through David Duchesne | Oct 23, 2019 | Aluminum Extrusion, steel Fabrication, metal fabrication business, steel Fabricators, OEM, components Supplier


Even if you’ve no desire come live in one, you should admit, Airstream trailers watch cool. Aerodynamic styling is component of the appeal, yet so also is the bright aluminum bodywork. It’s claimed that 70% of every Airstream trailers ever constructed are quiet on the road, and also while there’s more than likely no method to verify that insurance claim it doesn’t it seems ~ unreasonable. We understand aluminum doesn’t rust choose steel, and also let’s it is in honest, someone who spends six figures on an Airstream is probably going to look ~ it!

Of course, girlfriend don’t need to buy an Airstream to get an aluminum trailer. Aluminum is provided for trailers of every types, including equine trailers and general energy trailers. It’s known for being lightweight and rust-resistant, however when supplied for a trailer are you trading durability for low mass? Here’s a to compare of aluminum versus steel for to decrease trailer weight.

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Grades, stamin and details Strength that Aluminum and also Steel 

Aluminum and also steel space both alloys. They’re do by mixing the base material – aluminum or steel – with other elements. Every composition produce a particular grade and also both are created in qualities to suit miscellaneous applications. There’s not enought space here to go into all the details, however lets simply say that, going front we’re talking about the two steels in basic terms rather than referencing particular compositions.

Alloy composition determines properties like strength and also hardness. Toughness is defined in various methods such as Ultimate Tensile Strength, (UTS) and also shear strength, however it’s more than likely ‘2% productivity strength’ that best reflects useability. This is the pack under i beg your pardon the steel transitions from elastic come plastic deformation. Whichever measure you look at at, stole comes out on top, yet this does require qualifying.

The point lacking from this discussion so far is details Strength. That’s the toughness per pound and it’s wherein aluminum transforms the tables ~ above steel. That’s due to the fact that while stole is more powerful it’s also a lot heavier. A cubic foot that aluminum, (which is a pretty huge block that metal,) would certainly weigh about 169 pounds. The very same volume of stole will tip the scales at 490 pounds. What this method is that the certain strength of aluminum is higher than that of steel. In various other words you require only a little an ext aluminum come fabricate a form with comparable strength come one made from steel.

Other Properties appropriate to Trailers

Strength is really about load-carrying ability, however there’s more to choosing a trailer material than that. Elastic behavior and also fatigue stamin are various other considerations, and ones whereby aluminum comes the end ahead.

In basic terms, the takes more force to bend a piece of steel 보다 a item of aluminum because it’s stronger. Aluminum but has better elastic behavior, meaning it springs back to it’s initial shape while stole takes on a permanent deformation. In addition, being harder, stole is also an ext brittle. Topic it to a cyclic load, together a trailer could see, and it will start cracking sooner than aluminum. And in one other amazing twist, unlike stole aluminum in reality gets more powerful at short temperatures.

Aluminum because that Light(er) load Trailers

Whatever kind of trailer girlfriend buy, it’s purpose is to haul stuff. A lighter trailer is beneficial for three reasons. First, provided that her tow auto has a maximum load it have the right to pull, a lighter trailer way more payload. Second, probably you can gain away v a smaller tow vehicle when a lightweight trailer to reduce the full weight you’re pulling. And also third, by reduce the total mass you’re towing you’ll boost your fuel consumption.

Aluminum Construction

In a trailer aluminum works for both the load-bearing structure and the panels. Load-bearing members are practically always extruded into “I” or crate sections which gives them a lot of strength while panels have the right to be really thin to save on weight.

A couple of point out to keep in mind on this are:

Weight Reduction

So having been v all the points around material properties, let’s turn to what friend really desire to know: just how much go aluminum to decrease trailer weight when contrasted with steel?

Honestly, it relies on the skill, creativity and materials know-how that the engineer. However, you’re looking at a 10 to 15% palliation in complete weight. (Remember that you still require brakes, bearings, wheels and so on, therefore there are no, or very little, weight savings to be had in those areas.) If you desire to get more specific, talk to her trailer fabricator.


After weight this is more than likely the 2nd thing you desire to understand about. Below we’re going to make the argument that you need to consider full lifetime cost. Yes, we understand that once you check out that it method an aluminum trailer costs an ext than one do from steel. Aluminum does cost 3.5 time as much per pound together steel, yet you space using much less of it, for this reason the premium for aluminum isn’t that great.

However, stay with united state while we define the full lifetime price perspective. Prefer steel, exposed aluminum oxidizes. Unlike steel though, aluminum doesn’t disintegrate in a cloud of brown flakes. In fact the oxide great on the skin the a item of aluminum is self-healing: scrape it and it just develops a new oxide layer. As a result, girlfriend don’t must paint an aluminum trailer every few years. That’s a saving ideal there.

Another saving hits her pocketbook when you buy gas. Being as though aluminum trailers weigh less than steel ones, you’re walking to save money by using less of it.

In addition, the aluminum trailer is walk to critical much, much longer. Perhaps one aluminum trailer might last as long as 2 or even three made from steel. (We don’t recognize that because that sure, but based upon Airstream trailer longevity we think it’s a fair assumption.)

So when it pertains to cost, the bottom line is this: one aluminum trailer will certainly cost an ext initially, yet thanks to low weight and also long life that should more than pay because that itself.

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Not Everyone’s Concerned around Weight

If you were wondering about aluminum versus steel trailer weight, hope we’ve cleared up that because that you. Aluminum. But what around the load of an Airstream trailer? fine that’s gong to depend on exactly how you fit her out, and also some human being like castle pretty fancy. It’s more than likely fair to say then, this is one aluminum trailer whereby no one problems much about the weight. They do look really cool though.