November 8, 2019

What’s the Difference Between Copper and Aluminum Extrusion Design?

On the surface, extruded copper and extruded aluminum have several similar qualities. Both metals are excellent at conducting heat and electricity, both have excellent corrosion resistance, are easy to form into shapes and non-combustible, all positive aspects when selecting a material for an extruded metal or heat sink design.

But how do you select one material over the other? The answer is that it depends on what you are looking for.

Aluminum and copper for extruded heat sink design

Tensile Strength

Copper extrusions have only average to low tensile strength and mechanical properties. If tensile strength is a concern, then always choose extruded aluminum when choosing between these two metals.


If weight is a consideration at all, the best choice is extruded aluminum. It weighs a third of what an equal amount of copper does, and when you compare the strength to weight of extruded aluminum vs. copper, extruded aluminum is much better.


If weight isn’t a factor, but conductivity is, then extruded copper is the best material for the job. Keep in mind that, extruded aluminum has excellent conductivity for both heat and electricity. On a pound for pound basis extruded aluminum is twice as efficient as copper. But as far as heat conductivity goes, copper is superior and second only to silver for industrial applications.


Both extruded copper and extruded aluminum is highly recyclable.

Production Setup

Setting up production for both extruded aluminum and copper products is relatively inexpensive. The tooling costs are manageable for both metals, especially if you just need a simple shape which will run a few hundred dollars.


Unless you have the need for the highly efficient thermal management properties of copper for your heat sink design, and weight isn’t a factor, then copper will work for you. For most manufacturing needs in these industries, extruded aluminum is the superior material. It is lighter, less expensive, and has a higher tensile strength than copper. In most cases, aluminum, especially premium aluminum billet, is an excellent choice for most extruded heat sink designs.

Getec is the Best Choice for Extruded Aluminum Manufacturing

Getec provides a wide variety of extruded aluminum services including extruded aluminum heat sink manufacturing, extruded aluminum profile design, extruded aluminum tubing and much more. For more information, please give us a call at 888-999-8499, contact us online, or send us an email at speak to one of our extruded aluminum services specialists today.