Choices, Choices: Understanding the Different Sheet Metal Types

different sheet metal types

Sheet metal is modernly used in uncountable applications. If you work in an industry that builds almost anything, chances are high you've used sheet metal at one point or another.

Sheet metal can be used to create everything from fences and automobile panels to jewelry and electronics. Each of these applications requires sheets made of different metals. 

But how do you know which metal type is best for your project? Continue reading to learn the differences in sheet metal types.


What Is Sheet Metal?

Sheet metal is defined as any metal between 0.5 and 6 millimeters in thickness. Metal plates and foils are similar. The only difference between them and sheet metal is their thickness. 

Sheet metal falls in the middle in terms of strength and thickness. Sheets are considerably thinner than the metal bars often used in heavy-weight construction, so they have the potential to be manipulated. But, they're much more durable and less prone to tearing than metal foils so that they can be used in projects requiring a supportive metal. 


Cold Rolled Steel

Cold rolled steel is created using a rolling process, with rollers on both top and bottom. The process takes a metal alloy and transforms it into a thinner sheet of metal than the original. The metal is then rinsed with acid before the last roll and treated with heat after.

Cold rolled steel is more durable than it's hot-rolled counterpart. It also features a comparatively refined finish.


Hot Rolled Steel

Hot rolled steel is also created using a rolling process. The difference is that the temperatures during this process are above 1,400 Fahrenheit. Metals between 1/16 and 5/16 inches are created during the hot rolled process.


Mild Steel

Like other metals, mild steel is created using a rolling process. Mild steel is, in fact, a subset of cold-rolled steels. The difference is that the metal alloy used has less carbon than other sheet metal types. 

The lack of carbon in mild steel makes it react well to both welding and formating. For this reason, mild steel is often used in car body panels. 


Aluminum Sheet Metal

Aluminum is a naturally soft, malleable element. To create sheet metal, the aluminum is reinforced with iron, copper, silicon, or magnesium. The ending result is a more robust sheet metal design


Copper Sheet Metal

Copper is a conductive metal. Since copper can transfer heat and electricity, this sheet metal type is often used to create electronics. You can also find copper sheet metal used in jewelry.


Do You Have More Questions About Sheet Metal Types?

There are many types of standard sheet metal available for use in your next project. The most common types are outlined above, but sheets may be less frequently made from other metals. Each metal type is best for a specific use or industry.

Do you have more questions about sheet metal types? 

Check out our other blog posts. You'll find a wealth of information on related topics on machinery, engineering, manufacturing, product design, construction, and business equipment.

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