6061 VS. 7075 Aluminum: What’s The Difference?

Aluminum alloys are primarily used in numerous industries because of their solid yet lightweight properties. when it comes to CNC machining aluminum, and there are two main types that you’ll hear about: 6061 and 7075.
6061 vs. 7075 aluminum

Both have unique properties, but which is suitable for your project?

In this article, we’ll look at the differences between 6061 and 7075 aluminum so you can make an informed decision for machining aluminum parts.

The Origin of 6061 And 7075 aluminum

6061 Aluminum

6061 aluminum is a commonly used heat-treatable grade of aluminum. It has been around since 1935 and is known for its good weldability, corrosion resistance, and strength.

6061 aluminum is frequently used to produce components in various shapes and sizes. It is a low-cost material, making it an attractive option for many manufacturers.

7075 Aluminum

The first 7075 was developed by the Japanese company Sumitomo metal in 1936. Its strength is comparable to that of many types of steel, but it has a much lower density.

While 7075 aluminum is a popular and versatile material, its high cost limits many applications.

The Comparison Of 6061 And 7075 Aluminum

Mechanical Properties 

  • The Tensile Strength. 

The 7075-t6’s tensile strength is nearly double that of the 6061-t6, making it the stronger of the two alloys.

7075-t6 is also more expensive than 6061-t6, making it less popular for general use. (when looking at both alloys in the -t6 condition.)

  • The Shear Strength. 

The shear strength of 7075-t6 is 1.5 times that of 6061-t6 aluminum alloy, making it an ideal choice for structural applications.

However, 7075-t6 is also more susceptible to stress cracks than 6061-t6.

As a result, it is essential to carefully consider the potential for stress cracking when selecting this material for a given application.

  • Yield Strength.

The yield strength of an aluminum alloy measures its ability to resist deformation under load. The higher the yield strength, the more resistant the material is to deformation.

7075 aluminum has a yield strength of 503 mpa, while 6061 aluminum has a yield strength of 276 mpa. This means 7075 aluminum is significantly more resistant to deformation than 6061 aluminum.

  • Thermal Conductivity. 

As anyone who has ever worked with aluminum knows, metal is an excellent conductor of heat.

However, not all aluminum alloys are alike in this regard. 6061 aluminum, for example, has a thermal conductivity of about 220 watts per meter-kelvin, while 7075 aluminum has a conductivity of about 169 watts per meter-kelvin.

This difference may seem small, but it can be significant in applications where heat dissipation is critical.

  • Electrical Resistivity.

When choosing an aluminum alloy for electrical applications, it is crucial to consider the electrical resistivity of the metal.

Among the most popular aluminum alloys, 6061 aluminum has the lowest electrical resistivity, making it an excellent choice for electrical conductor applications.

7075 aluminum, on the other hand, has a higher electrical resistivity and is not as well suited for electrical conductor applications.

  • Temperature Resistance.

One key difference is that 6061 alloys can withstand higher temperatures better than 7075. It is often the preferred choice in applications where parts will be exposed to elevated temperatures.

7075 aluminum also has an excellent reaction to heat treatment, making it a good choice for applications requiring high strength.

  • Material Hardness. 

While both alloys have unique properties, 7075 aluminum is generally considered harder than 6061 aluminum.

This increased hardness makes 7075 aluminum more resistant to wear and tear, making it an ideal choice for applications where durability is critical.

  • Corrosion Resistance.

While both alloys offer excellent corrosion resistance, 6061 aluminum is more resistant to corrosion than 7075 aluminum.

This is because 7075 aluminum contains copper, which can promote the formation of corrosion products.

Chemical Composition

The two alloys have some significant differences in element content. 6061 aluminum is composed of a high percentage of silicon, while 7075 aluminum has a high percentage of zinc. There are two forms that can directly reflect this:

6061 Aluminum7075 Aluminum

6061 vs. 7075 Aluminum: Manufacturing Process Considerations

6061 Aluminum is a well-liked choice for machining because it is easy to work with and extremely versatile. It can be used for a considerable range of applications, from prototypes to production parts.

When machining 6061 aluminum, using sharp cutting tools and taking light cuts is essential. It will help prevent tool breakage and minimize the risk of chips and burrs.

6061 aluminum produces a great deal of swarf (metal shavings), so it is vital to have plenty of room for chips to accumulate.

With proper care and attention, 6061 aluminum can be machined into high-quality parts with a smooth finish.

7075 Aluminum is one of the most popular materials for machining. Its high strength-to-weight ratio makes it ideal for a wide range of applications, from automotive parts to aerospace components.

7075 aluminum can be challenging to machine because of its high hardness and tendency to work harden. 7075 aluminum machining requires careful planning and a diligent approach.

It also tends to produce large amounts of chips when machined, so cutting tools must be carefully chosen to prevent tool breakage.

With careful planning and execution, 7075 aluminum can be machined successfully to produce parts with superior strength and durability.

6061 vs. 7075 Aluminum: Application Field

6061 aluminum7075 aluminum
FlashlightsAircraft fittings
Electrical productsGears and shafts
PipingMissile parts
Bicycle framesWorm gears
FurnitureRegulating valves parts
Automotive partsAerospace/defense applications

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Although the two alloys are pretty different, both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Hopefully, this article can help you have a better understanding of the difference between 6061 and 7075 aluminum.

If you are now looking for a company that can provide high-quality aluminum machined parts, please visit our homepage.

We offer many products and CNC machining services, all of which are designed to meet the needs of our clients.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your business goals.

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