One of the most popular forms of aluminum in the world is 6061 aluminum. However, not many people are familiar with the different forms of aluminum. To familiarize yourself with 6061 aluminum, here is a brief introduction to the metal, including its composition, its various forms, and the process involved in its manufacture.
What is aluminum 6061?
Aluminum 6061 is not actually a purely aluminum substance. Like most commonly used metals, it is actually an alloy of many different elements. The exact composition is close to
- 95.8 – 98.6% aluminum
- 0.8 – 1.2% magnesium
- 0.4 – 0.8% silicon
- 0.15 – 0.4% copper
- 0.04 – 0.35% chromium
- 0 – 0.25% zinc
- 0 – 0.15% manganese
- 0 – 0.15% titanium
- 0 – 0.07% iron
- 0.05 – 0.15% any other element
It's also known for having a density of 2.70 g/cm³, which is practically the exact same as pure aluminum. It is less dense than most other metals, while being several times more dense than water.
How is it made?
A heat treatment technique known as precipitation hardening is used to make aluminum 6061. During the impurity phase, which occurs during the transition from liquid to solid, particle size is modified, resulting in a distorted crystal lattice and a generally harder substance. The final product is therefore considered to be relatively hard.
What is it used for?
Almost any aluminum that you see is 6061. Soda cans, boats, and car parts are all generally made of 6061 aluminum. It is ideal for products which require a lightweight, yet strong material.
Why is it so popular?
Aluminum 6061 is exceptionally weldable, which means that it can be easily molded to fit any need shape via welding. Since aluminum is one of the most commonly recycled metals, this means that it can be easily worked into any shape that is needed.
What are the different classifications of aluminum 6061?
There are several subcategories of aluminum 6061, which each have distinct characteristics.
The first is 6061-T6, which is solutionized and artificially aged. If a metal is solutionized, then it is raised to liquid temperature, at which point it is soaked to create a homogeneous solution. Artificial aging in metals is induced by high temperatures and results in a material that has very high accuracy and precision in specifications.
The second is 6061-O, which is a more ductile material. This means that it is more malleable and more susceptible to deformation.