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6061 T6 or 7075 T6 Aluminum – Which One Should You Choose?

6061 T6 or 7075 T6 Aluminum – Which One Should You Choose?

Aluminum is one of the most versatile metals used in industry today. Because of its many properties it can be used in thousands of commercial and residential applications. Two of the most popular alloys are 6061 T6 and 7075 T6 aluminum. In fact, it can sometimes be difficult to decide upon which alloy is best for your needs. Here is important information to help you make an informed decision.

Alloy Metals

To create either 6061or 7075 T6 aluminum, certain metals are combined. Here are the main components of each metal.

6061 and 7075 Alloy Metals

  • Magnesium
  • Silicon
  • Iron
  • Titanium
  • Copper
  • Chromium
  • Manganese

As you can see, there is no difference between the two aluminum alloys (when it comes to metals used). However, the difference does not lie in the materials but in the percentage of each metal used in the process. For example, 6061 contains about 1 percent magnesium and 7075 can have as much as 2.9 percent. Differences like these make all the difference in the world.

What Does T6 Mean?

You might see 7075 0 and 7075 T6 aluminum and wonder what the difference is. The numbers or letters after the 6061o r 7075 denote how the metal was tempered. “0” means the aluminum alloy has not been heat treated. Aluminum is highly resistant to corrosion and strong. However, heat treating can increase aluminum alloys’ properties.

T6

To obtain 7075 T6 aluminum the alloy is heat treated to 840 F (450 C) for a few hours. It is then quenched and kept at 250 F (120 C) for an entire 24 hours. This greatly increases 7075’s strength.

6061 is also heat treated to create 6061 T6 aluminum and this makes 6061 a lot stronger than standard untreated 6061.

Properties of 6061 and 7075 T6 Aluminum

Here are reasons to choose these alloys.

6061

  • Med – high in strength
  • Can be welded
  • Workable
  • Corrosion resistance

7075

  • Very high strength
  • Not usually welded because micro cracks may form
  • Resistant to stress and fatigue
  • Workable
  • Resistant to corrosion

Comparing 6061 T6 to 7075 T6 Aluminum

When you compare these two alloys, you’ll see 7075 T6 is the strongest choice and if you want the most resistance to wear and tear, 7075 is the best alloy. However, you might need to weld your aluminum and since 6061 lends itself to welding it is the better choice. If cost is a major concern, 6061 T6 is much cheaper than 7075 T6 aluminum.

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