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Difference between 6061 & 7075 Aluminum

Many bicycle frames today are constructed using aluminum alloys.

Determining the difference between aluminum alloys can be important more often than you
might think. Whether you need to determine the makeup of an aluminum alloy for
manufacturing purposes or you want to know the precise material with which your bicycle
frame is constructed, the differences between 6061 aluminum alloy and 7075 aluminum alloy
are easy to understand once you know what they are.
1. Alloy Composition 6061 Aluminum
o The 6061 alloy of aluminum is primarily composed of magnesium and silicon.
This gives 6061 aluminum alloy superior welding ability over other alloys of
aluminum, which are traditionally difficult to weld because of their chemical
makeup and lack of conductivity. Some other elements of 6061 aluminum alloy
include small amounts of iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, chromium, zinc
and titanium.
Manufacturing Uses of 6061 Aluminum
o The 6061 composition of aluminum is an extensively used material for the
construction of a wide variety of materials. Bicycles, airplane parts, automotive
parts and aluminum cans are all constructed utilizing 6061 aluminum. In many
cases, the foil interior wrapper on food containers is also made with 6061
aluminum alloy. Because the material is extremely workable, it is an ideal
material for use in these products. Bicycles in particular benefit greatly from the
use of 6061 aluminum alloy because of the ease with which it is welded and the
rigid strength of the final product when compared to its overall weight.
7075 Aluminum Alloy Composition
o The 7075 aluminum alloy, while not being entirely different from 6061 aluminum
alloy, is both more expensive and more prone to corrosion than 6061 aluminum
alloy. The 7075 alloy is primarily composed of zinc as the alloying agent of the
aluminum, as well as higher levels of magnesium and copper than are found in
6061 aluminum. This makes this composition of aluminum alloy as hard as
many steels while still retaining the lightweight qualities of aluminum.
7075 Aluminum Alloy Uses
o Uses for 7075 aluminum alloy include many applications in which it is important
to have the strength of steel with the light weight of aluminum. For this reason,
7075 aluminum is extensively used in military aircraft construction and is also
used to build boats and in some automotive parts. Some sports equipment also
utilizes 7075 aluminum alloy because of its strength and light weight. In
particular, lacrosse stick shafts, bicycle components and rock climbing
equipment are generally constructed using 7075 aluminum alloy.