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Which costs more aluminum or steel?

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βˆ™ 2011-07-25 21:40:49

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For homework: Aluminum is about 7 times more expensive than steel.

A full answer: Basically: Aluminum is more expensive. And during 2011 is expected to go higher, because of less demand. Although the price of steel is constantly on the raise. BUT, in some cases making things from steel can turn out to be more expensive. Like boats. But again, in the usual case Aluminum is more expensive.

How much more expensive depends: There are different kinds of steel.

Also, it depends on how much material you'll need. Sometimes a small amount of aluminum will suffice for a much larger amount (in weight) of steel you would need for the same task. In that case making your project from aluminum will cost less than from steel. But the raw cost of steel is still cheaper than that of aluminum. (The reason is that aluminum, although more "abundant" - meaning found more on the surface of earth, is harder and therefore more expensive to retrieve).

The most significant cost difference, is the cost of work: tools, knowledge and the price for fixing mistakes. Working with aluminum is much more expensive than steel.

In 2002 (before the price rise of steel) it was 4.2 times more expensive to make a car from aluminum, than from steel.

But then a comparison by a boat maker shows that its EASIER to work with aluminum, if you use its features to your advantage: (No need to paint submerged parts, build without bending, use standard profiles etc.) and easier to sell.

And then it depends if you need to use new material or can use scrap.

Today (March 2011) iron ore (the main part for making steel) is 4 and a half cents per pound, while aluminum is a dollar and 14 cents! 0.045 vs 1.14. That's Aluminum over 25 times more expensive than iron. (But then again, steel is about 3.5 times more expensive than iron, so aluminum is about 7.2 times more expensive now.

Please understand that a shortage (like the one during the Chinese Olympics a few years ago) can make the price of steel rocket up, and change everything. So you never know what will be. But currently, Aluminum is more expensive.

By the way, Mary Antoinette had a set of cutlery (knife, fork and spoons) from aluminum, that was at that time just discovered, and more expensive than silver.

2011-07-25 21:40:49
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