What Are Washers and How Are They Used?

Washers are simple components that are integral to many mechanical assemblies. They serve multiple purposes, such as distributing load, preventing damage, and ensuring tightness in fastening applications. In this blog, we will delve into the basics of washers, with a focus on the different types and how they are each designed to meet specific needs in different environments.

One of the primary functions of washers is to distribute the load of a threaded fastener, such as a bolt or a nut. Without a washer, the force exerted by a tightened fastener can be concentrated on a small area, leading to potential damage or deformation of the surfaces. A washer spreads this load over a larger area, reducing the risk of damage and ensuring a more secure connection, which is especially important in materials that are more prone to damage, such as wood or plastic.

Washers also play a crucial role in preventing damage to the surfaces as they are being joined by a fastener. As the fastener is tightened, it can cause abrasion or scratching, particularly on softer materials, but the washer protects against direct contact and resulting damage. This is particularly important in applications where aesthetics or material integrity are crucial, such as in furniture assembly or electronic devices.

In addition to load distribution and surface protection, washers help maintain the tightness of fastened joints by counteracting the loosening effects of vibrations and dynamic loads. Certain types of washers, such as lock washers, have unique shapes or features like split rings or serrated edges that create additional friction between the fastener and the surface. This friction helps prevent the fastener from loosening under vibration or movement, which ensures a more reliable and durable connection.

There are several types of washers, each designed for specific applications. Flat washers, the most common type, are simple, flat discs with a central hole used primarily for load distribution and surface protection in a wide range of applications. Alternatively, lock washers, as mentioned earlier, are used to prevent loosening due to vibration or dynamic loads. There are various designs of lock washers, including split washers, which have a single cut that creates a helical shape, and toothed washers, which have serrated edges that bite into the surface to create additional friction.

Another type of washer is the spring washer, which provides a pre-load to the fastener assembly, maintaining tension and preventing loosening. These washers are typically used in applications where maintaining tension is critical, such as in automotive or aerospace industries. Additionally, there are specialty washers designed for specific applications, such as insulating washers, which are used to prevent electrical conductivity between the fastener and the surface, or sealing washers, which are used to create a watertight seal in plumbing or hydraulic applications.

In conclusion, washers are small but essential components in many mechanical assemblies. If you need washers or other aviation parts, look no further than Aerospace Simplified and our online selection. Here, we offer affordable pricing on over 2 billion in-stock items, those of which range from new to obsolete status. Once you have a chance to narrow down desired listings and are ready to make an order, fill out and submit a Request for Quote (RFQ) form at your earliest convenience to quickly obtain fulfillment options for your consideration. With this in mind, kick off procurement today to see how we can seamlessly address even your most complex requirements.


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