Aluminum is Not Just Aluminum: The Best Alloys for Extrusion

Best Aluminum Alloys for Standard and Custom Aluminum ExtrusionWhen it comes to the production of custom and standard aluminum extrusions, it is important to select the best material for the project. Pure aluminum is actually very soft, which is why the addition of other elements are needed to maximize the potential of this very flexible, sustainable, and durable metal. Alloying is the process used to combine these other elements and most of the aluminum that is used to create parts, products, and components in the United States and around the globe has been alloyed.

Why Choose Aluminum?

So if other elements need to be alloyed with aluminum to create the best results for aluminum extrusion solutions, why choose aluminum in the first place? The advantages of using aluminum make it extremely beneficial to many different applications across just about every industry on the planet. While most metals are difficult to manipulate, aluminum has the unique ability to be returned to its original shape after being dented or bent, due to its extreme flexibility and elasticity. In fact, aluminum can absorb more energy per unit of weight than steel that has the same amount of strength. However, in spite of being flexible and elastic, aluminum is extremely strong and durable, making it perfect for use in many extreme conditions and situations.

Some of the primary characteristics of aluminum include a high strength to weight ratio, natural resistance to corrosion, malleability, and a desirable surface finish. However, depending on the elements that you choose to alloy with aluminum for extrusion and fabrication, you might increase these characteristics to further enhance the ability of the finished product. Cost-effective, sustainable, and plentiful, regardless of the alloy that you choose for custom and aluminum extrusions, there are many advantages associated with using this amazing metal. At Silver City Aluminum, we provide our clients with a choice between three 6000 series aluminum alloys, including 6005, 6063, and 6463, depending on their specific needs and requirements.

How to Choose the Best Alloy

The 6000 series of aluminum alloys are also known as “structural” alloys, which means that they are excellent for designs that require moderate strength and the best level of corrosion resistance. Each alloy that we provide has different elements alloyed in with the pure aluminum to create the desired characteristics. Our engineers work with each client to determine the best alloy based on their needs to provide the required result. Each alloy has its own mechanical and physical properties, as well as corrosion resistance. While there are other aluminum alloys, these are by far the best for custom and standard aluminum extrusions, providing our clients with the best opportunity to benefit from the advantages of using aluminum.

  • The 6005 Alloy – Has similar properties to alloys 6106 and 6082, but features much better characteristics for extrusion and fabrication. 6005 contains a significant amount of silicon compared to the other elements, reducing its melting temperature while providing advantages for aluminum extrusion solutions. Also similar to alloy 6061, this alloy has the same minimum tensile and yield strength when produced to a T5 temper. Can be commercially welded, as needed, and provides excellent corrosion resistance, finishing characteristics, and provides fantastic aesthetics when finished with clear or colored anodizing applications. Some examples of 6005 productions include structural members, handrail tubing, structural tubing, ladder structures, and automotive industry connector stock.
  • The 6063 Alloy – Considered to be a “heat treatable” alloy, the 6063 is extremely resistant to corrosion and provides excellent workability for extrusion and fabrication. Compared to the other alloys, it has the best cosmetic appearance after finishing treatments, making it a great choice for industrial and consumer products and components. Some of the most common uses of the 6063 alloy include architectural applications, electrical bus conductors, and cylindrical tubing. The most widely used alloy in the 6000 series, it is also used for seamless and structural tubing and pipe, as well as electrical conduit production. Easy to machine, this alloy is highly weldable and provides many advantages of using aluminum for both custom and standard aluminum extrusions.
  • The 6463 Alloy – With similar characteristics to the popular 6063, the 6463 alloy provides many of its own advantages for extrusion and fabrication. More friendly to anodizing than 6063, it is also an excellent choice for “bright dip” finishing to create a bright mirror finish. While 6005 and 6063 are both great options for aesthetic appeal, the 6463 alloy beats them both hand down for aluminum extrusion solutions that are designed to be seen. Often used for custom automotive trim and for interior construction applications, such as shower doors, mirror doors, bathroom trim, and other areas where a polished “chrome” look is desired, this alloy can also be used in the production of bar, wire, rod, tubing, and other standard aluminum extrusions.

Which Alloy is Best?

The answer to this question depends on the type of extrusion and fabrication that you need and the type of aluminum extrusion solutions that you desire. Our team of highly trained and experienced engineers and technicians can help you explore the advantages of using aluminum and assist in the selection of alloys for custom and standard aluminum extrusions. Give us a call at 508-542-7200 to place your order or to get more information about the services available at Silver City Aluminum.