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What is Expanded Metal Used for?

Oct. 28, 2022

Expanded metal is a sheet metal mesh. It is made by stretching a slitted sheet of malleable metal. The orientation of the slits is perpendicular to the direction of the stretch. The result of such stretching is an array of holes on the slits – to give a mesh form.

The concept emanates from the idea that metals change size – expand and contract – when subjected to various conditions. The most natural of these changes arises from the chemistry of these metals and the behavior of their atoms. This brings about the development of expanded metal.

Expanded metal is distinct from, and competes with, the following:

Perforated Sheet

Perforation is the punching of holes, in this case, into a metal sheet. The result of such perforation is a (metal) perforated sheet. In many cases, sheets that can be perforated can also be expanded. Perforation is a subtractive process – the punching of holes implies the removal of material. This comes as a disadvantage as the removed material is regarded as wastage. Perforation does not subject the perforated metal sheet to stretching, at least not necessarily. One of its advantages is the feasibility of very small openings and drainage casings for various applications. It can also have shapes that are not feasible with other meshing techniques – this comes in handy if the mesh is intended for decorative purposes.

Computer equipment often comes fitted with perforated metal sheets as part of the housing.

Woven Mesh

In this meshing process, metal wires are bought together more like threads of a piece of cloth. The weaving is held together by friction together with the rigidity of the wire, otherwise there is no bonding between individual wires. The edges tend to unravel if not bound. Screens for sieving sand are often woven.

Expanded Wire Mesh

 Expanded Wire Mesh

Welded Mesh

An array of straight wires is placed on top of one another, with the two arrays being perpendicular to one another. A welded joint is placed wherever any two wires meet. This mesh is usually used when large spaces are left. Finer meshes are less convenient to make because of the substantial number of welds required per unit area.

Welded mesh is commonly used in concrete reinforcement.

Expanded metal is a type of metal produced from a sheet of any solid metal, including stainless steel, aluminum, galvanized steel, titanium or copper.

Expanded metal contains diamond-shaped openings, which make it a versatile product commonly used in areas like platforms, catwalks, walkways, rail enclosures and conveyors, among many others. It can also retrofit over existing grating, flooring or diamond plate, and is a perfect cost-efficient solution in many areas. Here are four common types of expanded metal.

Expanded Wire Mesh

Expanded Wire Mesh 

Standard Expanded Metal

Standard expanded metal is created in a press that cuts and stretches metal, forming overlapping strips of a diamond pattern. This pattern provides air circulation, but also maintains the strength and durability of the original metal. There are dozens of different expanded metal sizes and weights, and these can be utilized in lockers, warehouse enclosures and machinery safety guards.

Flattened Expanded Metal

After the standard process, flattened expanded metal is processed a second time using a cold rolling press to flatten it. This creates a smooth, level surface, making flattened expanded metal perfect for fencing, ventilation, cages, and flooring. All-metal slip-resistant coatings can be applied for walkways, allowing pedestrians a durable and high-traction surface.

Expanded Metal Mesh

Expanded metal mesh is offered in varying shapes and sizes, from fine mesh to heavier versions. It’s most commonly seen used in decorative and architectural purposes such as sun screens, room dividers, grills, and ventilated storage systems.

Expanded Metal Grating

This is a form of grating used to create low-carbon steel plates, which are heavier than usual. These are used for heavy-duty areas like machine platforms, walkways, stairs or major pedestrian areas. Expanded metal grating yields a fantastic strength-to-weight ratio, and is also naturally slip-proof without a single bit of additional processing.

Want to learn more about expanded metal and its many uses, or are interested in any of our other custom steel services? Speak to the experts at Xinghong Metal Wire Mesh today.