Aluminum is the most abundant metal on earth and is used extensively to manufacture various useful products. It is a malleable and ductile metal used as a machining material because of its excellent machining properties. It is widely used in CNC machining because it is lightweight, corrosion-resistant, recyclable, etc.
In aluminum CNC machining, the cutting of the aluminum parts is done to get a desirable shape. There are various grades of aluminum alloys. Among them, aluminum 6061 is commonly referred to as a machining material in machining processes. The reason is that it shows higher conductivity and weldability than other aluminum alloys due to its chemical composition.
What is Aluminium 6061?
Aluminum 6061 is the most popular and common grade of aluminum. It is a combination of silicon and magnesium alloy elements. The percentage of silicon is 0.6%, while magnesium is 1.0%. 6061 grade shows excellent weldability and formability due to this percentage of elements. Moreover, the presence of these elements also makes it highly cracking, stress and corrosion-resistant.
The strength-to-weight ratio of aluminum 6061 is greater than the other aluminum alloys. So it makes it perfect for various household and industrial applications. It is considered the most superior aluminum alloy because it can restore strength by pre-heat treatment; it may lose during welding. So, it can be easily machined to get various desirable components.
Mechanical Properties of Aluminium 6061
The following are the main mechanical properties of the Aluminium 6061.
One of the main factors while considering mechanical properties is yield strength, which is the maximum stress required to deform part.
The maximum stress amount is required for the deformation of a component under stress conditions such as twisting, compression, etc. The yield strength of aluminum 6061 is 276 MPa, equal to 40000 psi. Because of its high yield strength, it cannot deform easily.
The thermal conductivity of aluminum 6061 is its ability to conduct heat. Its thermal conductivity is 167W/m-K, and it is very high. This high thermal conductivity makes it a perfect choice for heating and cooling applications. Due to its high thermal conductivity, it can use for various applications in CNC machining, cooking utensils, and kitchenware.
Electrical resistivity measures how much metal or material shows resistance to electric current. The electrical resistance of aluminum 6061 is very low. So, the electric current can easily pass through it. This property makes this metal alloy to use for various electrical purposes.
Elasticity is the metal's ability to return to its original shape after a force is applied to it. The CNC metals often show high elasticity. The elasticity of aluminum 6061 is 68.9 GPa. It shows high elasticity, which makes it suitable for the CNC machining processes.
Temperature resistance or thermal resistance is the capacity of a metal to resist the flow of heat. The aluminum 6061 shows high resistance to the temperature. Thus, it is not overheated when it comes in contact with temperature, which makes it perfect to use as CNC machined automobile parts.
The aluminum 6061 is a hard metal alloy because of its good strength-to-weight ratio. It has high hardness; that's why it is used in CNC machining to make highly durable components and many wide-ranging purpose applications.
Aluminum 6061 is highly resistant to corrosion. It means that it is not affected by exposure to water and air. Exposure to water and air causes the formation of an oxide layer on the alloy surface. Thus the oxide layer does not react with any element, preventing corrosion.
Advantages of aluminum 6061
The aluminum 6061 offers various benefits such as:
All these factors make it best to use in aluminum CNC machining.
Applications of Aluminum 6061
Aluminum is used for conductor cables, foil, and a large array of product manufacturing. These products may be thin packaging foils or structural materials. It is soft, corrosion resistant, and is the lightest engineering metal having more strength to weight ratio than steel.
The excellent mechanical and physical properties of aluminum 6061 make it perfect for various motor vehicles and structural and architectural purposes. Its major applications include:
It also involves ship-building operations and aerospace applications.
Aluminum 6061 is preferred as the first choice to use in aluminum CNC machining and has been employed in many applications. The reason is that alloy 6061 offers better physical and mechanical properties such as high strength, machinability, elasticity, and thermal conductivity than other aluminum alloys. Moreover, it is also affordable due to its low cost and easy availability. This alloy also shows various industrial, structural, and architectural applications.
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