All About Aluminium 6061 Sheets

Aluminium 6061 is a widely used material in various industries owing to its excellent physical and mechanical properties, versatile nature, and affordability. These sheets exhibit a range of physical and mechanical properties that contribute to their widespread use in diverse applications. Understanding the nuanced properties of this metal properties is crucial for assessing suitability for specific projects and ensuring optimal performance.

Material Specification

Aluminium 6061 is a heat-treatable alloy with a combination of silicon and magnesium as its primary alloying elements. It belongs to the 6000 series of aluminium alloys, known for their excellent formability, weldability, and corrosion resistance. This alloy can be easily extruded, forged, or machined into various shapes and sizes, making it highly versatile for a wide range of applications.

Physical Properties

1. Density:

The relatively low density of approximately 2.70 g/cm³ makes Aluminium 6061 ideal for applications where weight reduction is critical. Despite its low density, this allow is known to maintain high strength and durability.

2. Melting Point:

The melting point of Aluminium 6061 is approximately 582°C (1080°F). This facilitates processing and manufacturing operations, including casting, extrusion, and machining. It allows for the efficient fabrication of complex shapes without requiring excessively high temperatures.

3. Thermal Conductivity:

Aluminium 6061 exhibits excellent thermal conductivity, approximately 167 W/m·K. This property makes it suitable for heat transfer applications, such as heat sinks in electronic devices and cooling systems in automotive engines.

4. Electrical Conductivity:

It also possesses good electrical conductivity, approximately 43-47% of the International Annealed Copper Standard (IACS). This property is advantageous in electrical applications, including wiring, busbars, and conductive components in electronic devices.

5. Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE):

The coefficient of thermal expansion of Aluminium 6061 is approximately 23.6 µm/m·K. This property refers to the material’s tendency to expand or contract with temperature changes. Aluminium 6061’s moderate CTE ensures dimensional stability over a wide temperature range.

6. Appearance & Surface Finish:

Aluminium 6061 sheets typically have a smooth surface finish with a metallic lustre. They can be further enhanced through various surface treatments, such as anodizing, painting, or powder coating, to improve corrosion resistance, aesthetics, and durability.

7. Machinability:

Aluminium 6061 exhibits excellent machinability, allowing for easy cutting, drilling, milling, and turning operations. Its soft, ductile nature enables high-speed machining with minimal tool wear and reduced machining time, increasing efficiency in manufacturing processes.

Mechanical Properties

1. Tensile Strength:

Aluminium 6061 exhibits a high tensile strength, typically ranging from 124 MPa to 290 MPa (18,000 psi to 42,000 psi). This property measures the maximum amount of tensile stress a material can withstand before failure or fracture.

2. Yield Strength:

The yield strength of Aluminium 6061 is approximately 55 MPa (8,000 psi). This parameter represents the stress at which a material begins to deform plastically, i.e., undergo permanent deformation, without experiencing failure.

3. Elongation:

Aluminium 6061 typically exhibits elongation values ranging from 10% to 25%. A higher elongation percentage indicates greater ductility, allowing Aluminium 6061 sheets to undergo significant deformation without fracturing.

4. Hardness:

The hardness of Aluminium 6061 varies depending on the heat treatment conditions. In its annealed or soft state, it has a Brinell hardness ranging from 30 to 53 HB. Through heat treatment processes such as precipitation hardening (T6 temper), Aluminium 6061 can achieve higher levels of hardness, typically in the range of 95 to 117 HB.

5. Fatigue Strength:

Aluminium 6061 exhibits good fatigue strength, enabling it to withstand repeated cyclic loading without failure. Fatigue strength is particularly important in applications subject to fluctuating loads or vibrations.

6. Modulus of Elasticity:

Aluminium 6061 has a modulus of elasticity (Young’s modulus) of approximately 68.9 GPa (10,000 ksi). A higher modulus of elasticity indicates greater stiffness, allowing Aluminium 6061 to maintain its shape and structural integrity under load.

7. Impact Resistance:

This alloy exhibits good impact resistance, absorbing energy and dissipating forces upon impact. The combination of high tensile strength, ductility, and toughness enables Aluminium 6061 to withstand impact loading without catastrophic failure, ensuring safety.

Chemical Structure

Aluminium 6061 primarily consists of aluminium, silicon, and magnesium, with trace amounts of other elements such as chromium and zinc. This composition contributes to its exceptional mechanical properties and corrosion resistance. The chemical composition typically includes:
Elements Quantity
Aluminium (Al) 95.85% – 98.56%
Silicon (Si) 0.4% – 0.8%
Magnesium (Mg) 0.8% – 1.2%
Others (Fe, Cu, Cr, Zn) <0.15%

Primary Types

Sheets: Aluminium 6061 sheets are flat, thin pieces of the alloy, typically ranging in thickness from 0.2mm to 300mm. They find widespread use in industries such as aerospace, automotive, construction, and electronics. Plates: Aluminium 6061 plates are thicker than sheets, typically exceeding 6mm in thickness. They offer enhanced strength and stiffness, making them suitable for structural components, machine parts, and tooling applications. Bars: Aluminium 6061 bars are solid, elongated shapes with a uniform cross-section, available in various diameters and lengths. They are commonly used in construction, marine, and manufacturing industries. Tubes: Aluminium 6061 tubes are hollow cylindrical structures, available in round, square, and rectangular profiles. They are favoured in industries such as aerospace and automotive. Extrusions: Aluminium 6061 extrusions are complex shapes formed through the extrusion process, where the alloy is forced through a die to produce profiles with specific cross-sectional geometries. They are used in architectural and industrial applications.

Key Dimensions

The dimensions of Aluminium 6061 sheets vary depending on the manufacturer and application. However, a typical dimensions chart may include thicknesses ranging from 0.2mm to 300mm and widths up to 1500mm or more. Lengths can be customized according to customer specifications.

Equivalent Grades

Aluminium 6061 sheets may have equivalent grades depending on international standards such as ASTM, EN, and JIS. Common equivalents include AA6061, EN AW-6061, and A96061. These grades ensure compatibility with global manufacturing standards.

Aluminium 6061 Sheet Weight

The weight of Aluminium 6061 sheets varies based on dimensions and thickness. A weight chart provides a reference for calculating the weight of specific sheet sizes. For instance, a 1mm thick Aluminium 6061 sheet measuring 1m² typically weighs around 2.7kg, while a 10mm thick sheet of the same size weighs approximately 27kg.

Aluminium 6061 Sheet Sizes

Aluminium 6061 sheets are available in standard and custom sizes to accommodate diverse applications. Standard sizes commonly range from 1m x 2m to 1.5m x 3m, with thickness options ranging from 0.2mm to 25mm. Custom sizes can be fabricated to meet specific project requirements.

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