Benefits of Using Aluminum vs. Steel

Construction machinery
Photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis

Aluminum and steel are both versatile metals that have many uses in a variety of different industries. Both metals come with their advantages and disadvantages. And many advancements have been made over the years in the production of steel and aluminum. Both metals can be melted, casted and machined into different shapes. Both can produce electricity and are recyclable. So, which metal is better?

Well, that would depend on what you’re using it for.

Steel

Made of iron and other elements, steel has the advantage over aluminum when it comes to formability. Simply put, steel has more forming range than aluminum does. Steel is also much harder than aluminum, which offers increased design flexibility. Most important, steel is 100 percent recyclable, so it’s good for the environment. In fact, there is more steel recycled each year than paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic combined.

Aluminum

One-third the density of steel, aluminum is much lighter in weight. For this reason, aluminum is easier and more efficient to machine than steel. Aluminum is also ductile with a low melting point and density, which also makes it easier to machine. Moreover, aluminum is resilient in that it combines strength with flexibility and can flex under loads or spring back easily from the shock of impact. Aluminum also retains a high scrap value, which means it’s also recyclable.

Uses of Both Metals

There are many uses for both metals. For instance, steel and aluminum are used in the marine industry as they are utilized in hulls, decks and bulkheads. Plus, both metals are used in the automotive industry, the mold-making industry and the machining industry. The metals can also be used to make kitchen utensils, golf clubs, indoor and outdoor furniture, refrigerators, and toasters. From buildings to submarines and airplanes, some of the world’s most astonishing objects are made from steel and aluminum.

While both metals have excellent features, we use aluminum at Framing Tech because it’s light, strong and recyclable. No other metal can be used in so many ways across such a variety of industries, such as maritime, automotive, mold-making, and machinery. For those reasons, Framing Tech manufactures, fabricates and sells structural aluminum extrusions and framing in all shapes and sizes.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.