Round, flat, hexagon and square: These are the shapes that make up the world of aluminum bars. The wide variety of aluminum bars is distinguished by the varying degrees of thickness, width and diameter available to meet your specifications.
Before discussing dimensions, you must first consider the underlying properties that make up the metal. Aluminum bars are used in a broad range of industries, each with its own set of demands. Knowing which grade will hold up best for your application comes down to the following three factors:
- Strength. Understanding how much stress your aluminum bar can take, from the perspective of both yield strength and tensile strength, is vital.
- Machinability. Knowing the ease by which your aluminum bar can be cut into a desired final shape and size can be a highly important consideration.
- Corrosion resistance. Based on the environment in which your end application will be used, this can be one of the most important considerations. For example, aluminum bars that are exposed to a high rate of moisture must exhibit a strong resistance to corrosion.
So how do the various grades of aluminum bar “grade out” based on these three factors? The chart below gives a glimpse, using a 1-inch round aluminum bar as the example.
Here is a closer look at the factors that weigh into each grade’s grades.
2011 screw machine stock is the best machining aluminum bar stock—featured as both hex bar and round bar. Fine chips mean faster feeds and longer tool life. 2011 machines to an excellent finish, while containing good strength and average formability.
Featuring good formability and corrosion resistance, 2017 is particularly suitable for deep drilling operations and parts that require clean, bright finishes. The machinability of 2017 round bar isn’t as good as 2011, but its strength is comparable.
2024 screw machine stock is featured as round bar, square bar and flat bar. This grade is slightly more difficult to machine than 2011 and 2017. However, this grade is strong enough for aircraft fittings, bolts and fastening devices. It conforms to AMS QQ-A-225/6 and ASTM B211.
Aluminum bar grade 6061 is the most commonly used and among the most versatile aluminum alloy. Known for its strength, workability, corrosion resistance and ease of joining, aluminum bar grade 6061 is in use across a wide variety of industries and applications. Its machinability is not as strong as in the 2000 series.
Cold finished rounds and hexes conform to AMS QQ-A-225/8 and ASTM B211, while extruded rounds, squares and rectangles conform to AMS QQ-A-200/8 and ASTM B211.
When extruded, 6061 square bar is easily cut, welded and machined for many uses demanding high strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance. In fact, most extruded round items of this grade are specially ordered to restricted diameter tolerances for ready use in screw machines.
6063 is widely used for architectural and ornamental applications. Extruded aluminum 6063 flat bar offers high corrosion resistance with good formability. It is considered to be one of the most highly joinable alloys.
6262 is a screw machine stock that, when in T6511 temper, offers more strength and machinability than 6061. Cold finished 6262 conforms to AMS QQ-A-225/10 and ASTM B211, and extruded to AMS AA-A-200/10 and ASTM B211.
Looking for the greatest strength available in aluminum bar? Try 7075 round bar. This grade is used in aircraft applications where light weight and high strength are required. This grade conforms to AMS QQ-A-225/9 and ASTM B211.