It is hard to find a better choice of aluminum for a wide range of different applications than 6061 aluminum. In general it is valued for its strength as well as its high level of corrosion resistance, even in marine types of uses. However, there are a lot of other reasons why this particular alloy is so popular in such different industries.
Originally developed in 1935 and named Alloy 61S, there are actually several different components to this alloy. It has a chemical composition of approximately 95.85% to 98.56% aluminum with the balance in:
There is a maximum amount of each of the listed compounds and for some a minimum allowed percentage. In addition it is possible for other elements to be included other than those listed but they cannot total more than 0.15% and each additional element cannot exceed 0.05%.
Most of this aluminum will be heat treated to increase the strength of the material. It can be made into sheets, plates, bars, tubes and rods and also precision cut and formed to specific requirements for any type of custom parts.
One of the most important considerations for our customers in the aerospace industry and well as in other industries is the weldability of 6061 aluminum. This is very different than other common types of aluminum alloys which are notoriously low on weldability.
It makes sense these same properties make it the most common option for structural applications as well as for heavy duty types of use such as railway cars and marine components. It can also be used in high-pressure applications and, with high corrosion resistance it has just the features to get the job done.
In addition it is naturally corrosion resistant and, with higher amounts of aluminum, it is also easier to work and machine. This makes this a top all-purpose alloy in the fabrication and manufacturing of all types of aircraft parts and frame. In addition, with a top strength compared to weight it is light enough to be effective for use in the aerospace industry.
It is also a very easy aluminum alloy to form. It can be easily cold worked, especially in the annealed condition, and can even be stamped using typical methods without the need for any special preparation or procedures.
With all the benefits of 6061 aluminum it is no wonder it is the most common aluminum alloy in use today. With options to buy in flat rolls, bars, tubes, sheets and other specialty products as requested the demand for this alloy will only continue to grow.