20

I believe it has less to do with strength and more to do with stiffness. A rod of aluminum of the same length and weight as a a steel rod will be just as strong (force required to break) but have three times the cross-sectional area which hugely increases the second moment of inertia by nine times (it scales to the fourth power of distance/length which is ...


15

If furnished in a thin, polished sheet, aluminum will reflect infrared radiation, as for instance in a so-called "space blanket" which consists of a thin sheet of plastic on which a thin and smooth layer of aluminum has been deposited. In this context, the aluminum can prevent heat losses by reflecting infrared radiation. But if that thin sheet of ...


9

It really depends on what you are trying to do with it. And thermal "conductors" and "insulators" are not a hard and fast distinction in properties like electric conductors or insulators. Every material just has a certain thermal conductivity, so compared to say diamond, aluminum has low conductivity. With foil, wrapping it with air ...


9

TL;DR: Materials perform differently under different loading conditions. Some applications are more suited for steel others for aluminium I will try to give another more general perspective/approach, using the concept of material indices (mainly other users gave perfectly adequate explanations of the differences between bending and tension and stiffness vs ...


6

Sometimes the strength isn't required, so size for size, aluminium is lighter. e.g. bicycles often use aluminium screws to hold the bottle cage to the frame. The size of the screw is set to be comfortable to handle, and to accept the same size Allen key as other screws on the bike. But, it doesn't need to be super strong as it's not taking a critical or high ...


4

When Zeppelins were designed, only non-sparking materials were allowed for them so the hydrogen gas that invariably seeps from the gas bags would not find an ignition source. Steel did not qualify. But this is admittedly a rare example. The other answers which mention the second moment of inertia are spot-on, though. If you build a load-carrying shell you ...


3

And, in addition for sheet metal application like aircraft skin the aluminum could be 0.040 " ( 1 mm) thick ; the equal steel would be 0.013" thick . The steel would be so thin it would cause handling problems and , I expect other problems in the real world. PS ; maraging steels are good for NASA but not much use in the real world. Regular Q&T ...


3

Some engineering aspects, related to designing end products (my experience is in prototypes and small-volume production): Machining costs (accounting for time and tool wear when milling/turning) are so much less on Al alloys that the costs of extra material can be tiny in comparison - if you're starting from billets. Al is also easy to melt, so casting is ...


2

Wider tubes and beams are stronger against bending and less susceptible to buckling. Look up second moment of area. There is a limit to how thin you can make a tube before it becomes impossible (or very hard) to weld. With aluminium you can make much wider tubes which can still be welded. Just compare modern aluminium bicycle frames to older, high-end steel ...


2

An adequate simplification would be to treat it as a simply supported beam (there is not much added benefit to treat it a plate). For a simply supported beam with: Length L = 37 5/8'' width w = 22 1/16'' - 2 1/2'' = 19 9/16'' (the width is at its thinness point) Assuming the load is dead center: $$M=P\cdot \frac{L}{2} = 1881.25 [lbf.in]$$ where: P is the ...


2

Using "normal" powder coating excludes the option to use a matte finish powder coating. If the service you are using for the coating has not presented to you this option, they are derelict in their business. Additionally, there are powders available, when properly applied, provide for a wrinkle finish, addressing the textured consideration in your ...


1

There are 3 modes of heat transfer: Conduction, radiation, and convection. Conduction is heat simply transferring via contact with its surroundings. Aluminum is a pretty good conductor of heat this way. In this specific mode, the aluminum is worse, it will conduct more than most other things. But, you have to ask yourself, what is it conducting to? Once ...


1

Simple and short answer is it depends where do you want to use Steel or Aluminum, and what is your target. If your target is to use a material so that it will not suffer from any plastic failure or fracture when subjected to extreme loading conditions, then you have to choose a material which will have higher yield and tensile strengths (that is why steel ...


1

Aluminum has a couple of favorite properties. rust resistant. easy to extude decent strength its ideal for uses where one needs decent strength combined with light weight but enough meet to paroved space for drilling bolt into to attach brackets and or other parts. Engine block is a good example. Aluminum windows and shelving is another one. they strong ...


1

If you are not stuck on powdercoating, there are "hammered metal" paints. Rust-oleum rattle cans


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