Aluminum alloys are very common material and different manufacturing industries use them for mechanical purposes. Its increased and strong composition makes it one of the best industry alloys.
To reduce the melting temperature, aluminum is commonly used. The elements in it like magnesium and silicon help in controlling the temperature. In modern industries, aluminum is widely used as a transportation component and machinery equipment.
However, there is not a single variant of aluminum in the industry. It has several alloys which have their own unique properties. Two of these unique alloys are aluminum 6061 and aluminum 6063. Both have different properties and different compositions.
But, which aluminum should you use for your mechanical project? In between aluminum 6061 and 6063, which one is better? Let’s have a look!
What are Aluminum 6061 and 6063?
Before going into the details of these two, let’s first briefly discuss what they actually are?
Basically, these two are alloys of aluminum made with silicon and magnesium. Al 6061 has its applications in Aluminium 6061 plates.
On the other hand, Al 6063 is a medium-strength alloy mainly used in architecture. The unique properties of Al 6063 include:
- Excellent durability
- High-corrosion resistance
- Ability to form complex shapes
With these and some other features in hand, Al 6063 is preferred over 6061. But, how are these two different from each other, and why Al 6063 is better than 6061? For this, let’s discuss the important distinguishing features one by one.
1- Alloy Variations
The first and most important difference comes in their alloys. Both the metals come from the same alloy series which is 6000. However, they differ in their forms and properties.
Al 6061 has both pre-tempered and tempered grades which include:
- 6061-O Aluminum
- 6061-T42 Aluminum
- 6061-T4510 Aluminum
- 6061-T4511 Aluminum
- 6061-T51 Aluminum
- 6061-T6 Aluminum
- 6061-T62 Aluminum
- 6061-T651 Aluminum
- 6061-T6511 Aluminum
- 6061-T89 Aluminum
- 6061-T94 Aluminum
Whereas, the alloys of Al 6063 are entirely different from 6061 and are present in 13 different variations. Some of them are:
- 6063-0 Aluminum
Along with the presence of different alloys, Aluminum 6061 and 6063 also differ in their strength and hardness properties. Different factors determine the strength of a material. For instance, ultimate strength, shear strength, and fatigue strength, all count for the overall strength.
In most cases, the percentage of these mechanical properties is larger in aluminum 6063 in comparison to 6061. Likewise, the hardness value for Al 6063 is 95 while that of Al 6061 is only 73. Just like this, the surface quality, workability, and ultimate strength are good in Al 6063.
3- Mechanical Properties
Just like the chemical properties, the mechanical properties also contribute to aluminum alloys. These also involve the weightage of the physical characteristics of these metals.
With the help of these mechanical properties, we can easily differentiate between the different aluminum alloys.
One of the best mechanical properties is machinability. It is the ability of a metal to cut in various shapes while providing a good surface finish. Different processes like milling, and die-casting involve the determination of this characteristic.
4- Corrosion Resistance
Another major differentiating point between Aluminum 6061 and 6063 is their corrosive resistance. In this process, the metal makes a protective layer of oxide on its surface to protect itself from environmental damage.
Hence, this property is more readily shown by aluminum 6063 and it is more resistant. Whereas, aluminum 6061 also shows corrosion resistance but is lesser than 6063. In addition, this corrosion resistance property depends on the copper composition.
The more composition of copper metal there is, the more it will be corrosion-resistant.
5- Hardness of Metal
In comparison to aluminum 6061, Al 6063 is a harder and stronger metal alloy. The reason is its high melting point, higher heat capacity, and conductivity. Therefore, Al 6063 gives a better surface finish than 6061.
Moreover, a common measurement scale known as the Brinell scale determines the hardness of a metal. On it, hardness values of all materials are present which then measures the ductile strength.
Therefore, by looking at the scale, you will get that the hardness value for Aluminum 6063 is higher than Al 6061 which are 95 and 73 respectively.
6- Fatigue Strength
Another property that measures the hardness of a metal alloy is its fatigue strength. Alloys like Aluminum 6061 and 6063 differ in their fatigue strength as well. This property shows how a material experiences the bearing strain and stress provided to it.
In it, you apply force on the metal which then puts stress on the material and it starts cracking. If these micro-cracks surpass the stress test further and do not break, it becomes clear that the metal is strong.
However, if the metal cannot bear the strain and breaks away it will indicate that the metal has high fatigue strength. From the experiments, you can see that Aluminum 6061 has higher fatigue strength than Al 6063.
Grades of Aluminum 6061
Now, you have a clear understanding of how aluminum 6061 differs from 6063 and why Al 6063 is a better option. So, let’s quickly look at the important grades of these two metals. Aluminum 6061 was first used for wrought products in different regions.
The old history of Al 6061 shows that it has different designations in different countries. Like, in french it has a designation of A-G1SUC and many more. So, it’s a highly versatile alloy of aluminum that has its uses in multi-purpose applications. Some of the applications of Aluminum 6061 include:
- Aviation industry
- In marine applications
- In automotive industries
- In aircrafts
- In heat exchangers and sinks
- In welding industry
- In electronic and chemical equipment
Grades of Aluminum 6063
Aluminum 6063 is also popular as an architectural aluminum due to its wide use in architectural materials. Its old history gives this alloy some standard designation such as EN AW-6063 in Europe.
The best thing about aluminum 6063 is its extrusion property. Due to this property, it can easily draw complex shapes of different materials. Some of them include tubing and bars. Just like aluminum 6061, Al 6063 has also found its applications in various fields. Some of them are:
- In architectural materials
- In constructional work
- In building products
- In furniture and tubing
- In recreational materials
- In medical fields
- Automotive industry
- In profiling the parts
- In piping
Not only this but aluminum 6063 is one of the best aluminum alloys with excellent chemical, mechanical and physical properties.
Why Should You Choose Aluminum 6063?
Mostly construction industries and companies prefer the use of aluminum 6063 in comparison to other alloys. The main reason for this selection is the unique properties of this metal. Features like high hardness, great tensile strength, and overall durability add to the perfection of Aluminum 6063.
It’s surprising to know that aluminum 6063 has an ultimate tensile strength of 190 megapascals which is good enough for hard metal. More to this, it has an overall thickness of 3.15 millimeters which is twice better than other alloys.
So, why not choose the one which provides good strength and excellent features? Generally, another alloy aluminum 5052 is also popular for its high strength. But, its workability and corrosion resistance is less than aluminum 6063. For your convenience, here are some unique facts that you should know about aluminum 6063.
Aluminum 6063 is a highly denser alloy with a density value of 2.7 g per cubic centimetre. With this heavy density, it differs from the aluminum 6061 alloys by a percentage of 0.7%.
- Soil Composition
Due to the high corrosion-resistance property, aluminum 6063 has a much lesser composition of copper in it. Therefore, it is inactive to several elements and varies in its soil composition. Some of these elements include concentrated nitric acid, ammonia solution, and ammonium hydroxide.
- High temperature
Another unique property that adds to the heat capacity of aluminum 6063 is its high temperature. This high heat treatment also affects the tensile strength and yield strength of this metal. On average, the ultimate yield strength of aluminum 6063 is 214 Mega pascals.
This value of yield strength leaves behind the strength of aluminum 6061 in comparison o 6063. Therefore, Al 6063 is most commonly present in all types of extrusion products. It does not break and bear the stress provided to it.
From these points of differentiation, you are well aware of the fact that using aluminum 6063 is a perfect option for your projects. However, all aluminum alloys are best in their way. Each metal has its own chemical and mechanical properties depending upon its strength.
Therefore, aluminum 6063 has a high grip on architectural projects and other related materials. On the other hand, aluminum 6061 is not that suitable for the architectural industry. But, it is a remarkable alloy when it comes to the aircraft or aviation industry.
So, you should have a detailed look at the overall properties, benefits, and applications of the metal before using it.