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Only used in initial design assessments. Material costs for detail design must be obtained by contacting suppliers. This page is includes information on the costs of different metals used in mechanical engineering. When producing mechanical components the material costs is generally of limited significance.Other costs should be included when comparing materials including design, procurement, production control, forming, machining, finishing, distribution, etc etc. A component lifetime costs include maintenance, corrosion protection and recovery (scrap).

The raw material cost for a particular component may be 20 times the cost if made from one material compared to another on a weight to weight basis. However the lifetime costs may be very similar if all of the other factors are also taken into consideration.

The material cost of a mass produced investment casting item may be 80% of the final cost.The material cost of a single complicated machined item may be less than 10% of the final cost. It is not possible to provide cost comparisons between different metals to any level of accuracy. Each metal is varying in price on a day to day basis and different alloys of the same metal can have significantly different costs. A grade 7 titanium alloy costs twice as much as pure titanium (grade 1,2 or 3).

Comparing costs should only be based on final installed costs. eg. for a domestic, industrial piping system a screwed steel system would cost about 40% more than a copper piping system.



Example :
The price of a titanium / titanium alloy products results from a number of factors:

  • Alloying grade .some grades e.g with Pd alloying component, can significantly increase the price of the alloy.
  • The purity of the grade... the more pure the higher the cost
  • The test and inspection requirements;
  • The procured quantities. The more ordered the lower the specific cost
  • The geometry ..rolling or forging affects prices per volume or weight
  • Demand ..e.g High defence demand for aerospace industry can result in higher metal prices
  • Local economy.. Metal availability

In year 2000 the price of titanium was about ?3 000 to ?3 000/tonne..
In 2002 the price of raw titanium was about to ?960/tonne.
In 2005 to-date the price of titanium has varied between ?000 and ?000 /tonne
Ref 2010 ..I have enclosed a chart from the metalprices webpage to illustrate to range of titanium ingot pricing over a 12 month period




Table showing relative metal costs

The table below can only really be used to give broad relative initial material costs.  The figures are based on a reference source originating about 2002

Material Density Cost/tonne Relative Cost /m3 Relative
kg/m3 ?tonne ?tonne ?m3 ?m3
Carbon Steel 7820 550 1 4301 1,0
Alloy Steels 7820 830 1,51 6490,6 1,5
Cast Iron 7225 830 1,51 5996,75 1,4
Stainless Steel 7780 4450 8,1 34 621 8,0
Aluminium/alloys 2700 2220 4,0 5994 1,4
Copper /Alloys 8900 5550 10,1 49 395 11,5
Zinc alloys 7100 2220 4,0 15 762 3,7
Magnesium /alloys 1800 4000 7,3 7200 1,8
Titanium /alloys 4500 17 000 30,9 76 500 17,4
Nickel alloys 8900 18 000 32,7 160 200 36,8


Current Metal Prices.. November 2010

I have tried to obtain some current (Nov 2010) metal prices from various internet sources and I list them below..These sometimes differ considerably from the table above

Material Cost/tonne Relative Cost
(weight)
Relative Cost
(volume)
?tonne
Steel (Billet) LME-Nov-2010 321 1 1
Steel (Hot Rolled Plate)-MEPS-July-2010 505 1,6 1,6
304 Steel (Hot Rolled Plate)-MEPS-July-2010 2 536 7,9 7,9
316 Steel (Hot Rolled Plate)-MEPS-July-2010 3 535 11 11
Tin- LME-Nov-2010 15 458 48 45
Aluminium Alloy - LME-Nov-2010 1 407 4,.4 1,5
Aluminium - LME-Nov-2010 1 425 4,4 1,5
Copper - LME -Nov-2010 5 279 16,4 18,7
Zinc - LME -Nov-2010 1 412 4,4 4,0
Nickel - LME -Nov-2010 14 398 44 51
Lead - LME-Nov-2010 1 414 4,4 6,4
Titanium (ingot 6AL-4V) steelonthenet (11$/lb) 15 700 49 28


Prices in dollars for 25mm round bar x 300mm long (0,00015m3 ) ...November 2010 (Onlinemetals (USA)


Metal Price $
?000/tonne
?000/m3
Relative cost
(weight)               
Relative cost
(volume)                 
Steel HR (A56) 6 3,2 24,7 1 1
Steel CD (12L40) 7,4 3,9 30,5 1.23 1.23
Alloy Steel (4130) 9,99 5,3 41,2 1.66 1.66
St.Stl (304L) 15,34 8,1 63,2 2.6 2.56
St.Stl (316L) 20,61 10,9 84,9 3.4 3.44
Aluminium (2011-T3) 8,58 13,1 35,4 4.2 1.43
Copper (C110) 37,91 17,5 156,2 5.6 6.32
Brass (C360) 25,3 11,7 104,3 3.7 4.22
Bronze 42,09 19,5 173,5 6.2 7.0
Titanium (6AL-4VG5) 107 98 441 31 17.8


Comparison of raw bulk material costs above with actual metal stock prices

Looking at the cost per tonne of HR steel in the form of a 1" dia bar 1 foot long at ?200 against the LME price for the raw material in bulk for at ?21/tonne illustrates the massive diiference in the price of raw materials to the actual price of materials as supplied for initial machining processes in small quantities.

Related References:
1. How to Purchase stainless Steel Pipes and Tubes from China
2. Material for Heat Exchanger Tube with Pressure difference
3. Selection of Stainless Steel and Nickel Alloys
4. Stainless Steel Characteristics and Usage by Steel Grade
5. Selection Stainless Steel from Corrosion Physical Mechanicalg
6. Stainless Steel Relative Cost Data
7. Trade Names Associated With Stainless Steel
8. Costs Of Different Metals Used In Mechanical Engineering
9. What is the low cost superior optimal Heat Exchangers?
10. How to Identify Fake Steel Pipes