Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Compared to cast iron, for example, certain alloys of aluminum have both strength and weight advantages. How can aluminum be so strong while being so light?

share|cite|improve this question
Can you be more specific on the question. Each metal has its straights and weaknesses. – Fortunato Jun 29 '11 at 22:04
Diamond is also very light and stronger than Aluminum. Lead is very heavy and soft. There is no connection between strength and density. – fffred Aug 9 '13 at 23:27

ONE thing which makes Aluminum better than steel in SOME applications is its higher Strength/Weight ratio. A big contributor to this better ratio is the much lower density of Aluminum

There are some classes of aluminum alloys which are stronger than steel alloys, but, in general, aluminum is actually a bit weaker than steel.

However, aluminum is MUCH lighter (less dense) than steel: $2.8g/cm^3$ for Al as opposed to $7.8g/cm^3$ for steel, making Al a clear winner in the strength/weight arena.

The lower density of Al is due to its lower atomic weight.

share|cite|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.