The Big Picture On 6061 Aluminum Alloy


Although now known as 6061 aluminum, this alloy was known as Alloy 61s when first developed. It first showed up on the scene in 1935 and was considered one of the optimal choices in a heat treatable aluminum alloy.

Initially, 6061 aluminum was favored for use in the railroad and in marine types of construction because of its high corrosion resistance, including to saltwater environments, even after welding. It was and still is considered to be a medium to high strength to weight ratio alloy, providing durability without adding additional weight to the final product. Obviously this was essential in both the marine and railway industries and then later in the aircraft and aerospace industries.

The Technical Information

The chemical composition of 6061 aluminum includes manganese, iron, magnesium, silicon, copper, zinc, titanium, chromium and, of course, aluminum. The most important or highest percentage elements include aluminum, magnesium and silicon. It is typically produced as an extrusion and can be formed into a wide range of different products.

The Benefits

The benefits of 6061 aluminum include the strength of the alloy, as mentioned above, as well as being lightweight. It is considered to be highly resistant to stress corrosion cracking, and this is due to the addition of chromium in the alloy.

It can be easily machined, and it can be joined using all types of welding options including gas and arc welding. Likewise, it can be soldered as well as brazed, which gives it applications over other aluminum alloys which can be difficult to work with, especially with regards to weldability.

6061 aluminum can be found in bar, plate and rod, and it is also a good option for hollow shapes, such as tubes and pipes. It is also a good option for creating custom extrusions for any industry or application need.


While still used in the aircraft and railroad industries, 6061 aluminum is now found in many other products and applications as well. It is used in the construction of heavy duty truck frames, in bridge building, in the construction of ships and motorboats as well as in the commercial production of large scale industrial boilers.

As an alloy, 6061 aluminum is a good all-purpose, high strength option. Easy to weld and machine, this alloy will continue to be a popular option in traditional and new applications because of its versatility.

6061 aluminum is available in bar and plate from Howard Precision Metals. To see more or request a quote visit us online at Howardprecision.com.

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