Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel: Which Material Should You Use for Different Projects?

July 11, 2018 by Bob Wilson

Aluminum and stainless steel are two metals often used in different industries. They are both durable and have smooth finishes. However, they are very different metals, with their own advantages and disadvantages and purposes.


However, before you begin any project involving metal, it is essential to understand the differences between these two and which material is better to use to come up with a good product. Both are used for various purposes, molded or joined by welding companies in Edmonton.


Aluminum

Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust but is rarely found in its pure form. It is a more pliable metal that is easy to mold but has a low melting point and high thermal conductivity. It is affordable, lightweight, and the second-most malleable metal. It is also non-magnetic, does not spark, and is the sixth most ductile metal element.

While it is not used for projects that require a heavy-duty metal, its high thermal conductivity makes it useful for products exposed continuously to high temperature and electricity. In contrast, stainless steel has poor thermal and electric conductivity.


Stainless Steel

Compared to aluminum, stainless steel is heavier and stronger. It consists of different metal elements including chromium, which is highly resistant to corrosion. Its high amount of metal allows it to withstand high vibrations, impact, and extreme temperatures. Because it comes from natural elements, it is recyclable and non-toxic, providing products with a durable material that is environment-friendly. If you have a project that requires heavy-duty metal, stainless steel is your best bet.


Products

Aluminum is best for heavy machinery repair as well as a primary material for structures. It is an excellent insulator because its properties allow heat and light reflection. Its low density, non-toxicity, and affordability make it useful for products such as cans, foil, utensils, window frames, kegs, and aviation parts. Its electric conductivity makes it useful for electrical transmission lines.


Stainless steel is best for heavy-duty products that need to withstand corrosion, temperatures, and other elements. These can include automotive parts, plumbing fixtures, furniture, and other everyday household items. It is mostly used in five commercial sectors: construction, transport, energy, packaging, appliances, and industry.


Welding Aluminum or Stainless Steel

For most projects, you may need welding services for your materials to stick together. Welding is more effective than other methods. However, for best results, you need a professional to handle the welding job. While these features may be useful, welding becomes tricky to handle with its different conductivity, melting point, resistance, and other features.

Choosing aluminum or stainless steel depends on the project you are doing and the metal features that will best suit your project’s purpose. For affordable and malleable metal that is heat and electricity-conductive, go for aluminum; otherwise, choose stainless steel for heavy-duty purposes.

Whether you choose aluminum or steel, Advantage Manufacturing provides welding services for both. Our technicians have the training and skills to provide the best welding output for manufacturing and customized welding tasks. Our clients trust our services, making us one of three certified aluminum welders in Alberta.

Learn more about our welding services today by clicking here.