Aerospace Aluminum: Substitute 6061 For 7075?Matt Kerster
Material costs continue to be a significant factor in both the design and build of an aircraft, as well as in the repair and maintenance. Consequently, there are times when it may seem beneficial to opt for a highly similar, yet less costly, alternative material.
More critical than material cost however, is the structural integrity of any aircraft or its component parts. Substitutions, based on cost savings alone, can be detrimental; in some scenarios, even disastrous.
6061 and 7075 Aluminum Alloys
The composition differences between 6061 and 7075 aluminum alloys are difficult to discern. Both grades have the same alloy agents including, silicon, copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, titanium, manganese, and chromium.
The truly essential distinction between the two alloys is not the composition make up. It is the quantities of each agent in the two aluminum materials.
One difference, for example, is the lower percentage of zinc found in the 6061 aluminum alloy than in the 7075 material. In terms of characteristics, this means that, although 6061 alloy provides superior welding and workability abilities over most other alloys, it does not possess the same high strength and stress resistance as the 7075 alloy.
Despite the lower strength, 6061 is generally considered to be a highly versatile aluminum material, even more than 7075. 6061 is commonly used for a wide variety of general purpose mechanical applications, due to the highly workable and weld ability.
When high strength and overall durability is required, 7075 holds the claim as one of the strongest aluminum alloys available. While 7075 alloy is typically a much higher cost material, when strength and toughness are crucial, it is the “go to” alloy for fabricators and manufacturers.
Substituting 6061 Alloy for a 7075 Alloy
7075 is less workable than 6061. When however, strength is the most critical material consideration, 7075 is generally the better choice.
When an alloy is needed that is both easily weld able and machine able, providing great versatility, the common choice is 6061. It is one of the most popular aluminum alloys available, due to its adequate strength, formability, weldability, machinability, and corrosion resistance.
When 7075 is the original alloy called for in a particular manufacturing, fabricating, or repair project, it is likely because the 7075’s strength and toughness is required. It would not be recommended to substitute a 6061 alloy in those instances.
7075 aluminum alloy has a higher yield strength than 6061. The 7075 material can tolerate much higher pressure and more impact without deformation. Higher yield strength inherent in 7075 aluminum, is a result of its chemical composition and heat treatment.
Working with AAA Air Support
AAA Air Support is the premier manufacturer of roll formed products and aircraft roll formed stringers for over two decades. We know aerospace manufacturing and what it takes to succeed. This includes the agility, flexibility, and intuitive responsiveness to meet our customers’ specific needs and concerns.
Our in-house tooling design and manufacturing, supply materials to print, at an affordable price. Our extensive range of existing inventory provides immediate availability. We offer delivery of a variety of customer part numbers and alloys as a next-day shipment. AAA Manufacturing can produce as little as 12 feet of material, if needed; custom shapes are welcomed.
AAA Air Support provides world-class customer service along with a number of great roll forming benefits that include:
- Custom Roll Forming
- Tight Tolerances
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- In-house Tooling Design and Manufacture
Many other value added services are available upon request.
Whether you need 100 feet of an aluminum extrusion product, or just a few feet of stainless-steel tubing, AAA Air Support promises to always ship out your orders quickly, efficiently, and with our Quality Aerospace Standards.
Our ‘AOG Goal’ is to provide your company with the materials to complete the project and / or return the airplane back in the ‘air service’. Simply; your request is always our ‘top priority’. Enjoy our services and because another ‘highly satisfied customer’.
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