The origins of woven wire mesh in architecture and design are based on industrial applications involving filtration and separation. More recently architecture has adopted these materials for their outstanding visual impact, strength and versatility. Although there are already standard fixing methods for such products companies have shown that you can individually create a fixing to suit the need of the application. The increased use of these materials in architecture and design has led to a number of innovations and exciting new products.
Welded wire mesh has wide applications in the construction, agricultural and engineering industries, due to its high rigidity and strength. It is increasingly used in security applications and as machine guards.
As a raw material wire mesh offers unique properties to the designer, combining exceptionally large panel sizes with flexibility and efficient fastening techniques. The variety of weaves allows the issues of transparency, acoustics and airflow to be resolved through the correct choice of mesh.
Sometimes known as wire gauze or wirecloth - woven mesh is an extremely versatile material suitable for many sieving, straining and filtering applications. It is woven to fine limits and can be used to separate out particles of a given size.
There are countless uses for woven mesh and wire mesh products such as within architectural projects, small one off buildings or multi-storey office blocks.
Creative lighting accentuates the visual impact of the material from simple lighting to full image projection as recently showcased on the Bernabeu Stadium in Spain.
Expanded metal is that the mesh is formed from a single piece or coil of metal material which is then cut and stretched while still leaving it attached to the sheet at the knuckle. The manufacturing process enables the metal to retain its shape when it is cut.
The uncut knuckles support weight and can withstand stress better than some welded wire mesh or woven wire materials. Expanded metal can be supplied in a variety of finishes, thickness, raised or flattened. Flatening creates a smoother surface but is not as strong as the more robust raised metal mesh often used for walkways.
The pre-crimped expanded metal and welded meshes have many of the aesthetics and acoustic properties of the cable meshes with the additional benefits of natural rigidity. Designed to be more effective over smaller areas, these meshes are ideal for balustrading and screening applications.
Very high quality mesh can be made from high-grade 316 steel, which is suitable almost all environments and offers the greatest resistance against corrosion and discolouration.
The manufacturing process
The warp rods or wires are stretched and spaced vertically, a shuttle then fires back and forth adding the weft material. Depending on weave components, sheets of up to 8 metres in width and or practically unlimited length are possible available using cable meshes.
The construction of this material allows flexibility in one direction whilst maintaining a degree of rigidity in the other. Tensioning the mesh correctly through fixing methodology will add additional rigidity and stability to the entire assembly if required.
The pre-crimp meshes are woven in a similar way also using looms. These meshes offer a rigid panel that requires no tensioning making it ideal for specific applications such as balustrading.