The Beginner’s Guide to Welding

Aluminum and Steel: The Best Cladding Metals

Cost, manufacturing parameters, durability, and appearance are the main things that determine whether a material is a good cladding choice of not.

Steel and aluminum are the most common materials used for cladding. Sometimes stainless steel and weathering steels are used. Other materials are used in particular circumstances which includes copper, bronze, and titanium.

The most popular cladding materials are steel and aluminum. In the classifications of metal cladding types, these two are extensively used. Strength, durability, and cost of materials define the basic difference between steel and aluminum.

Steel cladding undergoes the process of being pre-galvanized and pre-painted in coil form before the panel is manufactured. When steel is being galvanized, it is dipped into molten zinc or zinc aluminum alloy and a layer of metallic coating is bonded to form a hard, durable outer layer. The thickness of galvanized steel varies and this is expressed as the weight of zinc or zinc aluminum per square meter on both sides of the sheet. The typical coating weight on cladding panels are 275g/m2 for zinc and 255g/m2 for zinc aluminum. Zinc aluminum alloy has better durability in polluted or coastal areas. Premium pre-finished metals improves its corrosion performance with the use of zinc aluminum alloy. In order to improve appearance and durability the steel is coated with a variety of finishes. Your steel panel will be tough and durable with premium coating. Normally, there are difficult environmental conditions that exist outside of the sheets. But, the underside of the sheet may be subjected to condensation and trapped moisture so it is normal to apply coating to this face at various specifications to suit both cost and environmental conditions.

Aluminum is resistant to corrosion. Bare aluminum reacts rapidly with oxygen to form a hard, dense layer that inhibits further corrosion. Aluminum used for cladding is an alloy that is combined with magnesium and manganese. Although aluminum is already durable on its own but it you add an organic or metaling coating, then the durability is improved.

The relative merits of both steel and aluminum is difficult to compare. This often depends on the particular circumstances. Corrosion resistance is the greatest advantage of aluminum, but durability is the advantage of painted steel. Though aluminum is lighter, it is not stronger than steel so it needs deeper or thicker profiles to span the same distance between purlins.

When aluminum is produced, it requires greater quantities of energy than steel so this makes it more expensive than steel. Steel is more impact-resistant and moves less than aluminum when subject to temperature changes. It performs better in fire because it has a higher melting point. Certain types of aluminum panels are formed more easily than steel because it has a low melting point.

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