Galvanized Wire Mesh Industry Information
Galvanized Wire Mesh
Galvanized wire mesh comes in a broad range of sizes and wire thicknesses. It's a versatile product that meets many needs. Especially when it comes to construction and outdoor projects, galvanized wire screens will last much longer and ensure long-term functionality and stability. Quality galvanized steels can last for a century even in the most humid weather conditions.
Galvanized Wire Mesh - Universal Wire Cloth Company
Galvanized Wire Mesh - Universal Wire Cloth Company
Galvanization is a process used to protect metal from corrosion and rust by adding a protective coating. The outer coating is usually made with zinc. The zinc reacts with acids, salts, or other caustic substances so that corrosive agents never reach the underlying metal.
It's usually applied to steel or iron products that are especially vulnerable to oxidation (rust is iron oxide). Galvanizing may also be used on other metals such as tin, copper, or alloys made from a combination of such metals.
The usual method for galvanizing metals is hot-dipping, or passing the screen through a bath of molten zinc-based alloys. For lighter protective coatings, electro-galvanizing may be used, where opposing electrical charges bind the zinc alloy to the steel mesh. This helps to get the protective coat into smaller spaces where wires overlap.
Additional finishes are sometimes added, such as acrylic paints, or a thin layer of less-reactive chromium or aluminum. The zinc and any additional coatings not only resist corrosion, but increase the overall strength of the metal screens.
Galvanization is now used on a wide variety of steel products, from auto body parts to roofing nails. Longer life and less maintenance provide greater value to customers.
Manufacturing Wire Screen
Perforated or expanded metal sheets are different products than mesh. The manufacture of mesh products starts with mesh wire in alternating, parallel rows and columns to create a uniform spacing. Depending on the thickness of the wire and its intended purpose, the wires can be either welded or woven into a larger sheet.
In welding, the horizontal and vertical wires are fed into a machine that spaces them properly and welds the intersections together. Electrical welds are generally used on smaller gauge wires as it's fast and economical. As the machine is fed, it produces a continuous sheet of mesh that may be rolled or cut to length for shipping and delivery to customers or distributors.
Woven wire mesh is produced by a machine not very different from a weaver's loom. Woven wire mesh is more pliable than welded wire mesh. Each wire is fed over and under intersecting wires. If the weave is alternated over and under a single wire, it's known as a "plain weave". If it's fed over and under two wires at a time, it's a "twill weave" that provides even more flexibility.
Often mesh openings won't be square, but will follow other patterns to produce openings that are diamond or hexagon-shaped.
Wires are made by drawing a metallic strand or rod through increasingly smaller dies or plates until the desired thickness is achieved. Wire gauges are a standardized measure that reflects the diameter of the wire. In the US, these standards are known as American Wire Gauge (AWG).
Common wire diameters range anywhere from 40 gauge at .08 millimeter thickness to 1 gauge at 7.4 millimeters. The higher the gauge, the thinner the wire. This is because it takes fewer "draws" to create 1 gauge wire than it does to create 40 gauge.
Ordinary chicken wire is usually about 20 gauge, while moderate fencing is around 14 gauge and heavy wire mesh about 9 gauge. However, many mesh products will use more than one gauge.
Given mesh specifications often depend on the manufacturer and the type of product. Some mesh will be referred to by the size of the opening, such as 1 1/2 inch mesh. However, even common chicken wire may come in a number of opening sizes, from as small as one inch to 2 1/2 inches, even from the same manufacturer. This is to satisfy different customers with different expectations. Similarly, fencing may have 2x4 inch openings, 2x2 inch, or 4x4 inch openings.
Because the size of the opening between wires will vary depending on the product and diameter of the wire, mesh size is more accurately given as the number of spaces that exist within a square inch. An ordinary window screen is made to keep out insects as small as a gnat, and will have something like 18x16 mesh. This means 18 openings in a 1 inch horizontal measurement and 16 in a 1 inch vertical measurement.
Sizes and openings may be standardized by many different manufacturers throughout the industry. For instance, a product that calls for No. 2 mesh will have a 0.42 inch opening with wire that's 0.08 inches in diameter. This can also be described as 70.5 percent of empty space per area.
The spacing of the wires depends on the intended use for the product. Fencing, for instance, will have wider spacing and heavier gauges than mesh used to keep leaves out of gutter downspouts.
Uses for Galvanized Wire Mesh
Wire mesh is widely used in construction to provide a grid for other materials to adhere to. This helps to regulate and support structural integrity. Concrete forms and pouring are common uses for galvanized mesh, but different meshes may also be used for roofing, exterior stucco, and supporting plaster or insulation in interior walls. Wire screens can also be sandwiched and sealed between sheets of glass to provide security, or reinforce protective insulation on electrical cable. With so many products and options, mesh is used in everything from basic drywall repairs to suspension bridges.
Property drainage, such as gutters, storm drains, and irrigation channels are frequently blocked by an accumulation of leaves, grass trimmings, or other debris. If this litter penetrates deeper into drains, it's difficult to remove or even see the clog. Blocked drains or gutters mean flooding that can cause structural damage or lead to the growth of dangerous molds and fungi. It's best to protect drains with mesh so litter can be easily removed and drain channels kept clear.
Fencing and Security
Stainless steel wire mesh is very strong, and can be used to protect any part of business property or surround the perimeter of worksites. Mesh made for fencing may be available in rolls or panels of 8 feet or more in width or height. This will keep out stray dogs, many kinds of wildlife, and even human intruders. For agricultural concerns, rolls of mesh fencing can be easily put up over wide areas to confine livestock. Enclosing windows, open structures, or exposed areas with metal screens will also discourage malicious vandals from throwing trash or hurling rocks or other projectiles.
Provided the mesh is tight and strong enough to discourage the animals involved, mesh can serve to both protect and contain small animals such as chickens, rabbits, or even dogs. It can also keep intrusive animals out of gardens or away from shrubs or decorative plants, including deer or stray livestock.
Mesh can be used to cover openings in structures to keep out pests such as rats, raccoons, skunks, bats, or birds. Mesh screens can also protect bird feeders from greedy squirrels, or chimneys and vents from birds looking for shelter. If the mesh is fine enough, it can also keep out annoying flies and mosquitos, or prevent hazards like bees and wasps from nesting. Mesh can protect single openings or entire structures. Window screens let occupants enjoy the fresh air without having to worry about these invasive pests.
This is a mesh product made especially for pest control. It can be cut easily with tin snips into any desired size or shape. This makes it a simple but effective material for easily sealing off openings of any size. It can be tacked up to enclose spaces under eaves, vent openings, or stuffed into gaps around pipes, drains, faucets, or gaps that allow pests access to attics or crawl spaces.
Hardware cloth can also be laid flat and buried a few inches deep around flower beds or seedlings to discourage gophers, moles, or snakes. The mesh wire forms a layer of protection that subterranean pests can't penetrate.
Fine mesh can also act as a filter. Some wire filters can remove very fine particles. Filter mesh is also measured in terms of microns. For instance, a type 10 mesh has openings of 2000 microns, or equivalent to 0.0787 inches. Mesh of type 100 has openings of 149 microns, or 0.0059 inches. By comparison, a sheet of thin paper is about 100 microns. Much finer meshes are commercially available. Filter mesh can be used in a variety of operations, such as removing particles from smoke, eliminating pollen from the air, and reducing solid contaminants in waste water.
Other common business uses of wire gauge include storage shelves and racking, cages for securing tools and equipment, or sifters for breaking up dry materials. One frequent use is erecting safety barriers to limit access to hazardous machinery with moving parts. A table of strong, level, welded wire mesh can also be used as a platform for welding, washing, painting, or cutting manufacturing parts. Mesh plays a role in many industries, from manufacture to food services. In commercial kitchens, stainless steel wire mesh is easier to keep clean and thus more sanitary.
Mesh is generally a cheaper option than panels or board fencing. It comes in rolls that can be cut to length or size, and the remainder rolled up again for easy storage. Most meshes can be easily cut with wire cutters or power cutting tools like grinding wheels to fit any required dimensions. They can be secured in place with a wide choice of fasteners, including nails, screws, clips, and smaller pieces of wire.
Galvanized steel mesh is stronger and much more durable than other types of mesh. It provides greater security and peace of mind. Because it lasts longer, it will save money over time compared to corrodible materials that must be periodically replaced. Since it's pliable, it also provides greater resistance to impacts and can be bent back into shape.
There are so many varieties of mesh that it can also support the aesthetics of other property features. It can be purchased in large rolls to provide consistency in multiple uses throughout a property or large-scale project. It can be painted, or bent and shaped to fit different spaces, angles, and contours. One benefit of having a material that's easy to shape and manipulate is that it can used over a metal or wooden frame to create gates or other entry points without having to purchase these separately.
Mesh is not only effective and easy to use, but it's humane. With the right size of openings, the mesh will keep pests or people from restricted spaces without trapping and injuring them. Because galvanized mesh is much more stable, fewer heavy metals are leached into the environment through rust and corrosion.
Galvanized wire mesh is so affordable, durable, and versatile that it will add value to any project regardless of industry or scope.
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