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Brass vs Aluminium vs Stainless Steel - Which is Right For You?

Brass vs Aluminium vs Stainless Steel - Which is Right For You?

On many of our plaques, nameplates and awards, you’ll be faced with a few options on which material best suits your needs. Three of our main materials used across many of our products are either Brass, Aluminium, or Stainless Steel. But what are the differences? 


Brass is an alloy created by combining copper and zinc. It’s often a top choice of metal for decorative objects such as plaques, plates and trophies because of its resemblance to gold. It is also highly malleable and durable, and this versatility makes it a top pick for many engineered components and instruments across all industries. The main downside to brass is its susceptibility to black tarnish from oxidisation of the metal, meaning that decorative pieces like nameplates and plaques often require a lot of polishing and upkeep to keep it sparkling.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a low carbon steel which contains chromium at 10% or more by weight. This chromium content makes the metal highly resistant to rust and corrosion. At Brunel Engraving we use 316 Marine grade stainless steel for our plaques, which also won't tarnish when subjected to wet conditions. Stainless steel is also very strong and hard-wearing, maintaining shape and strength under high heats, although different types do have varying degrees of ductility depending on its nickel content. While more expensive than traditional carbon steel, these stainless properties make it a very popular choice for both practical and decorative metal pieces.


Aluminium is a lightweight metal which is soft and malleable. Due to its softness, it can be rolled into sheets and is often used for nameplates and commemorative plaques. Its also often used in aeroplane parts due to it being so lightweight. While Aluminium looks wonderful with its silvery-white appearance, the main attracting feature of aluminium is its great strength to weight ratio. While pound for pound it’s far weaker than steel, more aluminium can be used while remaining lighter and cheaper than steel. Anodised aluminium is also very corrosion resistant making it a favourable all-rounder.

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