What Instruments do we use to Identify Stainless Steel Wire and Mesh?

Not only are we often asked to identify wire and mesh but also how we do it and what instruments we use.

Stainless Steel Wire diameter
To accurately measure the diameter of a wire, a micrometer or vernier calliper is used. These days, most micrometers and verniers have a digital read out, making them much easier to read than earlier instruments. A digital vernier calliper is often called a digital calliper.

vernier caliper measuring stainless steel wire diamater
Vernier calliper also known as a digital calliper used to measure stainless steel wire diameter

A typical small vernier calliper has a measurement resolution of 0.01mm, a measurement accuracy of ±0.03mm, and a measurement range of 150mm.

micrometer measuring stainless steel wire diameter
A micrometer used to measure stainless steel wire with a diameter of 1mm or less

A small micrometer typically has a 10 times better measurement resolution of 0.001mm, a measurement accuracy of ±0.004mm and a measurement range of 25mm.

Stainless Steel Wire and Mesh supplies stainless steel wire in diameters from 0.4mm to 8mm.
Stainless Steel Bright Annealed Wire
0.40mm – 4.00mm wire diameter

Stainless Steel Wire/Workers Crimp
1.25mm – 8.00mm wire diameter

Both the micrometer and the vernier are suitable instruments with which to measure these diameters, although a micrometer would be preferable for diameters smaller than about 1mm.

When it comes to fine wire mesh, the vernier is not up to the job. Stainless Steel Wire and Mesh supplies mesh with wire diameters from 0.025mm diameter to 3.15mm diameter. Clearly, a measuring instrument with a resolution of 0.01mm is not suitable for measuring a wire diameter of 0.025mm, and a micrometer must be used.

We suggest that a micrometer should be used for wire diameters of 1mm or less.

Stainless Steel Woven Mesh
Mesh is defined by a number of parameters:

  • Mesh – the number of openings per lineal inch (25.4mm)
  • SWG – standard wire gauge
  • Aperture – the distance between two adjacent wires (opening)
  • Wire Diameter – the thickness of the wire before weaving
  • Pitch – the centre to centre distance between two adjacent wires (= aperture + wire diameter)
  • % Open Area – the ratio of the aperture area to the total mesh area (calculated from the aperture and the wire diameter).

Two measurements are necessary to define the mesh – Mesh and Wire Diameter. All other parameters can be calculated from these two.

ruler counting stainless steel wires per incch of mesh
There are 4 stainless steel wires per inch of 4 mesh by 1.60mm wire diameter

We have already discussed the measurement of wire diameter. Now we need to count the wires per inch of mesh.

Stainless Steel Wire & Mesh supplies meshes ranging from 1 to 500.
Stainless Steel Woven Wire

 

It is easy to count the wires per inch of meshes up to about 10 but more difficult for meshes above this. At the extreme is mesh 500 which has 500 wires of diameter about half that of a human hair! For these higher meshes we use an instrument called a Counting Glass which greatly magnifies the view. If you count the wires between the ½ inch you multiply the number of wires by 2 and if you count the wires between the ¼ inch you multiply the wires by 4.

counting glass stainless steel mesh
A counting glass magnifies the view- if you count between the ½ inch you multiply it by 2 and if you count between the ¼ inch you multiply it by 4
counting glass stainless steel mesh magnified
A counting glass showing the magnified view of the stainless steel woven mesh

Now that you have got your head around the above! In an earlier post The ‘Ins and Outs’ of stainless steel woven mesh- Part 2 we discuss formulas used for identifying mesh!

1 thought on “What Instruments do we use to Identify Stainless Steel Wire and Mesh?

  1. I didn’t realize that your smallest wire gauge could be cut with a pair of household scissors. I knew that this material is thin, but I figured that household scissors would be difficult to use for some reason. It is good to read about which material requires more sophisticated tools and which material doesn’t. Thank you for such an informative article and for all of your helpful advice on how to handle stuff like this! http://www.tigermetals.com/stainless-steel

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