Aluminum has many attractive properties – low weight, considerable strength, low density, and others. When looking for an alloy to use and faced with a list of alloy options, it is easy to be confused. Even experts in the metal industry can find it hard to select the best aluminum alloy.

It is understandable for manufacturers to consider the cost of the aluminum first before any other factor. However, there is a danger in settling for the cheapest aluminum alloy before looking at its capability to extrude, weld, and other manufacturing considerations.

About this point, there is a debate about aluminum alloy 6061 vs 6005. Which one suits what type of application? Which alloy is the more cost-effective? Which of the two would match the strength requirements of a project?

There are technical and other variations between aluminum alloy 6061 vs 6005. In this post, we will look at this comparison to get a better understanding and determine if one is better than the other.

Like other aluminum alloys, aluminum 6005 and 6061 occur when aluminum is mixed with magnesium, silicon, and many other elements. As a leading extrusion company, Fonnov uses a wide range of aluminum alloys, including those in the 6000 series.

The 6000 series of aluminum alloys has silicon and magnesium as the core alloying elements. Aluminum alloys of the 6000 series are renowned for their strength, corrosion resistance, and capability to extrude. Apart from 6005 and 6061, other alloys that suitable for extrusion in this series are 6063, 6060 and 6082.

For its corrosion resistance and strength, aluminum 6061 is prominent in the automotive, construction, and precision machining industries. On the other hand, 6005 aluminum is mostly popular for its corrosion resistance and capability to bend. That’s why it is common in solar panel frame and related applications.

For a better understanding of the capabilities and limits of these aluminum alloys, we now look more deeply into their components, mainly the chemical and physical attributes.

Mechanical Properties of Aluminum 6005 and Aluminum 6061

When it comes to metals for use in various facets of industries, mechanical properties are critical. Yield strength and tensile strength are the main areas an engineer will check. Both aluminum 6005 and aluminum 6061 have admirable tensile and yield strength. However, the higher silicon and magnesium components in 6061 aluminum mean more strength than in 6005 aluminum.

Alloy & Temper Tensile Strength(MPa) Yield Strength(Mpa) Hardness(HBW)
6005-T1 170 100
6005-T5 250 200
6005-T4 180 90 50
6005-T6 250 200 85
6061-T4 180 110 65
6061-T5 240 205
6061-T6 260 240 95

✣The tested value is Min.

Chemical Properties of Aluminum 6005 and Aluminum 6061

Aluminum 6005 and aluminum 6061 may be in the same alloy series, but their chemical properties differ. Specifically, the percentage content of particular elements differs. The elements in question in this comparison are silicon, iron, copper, manganese, and magnesium. The content of zinc and chromium is also considered in the comparison.

Here is a table summarizing the differences in chemical properties between aluminum 6005 and aluminum 6061:

ALUMINIUM ALLOY Si Fe Cu Mn Mg Cr Zn Ti Zr Others Al
6005 0.6-0.9 0.35 0.10 0.10 0.4-0.6 0.10 0.10 0.10 —— totally 0.15 remainder
6061 0.4-0.8 0.7 0.15-0.40 0.15 0.8-1.2 0.04-0.35 0.25 0.15 —— totally 0.15 remainder

✣All compositions are in percent.

This table summarizes the percentage content of common elements in aluminum 6005 and aluminum 6061. However, remember that the specific composition may depend on the manufacturer. That means you need to be keen on what the manufacturer is presenting when choosing any of the alloys for your projects.

Main Characteristics of Aluminum 6005 and Aluminum 6061

Looking at the main characteristics is another way to compare and contrast these two aluminum alloys. Here are a few of these characteristics for the metals:

Aluminum 6005

Characteristics Aluminum 6005
Corrosion Resistance The alloy has good corrosion resistance, which is one of the most notable characteristics. Having silicon and magnesium contributes a lot to this feature. Since the alloy is resistant to the effects of salty water, it is common in marine applications.
Strength This material is renowned for its high strength.
Welding You can weld aluminum 6005 using the TIG welding method. However, it is important to choose the welding rod carefully to prevent cracking. MIG welding is also applicable in joining, but the filler rod should align with the base metal.
Heat Resistance This aluminum alloy also has good heat resistance, hence applicable for extreme temperature jobs. As long as the temperature is not higher than 150 °C or lower than -60°C, aluminum 6005 will not lose its heat resistance. This level of versatility has seen 6005 aluminum work reliably in critical industries.
Thermal Conductivity Its thermal conductivity is 188 W/mK
Machinability The machinability of aluminum 6005 is good, meaning that you can make even complex shapes. The required effort is minimal and one doesn’t even have to worry about material wastage. Carbide-tipped machine tools are the best for machining 6005 aluminum because they ensure a quality surface finish. Machinists may also want to use coolant during the process to enhance accuracy and preserve the cutting tool.
Uses Corrosion resistance, good strength-to-weight ratio, and all the other positive attributes make 6005 aluminum usable in different industries and applications. In the aerospace industry, these characteristics are very valuable. Engineers use the material for structural features such as wings and frames. Aluminum 6005 is equally popular in the marine industry, where it makes masts and other parts. You will also find aluminum alloy in the automotive space, making wheels and engine parts. Roofs and facades in the construction industry also feature aluminum 6005.

Aluminum 6061

Characteristics Aluminum 6061
Corrosion Resistance Aluminum 6061 may not have the excellent corrosion resistance of some other metals, but it does have some significant corrosion resistance.
Strength 6061 aluminum is one of the hard and strong aluminum alloys. If a section or part needs to bear big loads or stresses, this alloy would be a good choice.
Welding Welding aluminum 6061 is relatively easy. However, note that there could be issues due to the high silicon and magnesium content. Because of this composition, hot cracking can be an issue during welding. You need the right welding technique and filler metal to weld this alloy correctly. The thinner sections of a piece are best welded through the gas tungsten arc welding method. Thicker sections work excellently with the gas metal arc welding method.
Heat

Treatment

This aluminum alloy is heat treatable at 533°C accompanied by water quenching. Where the user needs the best mechanical properties from the metal, the T6 temper is usually the first choice.
Thermal Conductivity Aluminum 6061 has a thermal conductivity of 166 W/m.K
Machinability Aluminum 6061 has fair machinability, but challenges may occur if you use the wrong tools and/or techniques. Chip evacuation and high-cutting forces are potential issues, but one can counter that by using carbide-tipped tools. Using a coolant when machining the material can also help minimize heat generation. Of course, control of the cutting parameters – spindle speed, cut depth, and feed rate – does help make aluminum 6061 more machinable.
Uses Above are the reasons why aluminum 6061 is one of the most popular and widely used alloys in the world. Due to its lightweight, durable, and versatile nature, this material is present in automotive, sports, and aviation, among other industries. In automotive, manufacturers often use it to make brake components, suspensions, and bodywork for vehicles. Body panels are also widely built using aluminum 6061. Sports gear built using this alloy have high corrosion resistance and strength-to-weight ratio. These items include tennis rackets, bicycle frames, and surfing boards.

What are the differences between aluminum 6005 and 6061?

Hopefully, you now have a clearer picture of what aluminum 6005 and 6061 are all about. Customers tend to be confused between the two amazing metals. This is understandable because as aluminum 6000 series members, aluminum 6005 and 6061 have several similarities.

However, it is important to identify the differences and choose the right metal for the sake of optimal project performance. The two metals have different chemical compositions.

The same can be said of several general characteristics, including 6005 vs 6061 thermal conductivity and 6061 vs 6005 machining.

It is noteworthy that the alloys have impressive mechanical properties – yield strength, tensile strength, corrosion resistance, etc. However, with its higher content of magnesium and silicon, aluminum 6061 is stronger than aluminum 6005.

Due to these chemical components, these alloys tend to have differences in weldability and machinability.

The 6005 aluminum has a strength between aluminum 6061 and aluminum 6063. It is commonly used to extrude some complex cross-section profiles that 6061 aluminum can not do. If the extruded profile needs anodizing, the surface appearance of 6005 aluminum is better than 6061 aluminum. 

Which aluminum alloy should you choose?

From the above discussion on alloy 6061 vs 6005, it is evident that both aluminum 6005 and 6061 have their advantages and disadvantages. An analysis of the 6061 vs. 6005 application (use) reveals that they are popular across different industries for the unique value they bring. We have established that each of these alloys works best in specific applications. Indeed, the uniqueness of each of these options should guide you when choosing.

If you are looking to use any of the aluminum alloys in their ideal application for the best results, professional guidance is necessary. In this regard, Fonnov Aluminum – a highly regarded extrusion firm from China – can help you choose between alloy 6061 vs 6005. We have a highly knowledgeable team and advanced extrusion machinery. On top of that, we use carefully verified raw materials to manufacture our aluminum extrusions.

You can reach us by phone or email any time for more details about aluminum 6005 vs. 6061 or any other aluminum extrusion subject.

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