5052 Aluminum vs 6061 Aluminum

5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum are highly valued aluminum alloys in manufacturing. This is because both of them offer a wide range of features. Such as durability, versatility, mechanical properties. But choosing aluminum alloys for specific industries and projects has still always been an issue in the industry. The formability, weldability, overall strength, corrosion resistance will decide how to select the 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum. This article will help to determine how these factors rank between 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum for your project.

Before knowing the 5052 aluminum VS 6061 aluminum difference, remember that each aluminum grade is important.

5052 Aluminum Grade

5052 aluminum is a member of the 5000 series of aluminum alloys. Advantages include corrosion resistance, good weldability and high fatigue strength. Aluminum 5052 has a wide range of applications. Such as buildings, pressure vessels and fuel containers. Applications also include marine environments.

5052 aluminum is the strongest non-heat treated aluminum. Therefore, 5052 aluminum excels in sheet or sheet metal. 5052 aluminum Sheet or plate combines excellent weldability and formability with increased strength. It has a density of 2.68 g/cm3 (0.0968 lb/in3). Its elemental composition includes magnesium, chromium and so on. But, it does not contain copper. So, it is not easily corroded by saltwater. So, it has been widely used in the marine industry.

6061 Aluminum Grade

6061 aluminum is the most versatile aluminum alloy. while it retains most of the useful properties of aluminum.It was found in almost every corner of the manufacturing industry today.

The 6061 aluminum is a precipitation-hardened alloy. its major elements are aluminum, silicon, and magnesium. Other alloy elements may include copper, iron, zinc, etc. This means that it is strengthened during a treatment process that involves a lot of activities. These activities include the disbursement of particles within the metals giant structure, blocking motion as well as increasing durability and strength. This makes aluminum 6061has a great workability with impressive mechanical properties.

What is the difference between 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum?

Both 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum grades have excellent properties.it is of importance to use the alloy with a high level of benefits. But their distinct element compositions make different purposes. ​For easy understanding, we will use the properties exhibited by both alloys to draw comparisons between them.

Ensure you have more knowledge about 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum for the effective selection of alloys for projects. The following are the comparisons: 5052 aluminum VS 6061 aluminum

  • Alloy Tempers
  • Chemical Component
  • Mechanical Properties
  • Corrosion Resistance Comparison
  • Weldability Comparison
  • Weight Comparison
  • Price Comparison
  • Common Applications Comparison

Alloy Tempers

The 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum exist in different forms. These variations can be used to draw comparisons. we will list out their respective alloy variations.

The 5052 aluminum exists in about 19 alloy variations. They include:

  • 5052-O Aluminum
  • 5052-H38 Aluminum
  • 5052-H39 Aluminum
  • 5052-H34 Aluminum
  • 5052-H36 Aluminum
  • 5052-H32 Aluminum
  • 5052-H322 Aluminum
  • 5052-H26 Aluminum
  • 5052-H28 Aluminum
  • 5052-H22 Aluminum
  • 5052-H24 Aluminum
  • 5052-H18 Aluminum
  • 5052-H19 Aluminum
  • 5052-H14 Aluminum
  • 5052-H16 Aluminum
  • 5052-H112 Aluminum
  • 5052-H12 Aluminum
  • 5052-F Aluminum
  • 5052-H111 Aluminum

The 6061 aluminum grades exist in pre-tempered and tempered grades. This include:

  • 6061-O Aluminum
  • 6061-T1 Aluminum
  • 6061-T4 Aluminum
  • 6061-T42 Aluminum
  • 6061-T451 Aluminum
  • 6061-T4510 Aluminum
  • 6061-T4511 Aluminum
  • 6061-T51 Aluminum
  • 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • 6061-T62 Aluminum
  • 6061-T651 Aluminum
  • 6061-T6510 Aluminum
  • 6061-T6511 Aluminum
  • 6061-T652 Aluminum
  • 6061-T89 Aluminum
  • 6061-T94 Aluminum

5052 vs 6061 Aluminum: Chemical Components

In a bid to differentiate 5052 aluminum from 6061 aluminum, the chemical components are very important. The chemical composition of these alloys determines their workability for usage. The table below shows a summary of the alloy composition of 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum.

Element5052 Aluminum6061 Aluminum
Aluminum95.85 – 97.70 %95.80 – 97.90 %
Silicon0.00 – 0.25 %0.40 – 0.80 %
Zinc0.00 – 0.10 %0.00 – 0.25 %
Magnesium2.20 – 2.80 %0.80 – 1.20 %
Manganese (Mn)0.00 – 0.10 %0.00 – 0.15 %
Chromium0.15 – 0.35 %0.04 – 0.35 %
Copper0.00 – 0.00 %0.15 – 0.40 %
Iron (Fe)0.00 – 0.40 %0.00 – 0.70 %
Titanium (Ti)0.00 – 0.15 %
Residuals0.00 – 0.15 %0.00 – 0.15 %

5052 vs 6061 Aluminum: Mechanical Properties

The mechanical properties of a material are the physical properties exhibited when a force or impact is acted upon it. 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum both exhibit quite a range of mechanical properties. These properties give us more opportunities to be able to compare and contrast. These properties include:

  • Modulus of Elasticity
  • Electrical Resistivity
  • Machinability
  • Material Hardness
  • Thermal Conductivity
  • Yield Strength
  • Shear Strength

Modulus of Elasticity

Modulus of elasticity can be expressed in terms of stiffness of an alloy. This is quantified as a measure of how an alloy material can resist plastic deformation in a presence of an external force. A material that exhibits higher moduli is said to be more elastic. This is because it requires extra effort to permanently lead the material into deformity. As a result, alloys with higher modulus metrics are preferred for forming applications. In addition to this, elastic materials do not easily fracture when deformed. We compare 5052 aluminum with 6061 aluminum and we found out that 5050 aluminum has the highest modulus of elasticity (70.3 GPa). Therefore, if elasticity is considered in the selection of alloy for your project, then 5052 aluminum is a perfect choice.

Electrical Conductivity

This phenomenon is the degree to which a material conducts electricity. It is measured as the ratio of the current density to the electric field that caused the flow of current. In the comparison of 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum using equal volume, the 5052 aluminum shows lower conductivity at about 7% lesser than the 6061 aluminum. This shows that the aluminum 6061 may be preferred over the 5052 aluminum if there is more preference for electrical conductivity.


For several reasons, aluminum 6061 failed in terms of formability, but it succeeds as an excellent machining grade. In this context, machinability measures how well an alloy material responds to milling, die-cutting, turning, or other machining operations. These machinability operations can be measured using some machinability scales. However, based on empirical tests, our scales will be reported in a Likert scale manner. This rating is represented in terms of excellent, good, fair, and poor ratings. 6061 aluminum is rated “Good” while 5052 is “Poor” in terms of machinability. This is because 6061 aluminum is more brittle and fractures off more easily with lesser chips when machined. On the other hand, 5052 aluminum is rated poor due to its elastic nature. Larger chips fall off on tooling with less precise cuts.

Material Hardness

The hardness of an alloy material depends on its resistance to deformity either by indentation or penetration. in this case, both aluminum alloys were penetrated using different amounts of force, and the result showed that aluminum 6061 resist penetration without much deformity under pressure. This means that aluminum 6061 is harder (276 MPa) to permanently deform than aluminum 5052 (193 MPa).

Thermal Conductivity

Based on the norms, aluminum alloys are good conductors of heat. In this situation, both 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum are not an exception to this. The thermal conductivity is a measure of how much a metal alloy can transmit heat. This is applicable in considering material for heat exchangers, heat sinks, and many more. The thermal conductivity of 6061 aluminum is higher than that of 5052 aluminum. As a result, 6061 aluminum is preferred for heat dissipation applications.

Yield Strength

For a selection of materials, the yield strength and ultimate strength of that material serve as a central value. In combination, they represent the maximum amount of stress that leads to non-permanent (elastic) and permanent (plastic) deformation. Furthermore, the yield strength is the most important in static applications. This means that the material of choice must never deform permanently e.g. in structural applications. On the other hand, the ultimate strength may be useful for a specific application. 5052 aluminum displayed a yield tensile strength of about 193 MPa with an ultimate tensile strength of 226 MPa. 6061 aluminum exhibits a yield tensile strength of about 276 MPa with an ultimate tensile strength of 310 MPa. This shows that the 6061 aluminum is stronger than the 5052 aluminum.

Shear Strength

The alloy’s chemical composition determines its workability for usage. So differentiating 5052 aluminum from 6061 aluminum is very important. The table below shows a summary of the alloy composition of 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum.

Mechanical Properties Summary Table

Properties5052 Aluminum 6061 Aluminum 
Shear Modulus3760 ksi25.9 Gpa3770 ksi26.0 Gpa
Modulus of Elasticty10200 ksi70.3 Gpa10000 ksi68.9 Gpa
Fatigue Strength17000 psi117 Mpa14000 psi96.5 Mpa
Shear Strength20000 psi138 Mpa30000 psi207 Mpa
Electrical Resistivity3.99 x 10-6 ohm-cm3.99 x 10-6 ohm-cm5.15 x 10-6 ohm-cm3.99 x 10-6 ohm-cm
Hardness (Brinell)9595150150

5052 vs 6061 Aluminum: Corrosion Resistance Comparison

When aluminum alloys are exposed to air or water, they form a layer of oxide. This oxide layer makes the alloy non-reactive with corrosive elements. The corrosion resistance of such materials is dependent upon aqueous/atmospheric conditions such as temperature, airborne chemicals, and chemical composition. Aluminum 5052 does not contain any trace of copper, so it holds up exceptionally well under ambient conditions. It does not readily corrode when used in a saltwater environment that weakens and attack copper metal composite. As a result, the 5052 aluminum is preferred over the 6061 aluminum in chemical and marine applications.

Also, when both alloys are exposed to alkaline soil there may be a reaction called pitting. However, due to the magnesium content of 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum, they both resist corrosion caused by ammonia, ammonia hydroxide, and nitric acid. To avoid corrosion, alloy coating may be used to form a protective layer for both alloys.

5052 vs 6061 Aluminum: Weldability Comparison

For weldability comparisons, both alloys feature excellent weldability properties. The 5052 aluminum has the best welding characteristic of all the aluminum alloys. Its formability properties make it ideal for electrical enclosure fabrications. For 6061 aluminum, proper care must be taken in the selection of the perfect weld filler metal. To get the weld back to the original “T” designation, post-weld heat treatment and aging may be required.

5052 vs 6061 Aluminum: Weight Comparison

Weight comparison for material selection is important for any application. For example, in the aviation industry, materials with lightweight are preferable. In addition to lightweight, the material must come with enormous strength for higher efficiency. In comparison, we discovered that 6061 aluminum has the same density (0.0975 lb/in3, 2.7 g/cm3) as pure aluminum. Also, 5052 aluminum has slightly lower density (0.0968 lb/in3, 2.7 g/cm3) compare to pure aluminum. It means that, relative to pure aluminum, they are both lightweight and can be used in applications that require lightweight. This contributes to the reason for the usage of 6061 aluminum in the construction of modern aircraft.

5052 vs 6061 Aluminum: Price Comparison

In the conventional space, the price of an equal volume of 6061 aluminum is higher than the 5052 aluminum. This expensive nature may be attributed to the processing technology of 6061 aluminum which is more technical. However, the price of both alloys depends greatly on the choice of specification. This specification is greatly dependent on the requirement for your specific project.

5052 vs. 6061 Aluminum: Common Applications Comparison

5052 Aluminum Application

The 5052 aluminum has a wide range of applications. As a result of its composition, It offers quite a lot of benefits for manufactures in the industry. This characteristic has made the 5052 aluminum known in the marine industry, electronics industry, and as well in chemical applications. In short, 5052 aluminum has a vast range of usage which include and not limited to the following:

  • Electronic Enclosure
  • Electronic Chassis
  • Hardware Signs
  • Hydraulic tubes
  • Marine Equipment
  • Medical Equipment
  • Pressure Vessel

6061 Aluminum Application

Due to the workability of 6061, it is referred to as structural aluminum alloy. With its formability, it can be formed into a sheet, rounded, squared, extruded, rolled, or any form. The application of 6061 includes the following:

  • Automotive industries
  • Welded Assemblies
  • Modern aircraft industries
  • Building construction industry e.g. subway platforms, stairs, flooring, cover plates, walk away, and more.
  • Consumer products including bicycle frames and components, small utility boats, fishing reel, SCUBA tanks., docks gangways, and more
  • Electrical fittings.
  • Chemical equipment
  • Fasteners
  • Food industries especially for canned foods

It is used in the automotive industry due to its excellent strength. It also helps to increase both fuel efficiency and cost-effectiveness leading to increased performance.

6061 aluminum possesses excellent machinability. As a result, it is used for welding different aircraft components. Although welding may reduce this strength, it can be corrected by using heat treatment after finishing the welding process. Also, this alloy is used for scuba diving equipment, mooring, marine firearms, fishing equipment, docks, boat hulls, and more.

How to tell the difference between 5052 and 6061 Aluminum

To tell a physical difference between both alloys, get two parts formed by 5052 aluminum and 6061 aluminum at 0.03 inch each. Try to bend each alloy sheet at 90 degrees.

The part formed by 5052 aluminum will not break when bent at a sharp radius. For 6061 aluminum, with a bend radius that is less than two times of the material fitness will break at the bend. If the bend radius is greater than two times the material fitness for 6061 aluminum, the part will not break at the bend radius.


Irrespective of the alloy you are planning to use, they both offer numerous advantages. However, it is crucial to select the perfect alloy for your project. Perfect alloy will help to save time, and funds because of the excellent properties they offer. Such properties include weldability, corrosion resistance, cost efficiency, strength to weight ratio, and many more. The selection of the perfect choice of material for your project requires great expertise. The truth is that the choice of materials depends on the project requirement

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