Anyone in the metal business will agree that the metal choices are countless. Even when you zero in on aluminum, there are still plenty of options to consider. In the aluminum alloy field, there are two prominent options: Aluminum 6082 and aluminum 6061.

A question always arises: Which one of 6061 vs. 6082 is the better option?

It is easy to confuse these alloys or even think they have the same properties. However, a closer analysis of Aluminum 6082 vs. 6061 reveals interesting and crucial differences. There are also similarities. Given that the two alloys have pros and cons, it is good to perform a thorough analysis before picking either of them for a metal fabrication project.

In this post, we delve into the details of aluminum 6082 vs. 6061. After the analysis, it will be easier to determine which one of alloy 6061 vs. 6082 fits the most for a specific project.

Chemical Composition of Aluminum 6082 vs. 6061

 

Here is the chemical composition of 6061 vs. 6082 showing the content of different elements – manganese, copper, iron, etc. Aluminum takes the lion’s share of the composition for both materials.

ALUMINIUM ALLOY Si Fe Cu Mn Mg Cr Zn Ti Zr Others AL
6061 0.4-0.8 0.7 0.15-0.4 0.15 0.8-1.2 0.04-0.35 0.2 0.15 —— 0.15 remainder
6082 0.7-1.3 0.5 0.1 0.4-1.0 0.6-1.2 0.25 0.2 0.1 —— 0.15 remainder

✣All compositions are in percent.

Mechanical/Physical Properties of Aluminum 6061 vs. 6082

The mechanical properties of a metal are properties that are related to the material’s capability to resist mechanical load or forces.

A popular property in this category is strength, which we can define as the alloy’s ability to resist forces from external sources without yielding or breaking.

An alloy can also have a measure for stiffness. Known as the modulus of elasticity, this measure shows the ability of the alloy to avoid deformation when subjected to stress.

When an alloy is subjected to an impact force, its ability to remain unaffected can be determined through a measure called toughness. Notably, this capability reduces as the heat increases.

Another mechanical property worth considering in an alloy is machinability. This is the ease with which you can cut the alloy. There are different ways to determine or demonstrate the machinability of an alloy.

Aluminium Alloy

Temper

Thickness

mm

Tensile Strength

Rm/Mpa

Yield Strength

Rp0.2/Mpa

Elongation /%

A

Elongation /%

A50

HBW
6061-T5 ≤16.00 240 205 9 7
6061-T6 ≤5.00 260 240 7 95
>5.00-25.00 260 240 10 8 95
6082-T5 ≤5.00 270 230 6 90
6082-T6 ≤5.00 290 250 6 95
>5.00-25.00 310 260 10 8 95

✣The tested value is Min.

More on The Properties of Aluminum 6082 vs. 6061

 

For a better understanding of the differences and similarities between aluminum 6082 and 6061, we need to look at several other properties as listed below.

Aluminum 6082

Characteristics Aluminum 6082
Corrosion Resistance This material has excellent corrosion resistance.
Strength There is a reason they call it the ‘structural alloy’. Typically, none of the 6000 series aluminum alloys is stronger than aluminum 6082.
Welding The alloy is generally easy to weld. However, you want to note that this metal is weaker at the weld zone. Therefore, your choice of filler metal matters if the welding process is to succeed. Arc and gas welding the at the most effective welding methods for this aluminum alloy.
Formability It is good in forming processes and, thus applicable in making structural components of complex shapes.
Machinability The machinability of aluminum 6082 is good.
Applications Because of its incredible strength, aluminum 6082 features in high-stress applications. Areas where this alloy is popular include cranes, bridges, and building roof trusses.

Aluminum 6061

Characteristics Aluminum 6061
Corrosion Resistance This alloy has excellent corrosion resistance because it has copper as a significant alloying element.
Strength With its medium strength to add to other attractive qualities, this aluminum alloy is one of the most versatile.
Welding 6061 aluminum is easy to weld, but it is always good to consider the components of the metal. That’s because, despite the known weldability of this alloy, challenges such as hot cracking can occur. Therefore, it is important to use the right filler metal and shielding gas, especially when handling 6061-T6 aluminum.
Formability With magnesium and silicon as major alloying elements, 6061 aluminum features good formability in the soft annealed form. However, you can strengthen it with heat treatment.
Machinability Aluminum 6061 is very easy to machine, meaning that you can drill, cut, or shape it however you wish. You can also use any machining method of choice. That’s because its hardness and strength are moderate.
Applications The combination of strength, formability, weldability, and corrosion resistance makes 6061 extremely versatile. It is applicable in a wide range of industries, from electronics to sports. In its different forms – bar, tube, and plate – this metal is prominent in trucks, aircraft, ships, and others.

What are the differences between aluminum 6082 and 6061?

 

In the US metal market, aluminum 6061 has been more common than 6082, which tends to be more popular in the UK and other European markets. Generally, 6061 aluminum is historically more established than 6082 aluminum. It is also more affordable to produce, yet it presents most of the properties of 6082 aluminum.

The difference between aluminum 6061 vs. 6082 is evident in the chemical composition, particularly the percentage of magnesium content. Aluminum 6082 has a slightly higher magnesium content. Other than that, there is not much difference in the chemical composition of the other elements.

When we proceed to analyze the mechanical and physical properties, one general characteristic comes out – the handling and versatility of 6061 aluminum is easier and higher respectively. However, 6082 aluminum proves to be more corrosion-resistant and stronger.

The density of aluminum may be well-known, but the addition of alloying elements sometimes introduces notable changes. The two alloys have the same density, which is largely similar to that of aluminum. We could attribute this unchanged status to the high proportion of aluminum in the mixture.

On 6061 vs. 6082 strength, 6082 aluminum generally outperforms 6061 aluminum. However, it is notable that the elongation of 6061 aluminum is higher than that of 6082 aluminum. Elongation refers to the capability of a material to deform before breaking. With an elongation of 12%, 6061 aluminum is easier to deform than 6082 aluminum, whose elongation is 10%.

In the face of saltwater and humidity, 6082 aluminum demonstrates better corrosion resistance than 6061 aluminum. Therefore, you may want to use the former in harsh environments.

Unlike 6082 aluminum, 6061 aluminum has great machinability. If your project requires a lot of drilling, shaping, or cutting, 6061 aluminum would therefore be a better choice in 6061 vs. 6082 machining. The reason 6082 aluminum presents more challenges during machining is because it is harder and stronger. If you must machine this material, you need to use special techniques and tools.

If you want to achieve specific properties on any of these aluminum alloys, you can use the heat treatment process. The heat treatment steps may vary though. For 6082 aluminum, the options are artificial aging and precipitation hardening. You may also use solution treatment. For 6061 aluminum, precipitation hardening and solution treatment are both applicable.

Regarding 6061 vs. 6082 application (use), the two alloys are very popular for their good qualities. Both 6082 aluminum and 6061 aluminum have good strength and corrosion resistance, but 6082 is slightly stronger. That’s why you can expect to find more of 6082 aluminum than 6061 aluminum in areas where a combination of corrosion resistance and strength is required. An example is in the marine environment.

For average strength requirements and general versatility, 6061 aluminum is the better option. For this reason, this alloy comes in handy in the manufacture of electronics, bicycle frames, automotive components, and so on.

In Conclusion

 

Both aluminum 6082 and 6061 are widely used for their strength, corrosion resistance, and workability. Aluminum 6082 and 6061 may have similar general characteristics and applications, but their specific properties, advantages, and disadvantages are not exactly similar. As you embark on your project where you will be using aluminum extrusions, it is worthwhile to keep these facts of alloy 6061 vs. 6082 in mind.

The specifics of the project will determine which of 6061 vs. 6082 is ideal. Making the right choice can help optimize the project requirements. For instance, if your project requires higher versatility and elongation of the material, 6061 aluminum would be the ideal choice. But if strength is a higher requirement, you want to choose 6082 aluminum in the 6061 vs. 6082 strength comparison.

It is worth noting that aluminum alloy 6082 has replaced alloy 6061 in many applications mostly due to its superior mechanical properties. That’s mostly in its T6 version. The higher content of manganese has played a huge role in this industrial shift.

With this discussion, we now understand the components and capabilities of each of these alloys. What comes out clearly is that each has its ideal market and it works excellently in that area.

If you still are undecided about which of these alloys works for your project, consulting experts from an experienced team such as Fonnov Aluminum may be necessary. We can not only help you select the best material but also guide you throughout the alloy 6061 vs. 6082 aluminum extrusion process.

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