Which is Best for Metal Manufacturing – Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

Which is Best for Metal Manufacturing – Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

If you run a machine shop or metal manufacturing service, you may deal with several types of metal. However, many companies must sometimes choose between aluminum and stainless steel for specific products. So, which is the best metal to use? Let’s check out stainless steel and aluminum properties and benefits, to help you make an informed decision.


When you need something strong and lightweight, aluminum alloys are the best choice. Aluminum is more than twice as light as steel. That is the reason it sees a lot of use in the aerospace industry today. Here are some more features of aluminum to consider:

* Corrosion – Aluminum does not rust, like steel. However, stainless steel contains chromium and is highly resistant to corrosion. In fact, stainless steel is superior to aluminum because it does not oxidize as rapidly. When exposed to caustic environments, aluminum may pit and corrode quickly.

* Heat transfer – aluminum conducts heat better than stainless steel. This feature makes aluminum a good choice for radiators and HVAC coils. On the other hand, stainless steel is a poor conductor but this makes it an excellent insulator, and it is often used in metal manufacturing for making cookware.

* Cost – in most cases, aluminum costs less than stainless steel.

* Forming and workability – because aluminum is softer than stainless steel, it is easier to work with. In fact, some stainless steel grades are stiff and brittle and difficult to work with.

Stainless Steel

metal manufacturing companies often use stainless steel for medical components and equipment used in the food and beverage industry. Unlike aluminum, stainless steel is easily sterilized. When you want parts or components with the most corrosion resistance and strength, go with stainless steel. However, you pay more for this metal but in many cases, it’s the only viable choice.

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