The 6061 aluminum I-beam is made with silicon and magnesium. This alloy has the highest corrosion resistance of all the aluminums that are heat treated. It also has a lower strength than them. However, it is still widely used because of its wide ranging mechanical properties that make it readily machinable and weldable. When in the annealed condition, it can also be cold worked, using standard methods to stamp, cut, drill, bend, tap and deep draw. Other methods of forming that can be used include heat treating.
For heat treating this alloy, a temperature at 990 degrees F should be used. Thorough heating should be applied to the metal before having it water quenched. This product can also be precipitation hardened when placed in 320 degrees F for 18 hours, then air cooled. This should then be followed by eight hours in 350 degrees F and air cooling. Annealing can be done when needed, which should be done for two to three hours at 775 degrees F, then a period of controlled cooling should ensue at 50 degrees F per hour, bringing it down to 500 degrees F before air cooling.
To achieve the T6 temper, aging precipitation heat treatment has to be performed for eight hours at 350 degrees F, then air cooled. Common welding techniques can be used to form this metal. The applications this product can be used for vary widely. These are some of the applications it has been used for: machine parts, structural components, worm gears, electrical fittings, camera lens mounts and heavy duty structures that need high corrosion resistance and a good weight-to-strength ratio.
The 6061 aluminum I-beam can be purchased in sizes between 3 and 12 inches thick and up to 300 inches long.