While there are many characteristics to consider when selecting the right Wire Mesh product for your project, one of the primary differences between woven and welded Wire Mesh is how they are constructed, or how the wires intersect. Woven Mesh is formed when cross wires and line wires are crossed over and under each other. In order for Wire Mesh to be considered welded, wire intersections must be connected through a melting and cooling process. Nevertheless, the differences and capabilities of these two categories of Mesh go far beyond their methods of construction.
Which Type Is Stronger?
Because the bonds of welded Mesh are fused together, they are able to provide a certain level of rigidity and strength, maintaining their fixed opening shape even under force. It should be noted, however, that if outside pressures put too much stress on welded Wire Mesh intersections, a “breaking point” exists where welded bonds can eventually snap.
Because woven Mesh has no fixed bonds, the product is pliable and does not possess the rigid qualities of its welded counterpart. However, because they are formed without welded bonds, the flexibility of woven items allows the product to yield under outside pressure before springing back. These characteristics provide a unique durability that is useful in applications where stress applied to Wire Mesh is an important consideration.
Why Does Opening Size Matter When It Comes to Construction Type?
It is likely that when deciding which construction type is right for you, the desired opening size (clear space between wires, measured from the inside edge of one wire to the inside edge of the next adjacent wire) will be an important factor. Generally, woven items are available with smaller opening sizes, while welded is better suited for applications that call for larger openings.
For welded, the smaller the desired opening size, the smaller the wire diameter has to be in order to leave enough clear opening for the welding process to occur between the wires. However, if the wire diameter (often referred to as wire gauge) becomes too small, the heat generated from the welding process can melt the wires. For these reasons, the smallest opening size offered for welded is typically 4 x 4 Mesh (four openings per lineal inch measured from the center of the wires), although there are a few smaller Mesh sizes available in Stainless Steel and PVC coated finishes.
It is important to note that woven is often unavailable in some of the larger opening sizes common in welded items. Without welded bonds to hold them in place, woven wires in larger opening sizes can shift and lose their original shape. If you need a larger opening size but still require a woven construction, lockcrimp and intercrimp weave types provide increased rigidity.
Will Wire Mesh Unravel?
Because woven items are not bonded at each intersection, it is possible for wires to come apart at pattern ends or where the material is cut. Larger opening sizes and smaller wires will reduce rigidity of woven items and, therefore, make them more likely to unravel slightly at the ends once sheared.
Some woven Meshes come with a selvage, or finished, edge. One common way of producing a selvage edge is by curling the shute (short) wire and weaving it back through the warp (long) wires. These looped ends help prevent the item from unraveling. Other methods of keeping woven Mesh intact are by framing the material or, for larger openings, by leaving a stub to hold the ends in place (though this practice can be difficult for skew, or diagonal, cuts). Lockcrimp and intercrimp weaves are more likely to stay together once sheared, however, they are also not permanently fastened and can come apart. Since welded Wire Mesh is secured at each wire intersection, it is less likely to come apart once cut.
What Materials and Finishes Are Available?
Wire Mesh is formed in a number of material types and finishes, though there are a few limitations depending on the construction type chosen. For example, welded Mesh is unavailable in Aluminum because the metal tends to be too soft and, therefore, the wires are susceptible to melting. Additionally, although we offer woven materials that have been pre-galvanized, woven materials are generally not hot-dipped galvanized after the wires have been woven together. This is largely because smaller opening sizes (less than 1/4") can become clogged with the zinc oxide solution involved in the coating process. Furthermore, hot-dipped galvanizing and powder coating are not ideal for woven items because this process merely coats the wires where they rest together during the dipping process. It is possible that there could be a lack of coverage where wires overlap or intersect, and when woven wires later shift, the raw or uncoated steel can become exposed to corrosive elements in the environment.
What Is "Coil Memory"?
Wire Mesh is available in coil or sheet form. Typically, woven Wire Meshes are stored as coils or in rolls. When coiled materials are unrolled to be installed or sheared, it is possible that cut pieces will maintain their coiled shape rather than lying flat. This occurrence is called “coil memory.” To reverse the coil shape, pieces can be flipped over and laid flat with a heavy object placed on the surface to reduce coil memory. If this type of flattening process is chosen, it is important to use an object that will not crush the wires or weave pattern.
With welded Wire Mesh, the fused wire intersections make the material very stiff and, therefore, more difficult to roll tight enough to be stored as a coil. Instead, welded Wire Mesh is typically stored in the form of a sheet. Due to these reasons and because woven is more frequently constructed from thinner wires than welded, the “coil memory” phenomenon is more common with woven items.
Despite having similar appearances and purposes, there are many different factors in determining whether a woven or welded construction type is right for your application. We trust this volume of Hole Stories has illuminated some of the characteristics of these two versatile Mesh types. If you have questions or would like help determining which Wire Mesh item is right for your project, one of our knowledgeable associates is eager to assist and, as always, Inspired to Serve®!
McNICHOLS® Hole Stories are shared to inform, instruct, and inspire readers. Stories composed are for educational purposes only, and proper technical resources should be considered prior to the selection or installation of Hole Products. McNICHOLS shall have no liability for the informative nature of content shared.