Knowing whether an object is made of steel or aluminum can be important for many reasons, such as when it comes to recycling or welding. But how do you tell the difference between these two materials? This article will explore several ways to determine if something is steel or aluminum.
Compare the Weight
One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between steel and aluminum is by their weight. Steel is much heavier than aluminum; a cubic foot of steel weighs approximately 490 pounds, while a cubic foot of aluminum only weighs about 165 pounds. Therefore, if you can lift an object easily, it is likely made of aluminum.
Check for Corrosion
Steel is also more prone to corrosion than aluminum, meaning that rust is a sign that the object is likely made of steel. If the object has any signs of rust, it is probably steel. Aluminum, on the other hand, does not corrode as easily, so it may stay relatively free from rust.
Check the Color
Another way to tell the difference between steel and aluminum is by their coloring. Steel usually has a dull gray color, while aluminum has a silvery shine. However, this isn’t always the case, as some metals may have been painted or otherwise modified, so it’s not always a reliable indicator.
Steel is magnetic, whereas aluminum is not. You can use a magnet to determine if the object is made of steel by placing it near the object and seeing if it sticks. If the magnet sticks, the object is likely made of steel. If the magnet does not stick, the object is likely made of aluminum.
Look for Markings
Many items will have markings or labels indicating which material it is made from. Look for any words like “aluminum” or “steel” printed on the object to help identify it. Additionally, many items are stamped with a symbol indicating which metal was used to make them.
Perform a Spark Test
As a final indicator, you can perform a spark test to determine if something is steel or aluminum. To do this, take a tool like a screwdriver and scrape it against the surface of the object. Observe the sparks created. If the sparks are small and yellow, the object is likely made of steel. If the sparks are large and white, the object is likely made of aluminum.
In summary, there are several ways to tell if something is steel or aluminum. These include comparing the weight, checking for corrosion, looking at the color, using a magnet, looking for markings, and performing a spark test. With these methods, you should be able to accurately determine what material an object is made from.