6063 Aluminum Guide (Properties and Applications)
The 6063 aluminum alloy is a fantastic choice for individuals searching for a lightweight, affordable, durable material. This versatile alloy has uses that go beyond the construction industry. You'll also find it used in aerospace, automotive, transportation, packaging and sports.
Keep reading to learn more about the uses and characteristics of 6063. To stay up to date on the latest developments, subscribe to HARBOR Aluminum's market intelligence reports so you can always know what's going on in the industry.
What Is the 6063 Aluminum Alloy?
6063 aluminum is an alloy, meaning it's a mix of aluminum and other elements added to improve the properties of the base metal. On its own, aluminum is soft, pliable and doesn't hold up well under stress. Alloying combines this material with other components to create a more durable product with broader applications.
Although there are several alloy variants of 6063, each contains the major alloying elements of magnesium and silicon. The magnesium component helps increase strength, while silicon's presence reduces melting temperature. With these elements, 6063 aluminum's unique composition and desirable properties allow it to stand out from other alloys.
The properties of 6063 aluminum make it particularly useful in manufacturing certain product types. For example, the alloy's high strength-to-weight ratio makes it optimal when a component must keep weight to a minimum without sacrificing strength. The alloy's low density also makes it easy to form smooth, complex shapes without adding too much extra weight to the finished product. These traits contribute to the many uses for 6063 aluminum.
Properties of 6063 Aluminum
While you may be familiar with the properties of aluminum, 6063 has some specialized characteristics:
1. Corrosion Resistance
Aluminum alloys are highly resistant to corrosion. Aluminum has been used for many years in marine environments because it has excellent corrosion resistance properties thanks to the presence of chloride ions. Out of the 6000 series, the 6063 aluminum alloy option is a fantastic choice for applications where corrosion resistance is essential. Due to the lack of copper in its composition, 6063 aluminum has excellent resistance against weather variables and water-rich environments.
6063 aluminum's properties include ample strength, making it a desirable general-purpose alloy that provides good stiffness at an affordable cost. The alloy has a lower yield strength than some other aluminum blends in the series, but this can be offset by its relatively high elongation. Since 6063 aluminum is strong, it's suitable for many structural applications, such as aircraft control surfaces, structural parts and extrusions.
6063 Aluminum is a highly weldable metal with a low melting point, making it ideal for applications where welding is necessary. Most often, you'll find this alloy welded using the TIG method, which uses a tungsten electrode and an inert gas to help shield the surface from contamination during the welding process.
4. Thermal Conductivity
If you need a metal that conducts heat well, 6063 aluminum is a good choice. This alloy has a typical thermal conductivity of around 201–218 W/[m·K], which means it can quickly convey heat from one place to another. This property makes 6063 useful in high-temperature applications. In addition, aging the metal through heat treatment can increase its hardness and improve corrosion resistance.
When you require a material that can serve a wide range of tasks, 6063 aluminum is an excellent choice. This material has excellent ductility and medium tensile strength, so it's easy to form while remaining durable enough to perform well in the finished product. It can be formed in extrusion, rolling and stamping applications.
Machinability measures how easy a material is to machine or cut. Especially in part production, you want your workflow to remain as efficient and cost-effective as possible. Knowing where materials fall on the machinability scale will help you do that.
6063 aluminum has a fair machinability rating. This alloy has good machining characteristics, meaning standard tooling can cut it, but completing the finished product will require more time and effort than other materials.
What are the Uses of 6063 Aluminum?
6063 aluminum is a versatile alloy that has a variety of applications. Due to its high strength-to-weight ratio, this alloy is ideal for producing parts that hold up to force and environmental conditions without adding excess weight. These properties make 6063 aluminum an excellent choice for the following:
6063 aluminum is strong and flexible, which makes it ideal for piping, while its weldability means that it can create seamless connections between pieces of pipe or other components.
Extrusion is a manufacturing process that uses a machine to push metal through a die, forming it into a shape. The most common use for 6063 Aluminum extrusions is in the construction of buildings and bridges. These structures require pieces that can be cut, bent and formed using various techniques, which 6063 aluminum extruded parts can provide.
You'll find this alloy commonly used in tubing applications requiring lightweight, corrosion-resistant properties.
Since the alloy is durable, light and malleable, the 6063 aluminum alloy is a fantastic choice for high-quality furnishings. Furniture made from 6063 aluminum suits both residential and commercial applications.
The marine industry is one of the most significant users of 6063 aluminum since the popular alloy has high corrosion resistance, which makes it perfect for use in marine vessels.
6063 Aluminum is one of the most commonly used alloys in the automotive industry. You'll find it used to make a wide variety of components, though it's especially popular for autobody applications.
Aerospace and aviation
Often used to make aircraft wings and fuselages, 6063 aluminum offers the low weight needed for fuel efficiency, while its low risk of stress corrosion and cracking is paramount to safety.
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