Expanding Technology

Our expanded material outperforms the competition because we are able to control our processes to tighter tolerances and manufacture a high-quality, repeatable product.

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Expanding Materials for Evolving Applications

Today, materials must advance to meet the needs of emerging engineering applications. Bridge the gap between your prototype and end-use product with precision expanded materials. Dexmet MicroGrid® metal foils and PolyGrid® polymers are used in batteries, electronics, aircraft, wind energy. medical, packaging, filters, fuel cells, heating elements, resistors, food & drug products, automotive, and wherever mesh and perforated foils, metals and plastics with high precision characteristics are required.

How Expanded Materials are Made

Expanded metal and polymer is made by a process of slit and stretch. A precision die slits and stretches the material in a single operation. The material is then processed through a set of rollers which adjusts the final thickness. The shape, form and number of openings are dictated by the particular tool used (See Die Chart for discussion on available dies).

diagram showing how expanded materials are measured

Long Way of the Diamond (LWD)

Measured from the center of the node to the center of the adjacent node. This dimension is built into the tool and is always parallel to the width of the coil and corresponds with the diamond dimension

Short Way of the Diamond (SWD)

The length of the short axis way of the diamond, measured from the center of the node to the center of the node. For each fixed LWD dimension there is a SWD range.

Strand Width

The strand width is the amount of metal slit from the parent metal in forming the mesh. The strand thickness is directly proportional to the feed rate of the material into the machine.

Technical References

Mesh Per Inch (MPI)

Measure one inch and count the number of meshes (or openings – between two nodes) along the SWD direction. We generally refer to MPI in the SWD direction and not the LWD direction. See Standard Product Range for the mean MPI count for each Mesh Designation.

Openings Per Square Inch

Double the product of MPI and LWD mesh count. Openings per square inch = (3.5 x 2) x 2 = 14


Product Code Nomenclature

Product Example: 3 Ni 5-077

Original Foil Thickness: 0.003 in.

Metal or Alloy: Nickel

Strand Width: 0.005 in.

– LWD: 0.077 in.

Coverage Area Calculation

(Accurate to ±10%)

Coverage Area = 2 x MPI x Strand Width

Product Example: 2 x 24 x 0.005 = 0.24 Coverage Area = 24%


Open Area Calculation

(Accurate to ±10%)
Open Area = 1 – Coverage Area
Product Example: 1 – 0.24 = 0.76 Open Area = 76%


Weight Per Area Calculation

(Refer to Density of Materials Chart)

Grams per square inch = metal weight (lbs per cubic foot) ÷ 12 x original foil thickness x 2 x MPI x strand width x 3.1416

Product Example: 554.688 ÷ 12 x 0.003 x 2 x 24 x 0.005 x 3.1416 = 0.10456 grams/sq. in.


Total Surface Area Calculation

A = Coverage Area

B = 85% of Original Foil Thickness

C = B/Strand width
D = Total Surface Area = 2A (1+C)

Product Example: A = 0.24

B = 0.85 x 0.003 = 0.00255

C = B/0.005 = 0.00255/0.005 = 0.51

Total Surface Area = 2 x 0.24 x (1+0.51) = 0.7248 sq. ft. of Surface Area per sq. ft. of MicroGrid®


Resistivity and Conductivity

See Resistivity and Conductivity Chart


Physical Testing of Expanded Metal Foil

The first rule in testing expanded metal and expanded plastic is the need for new rules. The standards of Ultimate Tensile, Yield Strength and Elongation do not necessarily apply. Simply establishing the area to be considered becomes a point of discussion. The solution is to eliminate the questionable areas and concentrate on what we know to be true. The tests are simple and do not generally require expensive equipment, so quality may be verified by our customers.


Tensile Testing

Tensile Testing to failure (Ultimate Tensile) is usually more of a shear test than a tensile test. Tensile Testing rips rather than pulls the strands apart. Depending on the configuration of the product, pulling the mesh may actually change it from one form to another. For example, a flattened metal foil will revert to its expanded configuration before failing.


Bend Testing

Dexmet has established a simple yet effective test that utilizes the elasticity of the material. As the material is annealed, its elasticity, or spring-back, decreases. Relative stiffness can therefore be translated into degrees of anneal. A history has been developed that tells us whether we have accomplished a complete anneal. Feedback from our customers has also provided the specific numerical hardness requirements for a variety of processes. We know that certain rolling mill practices can adversely affect the ability of material to function in our process as well as in our customer’s applications. Testing has also shown that stress relieving will make the material feel softer and lay flatter but will not affect the bend recovery.


Pull Testing

Pulling to within a small percentage of what would result in permanent deformation gives a reasonable measure of the force the material can tolerate without undue stretching. However, if stretching must be avoided entirely, pulling to the same distance a second time will result in the amount of force that the material can withstand without permanent deformation. This information can be very useful to the machine designer.


Salt Solution Plating Tests

The immersion of a sample of Nickel plated steel mesh in a bubbling 2% salt solution is an excellent test for plating quality. There is sufficient air to readily oxidize the nickel, but it is controlled. Salt Solution Testing remains one of the best methods for evaluating the post plating process. Exposure time provides a means to quantify the results.

Expanded material terminology white paper cover

Download Expanded Terminology Data Sheet

The Expanded Terminology Data Sheet provides an overview on how expanded material is made, secondary operations Dexmet can perform on the material, and our configuration codes.

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