Stainless steel and aluminum are both worth collecting, but we all know that their values are different—and, of course, you’re going to get more money for each scrap haul if you sort different types of scrap out from one another. However, telling the difference between aluminum and stainless steel can be very challenging, especially when you’re out in the field without a ton of tools to help you in identifying different metals. Here’s a short, helpful article on how to tell the difference.
General Differences between Aluminum and Stainless Steel
Aluminum is a great deal lighter and more malleable than stainless steel, while stainless steel is generally much stronger. The malleability of aluminum, but its overall lower strength, comes from the fact that it is a much softer metal. This will be important later, as it’s the key factor in the handy tip we’ll give you in the next section of this post.
Both of these metals are so useful because they’re so different—each of them is better than the other for a certain application.
For example, stainless steel‘s strength and corrosion resistance make it ideal for use in the construction field. Aluminum, on the other hand, is one of the primary materials used to make airplanes, because it is so lightweight—obviously a big consideration when you’re making something that’s intended to fly!
The challenge when it comes to identifying aluminum or stainless steel, though, is that they look so similar. A lot of scrappers don’t know how to tell the difference out in the field. However, we’ve found a simple test that a lot of our top scrappers use to determine which is which—and the best part is, it’s very easy to do.