All aluminum would not be as good as all steel. The former takes 4 times the energy to produce an equivalent weight of the latter (say 1kg).
To produce, yes, but the energy and equipment investment required to form the cases (some of which are rather intricate) may level the playing field, somewhat.
The specific heat (cp
) of Al is almost twice as much as that of carbon steel (up to ~2.1% C). The melting point of Steel is also about 2 times that that of Al (in degrees Celsius). However, Young's modulus for Al is 89 GPa while that of structural steel is 200 GPa (ASTM-A36); temperature was not given, however, I'm assuming it's at 298 K.
It also appears that steel is the most widely recycled material in North America link
. Steel also benefits from more mature refining, forging and casting processes.
According to an engineer I spoke with, from bayards
, most designers are not used to dealing with Al construction and it is fairly common to see them simply determine the thickness of an aluminum product by 1.2x what they would of used if it was steel; this was in relation to bridges, but it may apply to computer cases, at least partially.
- GPa is Giga-Pascals or 10^9 N/m^2
- 25 deg C (298 K) and 1 atm is considered to be the reference, or dead state, especially in thermodynamics, which is why I assumed that temperature
Please excuse any ramblings and disregard for English grammatical convention as I have stayed up far too late.