Difference Between Steel and Aluminium

Steel vs Aluminium


Steel and aluminium are materials that we see almost everyday, almost everywhere. Aluminium is the third most abundant element in the world while steel is perhaps the most popular alloy. These two materials share similar applications, but how are they different? Read on.


Steel is an alloy that is formed from a mixture of iron and carbon, although sometimes, other alloying elements are used. Although steel has been around as early as 4000 years ago, it was after the 17th century that it became commonly used because of more efficient means of production. With the introduction of the Bessemer process, it became a cheap mass-produced material. Steel is commonly used in construction, appliances and vehicles.


Aluminium is a non-ferrous metal that is abundantly present in nature but because it is highly reactive, it usually exists combined with over 270 different minerals, mainly bauxite compound. It is the third most abundant element in the earth’s crust. Due to its resistance to corrosives and its low density, aluminium alloys are vital in the aerospace industry and are useful in transportation and building. Because of its reactive nature, aluminium is also used as a catalyst or an additive in explosives. A more common use of aluminium, and one we see almost everyday, is packaging.

Difference Between Steel and Aluminium

Steel and aluminum are widely used materials with a wide range of applications. Steel is an alloy, however, while aluminum is an element. Even then, aluminum is very reactive and whatever applications of aluminum we see now, it is usually mixed with other elements or compounds to prevent chemical reactions. Steel is very malleable compared to aluminum, but the latter is lightweight. In car manufacturing, aluminum is considered better because it gives a better weight/strength ratio. Even though steel and aluminum are quite famous for their industrial applications now, in the past steel was mostly used for weaponry while aluminum was used for dyeing and for the dressing of wounds.

Without a doubt, aluminum and steel are very important in our daily lives today. Cars, buildings and roads have at least one component that uses either steel or aluminum. These two have helped shape our world to what it is today.

In brief:

• Steel is an alloy of iron. It is usually mixed with carbon, although sometimes other alloying metals are used. It is commonly used in infrastructure and manufacturing. It is also one of the oldest materials used by man.

• Aluminum is one of the most abundant elements on Earth and is widely used in manufacturing and packaging. Its a ductile silvery white metallic element. Its malleability, resistance to corrosion and lightweight are its most valued traits. It is also highly reactive that is why it usually found combined with other elements.

• Steel is very malleable compared to aluminum, but it corrodes fast and heavy.

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