Comparing 5052 vs 6063 aluminum, you’ll see they’re both two very common alloys in the aluminum industry. 5052 aluminum is quite popular because of its versatility, while 6063 aluminum is known for its good electrical conductivity and high-quality finish.
Both are very commonly used in industrial applications, and each has its strengths and advantages. Read on to learn some of the key differences between 5052 aluminum and 6063 aluminum.
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Key Characteristics of 5052 vs 6063 Aluminum
5052 aluminum is known for its weldability, high corrosion resistance, and toughness. While 5052 isn’t heat-treatable, it can be strengthened through the work-hardening process. After going through work-hardening, it’s considered to be the strongest of the alloys that are non-heat treatable. Because 5052 aluminum combines formability with strength, it’s considered very versatile and finds its way into a variety of aluminum plate and aluminum sheet products. Its exceptional corrosion resistance and imperviousness to saltwater make it ideal for marine environments.
6063 is frequently chosen for architectural projects because of its attractive finishing and corrosion-resistant properties. Like others in the 6XXX series, 6063 aluminum responds well to anodizing, which also lends itself well to architectural and structural applications. 6063 aluminum is one of the most popular alloys for extrusion projects because it can be formed into a variety of shapes with appealing surface finishes that do not weather easily.
What Are the Chemical Compositions of 5052 vs 6063 Aluminum?
5052 aluminum is part of the 5000 series of aluminum. Grades in this family are alloyed using an average of 2.5% magnesium and .25% chromium. 6063 aluminum is part of the 6000 series of alloys. Its major alloying elements are magnesium and silicon, with some iron content.
Here is a breakdown of 5052 aluminum’s and 6063 aluminum’s nominal chemical compositions.
Nominal Chemical Compositions
Alloying Elements – Percent
What are Their Densities?
Type 5052 aluminum’s density is 2.68 g/cm3 (0.0968 lb/in3). Type 6063 aluminum’s density is 2.7 g/cm3 (0.0975 lb/in³) – about the same as pure aluminum.
How Do 5052 vs 6063 Aluminum Compare in Corrosion Resistance?
Both 5052 and 6063 alloys are considered corrosion resistant. However, as part of the 5xxx series (alloys in which magnesium is the primary alloying element), 5052 (2.2 Mg) may be considered more corrosion resistant than 6063 (0.45 Mg).
How Do They Compare in Strength?
The yield strength of a material is the minimum amount of stress that it will withstand before it changes shape, and it is a common measure when comparing strengths of materials. 5052 aluminum has a lower yield strength than 6063 aluminum (193 MPa vs. 214 MPa), therefore making 6063 the stronger material.
What are the Mechanical Properties of 5052 vs 6063 Aluminum?
Here is a summary of 5052 vs 6063 aluminum’s mechanical properties.
|Ultimate Tensile Strength||228 MPa/33,000 psi||241 MPa/35000 psi|
|Tensile Yield Strength||193 MPa/28000 psi||214 MPa/31000 psi|
|Shear Strength||138 MPa/20000psi||152 MPa/22000 psi|
|Modulus of Elasticity||70.3 GPa/10200 ksi||68.9 GPa/10000 ksi|
|Shear Modulus||25.9 GPa/3720 ksi||25.8 GPa/3740 ksi|
Here is a comparison of the mechanical properties of 5052 vs 6063 aluminum, and their tempers in more detail.
|Strength (KSI)||Elongation % in 2 in.|
|Alloy & Temper||Ultimate (KSI)||Yield Set 0.2%||1/16” Thick||½” Dia.||Brinell Hardness|
5052 vs 6063 Aluminum for Welding & Machining
Both alloys are considered to have good formability and workability. It’s important to note that 5,000 series metals like 5052 are non-heat treatable, while the 6,000 series, including 6063, is heat treatable. Having the highest strength alloy of the more common non-heat-treatable grades, 5052 emerges as a winner for its toughness and ease of workability. It has good drawing properties and a high rate of work hardening. It can be drawn or formed into complex shapes and often appears with bright anodic coatings.
6063 aluminum features many of the same workability characteristics; however, it’s known as a good choice for extrusion because it is easily pushed through a die to create many different shapes. See below for a comparative characteristics analysis of the two grades.
Comparative Characteristics and Applications
|Resistance to Corrosion||Weldability|
|Alloy||Formability||Machinability||Resistance||Arc w/Inert Gas||Brazing||Soldering|
How to Understand the Ratings
Ratings A through E are relative based on application of sodium chloride solution by intermittent spraying or immersion. Alloys rated A and B can be used in industrial and marine environments without protection. Alloys with C, D, and E ratings generally should be protected, particularly on surfaces with joints. This data was pulled from the 2013 Aluminum Standards & Data. For more information, please refer to documentation by the Aluminum Association.
What Kinds of Products Use 5052 Aluminum?
5052 aluminum is a favorite alloy for many applications because of its corrosion resistance, high fatigue strength, and good weldability. Here are just a few common products that use 5052 aluminum.
- Marine Equipment – its excellent resistance to seawater and salt spray make it a favorite for boating applications. In particular, it’s a good material choice for tankers because of its resistance to failure in corrosive elements.
- Aircraft and Transportation Components – the same anticorrosive characteristics help 5052 aluminum excel in other transport-oriented products such as fuel lines, tanks, signage, and structural components.
- Residential Products – 5052 aluminum shows up in cabinetry, appliances, fencing, hardware, and more. It is also used in medical equipment.
- Manufacturing – 5052 aluminum is frequently used in sheet metal, heat exchangers, wiring, chemical drums, pressure vessels, and more.
What Kinds of Products Use 6063 Aluminum?
With its reputation as the “architectural aluminum,” 6063 aluminum makes frequent appearances in both structural and ornamental architectural applications, such as moldings and extruded trim for both interiors and exteriors. It also can be found in:
- Piping and Tubing – 6063 aluminum is used in products such as food and beverage/brewing equipment, pollution control equipment, power generation systems, and heat exchangers.
- Building Products – 6063 aluminum shows up in railings, signage, heatsinks, door and window frames, and irrigation systems.
- Recreational equipment – outdoor chairs, tables, poles, and frames.
Comparing 5052 vs 6063 aluminum, you see they share important characteristics that make them very popular grades of metal. However, because 5052 aluminum alloy does not contain any copper and has a high magnesium content, it works well in environments where corrosion resistance – like marine environments – is highly desired. Likewise, as part of the 6xxx series that uses magnesium and silicon as alloying elements, 6063 aluminum offers good mechanical properties that make it popular for visible architectural products like window and door frames, roofs, and sign frames.
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