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Fundamentals of Steel Plates

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Fundamentals of Steel Plates

July 27, 2012

When selecting a floor plate there are many factors to consider.  Metal plate has different processes it goes through that you can select from based on the resulting mechanical properties you require.  Steel is a common alloy for floor plate; it is most commonly found as rolled, normalized, or heat treated.

  • Rolling is a metal forming process in which metal stock is passed through a pair of rolls.  If the temperature of the metal is above its recrystallization temperature, then the process is termed as hot rolling. If the temperature of the metal is below its recrystallization temperature, the process is termed as cold rolling.
  • Heat treatment is one of a number of controlled heating and cooling operations used to bring about a desired change in the physical properties of a metal.  Its purpose is to improve the structural and physical properties for some particular use or for future work of the metal.  There are five basic heat treating processes: hardening, case hardening, annealing, normalizing, and tempering.
  • Normalizing is a heat treatment applied to steel which heating involves heating above the critical range followed by cooling in still air.  It is performed to refine the crystal structure and eliminate internal stress.  The process is often used to keep movement down during any heating; applied in applications when certain steels that do not significantly air harden.  Normalizing is not usually called out in a specification unless the material is amendable to normalizing and there is a need for it by design.

Normal Size Thickness (inches)

Weight (lbs/ft2)











1 ½


When a plate is being suspended or retrofitted over an existing application, weight can sometimes be a crucial element to consider when specifying.  Use this chart as a reference for the weight per square foot for some common thicknesses of steel plate.

There are different levels of carbon and steel alloys broken into steel classifications such as low-carbon, medium-carbon, high-carbon, ultrahigh-carbon, high-strength low-alloy, and low-alloy steel.

When deciding to purchase steel plates it is necessary to take the project conditions into consideration.  Steel plates selected for walking surfaces and high traffic areas benefit from a slip resistant coating. SlipNOT® provides steel floor plate in three grades offering slip resistance in a variety of industries and a vast array of applications.