The Development of 7075 T6 Aluminum

When people use a product like aluminum, there’s a tendency to think that it has been around forever and was created in the exact same form in which it now exists. In reality, every material has a story, and almost every product is modified and improved over time. The 7075 alloy of aluminum is a particularly interesting blend that has the military, or rather the militaries of several countries to thank for its development and perfection.

What is 7075 T6 Aluminum
To understand why a particular material was created, you first need to understand its properties. The 7075 alloy of aluminum contains fairly large portions of zinc, magnesium and copper with lesser amounts of silicon, iron, manganese, titanium and chromium. It is nearly as strong as steel, and it has a high ability to be machined. It has less resistance to corrosion than other alloys or aluminum and it tends to cost more than many other alloys as well. The 7075 T6 aluminum represents the peak strength of the alloy, with a tensile strength over 74,000 psi and yield strength of up to 69,000 psi.

The History of 7075 Aluminum
The Sumitomo Metal company in Japan developed 7075 aluminum in 1936. It was a development for the military, and in 1940 the alloy was used to make air frames for the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighters. Its strength and light weight made it perfect for the small, fast combat aircraft. By 1943, Alcoa was producing the alloy in the United States and it became a staple of the U.S. aerospace industry, being used in American combat aircraft as well.

Several tempers of the alloy were created over the following years, with T6 being the strongest and one of the most sought-after. In particular, 7075 T6 aluminum found a home in the firearms industry, being used to make upper receivers and extension tubes for the M16 rifle. French firearm manufacturer PGM favors the metal for its precision rifles.

Other Modern Uses for 7075 Aluminum
Beyond the military and firearm uses for 7075 aluminum, there are a multitude of other uses for this alloy. Civilian aviation, boat manufacturers and car companies all use different tempers of 7075, including T6. Recreational equipment, including bicycles, inline skates, lacrosse sticks, camping gear, hang gliders and rock climbing equipment all incorporate 7075. As well, the alloy is sometimes further refined to make mold tools.

To get 7075 aluminum in the T-6 temper for your projects, the company you need to contact is Howard Precision Metals. Go to Howardprecision.com.

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