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2011 Aluminum
2011 is the most machinable of the commonly available aluminum alloys. Machining this alloy can produce excellent surface finishes on your product, and small, broken chips.

Weldability, strength, and anodizing response are all rated as average at best, and this alloy does not have a high degree of corrosion resistance.

If the ability to make your part quickly is important to you, and strength is not the primary desire, 2011 represents a good choice if you're using aluminum.

2011-T3 Aluminum
Minimum Properties Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi 55,000
Yield Strength, psi 43,000
Brinell Hardness 95
Rockwell Hardness B60
Chemistry Aluminum (Al) 91.2 - 94.6%
Bismuth (Bi) 0.2 - 0.6%
Copper (Cu) 5.0 - 6.0%
Iron (Fe) 0.7% max
Magnesium (Mg) 2.1 - 2.9%
Lead (Pb) 0.2 - 0.6%
Silicon (Si) 0.4% max

2024 Aluminum
Copper is the main alloying ingredient in 2024. It is very strong compared to most aluminum alloys, and has average machinability, but the copper component of this alloy makes it susceptible to corrosion (many items in this alloy are produced with a clad surface to protect the underlying material.) In addition, 2024 is not considered to be weldable.

Finally, the fatigue resistance of 2024 make it a primary choice when the application is expected to be under stress or strain for prolonged periods. It is commonly used in aerospace applications.

2024-T3 Aluminum
Minimum Properties Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi 70,000
Yield Strength, psi 50,000
Brinell Hardness 120
Rockwell Hardness B75
Chemistry Aluminum (Al) 90.7 - 94.7%
Chromium (Cr) 0.1% max
Copper (Cu) 3.8 - 4.9%
Iron (Fe) 0.5% max
Magnesium (Mg) 1.2 - 1.8%
Manganese (Mn) 0.3 - 0.9%
Silicon (Si) 0.5% max

5052 Aluminum
5052 is the alloy most suited to forming operations, with good workability and higher strength than that of the 1100 or 3003 alloys that are commercially available.

5052 is not heat-treatable, but is stronger than most of the 5xxx series of alloys. It has very good corrosion resistance, and can be easily welded. 5052 is not a good choice for extensive machining operations, as it has only a fair machinability rating.

5052-H32 Aluminum
Minimum Properties Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi 33,000
Yield Strength, psi 28,000
Brinell Hardness 60
Chemistry Aluminum (Al) 95.7 - 97.7%
Chromium (Cr) 0.15 - 0.35%
Copper (Cu) 0.1% max
Iron (Fe) 0.4% max
Magnesium (Mg) 2.2 - 2.8%
Manganese (Mn) 0.1% max
Silicon (Si) 0.25% max

6061 Aluminum
6061 Aluminum is, by most any measure, the most commonly used aluminum alloy. It is specified in most any application due to its strength, heat treatability, comparatively easy machining, and weldability. If that were not enough, it is also capable of being anodized, adding a layer of protection for finished parts.

The main alloy ingredients of 6061 aluminum are magnesium and silicon.

6061-T6 Aluminum
Physical and Mechanical Properties Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi 45,000
Yield Strength, psi 40,000
Brinell Hardness 95
Rockwell Hardness B60
Chemistry Aluminum (Al) 95.8 - 98.6%
Chromium (Cr) 0.04 - 0.35%
Copper (Cu) 0.15 - 0.40%
Magnesium (Mg) 0.8 - 1.2%
Manganese (Mn) 0.15% max
Silicon (Si) 2.8 - 3.8%
Zinc (Zn) 1.5% max

6063 Aluminum
6063 is often called architectural aluminum for two reasons - first, it has a surface finish that is far smoother than the other commercially available alloys, and second, its strength is significantly less (roughly half the strength of 6061), making it suited for applications where strength is not the foremost consideration.

6063 is rated as "Good" for forming and cold working operations, "Excellent" for anodizing, and "Fair" for machining.

6063-T52 Aluminum
Minimum Properties Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi 27,000
Yield Strength, psi 21,000
Brinell Hardness 60
Chemistry Aluminum (Al) 97.5% max
Chromium (Cr) 0.1% max
Copper (Cu) 0.1% max
Iron (Fe) 0.35% max
Magnesium (Mg) 0.45 - 0.90%
Manganese (Mn) 0.1% max
Silicon (Si) 0.2 - 0.6%

7075 Aluminum

7075 is the other "aircraft grade" aluminum that is carried by OnlineMetals. Its principal alloying ingredients are Zinc and copper, which make it one of the highest-strength aluminum alloys that are available. In fact, its typical strength in the T6 temper is higher than most mild steels.

7075 also has average-to-good ratings for machinability, corrosion resistance, and anodizing response. Like 2024, however, it is not considered to be weldable.

7075-T6 Aluminum
Physical and Mechanical Properties Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi 83,000
Yield Strength, psi 73,000
Brinell Hardness 150
Rockwell Hardness B87
Chemistry Aluminum (Al) 87.1 - 91.4%
Zinc (Zn) 5.1 - 6.1% max
Copper (Cu) 1.2 - 2.0%
Chromium (Cr) 0.18 - 0.28%
Iron (Fe) 0.5 max
Magnesium (Mg) 2.1 - 2.9%
Manganese (Mn) 0.3% max

1,250 Posts
I tried to find this info on the UHMW plastic I used to make my skid plate. Because it is not metal they don't publish specs the same way or even make comparisons to metals.

I just know the big truckers around here swear by the stuff for protecting their steel or aluminum dump bodies so it can't be bad.

I bought an aluminum skid kit from a fabricator for my Sportsman 500 and suspect it was a mild and not particularly strong/hard aluminum grade. It did what it was supposed to and protected the under side.
What I hated about it was how aluminum sticks like glue when you run up on big rocks. The first day I went clear over the bars when the bottom hooked on a big rock and stopped dead.

Holz came out with a skid kit that used this UHMW in the main plate and aluminum everwhere else. Don't know how that worked out for them or the guys who bought it but the idea is to slide over stuff easy and have protection so maybe a good aluminum plate with a thin skin of this plastic could do the trick the best.

My Jeepin buddies use steel for the under side protection and aluminum diamond plate on the fender corners and rockers because it works pretty easy and look great for a while.
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