See all Blog Posts 10 Differences Between Aluminum and Stainless Steel Category: Aluminum, Stainless Steel Posted: December 15, 2014 Aluminum and Stainless Steel might look similar, but they are actually quite different. Keep these 10 differences in mind when deciding which type of metal to use in your next project: Strength to weight ratio. Aluminum is typically not as strong as steel, but it is also almost one third of the weight. This is the main reason why aircraft are made from Aluminum. Corrosion. Stainless steel is made up of iron, chromium, nickel, manganese and copper. The chromium is added as an agent to provide corrosion resistance. Also, because it is non-porous the resistance to corrosion is increased. Aluminum has a high oxidation and corrosion resistance mainly due to its passivation layer. When aluminum is oxidized, its surface will turn white and will sometimes pit. In some extreme acidic or base environments, Aluminum may corrode rapidly with catastrophic results. Thermal Conductivity. Aluminum has a much better thermal conductivity (conductor of heat) than stainless steel. One of the main reasons it is used for car radiators and air conditioning units. Cost. Aluminum is typically cheaper than stainless steel. Workability. Aluminum is fairly soft and easier to cut and form. Due to its resistance to wear and abrasion, Stainless can be difficult to work with. Stainless steels are harder and are especially harder to form than aluminum. Welding. Stainless is relatively easy to weld, while Aluminum can be difficult. Thermal properties. Stainless can be used at much higher temperatures than Aluminum which can become very soft above about 400 degrees. Electrical Conductivity. Stainless steel is a really poor conductor compared to most metals. Aluminum is a very good conductor of electricity. Due to its high conductance, light weight, and corrosion resistance, high-voltage overhead power lines are generally made of aluminum. Strength. Stainless steel is stronger than Aluminum (provided weight is not a consideration). Effect on Foods. Stainless steel is less reactive with foods. Aluminum can react to foods which may affect color and flavor. Don’t have time to read the blog? You can check out our video below to find out the differences between aluminum and stainless steel: Metal Supermarkets Metal Supermarkets is the world’s largest small-quantity metal supplier with over 100 brick-and-mortar stores across the US, Canada, and United Kingdom. We are metal experts and have been providing quality customer service and products since 1985. At Metal Supermarkets, we supply a wide range of metals for a variety of applications. Our stock includes: mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, tool steel, alloy steel, brass, bronze and copper. We stock a wide range of shapes including: bars, tubes, sheets, plates and more. And we can cut metal to your exact specifications. Visit one of our 100+ locations across North America today. Share: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn E-Mail Tags: aluminum, stainless steel Related blog articles What is the Spark Test? What is Oxygen Free Copper? What is Abrasion Resistant Steel?