How to differentiate sheet vs plate

What is the Difference between Sheet, Plate, and Foil?

Aluminum sheet and aluminum plate are both widely used and respected due to the metal’s light-weight strength, along with high corrosion resistance. But what is the difference between sheet, plate, and foil?

When choosing between the three types of products, the only difference is the thickness – with plate being thickest and foil the thinnest. However, the exact thicknesses separating the categories depend upon the application, the metal in question, the gauge, and product specifications.

Independent & Inconsistent Metal Standards

Historically, gauges were the standards used to specify the thickness of metal wires before new, more accurate measurement technology was developed. Each industry created its own standards independently, and as a result, gauge numbers vary for aluminum, copper, brass, and different types of steel.

For example, the Dictionary of Units of Measurement defines 10 gauge aluminum as being 0.1019 inches thick, while 10 gauge standard steel is 0.1345 inches and a 10 gauge galvanized steel is 0.1382 inches.

As a result of this confusing state of affairs, the American Society for Testing and Measurement (ASTM) says in specification ASTM A480-10a, ‘The use of gage number is discouraged as being an archaic term of limited usefulness not having general agreement on meaning.’

Modern Metal Thickness Measurements

The common practice today is to specify the exact thickness of the product in question, thought the gauge may also be listed. In the case of aluminum and its alloys, sheet is typically defined as a piece of metal that is less than 0.249 inches thick. Aluminum plate is 0.25 inches and thicker, while aluminum foil is defined as anything thinner than 0.006 inches.

Due to their superior physical properties, aluminum sheet and plate are sought after for many different industrial applications. Aluminum plate is used for heavy-duty and structural applications, such as aerospace, military, and rail and sea transportation.

Aluminum sheet is the most common form of the metal, and is used in a wide range of industries, from food & beverage canning to cookware, appliance, and auto manufacturing. It is especially useful for construction of roofing, gutters, and siding.

Contact Industrial Metal Supply for your aluminum sheet & plate needs, or if you have questions.


Use + Benefits of Diamond Plate (aka Tread Plate or Floor Plate)

The three names, “tread plate,” “diamond plate,” and “floor plate,” can be confusing, but essentially they are all metal sheet or plate products, though they may have originated in different industries and applications. Each term refers to metal sheet or plate with a raised pattern on one side, and typically used as a slip-resistant surface or decorative siding.

The pattern on a tread plate may be alternating diamond or lozenge shapes or small individual blocks of raised bars in a checkerboard arrangement.

Rolled aluminum diamond plate comes in alloys including 3003 and 6061 (conforming to ASTM B632). Steel tread plate (steel tread plate is also called floor pate, aluminum is not) conforming to ASTM A786 comes in carbon, low-alloy, high-strength low-alloy, and alloy steel hot-rolled diamond plate.

Tread plate is available in a variety of thicknesses and load capacities, and it can be welded and cold worked.

Benefits of Tread Plate

The benefits of this versatile material are numerous, including:

Slip resistant – Raised pattern provides traction on steps, ramps, ladders, floors, tailgates, running boards, catwalks, loading docks, etc., even when wet, icy, or covered with snow, chemicals, or mud. Embossed firetruck quality (FTQ) tread plate meets NFPA industry safety regulations for slip resistance.

Corrosion resistant – Tread plate made of corrosion resistant metals, including stainless steel and aluminum alloys, provides years of service even under the toughest conditions, including marine locations.

Hygenic – Tread plate is easy to wash down and is able to resist damage from strong, corrosive cleaning agents. This makes it ideal for areas where frequent sanitizing is required, like food processing plants, kitchens, restaurants, ambulances, livestock transport, and more.

Protective – Tread plate prevents damage to walls, doors, corners, dollies, skids, etc. It also protects bumpers, treads, truck beds, tailgates, and bodies of commercial, off road, and other vehicles.

Attractive – Various raised patterns, materials and finishes are available for use in architecture, furniture making, etc. Firetrucks and shop walls are two places tread plate is commonly seen.

Applications of Tread Plate

The benefits of steel or aluminum tread plate make it ideal for a multitude of applications. Tread plate can be found in parking lots, garages, stairways, step ladders, elevators, loading docks, warehouses, distribution centers, hospitals, factories, ships, floating docks, refrigerator trucks, walk-in freezers, elevators, walkways, handicapped access ramps, truck tool boxes, trailers, and much more.