How and when to use washers effectively
2 minutes | 16 Mar 2018
Threaded fasteners do a more reliable job when accompanied by washers. Most notably, washers protect the surface from damage during installation. They distribute the pressure and prevent the fastener from moving or corroding.
Skipping on washers can dramatically reduce the lifespan of how your product is put together. Ultimately, that leads to disaster for the product itself.
Not just any washer will do for all applications. Once you understand that, you can give washers the respect they deserve.
Common types of washers
For every type of washer, there are subcategories, but here are six different types you should know about.
Popular with: General manufacturing, maintenance and repair
Also known as plain washers, their purpose is to distribute the fastener’s load while reducing heat and friction during the tightening process. They can also be used as spacers, as is common in industrial and domestic applications. Flat washers are also called on to provide electrical insulation.
Popular with: Automotive, aerospace and domestic appliances
For fasteners that have a tendency to rotate or lose friction due to vibration or torque. There are many variations, but they all do this by holding the nut and bolt in place. Some bite into the bolt and the nut with their ends. Lock washers are a favourite in transportation industries such as automotive and aerospace. You’ll also find them in household appliances such as washing machines.
Popular with: Aerospace and Medical applications
Some consider tab washers as a type of lock washer while others think it stands on its own. Either way, it has a single tab or multiple tabs and notches that form to shape around bolts and nuts – or it’s designed to lie flat. Tab washes are ideal for harsh environments and stand up to extreme heat conditions or heavy vibrations.
Popular with: Electronics
Used as a bushing to insulate fasteners or shafts within electronic equipment. For this reason, shoulder washers are made of non-conductive materials, such as nylon. Avoid use in humid environments.
Popular with: Furniture, freshwater marine applications
Often described as looking like a miniature dog bowl without the bottom. These washers aren’t just functional, but also aesthetically pleasing. They allow flat or oval head countersunk screws to be installed flush with the part surface. You’ll often see them on consumer applications, such as cabinetry and furniture.
Popular with: Aerospace and automotive
These provide axial load to fasteners in case of vibration or thermal expansion, to limit movement. Spring washers are metallic and often preferred to similar springs that cost and weigh more, while taking up more space. They’re perfect for applications that require a degree of flexibility. All of these reasons are why the aerospace industry often uses spring washers in actuators on airplanes, including the flight controls and landing gear.
Download free CADs and try before you buy
Free CADs are available for most solutions, which you can download for free. You can also request free samples to ensure the solutions you’ve chosen are exactly what you need. If you’re not quite sure which product will work best for your application, our experts are always happy to advise you.
Request your free samples or download free CADs now.