This is what softens the metal to a point that allows it to stretch. Depending on the machine combination, it can also simultaneously be die cut into the diamond, circle or square pattern of expanded metal mesh. Hot-rolling produces a rougher finish than cold-rolling.
Expanding steel may also be done by cold-rolling, which takes place below steel’s recrystallization temperature and also involves the die cutting process at the same time as the stretching process, which can make the steel up to ten times larger then its original size. Cold-rolling steel produces a smoother finish and the cold-rolled steel is generally free of rust and other defects.
Both of these processes are often run by automated machines, which allow the manufacturer of the expanded metal to choose the precise length, depth and width of the expanded steel being produced as well as mass producing these measurements exactly each time.
Steel is used to produce expanded metal products because it and its alloys have many positive physical properties. The basic form of steel is itself an alloy of iron, which is known for its intense strength and durability. When carbon is added to the iron, these hard characteristics are increased, and this is the basic form of steel that is well-known on the market today. The most popular steel alloy, stainless steel, is also commonly used as an expanded metal.
The addition of chromium to the chemical structure of steel produces stainless steel, which has corrosion resistant characteristics that are very appealing to buyers. Other improvements for expanded steel may be achieved through secondary processes such as coating; types of coatings include galvanization, porcelain enamel, paint, lacquer, plastic coating and anodizing.
In addition to these coatings, expanded steel may be zinc-plated to protect the integrity of the underlying steel. Expanded steel is often utilized in a number of applications including gratings, stairs, panels, vents, screens, security partitions, fencing and many industrial and commercial applications.