If you’re into construction, carpentry, and transportation, to mention but a few, you’ve most likely used a metal mesh.
A metal mesh is an expanded sheet or roll of metal consisting of strands of metal running from one end of the sheet to the other. These strands form openings of different sizes that form a barrier hence the name mesh.
The size of the openings ranges from the smallest size 1/8″ x1/8″ to the biggest size 6″ x6″ while the size of the entire expanded sheet can be as big as 10 feet long for a standard sheet and 100 feet long for a standard roll. The openings can also take different shapes such as a square, hexagon, diamond, and circle.
Depending on the use of the mesh, you can choose one made of stainless steel, copper, aluminum, bronze, galvanized steel, brass, Monel, carbon steel, or brass. You can also make it from an alloy of the metals mentioned above. Therefore, the type you use depends on the material used or alloy, the size of the entire sheet or roll, and the shape and size of the openings.
This article will explore more on metal mesh, also known as expanded metal. You’ll learn how it is formed, its application, and the advantages of using it.
You’re probably picturing a welded or woven wire mesh by the description given above. However, note that these are two different types of products. The best way to tell the difference is first understanding how a metal mesh or expanded metal is made.
As mentioned before, a metal mesh is made from a sheet or roll of metal. The sheet of metal is put into an expanding machine where it’s made thinner so that it can stretch. As the sheet of metal stretches, its surface area begins to cut so that uniform holes are made on the metal.
The difference between a metal mesh and a wire mesh is that the metal mesh holes are molded within the metal sheet. On the other hand, the holes are made from thin strands of metal woven or welded together for a wire mesh.
Secondly, the metal mesh remains strong regardless of the expansion. Meanwhile, the thinner the wire mesh, the weaker it becomes. Therefore, a wire mesh is used for less intensive applications, and it’s relatively cheaper than an expanded metal.
The uses of a metal mesh can be summarized as protection as a barrier, support in the construction industry, and custom applications such as decorations. Here are the applications of a metal mesh:
Here are the advantages of using expanded metal for all your needs:
As detailed in the article, expanded metal is made from one sheet of metal being stretched. Out of this fact only, there are two advantages of using it. First, there’s less waste while designing one, and second, the metal retains its strength. The two will be discussed further in the points to follow.
Other than these benefits, it can easily undergo further transformation such as sheering and pressing since they’re made of one piece of metal sheet. As such, should you need to change the form of the mesh, you won’t have to purchase a new one.
Creating the holes on a metal mesh involves stretching the sheet of metal as opposed to punching holes into it. If you punch holes, the punched-out metal can’t be used, which increases the amount of waste produced.
If you’re producing little to no waste, it means you’ll need fewer sheets of metal, which will cost less than if you’re throwing some away as waste. Additionally, some metals can expand more to cover a large area. If this is the case, you may end up needing fewer sheets or rolls of metal for your design.
When the sheet of metal is expanded, it loses some of its weight. However, this doesn’t compromise the integrity of the metal. Therefore, the uncut parts of the metal remain sturdy and the stretched strands can withstand more pressure as compared to woven or welded joints. The strength makes it suitable to offer support to other structures during construction.
As mentioned, the strands of the metal forming the openings are stretched from the metal sheet. The knuckles where the strands meet have a firm grip as opposed to if these strands were woven. The sturdiness of the knuckles makes them anti-slip, which is most appropriate for constructing walkways, stair treads, and ramps.
Because a metal mesh is made of one piece of material and there are no breaks from one strand to another, electric and magnetic energy flow continuously throughout the mesh. As such, if you intend to use it for any power-related tasks, you can be sure of efficiency and reduced loss of energy since a metal mesh has minimal destruction.
When processing you can mix two or more metals to strengthen the mesh, increase its expansion capability, and sometimes for aesthetic purposes. Whatever your reason, a metal mesh allows you to play with different metals to achieve your desired alloy.
It gives you the flexibility you need to mold a mesh of your own design and aesthetic while still maintaining optimum functionality. For example, if you want to achieve more light you can use larger cuts to create large openings. With a perforated mesh, however, the larger the cuts, the weaker the mesh, which means that eventually, the it won’t serve its purpose.
Although their physical appearance is alike, there’s a difference between a metal and a wire mesh. The metal mesh is stronger, more expensive, and has more benefits. It’s made of one material, so there’s minimal waste produced; and due to reduced waste, it’s cheaper to mold and use a metal mesh.
Other advantages are that it is strong with sturdy knuckles that make it suitable for anti-slip constructions such as walkways. Moreover, it is highly efficient, it can be made from an alloy, and finally, it’s flexible to different designs and functions.
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