Aluminium Will Be A Star Material of Bridges

July 24, 2021

Aluminium extruded products will be widely applied in aluminium bridge.

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By now, aluminium bridges system in North America is approaching critical stages. 603,000 bridges in the State and 56,000 bridges in Canada were built in 1950s-1970s, most of them are already or approaching retiring stage. Data from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) stated that currently more than 56,000 bridges have structural troubles. According to The American Society of Civil Engineers, the report said that it cost more than 123 billion to maintain and reinforce those faulty bridges.



Within 20 years afterward, the cost of reinforcing and maintenance will rapidly increase. These old bridges are mostly made of concrete and rebar. The investment of bridges, highway and other transportation infrastructures have a huge impact on rural and urban economic development. Aluminium extruded products will be widely applied in North American road and bridges maintenance.


⭐6061 Aluminium Bridges’ Ridges Material


Today’s aluminium bridges, 90% of material are 6061 extrusion profiles, specially for road used. Aluminium pedestrian bridges’ accessories are made of 6063 aluminium alloy. 6061 alloy is AI-Mg-Si-Cu-Cr series alloy that invented by Alcoa company in 1933. It is one of the four durable, classic, commercial heat treatment alloys. (The Four heat treatment strengthen alloys are including 2024, 6061,6063,7075 series alloy.) The outputs of 6061 alloy are slightly less than 6063, but way more than 2024 and 7075 series alloy.




Till Dec of 2019, 6061 series family has 5 members, except 6061A is invented by EAA, the others are American alloy, please refer to Form 1 for chemical components. In bridge construction, it is better to use 6061 only, due to its comprehensive properties. Components are easy to manage. Using aluminium scraps is acceptable.




6061 alloy has a broad solid solution treatment temperature which is easy to control. It is between 515°C - 550°C, in general, it is managed at 535°C; T6、T6510、T6511 extrusion profiles heat treatment standard is (170-180)℃/8h.


Please refer 6061 series alloy mechanic properties to Form 2,

Please refer 6061 series alloy mechanic properties at low/high temperature to From 3.





6061 series alloy has good welding properties. It is a medium-strength extruded property that capable of heat treatment alloy. It is perfect for shaping, surface treatment, widely applied in general industrial structures and transport gears.




In aluminium bridges development, the first one was built in Smithfield St, Pittsburgh, the State. It was 100m and the road surface was made of 2014-T6 thick aluminium alloy plates, built in 1933. It was reinforced in 1967 that replaced by strong corrosion resistance thick aluminium alloy plates 5456-H321. It is also said that before 1953, most aluminium bridges were made of 2014-T6 series alloy. British Hendon built the first aluminium bridge with 2014-T6 series alloy and some 6151-T6 series thick aluminium plates. A bridge over Tummel River in Scotland that used 6151-T6 series alloy thin aluminium plates was built in 1950. Before 1962(1953-1962), some bridges in Germany and Britain were used 6351-T6 series alloy thin aluminium ripple plates.




From middle 90s, 6061-T6 series alloy profiles had a dominant position in bridges structural material. The most significant and well-known aluminium bridge was built over Juniata River in Pennsylvania State. Alloys 6061-T6 and 6063-T6 series extrusion profiles used in bridges were provided by Reynolds Metal Company ( Reynolds Metals was acquired by Alcoa). This bridge is 98 meters long, originally made of iron with a maximum standing weight of 7 tons vehicles. After reinforcement with aluminium alloy, it reached maximum standing weight of 22 tons vehicles.



It can also say that, without any new comprehensive aluminium alloy coming up, 6061-T6 series extrusion profiles will be the most priority bridge material. And of course, 6063、5083、5086、6082 series alloys are also suitable.

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