You don’t have to go very far to see evidence of expanding metal sheeting and its use in 21st-century design and construction. From walkways and platforms through to grates and fencing, expanding mesh is everywhere.
It’s understandable therefore that you might be mistaken for thinking that it’s a modern invention. On the contrary, the process for manufacturing expanding mesh sheeting was actually developed in the UK over 135 years ago. Yet, despite the obvious technological advances, the product is manufactured in a similar fashion even today.
So what is expanding mesh sheeting and why is it necessary?
If you take a basic metal sheet or plate then stamp it out with continuous patterns, you get expandable mesh sheeting. Often, the metal is stamped with diamond-shaped spacings, but many other patterns can also be incorporated, depending upon need or requirement.
Various types of metal can be processed in this way to include titanium, copper, aluminium, or galvanised and stainless steels. Not only does it makes expanding metal an incredibly versatile product to be incorporated into many areas of construction and design, but it also offers a durable and cheaper alternative to solid metal sheeting.
So why specific patterns?
The continuing pattern designs used in expandable metal sheeting aren’t simply for decorative purposes, they also have a function. Staggered diamond patterns for example, (the most frequently used design) provide the most open area to let in light air and water, but can also evenly dissipate force when needed, making it a seriously durable option. Alternatively, patterns where columns and rows are aligned, are best used when the side force needs to be taken into consideration. In essence, varying patterns are designed to provide the right amount of strength, traction or water/air/light flow depending upon the need.
What about the benefits?
Aside from its versatility, mesh sheeting also has a number of other benefits. These include:
Cost-effectiveness – Because of the way that mesh sheeting is processed, a small amount of metal can be stretched or expanded to make a larger piece. This makes it incredibly cost-effective.
Minimum waste – The manufacturing process for mesh sheeting involves slitting and stretching the metal to make holes rather than punching out. As such, there is very little wastage making it an efficient product too!
High strength/Low weight – Expanded metal sheeting has the ability to provide greater weight support and can withstand more stress than jointed welds or woven metals, At the same time, however, expanded mesh sheeting is also lighter than traditional metal sheeting. This strength-to-weight ratio makes it the ideal material for many aspects of construction and/or design.
Excellent carrier of other materials – Because mesh sheeting can come as one piece across various lengths, it is the perfect carrier for other materials to add strength. These include concrete – Think rebar (reinforcing mesh), glass, or plaster.
Great conductors – Expanded metals are also first-class conductors making them an excellent choice for the carriage of electricity, magnetic flux, or heat.
Unique properties – As opposed to solid sheeting, expanding mesh allows air and light to move freely between making them ideal for use in contemporary design. Moreover, specially developed versions even have the ability to provide enhanced acoustics and/or soundproofing where necessary.
If you want to learn more about how expanded metal sheeting is formed, would like to know about its available uses, or are interested in any other custom steel service, then contact the experts at Metro Steel. We have the ability to transform your metal design ideas into reality. For a fast accurate and efficient service, call our friendly team today on 07 3204 1000.