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Difference Between Aluminum and Magnesium

aluminumm-metal-pdAluminum vs Magnesium

The difference between aluminum and magnesium is based upon many factors, such as brittleness, heat dissipation, tool life, die casting and cost. Magnesium, when compared to aluminum, is lightweight and valuable, whereas forged aluminum is stronger.

Aluminum and magnesium are both used for manufacturing automobile parts, and many experiments have been done to substitute aluminum with magnesium. Magnesium, when compared to aluminum, is softer and more expensive, and has the tendency to bend easily. Magnesium versus aluminum is highly reactive and less stable than aluminum.

Energy requirements for aluminum and magnesium provide us with a comparison between both materials. We can compare them by looking at economic advantages versus energy requirements for melting each of the two materials in the die casting process. Magnesium and its alloys are more cost effective in terms of energy requirements than aluminum and its alloys. Aluminum has the advantage over magnesium when comparing the use of steel for melting and holding aluminum. The melting of magnesium used to be expensive in the past, but it can be as economical as melting aluminum for die cast parts with the advent of new technology. Magnesium die casting has a definite cost advantage over aluminum. Magnesium has a rapid solidification rate when compared to aluminum, which usually requires high shot pressure.

Automotive parts can be easily formed from magnesium, and companies like Ford are running tests to substitute aluminum with magnesium. The die casting cycle of aluminum versus magnesium has more advantages, since the magnesium injected speed should be very fast due to its rapid solidification rate, whereas magnesium die casting’s eject time is shorter than the amount of time required for aluminum. Magnesium die casting needs a shorter dwelling and lubrication time, with faster shot speed, when compared to aluminum.

The tool life of aluminum is another favorable economic advantage. As aluminum has an affinity for tool steel, its die castings have a cosmetically better finish when compared to magnesium. An estimated tool life for aluminum versus magnesium production die is 100,000 to 150,000 shots.

The machine ability of magnesium die casting versus aluminum has advantages over aluminum, since magnesium machines dry up rapidly due to heat dissipation. Magnesium also requires a protective coating to save it from corrosion. Magnesium used for lightweight component applications largely depends upon casting technology, for magnesium is less costly and has low environmental hazards. Magnesium has potential benefits for the environment and better design options when compared to aluminum, since it is lighter in weight and can be substituted for aluminum transmission case applications. Lightweight magnesium components in vehicles may increase the fuel economy, and be an important design metric. Automobile manufacturers in North America and Europe are involved in developing new generation, highly fuel-efficient cars that are light weight, while substituting aluminum with magnesium.


1. Aluminum versus magnesium is heavier and more corrosion resistant.
2. Magnesium is a lightweight substitute for aluminum.
3. Magnesium needs a protective coating to make it an anti corrosive material.
4. Aluminum has a lower die casting cost when compared to magnesium.
5. Magnesium is soft and flexible when compared to aluminum, which is stronger.

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  4. This is very poorly written. Above you say that Mag is cheaper and easier to die cast than Aluminum, so why does your summary say that Aluminum is cheaper?

    Also, you say “An estimated tool life for aluminum versus magnesium production die is 100,000 to 150,000 shots.” What does this mean? You’ll get 100k to 150k more shots in Al?

    Additionally, there are grades of aluminum that are lighter than Mag.

    Lastly, Aluminum needs to be anodized for corrosion resistance and surface finish, where’s the comparison with this? I will agree that you can get much better finishes on Al parts.

  5. In 1970, I found a walker for my father who was very weak and difficult to get around, the walker was made of magnesium and it was so light, it helped him to live to 1983, where my mother started to use it until 1994, then my wife used it till 2007, and now i’m using it. I’ve been to the the hospital where they use this light weight aluminum walker, and to me it weighs like a ton. I told them to keep it, they were very surprised at my attitude, but I knew the answer.

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