Everybody should have some basic knowledge about things like metals. Most people will use ‘something’ made of metal throughout their day and perhaps not have given it a second thought. However, if you are an enthusiast of any sort then you’ll need to know the different metals and why it’s important to make the right choice, especially when buying aluminium or stainless steel products.
Knowing your apples from your pears
Generally speaking, metals, on the most part are used for mechanical machines that are relied upon to perform daily with as little maintenance as possible. As such, it’s really important that you know the differences between Aluminium and stainless, especially when dealing with aluminium recycling Sydney yards have as they both hold unique characteristics that will be best suited to a different task. Not just that, it also needs to be disposed of separately.
The wrong choice could see you going back to your supplier in need of more than what you set out to buy. Before we start, one of the biggest characteristics or differences between the two is this. Steel is a natural element whereas aluminium is what’s known as an ‘alloy’. This means that it is made up of various other types of metals. (Al) is used for the most part. However, the Al is then mixed with (typically speaking) a variety of, copper, magnesium, manganese, silicon, tin and zinc.
So, what are the real-world differences?
- Thermal Properties – One of the primary reasons that aluminium is used for things like radiators and air conditioning systems is that it has considerably superior thermal properties when compared with stainless steel. It has a much better ability of retaining heat or, in terms of a radiator, to dissipate heat from areas that need to be kept cool. The same philosophy is true of radiators that are used for the automotive industry and aftermarket water cooling systems for the electronics market. Stainless steel, on the other hand, can withstand significantly greater temperatures than aluminium, which softens at temperatures beyond 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cost – Steel is the world’s second largest industry, generating some 750 billion pounds worth of income each year. Believe it or not, it is only second to fossil fuels, mainly, oil and gas. Aluminium is actually cheaper because it can be bought in raw form and then processed using whichever combination of metals the user wants to use. Generally speaking, the process of buying the materials and then forging them into something new should be cheaper ‘at scale’ than stainless steel.
- Weight and Strength – As with most things in life, compromise is usually required when making a choice of product. In the case of aluminium and stainless steel, the toss up is between weight and strength. Generally speaking, aluminium is a softer metal than stainless steel. However, it is considerably lighter in terms of weight. Screws and nails are more likely to be steel, whereas things like car and bike frames, that can be re-enforced will make use of aluminium.
There’s not much to think about really
In summary, if you need a really strong metal and weight is not something that is important to you then, steel is the one. However, if you need to save weight then you could consider aluminium for most parts of a machine, that aren’t used as ‘fixings.