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  • 6061t6

    Is 6061-T6 the same wherever you buy it? I need to replace a few filler pieces on my spar. My original aluminium came from Wicks. Being in New Zealand it would be convenient to source it locally. Any input on 6061 grades?

  • #2
    It absolutely should be, provided you get the same specification (not some other heat treatment condition, for instance).
    If you want to to a little test, you could use a hardness tester to give some confidence it meets the spec.

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    • #3
      I've wondered the same thing... some of my "6061-T6" extrusions have markings similar to the sheet, but others although visually identical have no markings; however, the supplier lists it as 6061-T6 on the manifest... hmmmm...

      -- Larry

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      • #4
        6061t-6 is 42000 tensile strength ultimamate
        2024t-3 is 56000-63000 tensile strenght ultimate
        check in catalog spruce aircraft

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        • #5
          So, stupid question.......

          I understood 6061 was harder and more difficult to form but stronger. If, as dcstrng suggests, 2024 is actually stronger, why would you use 6061 at all?

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          • #6
            It depends on what you need/want to do with it, really. In some cases, there are in-between situations where you'll find 6061 works well for the strength required for the application. Often times it's less expensive than 2024 for similar dimensions. Also 6061 is weldable, where 2024 is generally not. So in a case where you may need to weld parts, then 6061 can be a good choice.

            I believe there are other aircraft that are formed completely with 6061. Zeniths, perhaps? I haven't had an opportunity to form 6061 yet, but thought I recall the opposite: it's easy to bend than 2024. Time to do some reading up on it.
            ​Christopher Owens, EAA #808438
            Project "Expedition"
            Bearhawk 4-Place Scratch Built, Plans #991
            Bearhawk Patrol Scratch Built, Plans #P313
            Germantown, Wisconsin, USA

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            • #7
              To give an example of the point that Chris made about cost difference, Aircraft Spruce's price on 2024-T3 is almost two times the price of 6061-T6.

              I would like to emphasize that I use the materials that are called out in the plans. But, If there were a place where the I may think a better material is suitable based on availability, cost or characteristics, I would never substitute without first giving the designer a call to seek his approval.
              Brooks Cone
              Southeast Michigan
              Patrol #303, Kit build

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              • #8
                Chris Heintz of Zenith used 6061 for a lot of the sheet because it was cheaper, easier to work and stood up to the anticipated loads (being light sport aircraft typically). He also used it because the minimum thickness of sheet for durability and workability (we can't use aluminum foil, no matter how strong it is) required a thickness that was stronger than he needed in 2024 and just right in 6061. Be very careful about substituting materials, especially 6061 for 2024, because it may not be strong enough. The designer/engineer will pick a specific material for a reason or design with a specific material in mind.

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                • #9
                  Aircraft parts are typically designed with regards to their yield strength and not the ultimate tensile strength. There are pros and cons to each alloy, 6061 is more weldable than 2024 but is harder to machine. 6061 also has superior corrosion resistance to 2024 but we use 2024 for its mechanical properties and AL-clad it. I emphatically agree that one should not change materials without consultation from those who designed the part as that material was specifically selected.

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