A hinge is a mechanical component that’s used to join the surfaces of two objects. As shown in the adjacent photo, it allows the surfaces to rotate around a fixed axis. One of the most common applications of hinges is doors. Whether in a home or commercial workplace, doors are usually installed into the door frame using a hinge. The hinge keeps the door in place while also allowing it to rotate open and closed.
If you’re planning to buy hinges for your company, though, you might be wondering which material is best: aluminum or steel. Hinges are available in several different materials, two of the most common being aluminum and steel. And while both materials can be used to create effective, high-quality hinges, there are a few nuances between the two.
Steel hinges are strong, long-lasting and highly durable. Steel itself is an alloy featuring a combination of iron, carbon and other trace elements. Because it’s made of readily available materials, steel hinges are also inexpensive. For these reasons, steel hinges have become a popular choice among manufacturing companies and other buyers.
All steel features iron and carbon, but there are different types of steel. Some hinges, for example, are made of traditional steel, whereas others are made of stainless steel. Stainless steel is characterized by added chromium, which works to protect the metal from rust and oxidation. It’s called “stainless steel” because the added layer of chromium prevents the intrusion of moisture. When moisture isn’t able to reach the iron compounds within a steel hinge, it won’t develop rust or corrosion. Traditional steel lacks this protective layer of chromium, making it vulnerable to rust and corrosion.
Aluminum hinges aren’t quite as strong as steel hinges, but they weigh less than their steel counterparts. Aluminum weighs about 40% less than steel. In applications where multiple hinges are used, this means that using aluminum hinges can reduce the overall weight and, subsequently, stress placed on the connected objects.
Another benefit of choosing aluminum hinges is the fact that they don’t rust. Rust, as previously mentioned, occurs when moisture — technically the oxygen within moisture — comes into contact with iron. Aluminum doesn’t contain iron, however, so it doesn’t rust, even when exposed to moisture. Unless it’s made of aluminum oxide, aluminum can still corrode, but it won’t rust. As a result, aluminum hinges are often used outdoors where the climate can’t be easily controlled.