Aluminum Flat Stock vs Stainless Steel: Which is a Better Material for You?

As a manufacturer, keeping production costs down while maintaining quality is the cornerstone of your success. When it comes to metal, using aluminum flat stock, or aluminum 6061, will serve you well in a variety of applications that don’t require high heat. Aluminum 6061 is one of the strongest alloys for its weight you’ll find. Its tensile strength is over 310MPa, or 45,000 psi. its density is 2.7g/cm^3. Compare this to 430 stainless steel, which has a density of 7.7g/cm^3 and a tensile strength of 517MPa or 75,000 psi. In other words, you get half the strength of 430 stainless steel at a third of the weight. Aluminum also has corrosion-resistant properties. If your product is intended to function well in high-moisture environments, aluminum is likely a safe bet.

Aluminum flat stock is easy to machine, extrude, and shape, and it actually gains some strength in cold environments because unlike other metals, it has little to no sensitivity to temperature changes in terms of yield strength. It also costs less to maintain because of the comparative lack of corrosion. Aluminum also has a high enough melting point at 650 degrees Celsius that, unless you plan to use it in welding applications, the risk of weakening is unlikely. Steel does have its uses in high-weight, high-heat environments.

Aluminum is a low-cost, effective, and versatile metal for a host of industrial applications. By choosing the right vendor to provide your company with the materials it needs, you will be better able to provide your customers with the quality product they deserve.