The in-phase and out-of-phase thermal fatigue of aluminum alloy were experimentally studied. The fatigue life was evaluated analytically by using the elastic-plastic fracture mechanics method (mainly J integral). The results of experiments and calculations showed that the life of out-of-phase fatigue was longer than that of in-phase fatigue within the same strain range. This is the same as the results of other materials such as medium and low carbon steel. On the other hand, the predicted life was consistent with experimental results. This suggests that J integral as a mechanics parameter for characterizing the thermal fatigue strength of aluminum alloy and the calculation method developed here is efficient. A parameter ΔW was proposed from energy aspect to characterize the capacity of crack propagation. The in-phase thermal fatigue life was the same as the out-of-phase thermal fatigue life for identical ΔW values.