Projections show that the global metal fabrication market will reach a size of $29.46 billion by 2029.
Various industries rely on metal fabrication for all kinds of parts. Among those parts, one of the most widely used is flat bars. Flat bars are often made from steel or aluminum, and to determine the most suitable option you need to think about the application and the properties of each.
For a rundown of the different aluminum and steel flat bar applications, keep reading.
What Are Flat Bars?
Flat bars are a product typically made from sheet or plate metal. They're formed by extruding, rolling, or splitting the sheet. When rolled or extruded, it's sometimes known as "true bar".
True bar typically has a more consistent grain structure and thickness, making it more suitable for certain applications. It also tends to have a more consistent finish, making it better for aesthetic purposes.
Aluminum Flat Bar Applications
Aluminum is a very popular metal, being notable for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio. It's also very versatile and adaptable, so fits a range of applications.
The strength-to-weight ratio makes it a popular choice for a range of structural applications. The consistency of the surface also helps here. Its versatility means you can cut, drill, weld, and reshape aluminum flat bars with ease.
The malleability and sturdiness of aluminum flat bars also make them a popular choice for architects, artists, and craftsmen. Things like statues and other constructions can include aluminum flat bars in various ways.
When it comes to aircraft, weight is an incredibly important consideration, making aluminum a great choice for various parts. On top of that, aluminum has various other characteristics that make it ideal for aircraft.
It's heat and wind-resistant, so aluminum flat bars are perfect for an aircraft frame. Heat treatment can improve aluminum's strength, helping to support the overall structure. As aluminum is non-magnetic, it can make up electrical components without causing any interference.
Aluminum is quite common in a range of medical equipment, with flat bars being popular for different enclosures and components. Because it's pliable and easy to manipulate, it's an effective choice for grips and handles. It's also ideal for durable, lightweight casings for different medical tools.
These same advantages are why it's a common choice for various hospital furnishings such as beds, gurneys, carts, trays, bedpans, and more. Aluminum flat bars are also ideal for hand bars and railings which can be common throughout hospitals.
Some more advanced medical equipment such as heart monitors can contain aluminum flat bars. Because it's not magnetic, aluminum won't interfere with the functions of such devices.
As mentioned above, aluminum is non-magnetic, meaning it doesn't interfere with electrical instruments. On top of that, it has excellent electrical and thermal conductivity.
Aluminum flat bars are often used in a range of electrical applications such as capacitors, antennae, radar dishes, enclosures, transformers, low-voltage motors, and more.
Beyond aircraft, aluminum flat bars can also work well in other forms of transportation. Passenger cars, freight vehicles, and shipping containers are just a few examples that make use of flat bars. The light weight of aluminum helps reduce fuel usage, and as it can be shaped easily, manufacturers can produce more aerodynamic designs.
Using aluminum flat bars instead of steel ones can help reduce the weight of a standard car by about a third. Overall, this makes vehicles more cost-effective, which is added to by the fact that aluminum tends to have a very long service life.
Aluminum is found in various consumer goods. Flat bars are often used in things like TVs, computer monitors, garden furniture, cookware, kitchen cabinets, and more. On top of being strong, lightweight, and easily formable, aluminum has an appealing finish, so works well for things people have around their homes.
Some designers even use aluminum flat bars to make up parts of the interior of homes. Being lightweight and durable makes them well suited for window and door frames, for example.
Steel Flat Bar Applications
At a glance, steel flat bar and aluminum flat bar may not seem very different. While some applications can use either, others may be better for steel due to certain properties it has.
Steel is strong and cost-effective, making it one of the most popular metals on the planet. Flat steel bars are generally pre-fabricated before being delivered to project sites. Having parts custom-made means that they're not only well suited for the job, but it makes things much easier for the workers.
A structure can be built quickly with steel flat bars. It's easy to join other components, and the resulting structure will be highly durable.
Steel has long played a vital part in the energy industry. Flat bars are common in tower structures and as reinforcing components in wind-turbine foundations and water gates.
With the rising use of renewable energy, steel usage in the industry will only increase. Steel is also fully recyclable, making it a more eco-friendly choice.
Steel flat bars are easy to form and very durable. This makes them perfect for large-scale structural projects, regardless of whether they're for industrial, commercial, or domestic use. Mild steel is especially easy to rework, so can be altered if any changes need to be made.
Like aluminum flat bars, steel is also a common choice in home appliances due to its finish. This is especially true of stainless steel flat bar, given its appearance.
Some common consumer items made using steel flat bars include washing machines, refrigerators, microwave ovens, and chest freezers. The steel can be given surface treatments to ensure its longevity.
The appearance of steel can also make it a popular choice for artwork and decor. Artists often make sculptures incorporating steel flat bars as they can give a modern feel to their work, or any parts of a home.
Aluminum or Steel?
When trying to decide on what material to use for your flat bar, the best choice will depend on your project. While sometimes the choice is clear, at others it may be more difficult.
Metal Pros is a metal fabrication supplier offering steel, stainless steel, and aluminum products. If you need a Kentucky metal fabrication supplier to provide flat bar for your project, we've got you covered. We're happy to help you determine the best solution for your project, so click here to contact us today and let us know what you need.