Expanded metal is a sheet of metal fabricated with a regular pattern of diamond-shaped openings. These openings reduce the weight and cost of the sheet and provide ventilation, making it a versatile solution for many applications. The most common metals used for expanded metal sheet include steel, stainless steel, and aluminum, although it is also made from titanium and copper.
How is Expanded Metal Made?
Expanded sheet is made from a single sheet of metal that has been slit by a row of knives mounted on an industrial die cutting machine. The knives move back and forth in a uniform pattern, slicing the sheet in alternating cuts, while the sheet moves through the machine.
As the knives cut, they simultaneously push down on the newly cut sections, stretching them apart into “ribbons.” The ribbons remain attached at the uncut sections, which become the corners of open diamond shapes in an expanded mesh sheet. The size, shape and positioning of the knives and the thickness of the metal sheet can be changed to create openings of different dimensions for a variety of applications.
Types of Expanded Metal
Expanded metal sheet comes in different profiles, including:
- Standard Expanded Sheet: A finished product as it comes off the press after being cut and expanded. Often referred to as raised expanded metal, due to the alternating ridges formed by overlapping metal strips.
- Flattened Expanded Sheet: A standard expanded sheet that is then cold rolled, leaving a flat, smooth surface. Flattened expanded sheet is about 5% lighter than standard expanded sheet.
- Expanded Metal Grating: A heavy duty expanded sheet manufactured from carbon steel sheet or plate. Expanded metal grating has no joints or welds, as each sheet is a single piece of sturdy steel. Ideal for catwalk and platform applications.
A Versatile Product
Expanded sheet metal is a versatile and economical product that is durable, easy to work with, and provides low wind resistance. It offers one-piece construction that won’t unravel under normal circumstances, and will hold its shape for many years. The strands and bonds of the diamond-shaped trusses add strength and rigidity.
It is commonly used in a wide range of applications, such as:
- Machine guards
- Catwalks, platforms and stair treads
- Stair and balcony railing mesh
- Window security
- And much more
Industrial Metal Supply carries expanded sheet metal in standard (raised) or flattened diamond patterns, in a variety of gauges, opening sizes, and sheet sizes. Materials we stock include:
Our Expanded Aluminum sheet comes in two sizes which are both flattened. We stock several more sizes in steel expanded sheet metal, all of them flattened except for our 3/4″ pattern which is raised.