The Ever Increasing Popularity of 6061 Aluminum

When it comes to aluminum products, 6061 aluminum alloy is one of the most popular types for general purpose usage. Even though it has been with us since 1935, it is still very popular today and seeing a wide range of applications. Here is more on this important aluminum alloy and the role it plays in industry today.

What is 6061 Aluminum?

6061 is an aluminum alloy made from silicon, magnesium, and other elements. Once the metal is created it is improved through “precipitation hardening”. Precipitation or age hardening utilizes the application of heat to strengthen the aluminum. The aluminum alloy is heated to a very high temperature and then it is quenched or cooled. This can be done with air or water.

The alloy metal is then aged and allowed to set in moderate heat for as long as one day. Natural aging is sometimes used, but it can take days or even weeks. This creates a metal which is stronger and more resistant to heat than standard aluminum.

Uses for 6061 Aluminum

6061 sees a wide range of uses. In addition, there are several types of 6061 used today. For example, T-4 and T-6 have higher tensile strength than standard 6061. Here are some of the uses you will find.

Welding

Welding pure aluminum would be very difficult, but 6061 aluminum is easily welded. 6061 can lose as much as 80 percent of its original strength when welded. However, it can be reheated or naturally aged to regain much of its strength.

Aluminum Extrusion

6061 is commonly used for extruded aluminum. Extrusion is often utilized to create long shapes like beams, brackets, rods, and tubing. Anywhere the need for less weight and increased corrosion properties exist, you’ll find extruded 6061 aluminum.

Aircraft

Aircraft requires unique properties and weight is one of the most essential elements of production. Not only is 6061 strong and light, but it resists many types of corrosion and it often used in wings and fuselages. 6061 aluminum is highly malleable and easy to work into shapes, making it very popular in the aerospace and aircraft industries.

Right in Your Home

You come in contact with 6061 aluminum anytime you pick up an aluminum can. It is easy to recycle and helping to preserve the eco system. 6061 is being used in items like fishing reels, bicycle frames, and many other things. It also is very popular in the automotive and railroad industries.

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