A steel sheet is a unit of steel that has been formed into a relatively flat panel or sheet. Made from an alloy of iron and tin, steel sheets are available in both flat and coiled varieties. Depending on the thickness of the steel, the sheets can be cut to size using simple tin snips or steel shears. They are bent using a metal brake, and formed into many different types of components.
The thickness of a steel sheet is measured in terms of gauge. The higher the value of the gauge, the thinner the material will be, and the lower the gauge, the thicker and more durable the steel will be. Steel sheets tend to fall between 8 and 30 gauge, though some thinner or thicker products may be available for special applications.
While the thickness of these sheets can vary widely, very thin, papery sheets are often known as "foil" or "leaf." Once a steel sheet becomes very thick, it is generally referred to as a "plate." While there are no industry standards to separate sheets from plates, a sheet can usually be bent using a metal brake, while a plate cannot.
A standard steel sheet can actually be made from a number of different materials. Cold-rolled steel is the most common and most affordable. While it is widely used, cold-rolled steel is subject to rust and corrosion over time due to exposure to moisture or chemicals. Galvanized steel sheets have been coated with zinc through an electroplating process, which adds a layer of corrosion-resistance. Stainless steel sheets are the most expensive, and are mixed with chromium to improve corrosion resistance while giving the steel an attractive finish.
These sheets can be used in many different applications. They are used in the automotive industry for fabricating vehicle components, and are also used in aerospace construction. Some form of steel sheet is used to fabricate the casing for most machinery, and can be found on many electrical components.
Steel sheet products are also used on many types of projects within the construction industry. Sheet metal roofs are popular, and may be fabricated from stainless or galvanized steel. Steel sheets are also used to make ductwork, which transports air from heating and cooling equipment to locations throughout a home. These sheets can also be used for decorative or finish purposes both inside and outside of a building.