PERFORATED METAL BOASTS many attributes and functions. Although frequently used as a decorative feature, it also is used to ventilate, control the passage of air, absorb sound, protect against falling and help create lighting effects. Perforation patterns are made by punching small holes into metal sheets so open areas are produce d. Patterns include round, square, hexagonal and slotted, in addition to numerous decorative patterns. Hole sizes can range from microscopic to more than 3 inches (76 mm). The thickness of the metal sheet doesn’t matter. It can be perforated whether it is as thin as foil or as thick as several inches. Round holes arranged in a 60-inch (1524-mm) triangular pattern, ranging from 1/50- to 3/4-inch (0.5- to 19-mm), account for more than half the perforating industry’s production.
This staggered formation is popular because of its inherent strength and expansive open areas. Of all the functions perforated metals provide, acoustical applications have enjoyed the greatest growth in the past several years. Equipment manufacturers contribute to the growth because they must reduce the noise of their products to meet consumer demands. Architects, including highway, airport and rapid-transit designers, also are designing noise control into their projects using perforated metal. Perforated metal is a strong choice for design and construction because of its aesthetic value and functionality. For example, perforated-metal panels were utilized as decorative architectural elements and components of custom built-in lighting fixtures for the first-place winner of the Boca Raton, Fla.-based Industrial Perforators Association’s 2007 Perf Contest. The winning design mounted perforated-metal panels on custom-fabricated steel frames directly attached to steel-stud walls.
Panels next to doors were flat and the rest curved, complementing the geometry and layout of doors, walls and soffits. Blue LED lighting strips were installed at the top and bottom of the perforated-metal panels behind the non-perforated end margins to allow light to softly glow between the panel separation gaps and through the metal perforations within each section. In addition to its acoustic and aesthetic qualities, perforated metal also is inherently green. Metal contains recycled content and is highly recyclable.
Industrial Perforators Association, Boca Raton, Fla., www.iperf.org