Expanded Metal Uses For Automotive Applications
Thursday, 13 March 2014 15:16
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expanded metal used in the automobile industryExpanded Metal Uses For Automotive Parts

The expanded metal process works with most metals and other ductile materials to produce a sheet of material that looks like mesh, but has much more strength than either weaving wire or stamping could produce. The strength of the finished piece, coupled with its good looks and filtering and ventilating properties, make it an excellent material for automotive applications.

Popular Automotive Applications For Expanded Metal

As a result, expanded metal, which can be made in various thicknesses, is often found in a wide range of automotive parts, including:


  •          Air bags
  •          Air conditioning grills
  •          Air filters
  •          Automotive speaker grills and covers
  •          Bearings
  •          Decorative applications
  •          Oil filters
  •          Light covers
  •          Seat belt tensioners

Why Expanded Metal Works For Automotive Applications

Expanded metal is popular for use in automotive filters as it is strong yet lightweight, a consideration as vehicle manufacturers attempt to reduce weight to achieve better fuel economy and aerodynamic properties. When used in filtration applications where fluids need to flow, expanded metal provides a consistent pattern of holes that allow clean liquid to pass through, while trapping sediment.

When used as light covers, the openings in the metal allow light to shine through while protecting the bulb from damage. By altering the size of the openings in the expanded metal cover, the designer can control the amount of light that passes through.

For air-conditioning and speaker grills, expanded metal allows varying degrees of air and sound to pass through. Because the metal can be coated to match any automotive interior, grills and housings unobtrusively cover both the speakers and air-conditioning mechanisms and add to interior design while doing their job.

Expanded Metal Offers Safety In Automotive Applications

Expanded metal products used in passenger areas also offer a degree of safety. Since expanded metal can be flattened from its original raise state as it emerges from the machine, products made from this material are smooth to the touch whether someone brushes against them or makes contact during the violent force of an accident.

The safety factor is important when airbags deploy. The explosive material that makes airbags effective leaves a residue that can inhibit passage of the gas and even damage the airbag. An expanded metal filter effectively traps the residue, yet can withstand the pressure during a crash. For air bags and many other automotive filtering applications, the finished product is made of expanded metal alone or in combination with knitted wire mesh, wound wire, and/or ceramic paper.

Creating Expanded Metal Properties

The process that creates expanded metal makes all its capabilities possible. Metal moves through a series of machine operations that flatten it, slits it, and stretch it to form a pattern. Though the normal pattern produced by the stretching is a diamond shape, it can be altered by the amount of stretching and flattening to create a hexagon or even a custom shape.

The resulting sheet of metal is stronger than what results from removing metal to stamp out the perforations or using other processes that create a mesh appearance. Since the product will not unravel, this means it won't disintegrate under pressure or corrode at a weak point. In addition to the functionality that results from expanding the metal, the finished product has a pleasing appearance when used in applications that are visible.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 13 March 2014 21:26