Wire mesh, a versatile material utilised in various industries, is primarily manufactured from steel. This material undergoes a unique process known as galvanisation, which isn’t the transformation of a metal or alloy, but rather the application of a protective zinc coating to steel to deter rusting. This article intricately explores the differences between pre-galvanised and galvanised wire mesh and highlights their various applications, benefits, and considerations.

1. An Overview of Wire Mesh

Wire mesh is a product of intersecting metal wires welded or woven at regular intervals to form a barrier or screen. Its applications span across industries, including construction, agriculture, landscaping, archaeology, and more. The process of galvanisation can take place either before or after the wire mesh is produced, leading to the creation of two distinct types of wire mesh: pre-galvanised and galvanised (also known as galvanised after).

1.1. Pre-galvanised Wire Mesh

When individual wires are galvanised prior to being woven or welded together, the resulting product is termed ‘pre-galvanised’ wire mesh. This type of mesh is usually the economic choice, particularly when custom manufacturing is required.

1.2. Galvanised Wire Mesh

On the other hand, ‘galvanised’ or ‘galvanised after’ wire mesh refers to the process where the mesh is manufactured initially, often from carbon or plain steel, and is then submerged in a galvanising tank. This process results in a superior level of corrosion resistance, especially noticeable at the intersection of the galvanised after welded wire mesh.

2. The Galvanisation Process Explained

Galvanisation involves immersing the wire mesh in a bath of molten zinc. The zinc bonds to the wire’s surface, completely sealing it and providing robust protection against rust and corrosion. This process can be performed either before the wire mesh is fabricated (pre-galvanised) or after (galvanised), each with its own advantages and considerations.

2.1. Pre-galvanising

Pre-galvanising involves dipping individual wires into the zinc bath before they are woven or welded together. This method is usually the most cost-effective option, depending on the mesh or opening size, especially when custom manufacturing is required.

2.2. Galvanising (Galvanised After)

Galvanising after mesh fabrication, as the name implies, involves immersing the woven or welded mesh into the galvanising bath. This process generally costs more, but it offers greater corrosion resistance, which is particularly beneficial at the joints of the galvanised after welded wire mesh.

3. Comparing Pre-galvanised and Galvanised Wire Mesh

The primary difference between pre-galvanised and galvanised wire mesh lies in their method of production, which directly impacts their cost, durability, and resistance to corrosion.

3.1. Cost

Pre-galvanised mesh is generally the more affordable option, particularly when custom manufacturing is needed. In contrast, galvanised mesh, due to the post-manufacturing galvanisation process, tends to cost more.

3.2. Durability and Corrosion Resistance

While both types of mesh offer corrosion resistance, galvanised wire mesh provides superior protection. The post-manufacturing galvanisation process ensures that every joint and intersection is coated with zinc, increasing the mesh’s longevity, especially in corrosive environments.

4. Applications of Pre-galvanised and Galvanised Wire Mesh

Both pre-galvanised and galvanised wire mesh find extensive use across various sectors due to their resistance to corrosion and relatively affordable price.

4.1. Fencing, Caging and Enclosures

Wire mesh serves as a sturdy and cost-effective solution for creating fences, cages, and enclosures. It’s widely used in residential, commercial, and agricultural setups for securing areas and housing animals.

4.2. Window and Safety Guards

Given its robust and durable nature, wire mesh is frequently employed as a protective shield for windows and other vulnerable points in buildings, providing safety against intrusion.

4.3. Building and Construction Projects

In the construction industry, wire mesh is typically used for reinforcement in concrete structures, ensuring stability and strength.

4.4. Landscaping and Gabions

Wire mesh is a popular choice for landscaping projects, including the construction of gabions—decorative structures filled with rocks or concrete.

4.5. Agricultural Use

In the agricultural sector, wire mesh serves multiple purposes, such as fencing for livestock, protection for crops against pests, and support for climbing plants.

4.6. Archaeological Use

Archaeologists often use wire mesh screens to sift through excavated soil during archaeological digs, helping them recover small artefacts and fragments.

4.7. Industrial Use

In industrial settings, wire mesh is used in particle separation, filtration systems, machine guards, and other applications that require a durable and corrosion-resistant material.

5. Benefits of Pre-galvanised and Galvanised Wire Mesh

Wire mesh, whether pre-galvanised or galvanised, offers numerous benefits to users across various industries.

5.1. Variety of Sizes

One of the key advantages of wire mesh is the wide range of available diameter wires and opening sizes, providing flexibility for different applications.

5.2. Resistance to Corrosion

The galvanisation process enhances the corrosion resistance of wire mesh, making it suitable for use in environments exposed to water and other corrosive substances.

5.3. Affordability

Wire mesh, especially the pre-galvanised type, is typically more affordable than other similar materials, making it a popular choice among industrial users.

5.4. Customisability

Wire mesh can be customised to suit the specific requirements of a project, including desired opening sizes and wire diameters.

6. Considerations When Choosing Wire Mesh

While wire mesh offers numerous benefits, several factors should be considered when selecting the right type for a specific application.

6.1. Opening Size

The size of the mesh opening can impact its functionality. For applications requiring larger opening sizes, galvanised wire mesh is typically recommended. However, for finer meshes, the galvanisation process can clog the openings, rendering the mesh unsuitable for certain applications.

6.2. Corrosion Resistance

The level of corrosion resistance required for a project can influence the choice between pre-galvanised and galvanised wire mesh. If the mesh is to be used in corrosive environments, galvanised mesh, with its superior corrosion resistance, is the better option.

6.3. Cost

The cost of wire mesh can vary based on the type of galvanisation process used. While pre-galvanised mesh is usually more affordable, galvanised mesh, despite being more expensive, offers greater durability and corrosion resistance.

7. Conclusion

In conclusion, the choice between pre-galvanised and galvanised wire mesh depends largely on the specific requirements of a project. Both types of mesh offer their own unique benefits and considerations, and understanding these nuances can help you make an informed decision. Whether you need a cost-effective solution or a durable, corrosion-resistant material, wire mesh can provide a reliable and versatile option for your needs.