Washers: A Crucial Fastener for Every Industry
Fasteners are essential in all types of mechanical applications, and one of the most crucial pieces is the washer. Often overlooked, washers are crucial in preventing damage, reducing friction, and distributing load in mechanical assemblies. In this article, we will explore the various types of washers, their functions, and their importance as a fastener.
What Is a Washer?
Washers are thin, flat rings used between screw heads or nuts and the surfaces they attach to. The primary function of a washer is to distribute the load between the fastener and the joint it secures. Washers also prevent the fastener from loosening over time by acting as a lock. Additionally, they can also help prevent galvanic corrosion by providing a barrier between the two dissimilar surfaces.
Types of Washers
Several types of washers are used in mechanical assemblies. The most common types include:
Flat Washers: Flat washers are round or square washers with a hole in the center. They are used to distribute the load of a fastener over a wider area. They also prevent the bolt or nut from embedding into the joint when tightened.
Lock Washers: Lock washers are designed to prevent the loosening of nuts or bolts by adding tension to the joint. There are two types of lock washers: spring-style and tooth-style. The spring-style washers are bent slightly to create tension and lock the nut or bolt in place. The tooth-style washers have teeth on one side that bite into the joint to prevent rotation.
Fender Washers: Fender washers are larger than standard washers and have a larger outer diameter. They are used to distribute load over a larger surface area and to prevent damage to soft or thin materials.
O-Ring Washers: O-ring washers are used to seal connections that require fluid or gas tightness. They have a rubber ring that provides sealing to prevent any leaks or drips from occurring.
Wave Washers: Wave washers are spring-like washers that are designed to exert a load when compressed. They are often used in applications where shock absorption is needed, such as automotive suspensions, or in applications where consistent tension needs to be added, such as electrical connections.
Importance of Washers
Washers play a vital role in preventing damage and maintaining the integrity of a mechanical assembly. They help distribute the load across a wider surface area, which prevents the fastener from embedding into the surface and causing damage. Additionally, they are critical in preventing nuts or bolts from loosening over time, reducing the cost of downtime and the risk of equipment damage or injury.
In some cases, damage to the joint can be caused by corrosion, which is often accelerated by galvanic corrosion. The use of washers can help to prevent galvanic corrosion by adding a barrier between the dissimilar materials.
Washers are tiny, yet essential fasteners that are often overlooked. They play an important role in maintaining bolt integrity, preventing unintentional loosening, and reducing premature failure of mechanical assemblies. Selecting the correct washer for your application is crucial to ensure that your assembly is functioning at its full potential. With the variety of washer types available, consulting with a knowledgeable supplier or engineer can help determine which washer type is the best choice for your mechanical assembly..