With over a century of grating manufacturing behind us, we humans have learnt to fine-tune the process through trial and error. Webforge produce strong, durable grating for walkways and platforms that are built to last. But not all grating is created equally - simply because there is so much variation in applications. Grating is typically made of aluminium or steel, though alloys and plastic composites are also sometimes used. Today we're taking a look at the big guns: What is the difference between steel and aluminium grating?
Aluminium vs. stainless steel grating: Strength & malleability
Aluminium is far more malleable and flexible than steel, and it's also approximately a third of the weight of a steel object with equivalent mass. Because of this, it's far easier to work and manipulate into unique shapes. Additionally, it's far easier to create specialised hole patterns with aluminium. While aluminium grating panels have a solid strength/weight ratio, steel is much stronger. Steel being harder than aluminium means it's a little bit tougher to work with.
Stainless steel vs. aluminium grating: Corrosion resistance
Stainless steel contains chromium as an agent for corrosion resistance. Chromium takes stainless steel a long way towards its intended goal, but stainless steel has an additional level of resistance to corrosion because it's non-porous. Aluminium is also resistant to corrosion, but for a different reason - a self-repairing oxide layer that protects the metal inside. The oxide layer prevents aluminium from rusting as well as developing a thicker oxide layer as some metals are prone to do. This is a natural property of aluminium, where as the chromium in stainless steel is a man-made addition. Aluminium may be less corrosive naturally, but both materials can stand up to severe conditions.
Aluminium vs. stainless steel grating: Weight differences
As mentioned previously, aluminium has an outstanding strength/weight ratio. It's extremely light and for this reason it's much easier to install, and a far better option for hatches, or grates that will be moved with any regularity. Despite a strong performance for a low material, aluminium is still not as strong as stainless steel grating. With around 2.5 times the density of aluminium, steel is one of the strongest materials you can use for your grating. If weight is not an issue, steel is a great performer.
Stainless steel vs. aluminium grating: Thermal and magnetic properties
Aluminium is non-magnetic and non-sparking, though it is a good conductor of heat. This means if it's subject to high temperatures (even from sunlight) it will warm up in response. Stainless steel on the other hand is not a good heat conductor, therefore it won't get as hot when in contact with high temperatures. The magnetic properties of stainless steel depend on its composition. Ferritic stainless steel has a higher concentration of iron, while austenitic stainless steel contains elements of nickel which render it non-magnetic.
What sort of properties are you looking for in your grating? Webforge produces grating in a number of materials and no matter what the application, we have the solution. Contact us now for more details.