Difference Between 6061 & 7075 Aluminum

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Difference Between 6061 & 7075 Aluminum
Many bicycle frames today are constructed using aluminium alloys. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Determining the difference between aluminium alloys can be important more often than you might think. Whether you need to determine the make-up of an aluminium alloy for manufacturing purposes or you want to know the precise material with which your bicycle frame is constructed, the differences between 6061 aluminium alloy and 7075 aluminium alloy are easy to understand once you know what they are.

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Alloy Composition 6061 Aluminum

The 6061 alloy of aluminium is primarily composed of magnesium and silicon. This gives 6061 aluminium alloy superior welding ability over other alloys of aluminium, which are traditionally difficult to weld because of their chemical make-up and lack of conductivity. Some other elements of 6061 aluminium alloy include small amounts of iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, chromium, zinc and titanium.

Manufacturing Uses of 6061 Aluminum

The 6061 composition of aluminium is an extensively used material for the construction of a wide variety of materials. Bicycles, aeroplane parts, automotive parts and aluminium cans are all constructed utilising 6061 aluminium. In many cases, the foil interior wrapper on food containers is also made with 6061 aluminium 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 aluminium 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 aluminium alloy, while not being entirely different from 6061 aluminium alloy, is both more expensive and more prone to corrosion than 6061 aluminium alloy. The 7075 alloy is primarily composed of zinc as the alloying agent of the aluminium, as well as higher levels of magnesium and copper than are found in 6061 aluminium. This makes this composition of aluminium alloy as hard as many steels while still retaining the lightweight qualities of aluminium.

7075 Aluminum Alloy Uses

Uses for 7075 aluminium alloy include many applications in which it is important to have the strength of steel with the light weight of aluminium. For this reason, 7075 aluminium is extensively used in military aircraft construction and is also used to build boats and in some automotive parts. Some sports equipment also utilises 7075 aluminium alloy because of its strength and light weight. In particular, lacrosse stick shafts, bicycle components and rock climbing equipment are generally constructed using 7075 aluminium alloy.

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