17 Terms Every Sheet Metal Buyer Should Know

17 Terms Every Sheet Metal Buyer Should Know

Published in Stainless Steel
08/10/2021

Many of the objects we see and use every day are made from sheet metal. It’s in our cars and appliances, our offices and elevators, and in our clinics and hospitals.

Commonly available in aluminum and stainless steel, sheet metal comes in many finishes, options, and specifications. Here are thirteen terms every sheet metal purchaser should know:

Sheet Metal Finishes

Part of what makes sheet metal so versatile is the availability of a broad range of finishes. Some are decorative, while some provide cleaning, safety, or other advantages. Here are some of the most common finishes:

Mill Finish

Mill Finish. This describes sheet metal with no finish applied. Mill finish aluminum usually has a shiny, mirror-like appearance. This ‘bare aluminum’ will oxidize when exposed to air and moisture, creating a light white powdery coating.

Rice Grain

Rice Grain. Aluminum rice grain (or diamond plate) is a smooth sheet with an embossed or diamond pattern on one side. Available in either a mill-finished or bright plate, rice grain aluminum has excellent skid resistance and is commonly used as industrial, high-traffic flooring.

XL Blend S

XL Blend S. A breakthrough stainless steel finish, XL Blend ’S’ is a preferred choice for many high-traffic applications, including elevator doors and building lobbies. XL Blend ’S’ has a reparable, brushed finish that is less reflective, making it easier to clean and maintain. The proprietary finish is clean, smooth, and has much more color uniformity from sheet to sheet than other mechanical finishes.

Brushed Finish

Brushed Finish. This stainless steel finish is obtained by polishing the metal with a grit or mesh abrasive. The finish will show a visible, directional ‘grain’ that prevents a mirror-like reflection. Brushed finish stainless steel is often used for kitchen applications and in other heavy use areas.

Black and Colored Finishes

Black and Colored Finishes. These are specialty stainless steel finishes created by chemically treating the metal to increase durability and scratch resistance. Black and colored stainless steel are often used in hardware, appliances, and other consumer products.

#1 Finish

#1 Finish. Hot rolled, annealed, and descaled. Available in strip, foil and ribbon, it is used for applications where a smooth decorative finish is not required.

#2D Finish

#2D Finish. A dull finish produced by cold rolling, annealing, and descaling. Used for deep drawn parts and those parts that need to retain lubricants in the forming process.

#2B Finish

#2B Finish. Smooth finish produced by cold rolling, annealing, and descaling. A light cold rolling pass is added after anneal with polished rolls, giving it a brighter finish than 2D.

#CBA Finish

#CBA Finish. Course bright annealed, cold rolled matte finish, and bright anneal.

#2 Finish

#2 Finish. Cold Rolled.

#2BA Finish

#2BA Finish. Smooth finish produced by cold rolling and bright annealing. A light pass using highly polished rolls produces a glossy finish. A 2BA finish may be used for lightly formed applications where a glossy finish is desired in the formed part.

The Properties

Before choosing a particular sheet metal for a project or application, designers and engineers must know the physical characteristics and limits of the sheet metal they’re specifying. Here’s how some typical characteristics are defined:

Tensile Strength. Tensile strength is a measurement of how much tensile (capable of being stretched) strength a metal can withstand before failing. Tensile strength defines the point where metal goes from temporary to permanent deformation.

Yield Strength. This is the maximum stress a metal can withstand before it begins to change shape permanently. Yield strength specifies the upper limit of the load that can be safely applied to the metal, an essential data point for engineers designing metal components.

Elongation. Elongation measures the degree to which a metal may be compressed, stretched, or bent before it ruptures. Expressed as a percentage of the original length of the metal, it is a point between tensile strength and yield strength.

The Protective Coatings

Many stainless steel sheets, especially those with a decorative finish, must be protected during shipping, storage, and installation. Some of the most widely-used protective products for sheet metal are:

Paper Interleave

Paper Interleave. A tissue or paper that serves as a liner to protect stainless steel rolls and sheets during shipping. Interleaving paper must be durable, particle-free, and chemically neutral.

Laser Tape

Laser Tape. Laser protection tape is used to protect stainless steel and aluminum sheets during laser cutting and storage. It is a white polyolefin film coated in a high-performance adhesive. Laser tape offers excellent protection and is easy to remove before installing the sheet metal.

SPV Coating

SPV Coating. A surface protection coating used to protect high gloss metals during the manufacturing process, SPV coating is a transparent blue film coated with an easy-peel, acrylic-based adhesive.

Diversified Ulbrich — Your Trusted Advisor for Sheet Metal

If you’re looking for technical support or need a fast quote and quick delivery, you can count on our expert team at Diversified Ulbrich for:

  • A complete inventory of aluminum, stainless steel, and specialty sheet metals in a broad range of finishes.
  • Real-time quotes and same-day shipping from our 150,000 square foot warehouse and production facilities in Toronto and Montreal.
  • Over 20,000 products in stock.
  • A full fleet of trucks and tractor-trailers available for expedited deliveries
  • An on-staff mill metallurgist to provide you with expert troubleshooting and technical support.
  • A network of partners that can help meet your custom finishing, cutting, and fabrication needs.

Whether you’re new to the world of sheet metals or a seasoned expert, Diversified Ulbrich can provide you with the answers and the sheet metal solutions you need.

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