What’s the Difference Between Metal Sheets and Plates?

What’s the Difference Between Metal Sheets and Plates?

Published on February 8th, 2023

While some people outside of the industry may think of “sheets” and “plates” as interchangeable, it’s important to understand that these words refer to two different metal products. Sheets may be more commonly used for applications like airplane fuselage, automobile bodies, and building roofing. Plates, on the other hand, are typically used for building foundations and infrastructure like bridges and commercial structures.

Read on to discover how you can tell the difference between metal sheets and plates.

The Sheet and Plate Production Process

Upon exiting the blast furnace, molten metal is cast into two products: billets and slabs. In most cases, billets go on to form wire and bar stock. Slabs, on the other hand, go on to produce plates and sheets. Slabs can have a thickness of over four inches after casting, which is not usable for many applications. Usable sheets or plates require reduced thickness.

Hot or cold rolling is used to reduce and standardizethickness for the full length of a product.

Measuring Plates

If the product has a thickness of 3/16 inch or more after the rolling process, the product is considered a metal plate. Because metal plates tend to be structural, thickness is important for stability. At California Steel Service, we distribute hot-rolled steel plates, which are easier to form and work with than cold-rolled plates.

Measuring Sheets

While plates must be 1/4-inch in thickness or more, sheets must be less than or equal to 1/8-inch thick. While some companies use metric measurements, many others use gauges. Metal types use different gauge systems, so it is important to utilize the correct gauge conversion chart when determining the sheet thickness you need. For example, we offer steel sheets up to 16 GA thickness.

Now that you understand the difference between metal sheets and plates, we can supply you with either! When you need accurately leveled metal, you can rely on California Steel Services to get the job done.

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