Beginners Guide to Wire Mesh: Understanding How to Specify Wire Mesh or Wire Cloth for your Application

Woven and welded wire mesh come in endless sizes and variations. In this article, we will discuss how wire mesh is measured and the factors that go into determining the correct mesh size for different industries and applications.

How is Wire Mesh Measured?

Mesh Count

Mesh count is one of the key parameters when specifying wire mesh. It is measured differently depending on whether the mesh is a Square weave or a Dutch weave.

  • Square Weave Mesh Count describes how many spaces are contained in one linear inch. A low mesh count means a low number of wires (and spaces) per inch, a high mesh count equates to many wires per square inch. Mesh count #20 means that there are 20 spaces per linear inch in each direction.
  • Dutch Weave Mesh Count describes how many wires are contained in one linear inch. The mesh count will have two numbers (e.g. 12*64) with the 12 referring to the warp (long) direction and the 64 referring to the chute (width) direction. The warp count is always listed first.

Opening Size

Sometimes mesh is specified by opening size rather than mesh count. The open size of the mesh is the clear opening between adjacent parallel wires, not affected by the diameter of the wire. For Square Mesh, it is calculated using the formula below:

Wherein, D is the Wire Diameter in, and M is the Mesh Count. Additionally, when a mesh is specified by opening size, it is often referred to as Space Cloth.

Open Area %

The open area is the percentage of open space between the wires for air or liquid to flow. It is calculated using the following formula for square weaves:

Wherein, D is the Wire Diameter, and N is the number of wires per linear inch of mesh.

How is Micron Mesh Specified?

Micron mesh is another term for mesh that has a very high mesh count (normally, a Dutch Weave but can also be a Plain Weave). This type of mesh (often referred to as wire cloth or filter cloth) is most often used in filtration applications. The opening space between the wires is very small which leads to it having to be measured in “Micrometers”, (shortened to “Microns”), hence the name.

Many specifications call out a Micron Rating, which is measured differently depending on whether the mesh is Square or Dutch.

Micron Rating

The Micron rating is measured for Square Mesh by calculating the open area using the Open Area % formula above. As the open area is a square shape, you can then calculate the micron rating by simply converting the decimal opening into microns. However, because the opening size is not square with a Dutch Weave, the Micron rating for these weaves are instead measured by determining the largest size of particle which is able to pass through the mesh. This is done using laboratory-grade glass beads. It is worth noting that, the open area for Dutch weaves is also given in %, however, this is generally referred to as ‘Porosity’. Porosity is calculated by measuring the flow rate based on the viscosity of the fluid.

Wire Mesh or Wire Cloth?

In this article, we have referred to ‘Wire Mesh’.  Often, however, the question “What’s the difference between Wire Mesh and Wire Cloth?” is asked. The simple answer is that they are inherently the same – wire that is woven in different weaves to form a structure. So, everything in this article referring to Wire Mesh would also apply to Wire Cloth.

Typically, however, the weave is referred to as Mesh when there are larger open spaces between the wires. This is generally used in applications such as cages, infill panels, bug screens, and larger separation challenges. Weave is generally described as Wire Cloth when it is flexible and has a much smaller open area. Wire Cloth is typically used for filtration or fine separation applications.

Choosing the right specification for your application

Remembering there is no distinct rule for when wire mesh becomes referred to as wire cloth, it is important to know what Mesh Count, opening size, or open area % you need to be able to correctly specify for your application.

There may be more than one type of specification that will work for a single application. Depending on your requirements, a range of mesh counts could work, using different weaves or different wire diameters. As the price of raw materials increase, it becomes especially critical to lower the total amount of wire used in the weave while still providing the correct specification. An application engineer can help make these recommendations.

Gerard Daniel’s Expertise

At Gerard Daniel, we’ve been sourcing, weaving, and distributing wire mesh for 70 years and stock the largest range of inventory in North America – with over 5000 different types of wire mesh and wire cloth in stock. Our application engineers are available to recommend the most effective, most productive solution to you at your lowest cost of acquisition. We are here to answer any questions you may have.