If you are working on an aluminum extrusion project, alloy selection is one of the most crucial decisions you have to make. 6061 aluminum—whether the shape is in angle, sheet, bar, or plate form—is among the most commonly used aluminum grades internationally. The mechanical properties of 6061 aluminum make it a popular choice for a range of extrusion applications, including furniture, piping, electrical products, boats, and structural applications.
Learn more about the properties of 6061 aluminum, also known as structural aluminum.
6061 Aluminum Chemical Makeup and Properties
The chemical makeup and properties of 6061 aluminum contribute to its versatility. It contains 1% magnesium and 0.6% silicon as alloying elements. Magnesium increases strength, while silicon lowers its melting temperature. This composition makes 6061 aluminum highly resistant to stress, cracking, and corrosion. As a result, the 6061 grade has good formability and weldability characteristics. Other chemical elements present in 6061 aluminum include iron, manganese, copper, zinc, titanium, and chromium.
Here are some other properties of 6061 aluminum:
- Medium to high strength
- Excellent brazability
- Good corrosion resistance
- Good machinability
In addition, you can increase the advantages of 6061 aluminum by using Tri-State’s anodizing services. Anodized 6061 aluminum offers many advantages over other standard materials, such as:
- Higher durability. Anodized aluminum has enhanced abrasion, corrosion, and impact resistance. Additionally, since the finish is made from the aluminum, rather than applied on the surface, it is unlikely to chip, flake, or peel. As a result, it is long-lasting, making it a cost-effective, long term finishing option.
- Lower material weight. Anodizing provides a good strength-to-weight ratio. This maintains the aluminum’s inherent qualities with added durability.
- Greater recyclability. The anodization process does not affect the highly recyclable quality of aluminum.
- Better aesthetic quality. Anodization enables manufacturers to minimize or eliminate surface variations without losing the metallic appearance of the material. Since there are many color and finish options for anodized surfaces, you can customize aluminum components to their exact aesthetic requirements – just what we specialize in!
6061 Aluminum Extrusions vs. 6063 Aluminum Extrusions
Extrusion refers to transforming a material—such as plastic, metal, or rubber—into an object with a uniform cross-section. The physical characteristics and heat treatability of 6000 series aluminum make it popular for extrusion. After 6063 aluminum, 6061 aluminum is the second most popular grade for aluminum extrusions. 6063 aluminum can form complex shapes with extremely smooth surfaces, so it is good for anodizing. However, 6061 aluminum is ideal for applications that require more strength than is possible with 6063 aluminum, such as construction purposes.
If there is a lot of machining required, 6061 aluminum emerges as the best aluminum alloy choice because it is affordable and versatile across a variety of machining operations. 6061 aluminum is also best where there is a need for a lot of welding. 6061 aluminum can bend easily without breaking or cracking and be welded together with high-strength joints.
If corrosion is a concern, aluminum 6061 is superior to aluminum 6063. Its high corrosion resistance makes it a good choice for products or equipment that rust quickly due to exposure to humidity, moisture, or saltwater.
6061 Aluminum Bars
6061 aluminum bars are the most commonly used type of aluminum alloy across various industries and applications. 6061 aluminum has excellent strength, corrosion resistance, workability, and joining capabilities. Extruded 6061 aluminum square bars are easy to cut, weld, and machine for applications requiring corrosion resistance and a high strength-to-weight ratio. Most extruded bars of aluminum 6061 are ordered with strict diameters for direct use in screw machines.
Common applications of 6061 aluminum include:
- Automotive components
- Electrical parts
- Bicycle frames
- Structural components
6061 Aluminum Extrusions From Tri-State Aluminum
6061 aluminum is the best choice and most common aluminum alloy for applications that require a lot of machining and welding. Also known as structural aluminum, 6061 aluminum has good corrosion resistance and strength characteristics for structural applications.
At Tri-State Aluminum, we are a one-stop shop for all your 6061 aluminum extrusion needs, including design, fabrication, cutting, finishing, and packaging. You can choose from a selection of over 2,000 standard dies in a variety of sizes and shapes. We provide custom aluminum extrusions and capabilities to manufacture to tight tolerances within ±0.002”. Contact us to learn more about 6061 aluminum, or request a quote to start your custom aluminum extrusion order.