Types of Washers and Their Functions

Types of Washers and Their Functions

No matter your field of interest, every man should own a set of basic tools at home. While you can always hire contractors to do house repairs of any kind, there may be a time when you are going to have to do some fixing around the house. Whether it is to hammer a nail, tighten a screw or put together a new furniture piece, you need to have the right tools to complete the task yourself.

In general, a basic toolbox should consist of several essential tools such as a hammer, screwdrivers, utility knife, tape measure and pliers. One piece of tool many handymen often forget about are washers.

A washer is a circular piece of hardware used to evenly distribute the load of a threaded fastener, such as a bolt or nut. It comes in many shapes and sizes, all of which can be used for different purposes.

Here are the main types of washers and their functions.

Lock washers

Lock washers are one of the basic types of washers every handyman should include in their toolbox. A lock washer is a metallic fastener that is usually made of stainless steel, but it can also come in other materials such as aluminum, bronze or phosphor bronze. Its main function is to keep nuts and bolts in place and prevent them from turning, slipping or coming loose as a result of vibration or torque.

Fundamentally, there are three main types of lock washers and these are split lock washers, external tooth washers, and internal tooth washers. For example, a split lock washer is designed to lock a bolt into place and prevent loosening during vibration or corrosion.

External tooth washers provide maximum torsional resistance by using the strut action of the teeth and locking deep-headed fasteners into place, while internal tooth washers are used to lock shallow-headed fasteners into place.

Plain washers

Plain washers are often regarded as the basic type of washers. A plain washer is basically a flat disc with a hole in its center through which a bolt or set-screw can pass. Its main purpose is to evenly distribute the load through a wide area, prevent damage to the surface and provide insulation. When used properly, it makes the surface blow the bolts or nuts smoother.

There are several types of plain washers, with flat washers, fender washers, and C-washers being the most popular ones.

For example, flat washers, also known as Type A plain washers, are good for general use. They are thin, flat, and circular in shape and are used to equally distribute heavy loads.

A C-washer is similar to flat washers, although it has a slot cut from the center hole in the form of the letter C. Its main function is to slide in and out of place on the bolt or shaft.

Spring washers


Spring washers are the third main type of washers. This washer is in the shape of a ring cut by spring steel whose ends are raised a bit due to spring tension. It is placed above or below the nut or bolt and tightened so as to prevent the nut from loosening, especially if there is vibration or jolts that occur.

There are several subtypes of spring washers, each having its own advantage and being used for different purposes. Some of the most common ones include the Belleville or conical washer, the Dome spring washer, the wave spring washer and the curved spring washer.

For example, the Belleville spring washers are designed to hold an arrangement under tension throughout thermal enlargement or contraction.

The Dome spring washers are similar to the Belleville washers, except they have rounded sides which help produce high load capabilities with a comparatively small deflection range.

Final thoughts

In addition to the essential tools you have in your toolbox, there are other pieces of hardware you need to include to make it complete. These are washers whose main purposes are to evenly distribute the load of a threaded fastener, to offer an even surface for the nut or bolt to be turned on, to provide vibration absorption, and to give liquid safeguard.

Depending on your needs, there are different types of washers, all of which are used for a variety of purposes. For more information, read our post and learn the main washer types and their functions.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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