Types of Washers and Their Uses

If you are working in a construction or manufacturing industry, you must have come across the term “washer” and the number of types it is available in. They are the tiny pieces of hardware that help in doing big jobs. In this article, we are going to discuss washers, their types, and uses to help you get a more detailed view of them.

What is a washer?

Washers are tiny and thin plates of metal with a hole in the middle, mainly used in conjunction with threaded fasteners. They act as spacers and are placed between a surface and a screw to prevent corrosion and minimize the vibrations produced by a machine or equipment. The washers serve the purpose of a wide range of applications in a project, but to make your project go right, you must choose the right washer. There are different types of washers available in the market that serve the needs of different applications differently. 

But before moving on to the types of washers, let’s discuss the purposes they serve.

  • Load Distribution: The primary purpose of a washer is to evenly spread the load of a threaded fastener with which it is used. When a threaded fastener is driven into a material, it stresses the surface of the material. By using a washer in between, you can distribute the load evenly, protecting the surface from wear & tear. Washers reduce the risk of damage when a threaded fastener is driven into the material.
  • Absorb Vibrations: There is a category of the washers which is specifically designed to absorb vibrations. Such washers are popularly known as vibration-isolating or vibration dampening washers. Unlike other washers, these washers are made of rubber, plastic, or urethane that are more effective in absorbing vibrations as compared to metal. If you are connecting two objects, from which one produces strong vibrations, you can protect the other from damage by using a vibration dampening washer.
  • Spacing: Washers act as spacers between a screw and the surface. When you drive a threaded fastener into an object, to ensure that it doesn’t go deeper, you can use a washer. By placing a washer through the threaded fastener, you can create padding so that the fastener doesn’t go too deep into the object.
  • Liquid Protection: There are washers that prevent the ingress of fluids. Such washers are mainly used in water pipelines to create a tight and leakage proof seal. The liquid-sealing washers are made from soft materials and can be pressed completely against the object’s surface.

These are the purpose that washers serve which makes them perfect to go hardware when it comes to meet construction and production projects’ requirements efficiently.

Types of Washers and their uses:

As per construction and applications, washers are mainly divided into three categories, which are as follows:

Plain Washer 

These are the most common types of washers, which are also known as flat washers. They are used to spread the load to a relatively larger area and prevent damages to the surface in which they are screwed. It also helps in correcting the size difference, in case a hole becomes too big for a nut or a screw.

Here are the types of plain washers available in the industry:

  • Type A Plain Washer: These are flat, disc-shaped washers with a hole in the middle. They distribute the load to a relatively larger area and are perfect to use with small head screws.
  • Fender Washer: As their name suggests, fender washers are commonly used for car fenders. They are larger in size, with just a small hole in the middle. This is the reason why they are able to distribute the load to a larger area. These washers are mainly used in plumbing, automobile, and sheet metal fabrication industries.
  • Shoulder Washer: Shoulder washers are named after their shape as they have a shoulder like structure. You can find these washers in different materials like nylon, phenolic, PCTFE, PTFE, fiber-glass, and metal. These washers are used to insulate wires, screws, and any other part of the assembly.
  • Torque Washer: These washers are mainly used in woodworking applications. The washers have outer prongs with a square hole that do not allow the accompanying bolt to spin when a nut is being fastened.
  • Finishing Washer: These washers are also known as countersunk washers owing to their ability to create a flush surface when secured with flat-head countersunk screws.
  • C-Washer: These are the washers that can easily be adjusted, removed, or replaced without the need for removing the fastener. 

Spring Washer

Spring washers are perfect for equipment that produces high vibration while functioning. They have axial flexibility owing to which they move with vibrations that prevent their loosening or unfastening. The washers boost the elasticity of the joint.

Below-mentioned is the types of spring washers:

  • Belleville Washer: Also known as conical spring washers, they are used for keeping the assembly in tension under thermal expansion and contraction conditions. They have the ability to hold heavy loads with small deflection. 
  • Cresent Spring Washer: Curved or Crescent spring washers are used in applications where movement absorption is required. They are flat washers with a slight curve that make them ideal for applications that demand flexibility and endurance for heavy load.
  • Finger Spring Washer: Finger spring washers are flat washers with three curved flanges that dampens noise and vibrations, along with protecting the surface from excess wear.
  • Dome Spring Washer: The appearance of a dome washer is similar to the Belleville washer, and they are known for their high-load capacity with very little deflection. They create a flatter surface, along with absorbing high vibrations. 
  • Wave Spring Washer: Wave spring washers are generally used as spacers or cushions as are curved in two directions. They possess a moderate load-bearing capacity and protect the surface from excessive wear.

Lock Washer

Lock washers are a kind of spring washers that do not let the screws and nuts rotate in the loosening position and keep them intact when the machine or equipment functions are producing strong vibrations. They secure the fasteners in place that have a tendency to lose friction.

Here, we are mentioning the types of lock washers:

  • External Tooth Lock Washer: These washers use teeth struct action to prevent the nut or screw head from getting loose. They work better with screws having a bigger head. They offer the maximum torsional resistance owing to the several teeth on its outer diameter that bites into the surface to provide excellent compression resistance.
  • Internal Tooth Lock Washer: The internal tooth locker has several teeth on the inside diameter that don’t let the bolt or nut head from getting loosened. They lock shallow-head fasteners into place and are used for absorbing shock and vibrations.
  • Helical or Split Lock Washer: Split lock washers, also known as helical washers, are used to hold fasteners in place. They are non-continuous rings bent slightly outward in the opposite directions. The bent is flattened when secured with a fastener, with both ends digging into the mating surface.

Gaskets

Gaskets are primarily used in the automobile industry to seal off oil and gas connections and prevent leakages. They are made from light metals like copper washers, aluminum washers, and others. The gaskets create a tight seal and not let gases and fluids to escape even under high pressure and temperature conditions.

Specialized Washers

  • Top Hat Washers: These washers are mainly used in plumbing applications and are ideal to use when you are fixing a tap or installing a new one.
  • Keps Nut: Also known as k-lock nuts, they are used with integrated washers to make spinning faster and easier. The nuts make the assembly more convenient to function.
  • Insulating Shoulder Washer: These washers serve their best application in the electrical industry and are used for electrical isolation of mounting screws. They are generally made of plastic, peek, or nylon.
  • Keyed Washers: These washers are used between nuts to prevent their spinning. The keyed washers are used mostly in the automobile industry and used between bolts that are fixed together.

These are different types of washers that can be availed in diverse sizes and other specifications to meet the requirements of diverse applications in different industrial sectors.

Wrapping up

Threaded fasteners’ performance is boosted significantly when they are combined with washers. Washers distribute the fasteners’ load to avoid damage to the mating surface when the machine or equipment is functioning with high pressure. Apart from this, they absorb vibrations and noise to ensure a safer work environment in different industries. These washers were not less than a boon at a time when the mechanical industry was all ready to create equipment that can change the face of the industrial sector. 

As mentioned above, washers are available in different types with diverse specifications so that you can go for the ones that satisfy the needs of your applications in the perfect way possible. We hope that this article has helped you get a vast knowledge of different types of washers and their uses. If you have any questions, please mention the same in the comment section so that we can serve you with the best.

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