One of the fundamentals in metalworking is the production and application of metal in the form of sheet metal or plates. Processed in thin, flat pieces, metal became more flexible in construction as sheet metal can then be bent and cut into a variety of shapes. It can be applied in all metal cabinets, kitchen furniture made with the stainless steel pipe, metal doors, cable and other profiles etc.

Learn more: Differences between steel sheets and steel plates

The most significant difference between stainless steel sheets and stainless steel plate is the thickness to which the metal is rolled out. Stainless steel plate generally has a thickness or gauge of more than 6mm, while stainless steel sheet has a thickness of less than 6mm, but greater than that of foil. As a common knowledge, the thinner the metal, the larger the gauge number will be.

For stainless steel, 304 and 304L are the most commonly used grade for sheet and plate as it is versatile, costs less, and offers corrosion resistance while also maintaining its durability. For coastal and marine environments, grade 316 is often favored due to its better corrosion resistance.

Choosing the right material

Aluminum—Commonly used lightweight for parts manufacturing (i.e. aircraft bodies), corrosion resistant, lower cost than stainless steel. Due to its high thermal conductivity, more likely to warp, deform, or scratch. Not suitable for food products.

Stainless steel—Most used type of all, containing 13% or less Chromium. Best corrosion resistance, great brightness in appearance, higher strength, easier to weld than aluminum. Typically heavier and more expensive than aluminum and carbon steel. Used for food service industry, corrosive environments, household appliances.

Galvanized steel—It has two major types: Electro-galvanized sheet, electroplating from cold rolled annealed steel with pure zinc coating, and hot-dipped metallic coated sheet, hot-dipped from cold rolled hard steel plate with thinner zinc layer, sometimes anti-fingerprint coating. Generally a very expensive type of material for cases like constructions, instruments with rust and moisture resistance, galvanized piping for plumbing works, chemical and heat resistant metallic pipes, etc.

Copper—Conductive metal used for electronics parts. Also used for jewelry and metal decorations. Pure copper sheet metals has years of durability, highly fatigue resistant.

Mild/Low Carbon—Steel contains 0.14%-0.20% carbon. Easy to fabricate, more malleable than stainless steel. Cheaper with excellent ductility and great heat transfer. Lower strength than stainless, not suitable for marine settings. Used for most all steel sheet products, automobile panels, computer boxes, etc.

High Carbon—Alloy contains 0.60%-2.5% carbon. Increased hardness compared to stainless steel. Unlikely to warp, deform, or scratch under heat or force. Cheapest among all but is brittle and not corrosion resistant, cannot be painted. Used for wear plates, springs.

Learn more: Gauge Chart

GAUGE
no.
Non-Ferrous
Brown & Sharp
Steel Sheets
Strip & Tubing
Birmingham or Stubs
lbs./Sq. ft.
1100,6061
Aluminum
Gauge Decimal (inches) lbs./Sq. ft.
Alloy 260
Brass
Gauge
Decimal (inches)
lbs./Sq. ft.
Steel Strip
Gauge Decimal (inches) lbs./Sq. ft.
Steel Strip
000000  –   .5800
00000   .5165   .500   20.40
0000   .4600   .454   18.52
000   .4096   .425   17.34
00   .3648   .380   15.50
0   .3249   .340   13.87
1   .2893   .300   12.24
2   .2576   .284   11.59
3   .2294 .2391 9.754   .259   10.57
4   .2043 .2242 9.146   .238   9.710
5   .1819 .2092 8.534   .220   8.975
6   2.286   .1620   7.185 .1943 7.926   .203   8.281
7   2.036   .1443   6.400 .1793 7.315   .180   7.343
8   1.813   .1285   5.699 .1644 6.707   .165   6.731
9   1.614   .1144   5.074 .1495 6.099   .148   6.038
10   1.438   .1019   4.520 .1345 5.487   .134   5.467
11   1.280   .0907   4.023 .1196 4.879   .120   4.895
12   1.140   .0808   3.584 .1046 4.267   .109   4.447
13   1.016   .0720   3.193 .0897 3.659   .095   3.876
14   .905   .0641   2.843 .0747 3.047   .083   3.386
15   .806   .0571   2.532 .0673 2.746   .072   2.937
16   .717   .0508   2.253 .0598 2.440   .065   2.652
17   .639   .0453   2.009 .0538 2.195   .058   2.366
18   .569   .0403   1.787 .0478 1.950   .049   1.999
19   .507   .0359   1.592 .0418 1.705   .042   1.713
20   .452   .0320   1.419 .0359 1.465   .035   1.428
21   .402   .0285   1.264 .0329 1.342   .032   1.305
22   .357   .0253   1.122 .0299 1.220   .028   1.142
23   .319   .0226   1.002 .0269 1.097   .025   1.020
24   .284   .0201   .892 .0239 .975   .022   .898
25   .253   .0179   .794 .0209 .853   .020   .816
26   .224   .0159   .705 .0179 .730   .018   .734
27   .200   .0142   .630 .0164 .669