Aluminum is popular for light weight trailers. It has an expensive feel and a nice allure, so aluminum is a popular material for lots of really nice trailers. However, because of the properties of aluminum, give special consideration with construction and with care for proper trailer strength.
Here are some things to think about:
*Aluminum is more prone to propagating cracks, so when injured, extra care must be given.
*It is also more prone to fatigue — and life as a trailer can be stressful — so the design must be right.
*Aluminum is very beautiful without finish, and it is often in use without finish. This makes it more susceptible to corrosion from road salts, etc.. Be aware!
*When judging a trailer visually, note that aluminum is not as stiff as steel, so the beams of an aluminum trailer must be larger than beams of steel for an equivalent capacity.
*Another consideration is flexibility. Aluminum has a modulus of elasticity significantly lower than steel. This means that for the same loading, and equal aluminum beam will bend more, even if it is high strength aluminum. Trailer strength includes flexibility.
*Aluminum is quite a bit more expensive than steel. And, because it is not as strong (stiff), aluminum trailers use more (volume). The increase in volume compensates, in part because aluminum is 1/3 the mass (by volume) than steel, so the overall trailer is lighter. The nice thing, because it is more expensive building with aluminum, trailers are usually built well.
*Finally, aluminum is not as durable and does not take abuse as well as steel. Choose the right material for the purpose.