Comparison of aluminum and stainless steel

Update: 10-02-2020

Aluminum is 66% lighter than stainless steel, and alumi […]

Aluminum is 66% lighter than stainless steel, and aluminum is often cheaper than stainless steel.

Most T-tops, hardtops and towers are made of aluminum. However, aluminum is a relatively low-hardness metal and is easily scratched. Once the surface of aluminum is cracked, it will continue to corrode, forming a white crusty appearance and spreading away from the damaged area. In saline environments, it is even more severe.
Stainless steel is often used where higher strength is needed, especially where a bend-resistant metal is needed. This includes deck hardware, seat hardware and rollers. Compared with aluminum, stainless steel also has better scratch resistance and scratch resistance.

On the other hand, stainless steel is expensive and, as mentioned earlier, it weighs three times as much as aluminum. When used in a structure such as a hard-top frame, it not only adds weight, but also generates stresses that cause the glass fibers to break over time. To prevent this, reinforce the fiberglass at the support points.

The finish ensures that the stainless steel in the accessory has a polished finish that allows chromium in the alloy to react with oxygen in the air to form an invisible chromium oxide surface layer to maximize corrosion resistance. If surface corrosion will occur in the future, it will be relatively easy to sand.

Aluminium grades The best grades for marine aluminum include 5000 and 6000 series alloys. Commonly used for aluminum and aluminum alloys include 5052 and 5086, which have high strength and corrosion resistance. 6061 and 6063 alloys are commonly used for extrusion; and 6463 can be found in tops, towers, rails and inclined columns

Commercial grade stainless steel is 304, but marine accessories are grade 316 stainless steel. It contains molybdenum and more nickel to increase strength and corrosion resistance.

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