When it comes to building structures and product parts that can stand the test of time, aluminium is one of the most sought-after materials. It is versatile, durable, lightweight and highly corrosion-resistant. Owing to these multiple impressive features, it is widely used in various industries across the globe. Among the many products, two common alloys that find extensive application in engineering, aerospace, and manufacturing are aluminium sheet 7075 and aluminium sheet 6061.
While they may appear similar at first glance, these alloys have distinct differences that make them suitable for specific purposes. The important question to ask here is when it comes to aluminium 6061 vs. aluminium 7075, which one will best serve your requirements? In this blog, we will delve into the differences between aluminium 6061 and aluminium 7075 to help you make an informed decision when choosing between the two.
Aluminium Sheet 7075 vs. 6061- Primary Distinctions
Aluminium Sheet 7075 is part of the 7xxx series of aluminium alloys. These are known for their exceptional strength and resistance to stress cracking. The primary alloying elements in 7075 are zinc, magnesium, and copper. This composition imparts outstanding strength and hardness to the material, making it ideal for high-stress applications. Aluminium Sheet 6061, on the other hand, belongs to the 6xxx series, characterized by its excellent corrosion resistance and weldability. The primary alloying elements in 6061 are magnesium and silicon, with trace amounts of other elements. This alloy is favored for its versatility and ease of machining.
One of the most significant differences between these two aluminium sheets is their strength and hardness. So, which is stronger, 6061 or 7075 aluminium? Aluminium Sheet 7075 is renowned for its exceptional strength. It has a tensile strength of 83,000 psi (pounds per square inch) and a yield strength of 73,000 psi. This makes it one of the strongest aluminium alloys available. It excels in applications where high strength and resistance to fatigue are critical. Aluminium Sheet 6061, while still strong, is not as robust as 7075. It has a lower tensile strength of around 40,000 psi and a yield strength of 35,000 psi. While this may not match the strength of 7075, 6061 compensates with its excellent machinability and weldability.
Due to its high strength and hardness, machining aluminium Sheet 7075 can be more challenging than working with 6061. The alloy tends to generate more heat during machining, requiring specialized tools and techniques. However, its machinability can still be achieved with the right expertise. Aluminium Sheet 6061 is prized for its excellent machinability. It can be easily cut, shaped, and drilled using standard machining processes. This makes it a preferred choice for applications that require complex shapes and precision.
Density is one characteristic to consider when comparing the physical properties of 7075 aluminium and 6061 aluminium. The density of 7075 aluminium is slightly larger than pure aluminium at 2.81 g/cm3 (0.102 lb/in3), and it can also be strengthened using the heat treatment process (the most common temperature is 7075-T6). The density of 6061 aluminium alloy is 2.7 g/cm3 (0.0975 lb/in3), or about the same as pure aluminium metal. As for the 6061 vs. 7075 aluminium weight comparison, it can vary depending on the specific form and dimensions of the material. However, in general, 7075 aluminium is denser and therefore heavier than 6061 aluminium.
5. Corrosion Resistance:
While aluminium Sheet 7075 possesses impressive strength properties, it is less corrosion-resistant than 6061. The copper content in 7075 makes it susceptible to corrosion in certain environments. However, protective coatings or anodization can be leveraged when the metal has to function in corrosive conditions. Aluminium Sheet 6061 boasts excellent corrosion resistance, making it suitable for applications where there is expected exposure to moisture or corrosive substances. Its natural oxide layer provides extra protection, and it can also be further enhanced through anodization for added durability.
6. Thermal Conductivity:
Both 6061 aluminium and 7075 aluminium are heat treatable. It is interesting to note that even though 7075 aluminium is much stronger than 6061 aluminium, it melts at a slightly lower temperature. Because 6061 aluminium has a higher thermal conductivity than 7075 aluminium, it can be a better choice for certain applications. Of the heat-treatable alloys, the 6061 aluminium plate is one of the more versatile. It is widely known for its corrosion resistance and high toughness.
While it may not offer the same formability and weldability as other aluminium alloys, 7075 aluminium excels in high-stress applications where strength is important. 7075 aluminium is often called ‘aircraft grade’ because it’s one of the highest-strength aluminium alloys available. It is widely used in aircraft, spacecraft, and other defense applications as well. Because of its versatility, workability, strength, corrosion resistance, and joinability, 6061 aluminium can be used for a wide range of general applications, including structural materials, piping, fasteners, and electronic parts.
Aluminium sheet 6061 is generally more cost-effective than the 7075. As the latter features higher strength and specialized applications, it can lead to costs that are on the higher side. However, the right choice depends on the specific requirements of your project as well as the budget. Using the right alloy for the job can save on overall expenses by preventing premature failure or the need for costly reinforcements.
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