When it comes to general use aluminum alloys, 6061 aluminum plate is typically the material of choice. This is true in just about any type of industry, including in marine, transportation, model aircraft, automotive and even in specialized application such as remote control models and firearms.
There are many different reasons to consider 6061 aluminum plate, and knowing specifically what you want and need out of the project or application is the first step in making a choice. This is a readily available aluminum plate, and with a top distributor even large orders of the product should be easy to fill without advanced lead time to stock.
There are several different tempers of 6061 aluminum plate including annealed, or 6061-0, which is pre-tempered, as well as different tempered grades. Tempered grades of aluminum offer different properties and characteristics including artificial aging, stress-relieved stretching and solutionized options for specific uses and applications.
All 6061 aluminum plate is an alloy created by combining aluminum with silicon and magnesium. It also includes additional alloying materials in small quantities, some with a minimum and maximum percentage by weight while others have no minimum but a maximum percentage within the alloy.
The other alloying metals include iron, copper, manganese, chromium, zinc, and titanium. These elements all contribute to the properties of 6061 aluminum when used in bars, rods, and plate.
The properties of 6061 aluminum plate are dependent on the temper. The higher the temper, the stronger the tensile strength of 6061 aluminum. The amount of elongation, or the stretch amount possible before ultimate failure, actually decreases the temper increases up to T6 designation. For example the annealed 6061 or 6061-0 has an elongation of between twenty-five and thirty percent while the 6061-T6 has only a ten percent elongation.
Uses by Temper
The most common uses of 6061 aluminum plate in the annealed state, or the 6061-0 temper, is in aircraft and marine construction. This includes structural components including wings on aircraft and small vessels. It is easy to work with yet provides easy workability and excellent corrosion resistance without having to be clad.
The 6061 aluminum plate with the T-6 designation is most commonly used for structural components, including marine construction for docks or gangways. It is also used for ultra-high vacuum chamber construction as well as firearm sound suppression systems.