Across countless industries, fasteners are components that are regularly used for assembling various materials. Ranging in use from the construction of a chair to the assembly of a commercial aircraft, over 300 billion fasteners find use in the United States each year. Threaded fasteners, in particular, are those with internal or external threads, allowing for the rapid assembly of materials that are secured after installation. As there are various types of threaded fasteners, each of which serve different roles, it can be beneficial to have a basic understanding of the most common ones.
Screws are popular threaded fasteners, featuring a slotted head that permits the use of a screwdriver for installation. With a pointed end at the opposite side of the head, the screw is able to bore itself into the surface of an object, utilizing its external threading to pull in materials for a secure fit that prevents pull-out. Screws are used for many materials, often being relied on for the assembly of wood, plastic, sheet metal, and other objects. Depending on one’s needs, common screw subtypes include wood, masonry, sheet metal, lag, and machine screws.
Bolts are often compared to screws due to their appearance, though such threaded fastener types differ in the fact that they feature a flattened end opposite of their head. Additionally, bolts require the use of a mating nut for their installation; the bolt is passed through a material before the nut is tightened on the other side to compress the material in the middle. There are a few primary subtypes of bolts, each offering different advantages. A roofing bolt is a common type, featuring a large flat head that is designed to be installed on thin materials. Hex bolts, meanwhile, are quite versatile and popular, and they can be installed within tight spaces. Hollow bolt components are a specialized type that differ from standard variations, featuring a design and installation method that allows them to be implemented and secured from one side of an assembly. Beyond such examples, one may also take advantage of other types such as carriage, stove, and machine bolts.
Nuts are fasteners that are circular or hex-shaped in design, featuring threading on their internal surface. As previously discussed, nuts are primarily paired with bolts, allowing for countless assemblies to be made. Dome nut components are known for their dome-shaped top, allowing for the threaded end of a bolt or screw to be hidden from view. Hex nuts, meanwhile, are common types that exhibit six sides, allowing an optimal amount of torque to be used to tightly install them. If one is assembling a more simplistic structure and lacks certain tools, a wing nut can be beneficial as it provides metal wings on each side for the ability to be tightened by hand. Alongside such examples, other nut variations include flange serrated nuts, self-locking nuts, square nuts, and insert nuts.
Studs, also known as threaded rods, are somewhat similar in appearance to a bolt, albeit lacking a head. They are also threaded on both ends, their threading either being partial or across the entirety of the shaft. Generally, studs are designed to be used in tension, and they come in three distinct types. Fully threaded studs are paired with nuts and similar parts, each featuring threading across their entire length. Tap-end studs, meanwhile, exhibit threading that is at the extreme ends of the shaft, typically being used with unequal thread engagement length. Lastly, double-end studs feature equal length threading on both sides of the shaft.
Classification of Threaded Fasteners
While classification is primarily based on what fastener type a particular component is, there are other methods in which it can be carried out. One way to classify threaded fasteners is by the length of their threading. Fully threaded fasteners are one type, those being components that feature threading that extends from their head to their tip. Meanwhile, a partially threaded fastener would be one that only has threading along a portion of its shaft. As compared to partial threading, fully threaded fasteners are more capable of withstanding higher forces, and they excel in grip strength due to the fact that tension is spread across the entirety of the component. Despite this, partially threaded fasteners have the benefit of having better alignment and shear strength.
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