At CThru Metals, we specialize in high-quality metal solutions to meet the needs of various industries and applications. As part of our capabilities, we offer expanded metal foil, which is a lightweight metal coil that has been precisely slit and stretched to create a mesh material with a uniform pattern of openings.
Expanded metal foil outperforms woven wire and perforated metals in conductivity, strength, stability and waste generation. It is formed using a single, continuous metal sheet to provide high-level strength and support while still allowing air, water and light to pass through.
How Is Expanded Metal Foil Made?
Manufacturers follow these steps to manufacture expanded metal foils:
- Step one. The manufacturer inserts the raw material sheet into the expanded metal machinery.
- Step two. Once the raw material is in the machinery, it is slit and stretched based on the customer’s thickness and shape specifications. Depending on the intended use, this manufacturing process is compatible with a range of polymers and metals, including copper, aluminum, nickel and titanium.
- Step three. To facilitate easy delivery and application, the material is re-wound into a roll after it exits the machine.
Expanded Metal Foil: Our Process
We use precision proprietary expanding technology to cut metal foils into various thicknesses, shapes, and configurations. Your application’s requirements determine the expanded metal’s material, overall thickness and configurations.
CThru offers standard diamond sizes from 0.030”- 0.500”, with the number of openings per square inch varying from 25 to 5,000.
Applications Using Expanded Metal Foil
CThru Metals offers a full suite of manufacturing capabilities to ensure we deliver the highest precision on your expanded metal project’s requirements.
CThru Mesh® is used in lightning strike protection for aircraft, wind turbine blades and other carbon fiber uses, batteries, electrodes, fuel cells, heating elements, filtration and a host of other applications. We work with a variety of materials, including copper, aluminum, titanium, stainless steel, exotic alloys and plastics. We meet exact specifications for thickness, strength, weight, open area and resistivity.
Expanded metal foil can be used for a wide variety of applications across diverse industries. Some of the most common applications for CThru Metal’s expanded metal foil include:
Lightning Strike Protection
For applications such as wind turbines and airplanes, manufacturers often embed expanded metal mesh into various structures and composite surfaces to safely dissipate electrical energy after a lightning strike. By providing a conductive path, expanded metal foil protects composites from delamination, burns, and other damage caused by lightning.
Expanded metal materials are suitable for use as filter media or filter media support structures in various automotive and industrial applications. For example, expanded metal is often used as the main support structure in oil filtration, hydraulic, and airbag inflator systems.
Expanded metal foil can be used to shield against electromagnetic interference (EMI) in various electronics applications. Expanded metal offers an electrically continuous and homogeneous surface for effective and consistent EMI shielding in products ranging from gaskets to computers and more.
Renewable Energy Applications
Due to its shielding capabilities and electrical properties, expanded metal foil is suitable for use in emerging renewable energy technologies. For example, it can be used for current collection or catalyst and membrane support in battery and fuel cell applications.
Expanded Metal Manufacturing Capabilities
After the material is expanded, the metal’s thickness can be controlled to your needs, with a range of additional capabilities that include:
Flattening offers reduced thickness, a smoother surface and reduced pocket depth. This process is ideal for applications that require particular surface finish specifications.
Stretching changes the shape of your expanded metal’s openings. Stretching is ideal for battery, fuel cell and filtration application that require increased pocket depths for maximizing, air, liquid and composite volumes.
Heat treatment of expanded metal foils normalizes the material from work hardening in the expanding process.
By leveraging our in-house stamping capabilities, CThru Metals can stamp expanded metal sheets into unlimited geometries. Tolerance capabilities as tight as .001” ensure your parts are stamped to exact specifications.
CThru Metals can add solid sections to the edges or solid strips throughout the sheet of material.
Expanded Metal Foil from CThru Metals
At CThru Metals, we are an industry leader in producing innovative and advanced expanded metal foil solutions for industries such as renewable energy, filtration, automotive, electronics, aerospace, and more. To ensure optimal cost-effectiveness and speed, our custom expanding equipment is designed to operate twice as fast compared to standard expanding machines.
If you have any questions about the configurations required for your application, please don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts.