The key difference between aluminum and steel is their hardness. Aluminum is less hard than steel.
Aluminum and steel are metallic substances. Aluminum is a commonly found metallic element in earth’s crust, while steel is essentially an alloy of carbon, iron, and other elements. These two materials have somewhat similar applications, but aluminum metal is comparatively softer than steel.
What is Aluminum?
Aluminum is a chemical element having the atomic number 13 and the chemical symbol Al. Usually, this chemical element appears as a silvery-white, soft metal. Aluminum metal is nonmagnetic and highly ductile. It is abundant on earth (8% of earth’s crust). This metal is highly chemically reactive. Therefore, it is difficult to find native specimens of aluminum. This metal has a low density. It is lightweight and is able to resist corrosion via forming an oxide layer on its surface.
The electron configuration of the aluminum element is [Ne]3s13p1. It has a standard atomic weight of 26.98. Aluminum occurs in the solid state at room temperature and pressure conditions. Its melting point is 660.32 degrees Celsius, and its boiling point is 2470 degrees Celsius. The most common oxidation state of aluminum metal is +3.
There are different alloys of aluminum that are very helpful in different industries. Commonly used alloying chemical elements for aluminum include copper, magnesium, zinc, silicon, and tin. Aluminum alloys can come in two types as casting alloys and wrought alloys. Both these groups can be divided into two different categories as heat-treatable aluminum and non-heat-treatable aluminum alloys. The most commonly used form among them is the wrought alloy.
What is Steel?
Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon along with some other chemical elements. The carbon content in this alloy ranges up to 2% by weight. The most important properties of steel include high tensile strength and low cost. This is the most common material for building infrastructures. In addition, it is important for the production of tools for construction as well.
The crystal structure of pure iron has very little resistance to the iron atoms slipping past one another. Hence, pure iron is very ductile. But steel has carbon and some other components that can act as hardening agents. Thus, the ductility of steel is lower than that of pure iron. The crystal structure of pure iron has dislocations that can move, making the iron ductile, but in steel, components such as carbon can prevent the movement of these dislocations via entering into the crystal structure of iron.
We can find four types of steel; carbon steel, which contains iron and carbon, alloy steel, consisting of iron, carbon, and manganese, stainless steel, which contains iron, carbon, and chromium and tool steel, containing iron and trace amounts of tungsten and molybdenum.
Furthermore, steel can undergo corrosion upon exposure to air and moisture, except stainless steel. Stainless steel has chromium, which makes it corrosion resistant by forming a chromium oxide layer on the steel surface when it is exposed to normal air.
What is the Difference Between Aluminum and Steel?
Aluminum and steel are important metallic compounds having a wide range of uses in different industries. Aluminum is a metallic element having the atomic number 13 and the chemical symbol Al. Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon along with some other chemical elements. The key difference between aluminum and steel is that aluminum is less hard than steel.
Summary – Aluminum vs Steel
Aluminum and steel are metallic substances. The key difference between aluminum and steel is that aluminum is less hard than steel. This is mainly because the hardness of steel is enhanced by adding different chemical elements, and steel can be modified into different forms according to the purpose of its use.
1. “Steel.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.