6061 is a precipitation-hardened aluminium alloy, containing magnesium and silicon as its major alloying elements. Originally called “Alloy 61S”, it was developed in 1935. It has good mechanical properties, exhibits good weldability, and is very commonly extruded (second in popularity only to 6063). It is one of the most common alloys of aluminium for general-purpose use.
It is commonly available in pre-tempered grades such as 6061-O (annealed), tempered grades such as 6061-T6 (solutionized and artificially aged) and 6061-T651 (solutionized, stress-relieved stretched and artificially aged).
6061 is commonly used for the following:
- construction of aircraft structures, such as wings and fuselages, more commonly in homebuilt aircraft than commercial or military aircraft. 2024 alloy is somewhat stronger, but 6061 is more easily worked and remains resistant to corrosion even when the surface is abraded, which is not the case for 2024, which is usually used with a thin Alclad coating for corrosion resistance.
- yacht construction, including small utility boats.
- automotive parts, such as wheel spacers.
- some tactical flashlights
- aluminium cans for the packaging of food and beverages.
- SCUBA tanks (post 1995)