Sheet metal is, as its name implies, metal that has been formed into thin, flat sheets. These sheets are then bent and cut into a wide variety of shapes, which, in turn, are transformed into countless objects for domestic and industrial use. Common applications include medical tables, car and truck bodies, aeroplane wings and fuselages, and roofs for buildings.
Sheet metal varies significantly in thickness. Very thin sheets are generally referred to as leaf, or foil, while thicker pieces (usually thicker than 6mm) are called plate. The thickness of sheet metal is commonly specified by a non-linear measure known as a gauge. The thinner the metal, the larger the gauge number. The most often used steel sheet metal ranges from 30 gauge to seven gauge.
Many different metals can be made into sheet metal, including brass, copper, tin, aluminium, nickel, titanium and of course, stainless steel.
Stainless steel plate is the preferred choice for any applications where good corrosion resistance and low maintenance is required, such as fuel and chemical tankers, chemical and petrochemical plants, the pharmaceutical industry and modern architecture and construction. Its anti-bacterial qualities also make it popular in the medical, food processing and catering industries.
Depending on the application, stainless steel sheet and plate is supplied in either a dull or satin polished finish, with a protective coating on one side. It can also be supplied with a circular finish, which is more decorative in appearance.
Grade 304 and 304L stainless steel are highly versatile, making them the preferred commercial grades for sheet and plate. They offer excellent weldability and formability, as well as good resistance to corrosion. They are part of the austenitic family of stainless steel, and are generally less expensive than other grades. In more coastal or marine environments however, Grade 316 is often preferred as it has excellent corrosion resistance.
Steelmor is a leading stockist and manufacturer of stainless steel products, such as sheet and plate, in South Africa. Please visit us at www.steelmor.co.za to view our full range, or contact us for more information.