The Choice is Yours

August 01, 2012

Which product to choose: Perforated metal, expanded metal or wire mesh?


This decision is an ongoing predicament that many product designers, architects and manufacturers are faced with today.

Far too often we hear that price solely determines many buyers’ selection process between the three. And price should be a factor when choosing one, but shouldn’t the selection of perforated, expanded or wire also be about application, the intended function and the best product for the job?  When comparing capabilities of the three across a variety of areas, perforated metal exceeds expanded and wire in meeting many of those requirements. However, while perforated metal does offer the vast array of functionality, expanded metal or expanded mesh uses less scrap and may be more economical in some cases.  A significant advantage of perforated metal is that it is typically stocked in a larger variety of hole patterns, materials and gauges. Some important background for architects and engineers in understanding the properties of perforated metal can be found here

Also, this chart below comes from the handbook of Industrial Perforators Association (IPA) and can be found at It compares the functional capabilities of these three product types.

This information should help to make the most logical decision of material for your next product or project. 

  Perforated Metal Expanded Metal Wire Cloth
Accoustical Capabilities:      
    Transparent to sound Yes Yes Yes
    Abosorbs specific sound frequencies Yes No No
Radiation Containment      
    EMI/RFI Yes No No
    Microwaves Yes No No
    Allows Airflow Yes Yes Yes
    Control of flow rate Yes Yes Yes
    Control of particle size contained Yes Yes Yes
    Control of design Yes Yes Yes
    Control of lighting Yes No No
    Control of ventilation Yes No No
    Control of sound Yes No No
Fabricating/Structural Considerations:      
    "Open area" is part of a basic Yes No No
structural component and derives its       
strength and physical properties      
from it      
    "Open area" is separate and  Yes No No
attached to the structural component       
and has its own strength and physcial