Sheet Metal: Types And Uses

The definition for sheet metal is pretty simple: any kind of metal, including alloys made of several metals and other compounds. That can be made into thin sheets is eligible to be named as a type of sheet metal. Due to their inherent malleability, many metals can be easily hammered and shaped into thin sheets, which in turn is the reason why there are many different classifications for sheet metal. Both thickness and hardness of sheet metal are commonly used to classify them into different categories. Some other properties used to classify them into even more categories are their hardness, tensile strength and even the process used to manufacture them. 

Some of the more common types of sheet metal are those made with steel. The three most common ones are:

• Cold-Rolled Steel (CRS) – This is cheap to manufacture and used for parts that may be either painted or electroplated. Better for thin sheets than hot-rolled steel. Cold-rolled steel sheets are generally very smooth to the touch and have a defined shape. While better for precision, cold-rolled steel is also more expensive than hot-rolled steel.

• Hot-Rolled Steel (HRS) – This is manufactured by pressing molten steel into sheets while at the foundry. It is generally considered much more harder to work with than cold-rolled steel, so it is used mainly for manufacturing processes where precision and high quality are not the main priority. This is because hot rolled steel generally has a rough and uneven surface.

• Stainless Steel – Stainless steel is a special type of alloy, composed mainly of steel and some amount of chromium. The main reason why stainless steel is much valued is its inherent resistance to corrosion and rusting, thus making it suitable for a lot of applications. Nevertheless, stainless steel is much more difficult to handle and work with for steel fabricators Gold Coast than regular steel. It is also very costly and not easy to weld.

All kinds of sheet metal have a wide range of applications in many manufacturing industries. The demand for sheet metal is therefore very constant, due to the large number of industries relying on it. Some of those industries are:

• Shipbuilding and boat building – When it comes to ships and boats, a large amount of metal panels are used in building a ship or a boat’s various components. Due to the need for corrosion resistant materials, provide various types of stainless steel are used, such as in stainless steel boat fittings or in the construction of a ship’s deck.

• Automobile Industry – Nowadays, vehicle bodies are constructed mostly from sheet metal. Doors, fenders, hoods: everything is made from it. Sheet metal is ideal for car bodies due to both its strength and the way it can be easily reshaped in almost any desired manner.

• Aircraft Industry – In the aircraft industry, strong, lightweight materials are required to produce most components of a plane’s body. Sheet metal is widely used to cover the wings and fuselage of all planes.