainless steel is the better version of steel.



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man working on stainless steel

Alloy Table

Alloy Grades%C%Mn%P%S%Si%Cr%Ni%Mo
SS3040.0401.5800.0240.0400.40018.358.0400.070
SS304L0.0101.6380.0230.0020.41218.568.1380.364
SS3160.0802.0000.0450.0301.00016.8011.202.500
SS316L0.0201.3900.0240.0800.48016.8010.222.080

 

Types Of Stainless Steel

  • Austenitic Stainless Steel

These are non-magnetic types of stainless steel and contain high levels of chromium and nickel.

 

  • 304 Stainless Steel

This is an alloy made up of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. It is often used in auto-molding, electrical enclosures, wheel covers, etc.

 

  • 316 Stainless Steel

This is made up of 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% molybdenum. It is often used in pharmaceutical, marine, and other industries.

 

  • Ferritic Stainless Steel

Ferritic stainless steel is magnetic and non-heat-transferable. They are used in automotive and industrial industries.

 

  • Martensitic Stainless Steel

Martensitic stainless steel is used in vehicle springs, staple guns, cookware, scissors, etc.

 

Common Uses

Stainless steel is also used almost everywhere. You can find it in the kitchen equipment, medical industry, architecture, and automotive industry.

Few examples,

  • Kitchen sinks, cutlery, cookware
  • Surgical tools and medical equipment’s
  • Bridges monuments sculptures airport roof
  • Auto bodies rail cars aircrafts

 

Aluminum

Aluminum is a lightweight silvery-white metal. It becomes strong when mixed with other metals. It is a good conductor of heat and hence, often used to manufacture cookware and equipment.

Alloy%Cu%Mg%Mn%Si%Zn
20244.41.50.600
60610100.60
700501.4004.5
70751.62.5005.6
356.000.3070

 

Types Of Aluminum

  • 1100 Aluminum

It is 99% pure aluminum and is soft.

 

  • 3003 Aluminum

This type of aluminum has 1 to 1.5% of manganese. It is good for normal use but cannot be used for heavy duty.

 

  • 3004 Aluminum

This type of aluminum has 1-1.5% manganese and one percent of magnesium. It is tough and ideal to make cookware and tough commercial equipment.

 

Application

You can find aluminum almost everywhere. It is often used by the transportation industry, electrical industry, architecture, and household appliances.

Few examples,

  • Power lines
  • Aircraft components
  • Spacecraft components
  • Ships
  • Trains
  • Consumer electronics
  • Household and industrial appliances
  • Window frames
  • Vehicles

 

Aluminum Vs Stainless Steel- Which One Is Better?

  • Strength

Stainless steel is much stronger than aluminum.

 

  • Weight

Aluminum is lighter than stainless steel and is often used to manufacture airplanes, bicycles, and other automotive industries.

 

  • Cost

Both aluminum and stainless steel are equal in terms of price. But as Aluminum is lighter it is cheaper than heavy stainless steel.

 

  • Corrosion

Aluminum has good collision-resistant properties and does not rust. On the other hand, stainless steel with chromium is corrosion-resistant.

 

  • Conductivity

Stainless steel is not a good conductor of electricity. On the other hand, Aluminum is a good electrical conductor and therefore is often used by the electrical industry.

Similarly, Aluminum is a better heat conductor. Additionally, stainless steel can withstand high temperatures.

 

  • Malleability

Aluminum is soft and easier to use. You can easily bend them into any shape. Stainless steel is tough and difficult to work on.

 

  • Environmental Impact

Stainless steel can be recycled. Due to its distinct magnetic property, it is easy to recover and can be used many times.

Aluminum is also one of the most recyclable materials.

 

Aluminum Vs Stainless Steel- Comparison Table

AluminumStainless Steel
-Good Malleability-High Tensile Strength
-High Ductility-Heat Resistant
-Good Conductivity-Very Durable
-Light Weight-Low Maintenance

 



Final Words

Both aluminum and stainless steel have their own unique characteristics and are popular metals for the manufacturing industry. There is no one better than the other. It depends on your needs. For example, if you are looking for a metal that is a good conductor then Aluminum is your answer but if you want a strong and durable metal then stainless steel is an ideal option.