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6061 Aluminum vs. PLA

6061 aluminum and PLA belong to fundamentally different material chemistries. 6061 aluminum is a metal, while PLA is a polymeric material. Therefore, their performance will be even more dissimilar than would be suggested by the difference in properties. There are 14 material properties with values for both materials. Properties with values for just one material (21, in this case) are not shown. Please note that the two materials have significantly dissimilar densities. This means that additional care is required when interpreting the data, because some material properties are based on units of mass, while others are based on units of area or volume.

For each property being compared, the top bar is 6061 aluminum and the bottom bar is PLA.

Metric UnitsUS Customary Units

Mechanical Properties

Elastic (Young's, Tensile) Modulus, GPa 69
3.5
Elongation at Break, % 3.4 to 20
6.0
Shear Modulus, GPa 26
2.4
Tensile Strength: Ultimate (UTS), MPa 130 to 410
50

Thermal Properties

Maximum Temperature: Mechanical, °C 170
50
Melting Onset (Solidus), °C 580
160
Specific Heat Capacity, J/kg-K 900
1800
Thermal Conductivity, W/m-K 170
0.13

Otherwise Unclassified Properties

Density, g/cm3 2.7
1.3

Common Calculations

Stiffness to Weight: Axial, points 14
1.6
Stiffness to Weight: Bending, points 50
40
Strength to Weight: Axial, points 13 to 42
11
Strength to Weight: Bending, points 21 to 45
24
Thermal Diffusivity, m2/s 68
0.058