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Determining the difference between aluminum alloys can be important more often than you might think. Whether you need to determine the makeup of an aluminum alloy for manufacturing purposes or you want to know the precise material with which your bicycle frame is constructed, the differences between 6061 aluminum alloy and 7075 aluminum alloy are easy to understand once you know what they are.
Alloy Composition 6061 Aluminum
The 6061 alloy of aluminum is primarily composed of magnesium and silicon. This gives 6061 aluminum alloy superior welding ability over other alloys of aluminum, which are traditionally difficult to weld because of their chemical makeup and lack of conductivity. Some other elements of 6061 aluminum alloy include small amounts of iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, chromium, zinc and titanium.
Manufacturing Uses of 6061 Aluminum
The 6061 composition of aluminum is an extensively used material for the construction of a wide variety of materials. Bicycles, airplane parts, automotive parts and aluminum cans are all constructed utilizing 6061 aluminum. In many cases, the foil interior wrapper on food containers is also made with 6061 aluminum alloy. Because the material is extremely workable, it is an ideal material for use in these products. Bicycles in particular benefit greatly from the use of 6061 aluminum alloy because of the ease with which it is welded and the rigid strength of the final product when compared to its overall weight.
7075 Aluminum Alloy Composition
The 7075 aluminum alloy, while not being entirely different from 6061 aluminum alloy, is both more expensive and more prone to corrosion than 6061 aluminum alloy. The 7075 alloy is primarily composed of zinc as the alloying agent of the aluminum, as well as higher levels of magnesium and copper than are found in 6061 aluminum. This makes this composition of aluminum alloy as hard as many steels while still retaining the lightweight qualities of aluminum.
7075 Aluminum Alloy Uses
Uses for 7075 aluminum alloy include many applications in which it is important to have the strength of steel with the light weight of aluminum. For this reason, 7075 aluminum is extensively used in military aircraft construction and is also used to build boats and in some automotive parts. Some sports equipment also utilizes 7075 aluminum alloy because of its strength and light weight. In particular, lacrosse stick shafts, bicycle components and rock climbing equipment are generally constructed using 7075 aluminum alloy.
- "Solidification of Aluminum Alloys"; Men G. Chu; 2004
- "Aluminum: Properties and Physical Metallurgy"; John Hatch; 1984
- "Aluminum Structures: A Guide to Their Specifications and Design"; J. Randolph Kissell; 2002
Don Kress began writing professionally in 2006, specializing in automotive technology for various websites. An Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technician since 2003, he has worked as a painter and currently owns his own automotive service business in Georgia. Kress attended the University of Akron, Ohio, earning an associate degree in business management in 2000.