Metal, in its numerous forms, has been a building block of human society for centuries, with its uses extending from the construction of buildings to the creation of everyday objects. One such form, expanded metal, offers a unique blend of flexibility, durability, and multiplicity of uses, making it a preferred choice for numerous industries.

The What and How of Expanded Metal

Expanded metal, a versatile and flexible building material, is produced by simultaneously slitting and stretching a malleable sheet metal product, which could be anything from carbon steel and aluminium to copper, stainless steel or zinc. This simultaneous process forms openings in the sheet, enhancing the rigidity of the original base metal.

This relatively unknown product is omnipresent in our daily lives. From our homes to our cars, lawnmowers, and offices, expanded metal has a wide array of applications due to its unique properties.

A Unique Building Material

One of the essential attributes of expanded metal is its ability to diffuse light, making it a popular choice for places where light modulation is required. This feature was utilised in a library project in Champagne, Ill., where the expanded metal was used to mediate the afternoon sun’s impact in the reading areas. The product’s transparency allowed the daylight to penetrate, while providing shade, creating a harmonious balance.

The patterns in expanded metal can be modified to suit a variety of requirements. From the conventional diamond shape to hexagonal or round, these patterns can be adapted to the specific needs of any project.

Security, The Expanded Metal Way

Expanded metal is also deployed in places requiring high-level security, such as government offices, banks, and pharmacies. Invisible to the eye, a layer of expanded metal lies beneath the wallboard of these buildings, providing unobtrusive yet robust security.

This material is also visible in the form of security fencing around facilities like water treatment plants, nuclear power plants or government buildings. Whether the need is for aesthetics or security, expanded metal can be adapted to suit the project’s specific needs.

Expanded Metal in Design

Expanded metal is not just about functionality; it can also add a unique aesthetic touch to architectural designs. From ceiling tiles in schools and offices to interior wall coverings in restaurants, expanded metal is increasingly being used for its inherent look.

The Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis, for instance, utilised expanded metal for the outer shell of the building, reflecting the ever-changing environment. This showcases the versatility of this material, proving that it is as much about form as it is about function.

Types of Expanded Metal

Expanded metal comes in various forms, each serving a specific purpose. The standard expanded sheet is produced by slitting and stretching the metal, creating a finished product with alternating ridges.

On the other hand, the flattened expanded sheet is produced when a standard expanded sheet is cold-rolled, resulting in a flat, smooth surface.

Then there is expanded metal grating, produced from carbon steel or plate. This single piece of sturdy steel has no welds or joints and is commonly used for catwalks and platforms.

Applications Across Industries

The Construction Industry

Expanded metal has proven to be a robust material for construction purposes. It is commonly used for building fences, walkways, and grids, with its small openings allowing water, air, and light to pass through while providing a sturdy barrier against larger objects.

Modern Architecture

Expanded metal has found widespread use in modern architectural designs. It can be transformed into simple or ornamental decorative forms, create photographic images on surfaces, or allow light to penetrate or filter through a building’s external surface.


Numerous manufacturers across the globe utilise expanded metal in their products. These manufacturers cater to a variety of industries and offer a range of expanded metal products from micro mesh products made from precious metals to heavy-duty industrial products.

The Power of Choice

Choosing between raised or flat expanded metal depends on the specific requirements of a project. Raised expanded metal, with its angled strands, provides better grip and is ideal for walkways. On the other hand, flat expanded metal, with its smooth surface and lighter weight, is more aesthetically pleasing and cost-effective.

The Future of Expanded Metal

The potential applications of expanded metal are vast and still growing. With its versatility, durability, and cost-effectiveness, expanded metal is set to continue playing a pivotal role in various industries.

From constructing buildings and designing modern architectural marvels to securing important facilities and manufacturing a plethora of products, expanded metal has proven its mettle time and again. It’s not just about the metal, but about how it expands our possibilities, redefining the way we build, design, and secure our world.


In conclusion, expanded metal’s versatility and adaptability make it a material of choice across various industries. Its unique properties allow it to be used in a multitude of ways, catering to a wide range of needs. Whether it’s providing security, enhancing architectural designs, or aiding in construction, expanded metal has proven its worth as a truly versatile material.

As our understanding and use of expanded metal evolve, it’s clear that this robust and flexible material will continue to shape our world in ways we can only begin to imagine.

With its versatility, durability, and adaptability, expanded metal truly personifies the saying, “The only limit is your imagination”.