Wire mesh filters consist of woven wires of various gauges and composition, which many industries use for absorbing, filtering, or evaporation. Industries create wire mesh products in commonly used shapes, sizes, and configurations, but companies can also manufacture the filters according to customer specifications. Used for separating air or liquids from contaminants or microscopic particles, wire filters must be acid, corrosion, and heat resistant.
Manufacturers create wire mesh filters using different gauges, or diameters, of wire. Industries measure gauge by the standard wire gauge number (SWG), in inches or in millimeters (mm). The higher the gauge number, the finer the wire. Wire mesh gauged at 32 measures 0.01 inches (0.25 millimeters) in diameter. Thickness or diameter may extend to 1 inch (25.4 millimeters).
The mesh of wire mesh filters describes the number or size of the holes between the weaves. Manufacturers usually express wire mesh sizes in inches, millimeters, and microns. Mesh with large openings, ranging in size from 0.25 inches (6.35 mm, 25,400 microns) to 1 inch (25.4 mm, 6,350 microns), is numbered to indicate the size of the openings. Finer wire mesh is numbered from 3.5 to 400, indicating the number of holes per inch in addition to the size of the opening in inches, millimeters, or microns. The size of mesh required for particular jobs depends on the size of the particle that must be trapped in the filter.
Machines weave, or sometimes knit, the wire into different configurations, including a plain weave, in which single wires simply weave under and over each other, and a twill pattern, which uses two wires at a time, horizontally and vertically weaving each wire under and over the other, forming a sturdier product. Not unlike basket weaving, wire weaving can appear in different patterns, which creates different strengths and sizes of wire mesh.
Types of wire mesh include aluminum, brass, and copper, as well as galvanized and stainless steel. Depending on the type of machinery housing the filter, companies can design the product in two or three-dimensional configurations. Manufacturers often create flat disc wire filters that are cut into any two-dimensional shape required. Filters can also be created by forming the mesh around a metal frame in a cylindrical, conical, or other three-dimensional design.
Air conditioning units often contain wire mesh filters to separate oil or pollen from incoming air, and Furnaces or other heating units might also use wire mesh filters for dust elimination. Water filtration plants use these filters to clean water supplies. Likewise, brewing and winemaking, chemical manufacturing and petroleum processing all have uses for filters made from wire mesh.