People shop for expanded metal, perforated metal, and wire mesh for a number of reasons. All three provide drainage, ventilation, and even décor. But how do you choose among all three? Continue reading to learn more about all three types of sheet metal, and the characteristics that make them different from each other.
Expanded Sheet Metal
The manufacturing process for sheet metal can be described as cutting multiple small slits into the sheet, and then stretching it out to “expand” the slits. The slit pattern looks like the basic shape of an eye or horizontal diamond, in a chain-like series throughout the sheet. This design not only makes manufacturing costs down since there is no waste, it strengthens the metal, making it more durable. The design will not unravel either, so the sheet always remains a whole. It is a good conductor of heat and electricity, and even retains mechanical properties. For these reasons, expanded sheet metal is commonly used for construction rigging, steps, factory flooring, wash stations, fences, and even certain security applications. When shopping for expanded sheet metal, the two important factors to consider are thickness and strand dimensions.
Perforated Sheet Metal
Rather than being stretched, perforated metal is “punched” or stamped. Generally made from steel, this sheet metal is manufactured by sending it through a machine that punches out several small round holes. The punched-hole pattern looks similar to that of a speaker or microphone. The holes are designed in different patterns, either straight-lined or staggered, depending on the style of perforated metal being made. Around the edges of perforated sheet metal, a solid border creates stability and strength. Since these holes are punched out, production costs are generally higher, but fortunately, the waste can be recycled. A scrap metal company will pay for all types of metal. So the larger the holes, the higher the waste, therefore, higher production costs. This type of sheet metal comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, dimensions, and gauges, materials, and more. It is commonly used for screens, trash cans, filters, baskets, patio furniture, speakers, light fixtures, and much more.
Wire mesh comes in a variety of materials, including stainless steel, copper, brass, and steel. It is neither punched nor stretched like the other sheet metals mentioned, but rather woven to create stability and strength. The two common weave styles are plain weave and twill weave. Wire mesh, however, is not all metal. It is cloth with metal wire woven in. It is adaptable to many applications and very easy to clean, making it popular for commodities like sifting tools, conveyor belts, automotive belts, screening machinery, animal enclosures, and even architectural framework.