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Advantages and disadvantages of aluminum compared with other materials


The use of aluminum in objects of everyday use is economical, safe and ecologically sensible. That is why ZARGES has, since the very beginning of its 80-year history, opted to manufacture innovative products predominantly from this unique light metal. The advantages of aluminum as described in greater detail below provide for an exceptionally wide range of product solutions.

Did you know?

  • Aluminum is the most used metal after steel.
  • Aluminum is the most commonly occurring metal in the Earth’s crust.
  • Aluminum is the third most common chemical element on Earth, after oxygen and silicon.
  Aluminum Steel Plastic Wood
Durability ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★
Formability ★★★★Very high ★★★Dependent on the alloy: Hardness low tensile strength, lack of hardenability in stainless steel. Very high tensile strength, wear resistance and endurance strength. ★★Poor, but as an injection molding any form can be taken. Depending on the type of plastic hard, elastic, break-proof, heat-resistant and chemically resistant. Strength and rigidity lower than that of metals. Can by partly compensated for by greater wall thicknesses or reinforcement ★Very low
Fabrication ★★★★Can be fabricated in a wide variety of ways: drawing, pressing, cutting, lasering, grinding. It can be machined down, cold-worked and easily welded. Ideal extruding and casting properties. ★★★ ★★★While metals are fabricated at high temperatures, complicated molded parts can be made from plastic comparatively easily with minimal effort. ★★Classic machining by sawing, grinding and planing.
Moisture ★★★★Very weather-proof. Aluminum is not subject to oxidation/rust. Water vapor-proof. ★★★Stainless steel is rust-proof, as are fully hot-dipped galvanized steels. Water vapor-proof. ★★Plastics are moisture-resistant and can be designed to be completely vapor-proof. ★Air-permeable, absorbs moisture, no vapor barrier.
Temperature ★★★★Ideal for low-temperature conditions, it retains its toughness and its hardness even increases. ★★★★The melting point is much higher than that of aluminum. Also stable at low temperatures. ★Regular plastics are not fireproof, they melt and burn quickly. Plastics quickly become brittle at low temperatures. ★★Wood cannot withstand high temperatures, but is stable at low temperatures
Heat conduction Very good, making it suitable for applications in which heat has to be removed. Moderate Very low, thus good insulating property. Very low, thus good insulating property.
Current conductivity Very good Moderate None None
Hygiene ★★★★Very easy to clean with cleaning agents, acids, bases, solvents and steam. Non-toxic and hygienic. ★★★★Very easy to clean with cleaning agents, acids, bases, solvents and steam. ★★★Easy to clean with cleaning agents. Sensitive to acids, bases, solvents and steam/heat. ★Hard to clean due to the rough surface.
Ageing, corrosion ★★★★Not sensitive to weather exposure. UV-resistant, corrosion-resistant oxide layer. ★★★Only stainless steel (as opposed to steel) and surface-treated steel are relatively resistant to corrosion and acids. ★Most plastics are sensitive to solvents. Weather exposure and especially UV light cause plastics to become brittle, fade and age. ★As a natural material not very resistant to ageing: wood rots, decays, and breaks down.
Environmental Sensitivity ★★High energy utilization when producing aluminum, but product is 100% recyclable. ★★Extracting metal by mining not quite as intensive as aluminum. ★Plastics are made from increasingly scarce and expensive crude oil and are only recyclable to a limited extent. ★★★★Non-critical, since it is a reproductive raw material that can be recycled or burned. Neutral CO2 balance.
Advantages – cases and logistics equipment Aluminum cases: Stable, lightweight and long-lasting cases. Sheet-steel cases: Stable and long-lasting, but roughly twice as heavy as similar aluminum cases. Plastic cases: Many different shapes and colors possible but smaller operating temperature range. Wooden cases: Desirable natural appearance. Solid and cheap but heavier than aluminum cases.