Aluminum and titanium are two widely used metal in various industries because these metals offer unique combinations of strength, weight and performance. lots of aluminum and titanium parts are manufactured by CNC metal machining. but, how to choose in a metal product design between these two materials? In this blog, we will discuss the comparison between aluminum and titanium, then you will have the answer.

What is Titanium?

Titanium is a silvery-white metal with Chemical symbol “Ti” and atomic number is 22. It is located in the 4th period and the IV group of the periodic table. it is excellent bio-friendliness, considered as the most noble metal and be excellent in aggressive environments where other metals may fail. 

What is Aluminum?

Aluminum has the chemical symbol “Al” and atomic number is13, it is a metallic element belonging to the IA group of the periodic table. it is a light weight material and very easy to be machined, so it is one of the most widely used metal material in manufacturing industry.

Titanium Vs. Aluminum: Comparing Their Properties

Corrosion Resistance

Generally, Titanium is more corrosion resistance than Aluminum. Becasue Titanium is a non-reactive metal which means it have corrosion resistance. Aluminum is corrosion resistance too becasue of the layer of oxides on the surface of aluminum, but this will be depending on the environment. However, Aluminum can be more corrosion resistance with a protective coating.

Machinability

In terms of machinability, Aluminum has better machinability than aluminum. becasue aluminum is easy to be machined by any machining process such as CNC machining, extrusion, casting and more. Titanium is also be machinable but only few machining process such as CNC machining.

Tensile Strength

For tensile strength, Generally, Titanium is better than Aluminum. becasue the tensile strenght of Titanium alloys varies from 230Mpa to 1400Mpa. but the aluminum alloy’s tensile strengh varies from 200Mpa to 690Mpa. So, in some case , comparision will be depending on the alloy type.

Thermal Conductivity

In terms of thermal conductivity, aluminum will be better than titanium. becasue aluminum has a high conductivity(210 W/m-K) and is used a lot for applications requiring efficient heat transfer such as heat sinks. Titanium has lower thermal conductivity(17.0 W/m-K) and it is used for the applications where heat resistance is needed.

Electrical Conductivity

Electrical conductivity measures a material’s ability to conduct electricity. Titanium has minimal electrical conductivity around 3.1% conductivity of copper.. Aluminum has better electrical conductivity around 64% conductivity of copper. so for applications where electrical conductivity is needed, Aluminum is btter.

Density

Aluminum has a lower density(2712 kg/m³) compared to titanium(4500 kg/m³) which means aluminum is significantly lighter than titanium.

Hardness

Generally, Titanium alloy is harder than most of aluminum alloys. But some aluminum alloys such as AA6082-T6, AA7075-T6 have higher hardness than titanium.

Melting Point

Titanium has a high melting point (1650 – 1670 ᵒC) while aluminum has a much lower melting point (660.37 ᵒC). this means Titanium have better resistance to high temperature.

A Chart comparing the properties of titanium and aluminum

PropertyTitaniumAluminum
Thermal ConductivityLow (17.0 W/m-K)High (210 W/m-K)
Electrical ConductivityMinimal (3.1% of copper)Moderate (64% of copper)
Tensile Strengthmax 1100 Mpamax 690Mpa
DensityHigh (4500 kg/m³)Low (2712 kg/m³)
HardnessGenerally HarderVaries by Alloy
Melting PointHigh (1650 – 1670 ᵒC)Low (660.37 ᵒC)
Corrosion ResistanceExcellentGood (varies by alloy)
MachinabilityMachinableHighly Machinable and Formable

Titanium Vs. Aluminum: How to Choose?

Base on the comparision above, so before you Choosing between titanium and aluminum for your project, you need understand the application requirement. below is summary the case where used titanium and where use aluminum.

Titanium is a better choice if:

  • Corrosion Resistance Matters: Titanium is generally corrosion-resistant, especially in aggressive environments. It’s an good choice for marine, chemical, and medical applications.
  • Heat Resistance Required: With a high melting point, titanium can be used in high-temperature applications such as aerospace and industrial processes.
  • Biocompatibility is needed: Titanium is more biocompatible than aluminum. it is often used in medical implants and dental applications.

Aluminum is a better choice if:

  • Light Weight is needed: Aluminum is lighter than titanium, it is used a lot for applications where weight reduction is needed, like automotive and aerospace industries.
  • low cost is needed: Aluminum is generally more cheap than titanium, it is a cost effective choice for various projects.
  • Good Machinability is Needed: Aluminum is easy to be machined and fabricated, it is a good choice for components with complex geometries.
  • Electrical or Thermal Conductivity is needed: Aluminum’s high thermal and electrical conductivity make it ideal for heat sinks, electrical wiring and other conductivity applications.

Applications of Titanium Vs. Aluminum

Both of these two metal materials are widely used in various applications. here we use a table to compare the components they are used for in different industries.

IndustryTitaniumAluminum
AerospaceAircraft components, jet engine parts, and structural components due to high strength and heat resistance. (Example: Titanium alloys in aircraft frames and landing gear.)Lightweight airframes, aircraft skins, and interiors for improved fuel efficiency. (Example: Aluminum alloys in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s airframe.)
MedicalMedical implants like dental implants, artificial joints, and surgical instruments due to biocompatibility. (Example: Titanium dental implants for tooth replacement.)Less critical medical instruments and equipment due to its lightweight nature. (Example: Aluminum used in lightweight medical transport stretchers.)
AutomotiveHigh-performance car components such as valves and connecting rods for improved engine efficiency. (Example: Titanium valves in racing engines.)Engine blocks, transmission cases, and body panels for weight reduction and fuel economy. (Example: Aluminum engine blocks in many modern automobiles.)
ConstructionStructural elements in corrosive environments like coastal construction due to its corrosion resistance. (Example: Titanium used in the construction of bridges and piers.)Lightweight structural components and architectural elements. (Example: Aluminum used in curtain wall systems of skyscrapers.)
MarineMarine equipment exposed to saltwater environments due to exceptional corrosion resistance. (Example: Titanium propellers and fasteners on boats.)Lightweight hulls, masts, and components in boat manufacturing. (Example: Aluminum used in the construction of small recreational boats.)

Conclusion

Both aluminum and titanium are outstanding metal materials in the world. and they are used in the same industries for different components. At KUSLA, we provide both CNC aluminum and CNC titanium service for your different projects needs. and we know well about these two materials. contact us today if you have any questions about how to choose betwen these two metal materials.

FAQS

Usually It is hard to say which is better. becasue Titanium is generally harder and aluminum is more machinable. So, the choice will be depending on the requirements of the applications.

You can tell them according to the colors. Titanium looks dark silver color and aluminum looks white silver color.

Further Reading

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