The 6061 aluminum wide flange beam has the highest level of corrosion resistance of all the heat treated aluminums. It is however slightly weaker than the other alloys in its class. Due to its wide array of mechanical properties, it is readily weldable, machinable and formable. Hot and cold working can be used to form this product. Many industries use this grade of steel for their applications, which include rectifier parts, magneto parts, hinge pins, electrical fittings, marine components, truck components and camera lens mounts. Heavy duty structures can also utilize 6061 alloys because of its resistance and good strength-to-weight ratio.
When forging this metal, it’s best done at between 750 and 900 degrees F. Standard cold working methods can be used to accomplish tapping, bending, stamping, deep drawing, cutting and drilling. Hot working can be done with a temperature set between 500 and 700 degrees F. Heat treatments that can be used for 6061 alloys include annealing, which should be done to make cold working easier. When annealing, the temperature should be set at 775 degrees F and continuous service should be applied for two to three hours, followed by a drop in temperature by 50 degrees F every 60 minutes, until reaching 500 degrees F. Air cooling is all that’s needed afterward.
For precipitation hardening, the temperature should be set to 320 degrees F, with continuous service for 18 hours, then air cooled. Another eight hours at 350 degrees F should follow, and then air cooling. Aging precipitation is recommended at 350 degrees F for eight hours, then air cooling should follow. This will produce the T6 temper.
Available sizes for 6061 aluminum wide flange beam are 6 inches thick and up to 300 inches long.