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Differences between 6061 Aluminum and 5052 Aluminum


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As a highly versatile material, Aluminum’s corrosion resistance, light weight, and high tensile strength have made it a preferred metal material for a wide variety of industry uses and applications. Given the depth and options of aluminum grades, it can be difficult to ascertain which alloy is best for your application needs or component requirements.

Two widely used aluminum grades are 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum. Each aluminum alloy grade has its advantages and disadvantages, with commonalities between them including both being wrought alloys with good formability.

Differences between 6061 Aluminum and 5052 Aluminum

Aluminum 6061 vs Aluminum 5052 Comparison Chart

Aluminum 6061

Aluminum 5052

  • Heat-treatable
  • Excellent machinability
  • Excellent corrosion resistance
  • Semi-smooth surface
  • Lightweight
  • High-tensile strength
  • Non heat-treatable
  • Excellent weldability
  • High corrosion resistance
  • Smooth surface
  • Lightweight
  • High-tensile strength
 











Aluminum 6061 Characteristics

Sometimes called “structural aluminum,” Aluminum 6061 is one of the most common aluminum alloys used for extrusions. Its primary alloying ingredients are magnesium which results in an alloy with medium to high strength, excellent machinability, and good weldability.

Aluminum 6061 can be forged, rolled, or extruded into a variety of shapes. Angles, tees, and shapes made of Aluminum 6061 are a good substitution for steel.

Industrial Applications for Aluminum 6061 Plate

  • Tooling plate
  • Aircraft components
  • Bridge railing components
  • Defense machinery
  • Transportation equipment
  • Storage tanks
  • Welded structural parts

Industrial Applications for Aluminum 6061 Channels, Angles, and Tees

  • Scaffolding
  • Ship and building construction
  • Transmission towers
  • Truck trailers
  • Machine parts
  • Furniture applications

Aluminum 6061 Tempers

Aluminum 6061 alloy is heat treatable. Its corrosion resistance and strength are improved by age hardening. This means the metal is heated to a certain temperature (solution heat treated) and then cooled (quenched) and aged to a stable condition.

Aluminum 6061-T4

Aluminum 6061-T6

  • Ages naturally
  • Has slightly lower tolerance accuracy than T6
  • Lower tensile strength and yield strength than T6
  • Non heat-treatable
  • Excellent weldability
  • High corrosion resistance
  • Smooth surface
  • Lightweight
  • High-tensile strength
 















Aluminum 6061-T4 Application Uses

Aluminum sheet 6061-T4 is used in many types of industrial applications, including:
  • Aircraft panels
  • Automotive panels
  • Trailer frames
  • Packaging
  • Valves and couplings
  • Fishing reels
  • Marine fittings

Aluminum 6061-T6 Application Uses

Common 6061-T6 Aluminum applications include:
  • Heat sinks
  • Hydraulic piping
  • Bicycle frames
  • Water tubing
  • Aircraft and aerospace applications

5052 Aluminum Characteristics

Both Aluminum 6061 and Aluminum 5052 have magnesium as a primary alloying element, but 5052 Aluminum does not contain silicon. Aluminum 5052 has a smoother finish than 6061 Aluminum although it is not heat-treatable. Aluminum 5052 has a higher fatigue strength and modulus of elasticity than Aluminum 6061, making it an excellent forming alloy.
Aluminum 5052 grades

Aluminum 5052 Sheet and Plate Industrial Applications

Aluminum sheet 5052 is used in many types of industrial applications, including:
  • Refrigerator liners
  • Fuel tanks
  • Storm shutters
  • Electrical enclosure panels
 
Aluminum plate 5052 is used in many types of industrial applications, including:
  • Marine hardware
  • Boat hulls
  • Tanks
  • Drums

Discuss Your 5052 or 6061 Aluminum Project with IMS

Industrial Metal Supply stocks a full line of aluminum sheet and plate, as well as aluminum angle, tees, and shapes. We offer a variety of alloys, including a large inventory of 5052 and 6061, in a range of standard sizes and thicknesses. IMS can custom cut-to-size aluminum sheet metal to meet your exact requirements.

Stop by one of our locations or call ahead for will-call order pickup today. 
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