In comparing 6061 vs 6063 aluminum, you’ll see 6061 aluminum and 6063 aluminum are both popular alloys used in extrusions for a variety of architectural, machinery, equipment, and consumer products. 6061 aluminum and 6063 aluminum are similar in composition and mechanical properties. Their magnesium content provides increased strength, and silicon reduces their melting temperature.
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Their formability, weldability, corrosion resistance, and moderately high strength make these alloys quite versatile. However, even though they are from the same series of metals, there are some differences between them and factors that make each one suitable for different applications.
Comparing 6061 VS 6063 Aluminum
6061 aluminum is used in all kinds of applications ranging from electronics to welded assemblies. 6061 aluminum bar and 6061 aluminum plate is used primarily for its increased strength over other alloys in the 6xxx series. It’s one of the most popular aluminum alloys and a suitable material for almost any job requiring a light-yet-tough metal.
6063 aluminum is a top choice for architectural materials because of its excellent response to extrusion; it is easily formed into complex shapes, including bars and tubing. 6063 aluminum bar and 6063 aluminum tube offer a good surface finish for decorative finishes and resists corrosion more effectively than other 6xxx alloys due to the lack of copper in its elemental composition. While this alloy does not differ from 6061 aluminum in many ways, its lower strength and better corrosion resistance make 6063 aluminum a better choice for extrusion projects.
Applications of 6061 VS 6063
You’ll typically find 6061 in the following applications:
- Shipbuilding – sailboats, yachts, marine fittings, and hardware
- Automotive – truck and bus bodies, wheels and various transportation end uses, brake and hydraulic pistons
- Aerospace – aircraft structures and fittings
- Rail – railway car components
- Home and Business – furniture, awnings, moldings, and appliance fittings
- Food Service – food and beverage cans
- Miscellaneous – scuba tanks, pipe fittings, hinge pins, valve and valve parts, bike frames, fire ladders, bridge components, camera lens mounts, couplings, electrical fittings and connectors, magneto parks, structural framing, base plants, and gussets.
You’ll typically find 6063 in the following applications:
- Architectural – trims, framework, brackets, and structural supports
- Automotive – truck frames and trailers
- Home goods – aluminum furniture and recreational equipment
- General construction – pipes, tubing, stair rails, window frames, door frames, roofs, and signage
Performance Characteristics of 6061 vs 6063 Aluminum
6061 aluminum tube, aluminum sheet, aluminum bar, and aluminum plate offer high- to moderate strength, excellent corrosion resistance, and superior machinability and weldability while 6063 aluminum tube offers an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, superior corrosion resistance, and a fine appearance and finish.
Comparative Characteristics and Applications
|Alloy & Temper||Resistance to Corrosion||Weldability|
|General||Stress – Corrosion Cracking||Workability (Cold)||Machinability||Brazeability||Gas||Arc||Resistance Spot & Seam|
|6061-T4, T451, T4510, T4511||B||B||B||C||A||A||A||A|
|6061-T6, T651, T652, T6510, T6511||B||A||C||C||A||A||A||A|
|6063-T83, T831, T832||A||A||C||C||A||A||A||A|
How to Understand the Ratings
Ratings are based on relative decreasing order of merit from A to E. The ratings are based on exposure by spraying or immersion to sodium chloride solution. If the alloy has an A or B rating, it can be used in seacoast or industrial atmospheres with no protection. If the alloy has a C, D, or E rating, it is recommended to protect the alloy, at least wherever there are surfaces with joints. This data comes from the 2013 Aluminum Standards & Data. For more information, please refer to the Aluminum Association.
Physical Properties of 6061 Aluminum Versus 6063
Both 6061 and 6063 aluminum have a density of 2.7g/cm3 or 0.0975 lb/in3). 6061 can be strengthened using the heat-treatment process, with some common tempers being 6061-T4 and 6061-T6. 6063 can be similarly heat-treated, with 6063-T6 being the most common temper.
Mechanical Properties of 6061 Aluminum Versus 6063 Aluminum
|Tensile strength||124-290 MPa||145–186 MPa|
|Yield strength||276 MPa/40000 psi||214 MPa/31000 psi|
|Fatigue strength||96.5 MPa/14000 psi||68.9 MPa/10000 psi|
|Thermal conductivity||151-202 W/(m·K)||201-218 W/(m·K)|
What Are 6061 & 6063 Aluminum Alloyed With?
6061 and 6063 both share the same alloying elements. 6061 aluminum can have up to double the iron and typically has substantially more silicon, copper, and chromium than 6063 aluminum. In general, you’ll find that 6061 has more of each alloying element than 6063. See the table below for the percentage of alloying elements in each common alloy.
Nominal Chemical Compositions
|Alloying Elements – Percent|
|Alloy||Mn||Fe||Mg||Si||Cu||Zn||Ti||Cr||Other (Each)||Others (Total)||Al|
|6061||0.0 – 0.15%||0.0 – 0.70%||0.80 – 1.20%||0.40 – 0.80%||0.15 – 0.40%||0.0 – 0.25%||0.0 – 0.15%||0.04 – 0.35%||0.0 – 0.05%||0.0 – 0.15%||Balance|
|6063||0.0 – 0.10%||0.0 – 0.35%||0.45 – 0.90%||0.20 – 0.60%||0.0 – 0.10%||0.0 – 0.10%||0.0 – 0.10%||0.0 – 0.10%||0.0 – 0.05%||0.0 – 0.15%||Balance|
When comparing 6061 aluminum and 6063 aluminum, they appear very similar in characteristics. However, for applications in which higher strength and a finer finish are needed, 6063 may be a more suitable choice. To decide whether 6061 or 6063 is right for your project, contact our qualified team now. One of our representatives will help you make the best decision for you.
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