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6061 Vs. 6063 Aluminum: Which is Better for Extrusions?

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There is quite a wide range of aluminum alloys used for extrusion applications. 6061 and 6063 are the most popular alloys. However, knowing the best option for extrusions and their use under different applications can be daunting. 

While plenty of information is available online, you can work with a trusted aluminum supplier or professional to help you get the right material. We have prepared a detailed insight into the difference between 6061 and 6063 aluminum to help you identify the better option for extrusions. 

But first!

What are Aluminum Extrusions?


The extrusion process entails forming metals into a pre-determined shape based on the die profile. Because of the criterion of functionality integrated into the extrusion process, the number of shapes and forms you can design is virtually endless.  

Besides, the extrusion process does not only allow you to create a wide range of shapes but also create a stronger piece than the previous versions.  


6061 Alloy for Aluminum Extrusions


Aluminum 6061 alloy is a variant of the 6000 series. It comprises a good amount of silicon and magnesium. The aluminum alloy has been in the market since 1935 and is one of the most versatile heat-treatable alloys.

It is common for its multi-purpose uses and ability to combine corrosion resistance with strength and is highly weldable. You can find it in different industries and applications ranging from marine, aviation, and automotive industries.   

6063 Alloy for Aluminum Extrusions


Often referred to as architectural aluminum, the 6063 has been in the market since 1944 and is a top choice for architectural materials. Its major elemental composition includes magnesium, aluminum, and silicon. The chemical composition for Aluminum alloy 6063 is AlMgO,7Si.

Its excellent response to extrusion makes it the ideal option for drawing constant cross-sectional shapes. Additionally, like the 6061, its lower strength and better corrosion resistance make it the ideal option for extrusion. 

6061 vs. 6063 Aluminum Alloys


Because 6061 aluminum and 6063 are from the same family, they contain similar properties, which makes it hard to differentiate. Even so, comparing the two options by looking at their distinct properties is possible. Some of the attributes you can use include:

· Mechanical properties

· Alloy series 

· Cost Comparison

· Corrosion resistance comparison 

· Chemical component 

· Common application comparison 

Here is a detailed insight into the difference between 6061 aluminum and 6063:

Mechanical Properties


The two metal alloys are from the same series (aluminum 6000), making it hard to differentiate the two metals mechanically. However, it is possible to examine their physical properties. You can check the material's hardness and overall strength of the material. 

Aluminum 6061 is much harder than 6063 aluminum. Although the two options are strong and malleable, the 6061 aluminum is the preferred option in architecture. It is also stronger than the 6063 aluminum. 

Corrosion Resistance


Both aluminum 6061 and 6063 are designed to provide maximum corrosion resistance. The metals form a protective oxide layer, protecting them from environmental factors. 

Even so, when exposed to harsh weather over a longer time, 6063 aluminum provides more resistance. This can be attributed to the high copper composition in 6063 aluminum. 

Common Application Comparison


Aluminum 6063 is used in construction industries because of its good workability, weldability, and moderate strength. It can also be used in furniture, piping, automotive and medical extrusions, tubing, recreational equipment, and building and construction extrusions. 

Aluminum 6061's formability and weldability make it the ideal option for general-purpose industries. These industry applications include electronic parts, heat sinks, chemical equipment, aircraft and truck frames, welded assemblies, fasteners, and many more.

Cost Comparison


6063 aluminum is the less expensive option. However, it does not mean that it is the best option, especially if you are looking for a strong material that will hold up, then 6061 in construction and structural components. 

For this reason, it is imperative to consider the most important elements to help you get the best value for your money in the long run. 

Final Thoughts


Now that you know the difference between 6061 and 6063 aluminum alloys, it is important to understand that each alloy is suited for its specific projects. If you are looking for an aluminum alloy for architectural needs, the 6063 might be the best option. Aluminum 6061 will be the ideal option in automotive industry applications and electronics.  

We specialize in a wide range of metal prototyping. Contact us for a free consultation or benefit from one of our numerous services.