6xxx series aluminum alloys are used across a wide variety of end use applications, including transportation applications with structural requirements to architectural projects with high surface finish requirements.
There is a 6xxx series alloy variant for most extruded profile end uses.
What is it about alloys from this series that make them so fitting for these types of projects? To understand series classification, you must first understand the science of an aluminum alloy.
An alloy is a mixture of metals. In the case of aluminum alloys, the mixture is typically 90-96% aluminum, with the remaining percentage filled by other elements, such as silicon. The beauty of alloys is that the interaction between aluminum and the added elements enhances the properties of aluminum (e.g., an alloy mixture may increase the strength of aluminum).
Alloy mixtures are classified into a series according to their unique characteristics. The qualifying criteria for the 6xxx series of aluminum alloys is the inclusion of magnesium and silicon in the mixture. Magnesium and silicon combine within the mix to form magnesium silicide.
The salient characteristics of 6xxx alloys are their extrudability, strength to withstand heat treatment, and exceptional corrosion resistance. The alloys in this series also have a great surface finish.
6xxx series aluminum alloys are ideal for architectural projects like bridge construction and repair, and other projects that will be repeatedly exposed to the elements given their resistance to atmospheric corrosion.
The corrosion resistance and surface finish also make 6xxx alloys ideal for framing windows and doors.
The 6xxx series is used widely for other applications, including consumer goods, piping and tubing, and electrical components.