Duralumin vs Stainless Steel – What’s the Difference

Duralumin vs Stainless Steel

Regarding materials used for manufacturing appliances, vehicles or any product that requires strength and durability, two materials come to mind – Duralumin and Stainless Steel. Both materials are known for their strength and resilience, but how do they differ? This blog post explores the differences between Duralumin and Stainless Steel and which material is better suited for different applications.

What is Duralumin?

Duralumin is a lightweight but incredibly strong alloy made from aluminium, copper and other metals. It was invented in 1908 by Alfred Wilm, an engineer at Dürener Metallwerke in Germany. This alloy can resist corrosion and is also quite malleable when forming into different shapes and sizes. In addition, its tensile strength can sustain pressure up to 200 MPa (megapascals). Its primary use today is found in aerospace applications due to its incredible durability compared with other alloys.

What is Stainless Steel?

Stainless Steel is an alloy made of iron, chromium and other metals. It is known for its corrosion resistance, strength and durability. Stainless Steel has many uses, including cutlery, medical tools and kitchenware, automotive components, bridges and buildings. It is also used to create furniture fixtures and jewellery due to its attractive finish. In addition to being recyclable, stainless Steel does not require painting or coating, which reduces maintenance costs over time.

Difference Between Duralumin and Stainless Steel

Duralumin is an aluminium alloy, typically composed of copper, manganese and magnesium. It is known for its lightweight and corrosion resistance, making it ideal for aircraft construction. In contrast, stainless steel contains iron and chromium, among other elements, thus making it heavy yet highly resistant to rusting or staining due to its high chromium content.


Duralumin is an alloy of aluminium, copper, manganese, and magnesium. It is known for being lightweight and strong. On the other hand, Stainless Steel is an alloy made of iron, chromium, nickel, and other metals. It is known for its strength and corrosion resistance.


Duralumin has a higher tensile strength than stainless Steel at room temperature. This makes it ideal for applications that require high levels of strength, such as aircraft parts or automotive components. Stainless Steel has a lower tensile strength but can be strengthened through cold working or heat treatment.

Corrosion Resistance

Stainless Steel offers superior corrosion resistance to duralumin due to its higher chromium content. This makes it ideal for applications where corrosion resistance is important such as food processing equipment or medical instruments. Duralumin does not have the same level of corrosion resistance and should not be used in these applications.


Stainless Steel tends to be more expensive than duralumin due to its higher cost of production and raw materials. However, the cost difference between the two materials depends on the type of stainless Steel used and other factors such as availability and demand in the market.


Duralumin is typically used in aerospace applications due to its high strength-to-weight ratio and low thermal expansion coefficient, which make it suitable for aircraft components such as landing gear or fuselage frames. Stainless Steel is commonly used in kitchenware due to its corrosion resistance and aesthetic appeal. Still, it can also be used in medical instruments or chemical processing equipment due to its durability and non-reactive properties.


In conclusion, while Duralumin and Stainless Steel offer excellent strength and durability, they are materials suited to different applications. Duralumin is an ideal lightweight material for applications where weight is crucial, as in the case of aircraft manufacturing. Stainless Steel, conversely, is a more corrosion-resistant material that is ideal in corrosive environments like marine or outdoor applications. One thing to remember is the welding technique required for each material. Choosing the right material for the right application is crucial for manufacturers since it can impact the final product’s strength, durability, and even safety.