Sheet Metal: Choosing Between Aluminum and Steel

From construction and automotive to mining and aeronautics, the use of sheet metal is not only beneficial, but also essential across multiple sectors of the modern industry. However, the term sheet metal is an umbrella term and there is a lot more to choosing the right option.

We still need to make sure that an adequate metal/alloy of appropriate grading and thickness is chosen in accordance with the job’s requirement. Next, let’s look at a few key factors which should make it easier to choose the right sheet metal every time.

Aluminum Sheets: Aeronautics, Electronics and Architecture

Aluminum alloys cannot be as strong as steel alloys, but that’s not a disadvantage. It only means that aluminum sheets are far more usable for other purposes for which the strength of steel alloys would be a disadvantage. For example, steel is used in aeronautic hull manufacturing for sure, but aluminum’s flexibility and higher strength to weight ratio makes the more malleable metal sheets far more important in this sector.

It’s also a popular metal used in manufacturing frames and bodies for consumer electronics. Aluminum is used more for architectural and decorative constructions, but it does have its uses in baseline construction as well. For example, prefabricated metal buildings are often made mostly from aluminum because of the element’s expert ability to disperse heat. Find out more about the science behind aluminum sheet metal here.

Stainless Steel Sheets: Ideal for Construction and Automotive Manufacturing

Construction, architecture, automotive, and aeronautics are some of the prime industrial sectors where steel sheets are used most often. Highlight properties of steel alloys will differ in accordance with their respective AISI grades, but sheet metal steel in general is highly resistant to rusting, corrosion, and weathering.

Its rigid structure, strength and durability are unmatched for usage in the manufacturing of oil rigs, ships, medical devices, kitchenware, and food storage as well. To buy custom steel alloy sheets of the exact thickness, width, and length that you need for your project, visit

AISI Standards for Steel

We need to be aware of how the AISI standards are used to mark steel sheets to ensure we are indeed buying the appropriate alloy for the work. Steel alloys are subdivided into nine primary categories with permanently assigned numbers, as per the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) standards. They are as follows:

  1. Carbon steel
  2. Nickel steel
  3. Nickel-chromium steel
  4. Molybdenum steel
  5. Chromium steel
  6. Chromium-vanadium steel
  7. Tungsten steel
  8. Nickel-chromium-vanadium steel
  9. Silicon-manganese steel

The numbers assigned to each of the above form the steel grading system’s first number (1 digit). The second number in the series denotes the percentage of alloying material which the steel sheet contains. The third number indicates the sheet metal’s carbon content in hundredths of 1% (.01% and up).

Therefore, steel sheets with an AISI grading of 1016 indicate that it is an unmodified carbon steel product with 0.16% carbon content. You can check the codes here for more detailed info on how steel classification systems used in the United States work.

Humna Chaudhary
Humna Chaudhary
Humna is a freelance writer, more than 2 years of experience , I writes and publishes articles on lots of high-quality Tech, General, Health, Fashion sites. . For more information contact me on