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Aluminum vs. steel ladder
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Posted by: jlperiut

12/27/2005, 23:55:44

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My question deals with whether a steel ladder is better than an aluminum ladder. I'm an assistant Chief for our fire department and we are looking at purchasing a new ladder truck. Our preference is an aluminum ladder, for the weight, however there are only 3 manufacturers that build aluminum ladders, all other companies offer steel ladders. I am not an engineer so i would like an honest answer from someone that is not looking to make money from my decision.







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Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder
Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder -- jlperiut Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: randykimball
Barney
12/29/2005, 18:15:11

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Thank you for dropping by, here is what I believe you should do. When you ask for these data, state that you want real, supported data and not sales talk. Ask things like; What agency or PE certified the data?

1. I'd find out the comparison weight between an aluminum and a steel ladder... this will be a factor in overhang weight. Just because aluminum is lighter by volume does not mean a ladder will be lighter, it may require more material.
2. I'd find out the load carrying capacity of each.
3. I'd find out the starting costs.
4. I'd find out the extended maintanence costs.
5. I'd find out the lead times to delivery.
6. Most importantly.... I'd ask for a customer list of purchasing fire companies with aluminum ladders and correspond with them. Then I would weigh most heavily the ones in a similar situation.

Then, and only then, can you make an informed decision.

Please, let us know what you guys decide, and why.
..and good luck ! ..be careful out there.

RandyKimball, moderator





The worst suggestion of your lifetime may be the catalyst to the grandest idea of the century, never let suggestions go unsaid nor fail to listen to them.

Modified by randykimball at Thu, Dec 29, 2005, 18:31:08


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Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder Smile
Re: Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder -- randykimball Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: Neolus

01/16/2006, 16:25:03

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Perhaps your prospective suppliers can give you some referrals.
Then you can also discuss with users.
You should look at going back as far a s possible due the fact that Aluminium "age" and "work" hardens.
ie the temper may change over a period of time due to the flexing of the ladder.







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Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder
Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder -- jlperiut Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: Kelly_Bramble

12/29/2005, 12:51:49

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I think ladders are rated in working load or weight that they can handle. You should compare the various ladder products working loads. If you expect that three firepersons plus gear are going to use the ladder at the same time, then this is your working load.

I think aluminum melts at 800 degree F.








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Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder
Re: Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder -- Kelly_Bramble Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: zekeman

12/29/2005, 13:29:03

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melting point is 1220 F.







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Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder
Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder -- jlperiut Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: zekeman

12/29/2005, 12:27:20

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If you take a section of a beam, the stiffness (EI) for the same thickness is 3x that for aluminum. However, if you double the thickness of aluminum, you get a stiffness increase of 4 fold on the aluminum and therefore the overall stiffness of the aluminum would be 4/3 that of steel or better in that sense and since the density of aluminum is 1/3 that of steel, you get 4/3 the stiffness at 2/3 the weight for aluminum vs steel.Some of the alloys of aluminum have strengths that are close to steel and I am not sure whether that is a mitigating factor. Also steel maintenance is higher to prevent rust; I think stiffness is the most important parameter, meaning that if a man is standing on the ladder, the deflection is proportional to the stiffness.
My vote if cost is not a factor would be a good alloy of aluminum, hands down.







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Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder
Re: Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder -- zekeman
Posted by: zekeman

12/29/2005, 12:36:48

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Correction, the doubling of a section should increase the stiffness 8 fold, not 4 fold and the stress in the aluminum would be reduced 4 fold, making he case for aluminum even stronger than I first mentioned.







Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder
Posted by: swearingen

12/28/2005, 14:09:43

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"Better" is an objective term. Clearly for weight, aluminum is lighter for the same size and would be better. It has much less stiffness and strength, however, and so more material is required to do the same job. For a ladder truck with an extending ladder, a steel ladder may actually weigh less than an aluminum one trying to do the same job. The manufacturers may have also run into problems with the finite fatigue life of aluminum, which you can avoid with steel if designed correctly.







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Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder
Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder -- jlperiut
Posted by: ashok_k

12/28/2005, 10:13:47

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THIS MATTER IS NOT ONLY FOR COST BUT ALSO LIFE AND OTHER FACTORS.

IF U R USING IT FREQUITLY & IT IS MOBILE THEN WE HAVE TO THING REGARDING ALUMINIUM.
AND I THING THIS IS BETTER OPTION FOR U.

STEEL GIVE ROBUST STRUCTURE & LARGE EFFORT IN HANDING.

REGARDS,
ASHOK..........








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Re: Aluminum vs. steel ladder
Posted by: pwehmer

12/28/2005, 17:14:56

Around a fire wouldn't you prefer a steel ladder over an aluminum ladder? For several reasons.


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