The amazing thing about aluminum is the tremendous diversity of alloys that are available for manufacturers and designers. Its unique combination of properties makes aluminum a versatile material for construction and engineering, among many other industries. One of the most difficult challenges for producers is choosing from the many different options available to them. This includes Manifold Quality Bar.
Every aluminum alloy has been designed with a very specific set of properties in mind. One particular alloy is divided even further among various tempers that further refine the aluminum. That’s why it’s imperative that manufacturers work with a knowledgeable aluminum provider who can do more than just fill an order but can work with you as a partner to make sure you have just the right material for the job.
What sets 6061 aluminums apart from other alloys?
6061 is a precipitation-hardened aluminum alloy. This means that the aluminum has undergone a heat treatment technique used to increase the yield strength. The main alloying agents used in 6061 are magnesium and silicon. Because of its all around benefits, 6061 is one of the most common alloys on the market, and it is very commonly extruded or used in welding applications.
This alloy was originally developed in 1935 when it was then known as 61S. At that time, it met the demand for a medium-strength aluminum that was versatile enough to offer good corrosion resistance while being welded or anodized and that could be easily fabricated by extrusion, rolling, or forging. Its popularity led to 6061 replacing steel in many of the applications at the time.
The general chemical composition for 6061 aluminum is as follows: silicon between 0.4% and 0.8%, iron up to 0.7%, copper between 0.15% and 0.4%, manganese up to 0.15%, magnesium between 0.8% and 1.2%, chromium between 0.04% and 0.35%, zinc up to 0.25%, and titanium up to 0.15%. The specific properties differ depending on the temper (the heat treatment) of the alloy, but in general, 6061 is known for its good weldability, good toughness, decent corrosion resistance in seawater, and good surface finish.
What applications is 6061 aluminum especially well suited for?
As one of the most popular alloys available today, 6061 can be found in nearly every industry. It is commonly used in the construction of aircraft structures, including wings and fuselages. When compared to 2024 alloy, 6061 is slightly less strong, but it is easier to work with and offers greater corrosion resistance.
6061 can also be found in applications as disparate as small utility boats and yachts, automotive parts, flashlights, scuba tanks, and food and beverage cans.
When speaking particularly about 6061-T6, which is the temper of Manifold Quality Bar, the specific uses involve many high-performance applications. This includes bicycle frames and other cycle parts, fly fishing reels, firearm silencers, docks and gangways, ultra-high vacuum chambers, and remote-controlled model aircraft.
In addition to the above applications, certain industrial processes are made easier with 6061 aluminums. This includes, as previously mentioned, welding. 6061 is known to be highly receptive to many welding techniques, including tungsten inert gas welding and metal inert gas welding. Even after welding, the aluminum can be heat treated to restore its original strength.
6061 is also suitable for hot forging. This includes a closed die process or open die forging. This alloy can be forged into automotive parts, ATV parts, industrial parts, flat or round bars, rings, blocks, discs and blanks, hollows, and spindles, not to mention custom shapes as well.
What is special about Manifold Quality Bar?
Manifold Quality Bar is a specific temper of 6061 that was developed by Kaiser Aluminum. Officially known as 6061 T6511B, Manifold Bar has been highly engineered to produce specific performance attributes, making it perfect for machining complex parts. It is known for its superior machining performance with tight tolerances, in addition to offering exceptional straightness and twist tolerances, all while having an improved surface finish.
Manifold Bar is especially recognized for its ability to withstand complex machining with high metal removal rates. In comparison to other bar products, it has been known to offer improved and repeatable piece-to-piece and lot-to-lot performance. Its machining performance is thanks to a reduction in burr formation and smaller chip sizes. Other characteristics include straightness, flatness, and dimensional control.
Manifold Bar generally comes in squares or rectangles, with the former ranging from 1.246 inches to 7 inches, and the latter starting at .875 by 3 inches and going all the way up to 6 by 8 inches.
What are the specific properties of Manifold Bar?
Before choosing an alloy and temper, it is crucial that you examine its specific properties and see how they match your desired qualities. It is usually necessary to do extensive testing and prototyping, something that is very manageable, both in terms of cost and ease of use, with aluminum.
Manifold Bar offers increased mechanical strength and overall hardness. The compact chips that result from drilling and boring improve machining throughput, making it possible to maintain consistency throughout the mechanical process.
The flatness is listed at .002”/inch, with twist that is half AA standard. It offers straightness over 12 feet of .075” max, and over 1 foot of .006 inches max.
Aluminum alloys, thanks to the constant advances, are becoming more durable, adaptable, and versatile with every new development. With high quality alloys such as Manifold Quality Bar, manufacturers are able to create ever more innovative products. And in addition to all of its premium attributes, aluminum also offers great cost effectiveness. This is due to its tremendous efficiency and light weight.
When it comes time to select an alloy, you need to do your homework. At Clinton Aluminum, our motto is the right material for the job. We take pride in helping our customers choose the optimal alloy, no matter what the application is. To learn more about what alloy may be right for you, contact one of our friendly and knowledgeable customer service representatives today.