Stainless steel expanded metal: what you need to know

stainless-steel-expanded-metal

Expanded metal is an architectural and design element that, among its many positive aspects, enhances the potential of many metals. Stainless steel is one of these, thanks to its characteristics. Let’s find out why.

What is expanded stainless steel?

Stainless steel expanded metal is a type of mesh made from stainless steel sheets which are specially cut and stretched to form a mesh pattern. The material is especially good at resisting rust and corrosion. So this solution is ideal for many different uses, including both practical and decorative purposes. 

The production process starts with a solid sheet of stainless steel that is cut and stretched at the same time to create the openings that form a mesh. The method does not produce any waste: the material, in fact, is simply stretched and not removed. 

The final result is a mesh made of stainless steel with various shapes, such as diamonds, squares, or hexagons which has a particular strength and resistance thanks to the two main qualities of stainless steel. 

In this way, stainless steel expanded metal mesh finds place in many industries

  • Industrial: walkways, protective guards, and screens for machines.
  • Architectural: building exteriors, to shade areas from the sun, and in interior design.
  • Security: fences, gates, and protective grilles.
  • Automotive: car grilles, heat shields, and filters.

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What are the 4 types of stainless steel?

Stainless steel is a kind of steel that is particularly well known for its corrosion resistance. It is an alloy. It is made by combining several different metals together:

  • iron;
  • chromium (at least 10.5%);
  • other elements like nickel and manganese. 

The chromium in stainless steel is key because it forms a passive layer of chromium oxide on the surface which protects it against rust and other forms of corrosion. This makes stainless steel an ideal material for many applications where both the strength of steel and resistance to corrosion are required.

Stainless steel is categorized into four different groups based on structural characteristics and chemical composition. 

  • Austenitic: non-magnetic, highly ductile, and good corrosion resistance. It is used in kitchenware, industrial piping, and in buildings.
  • Ferritic: magnetic, less ductile than austenitic, and good corrosion resistance. It is commonly used in appliances and automotive applications.
  • Martensitic: strong, magnetic, and less corrosion resistant. It is often used for knives and other cutting tools.
  • Duplex: a combination of austenitic and ferritic, it offers both strength and corrosion resistance. It is used in environments such as offshore oil rigs.

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How is stainless steel used in architecture?

stainless-steel-expanded-metal

Stainless steel is widely used in architecture due to its durability, aesthetic appeal, and corrosion resistance. It is not surprising that it is a suitable material for expanded metal. Stainless steel expanded metal finds its place in various applications.

  • Facade cladding. Stainless steel is often used for facade cladding due to its sleek, modern appearance and its ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions without deteriorating. It can be finished in various ways, such as brushed, polished, or textured, to create unique visual effects on buildings.
  • Fencing. Its robustness makes it ideal for secure, durable fencing that is resistant to weather and wear. It is also visually appealing, which makes it a popular choice for both safety and design.
  • Sun screens. Expanded metal can be used to create sun screens and shades that protect against direct sunlight and allow natural light to penetrate, helping to manage heat and light in building interiors.
  • Decorative elements. Architects often use expanded metal for decorative elements, utilizing its range of patterns and finishes to enhance aesthetic and architectural interest.

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