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Comparing 6061 Aluminum and 6063 Aluminum

September 14, 2022

Aluminum’s versatility, reflectivity, corrosion resistance, and electrical and thermal conductivity make it ideal for a number of applications. Pure aluminum, however, is a soft, pliable material and does not have the tensile strength desired for many projects.  

To increase the strength of aluminum, it is mixed with other metals to create aluminum alloys.  In an aluminum alloy, aluminum is the predominant metal and added metals include manganese, copper, magnesium, lithium, zinc and silicon.
 
6061 aluminum and 6063 aluminums are two popular alloys of aluminum. Both 6061 aluminum and 6063 aluminum have similar compositions and mechanical properties. Both aluminum alloys contain magnesium and silicon. Silicon is added to 6061 and 6063 to lower the melting temperature. The addition of magnesium increases the strength of through solid solution strengthening. Magnesium also improves the strain hardening ability of both alloys.
 
While both aluminum alloys share a lot of properties, there are differences between them that make one alloy better suited for certain applications than the other.

Characteristics

6061 aluminum is known for its good formability, weldability, corrosion resistance and high strength-to-weight ratio. It has a lower melting temperature, thermal conductivity, and heat capacity. 6061 aluminum is available in two tempers – 6061 T6 aluminum, which is artificially aged for enhanced strength and 6061 T4 aluminum, which is heat-treated and naturally aged.
 
While 6063 does not differ from 6061 aluminum in many ways, its lower strength and better corrosion resistance make 6063 aluminum a better choice for extrusion projects. It can be formed into complex shapes with great surface finishes that do not weather easily, and these advantages make 6063 the most popular alloy to extrude.

Applications

6061 aluminum is used for:
 
➢ Automotive parts

➢ Couplers

➢ Valves

➢ Bicycle frames

➢ Protective structures

➢ Irrigation tubing

➢ Electrical housings

➢ Storage tanks

➢ OEM parts

➢ Shop fittings

➢ Railings and door frames
 
6063 aluminum is widely used for:
 
➢ Electrical housings

➢ Door frames, window frames, signs frames and other architectural applications

➢ Pipes and tubes that make up irrigation systems

➢ Storage tanks

➢ Shop fittings
 
Bayou Metal Supply is a trusted supplier of aluminum and stainless steel products. Our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility is outfitted with advanced equipment designed to cut materials into custom shapes. To talk to one of our metal specialists, call (888) 201-6417.

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