Washer Types

A washer is a common type of hardware that serves primarily to evenly distribute the force or load of a screw or nut. This prevents damage to the surface being fastened and ensures a secure connection. However, washers have a multitude of additional uses, such as functioning as spacers, wear pads, preload indicating devices, locking devices, and vibration dampeners. They also help prevent corrosion and reduce the noise produced by machinery and equipment. While many people are familiar with the basic function of washers, the variety and specific purposes of different types might be surprising.

Washers come in numerous types, each designed for specific applications. Flat washers, the most common type, provide a larger surface area to distribute loads and prevent fasteners from pulling through materials. Lock washers, such as split and star washers, are designed to prevent fasteners from loosening due to vibration or torque. Meanwhile, spring washers offer tension that maintains load and alignment, ensuring a tight fit in dynamic applications.

There are also specialty washers like fender washers, which have a larger outer diameter to spread load over a greater area, and sealing washers, which include a rubber layer to create a watertight seal. Preload indicating washers change shape or color to signal that the correct tension has been applied, enhancing safety and reliability in critical applications. Understanding the variety of washers and their specific uses can significantly improve the performance and longevity of assemblies in various industries, from automotive to construction and beyond.

Plain Washers

Plain Washers - The most common type of washers is plain washers, also known as flat washers. They are typically designed to spread the loan and protect the respective surface from damage. Plain washers can also be used when the hole is bigger than the nut. Common examples of plain washers include fender washers, spherical washers, wall washers and torque washers.

Spring Washers

Spring Washers - A second type of washer is a spring washer. Spring washers are characterized by their axial flexibility. They are typically used in machines and equipment that create strong vibrations. Because of their axial flexibility, spring washers won’t loosen or come undone from the vibrations, making them ideal for such applications. Common examples of spring washers include belleville washers, curved disc washers, wave washers, split washers, tab washer and toothed locked washers.

Locking Washers

Locking Washers - A locking washer is a special type of washer that’s used to prevent fastening or loosening, similar to the way in which a spring washer works. In fact, locking washers are essentially a sub-type of spring washers.

Type A and Type B Washers

Type A and Type B Washers - You may notice that some washers are labeled as “Type A” and “Type B.” Creating by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Type A refers to steel washers with a broad tolerance, whereas Type B refers to flat washers with a tighter tolerance. Type B washers also feature outside diameters that are narrow, regular or wide.

Material Types

Material Types - Of course, different washers are made of different materials. Steel is the most common type of material used in the construction of washers. Steel washers include carbon steel, spring steel and stainless steel. Other metals in which washers are available include copper, brass, aluminum, titanium, bronze, zinc and iron.

In addition to metal, materials such as alloy, plastic and nylon are also used to produce washers.

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