Types, Functions, and Applications of an Often underestimated Component

Certain mechanical elements, though seemingly inconspicuous, hold remarkable potential. This is the case of washers, often underestimated due to their simplicity and sometimes small size. In reality, these accessories play an essential role in improving the fastening of a bolt, significantly contributing to the sealing of a threaded joint.

A washer is a disk with a central hole inserted between the head of a screw and the surface it inserts into. Thanks to their conformation, washers distribute the clamping load over a wider area than the screw head, optimizing the seal. Moreover, certain washers can fulfil additional functions, such as increasing friction to prevent unscrewing or acting as a seal or spacer.

There are different types of washers, in various shapes and materials.

Flat washers are useful to distribute the force of the screw over a wider area while also protecting the engaging surface. Generally metallic, they can also be made from plastic materials.

Spring washers, characterized by a wavy or helical shape and cut by a split, exert an elastic force during tightening, which keeps the nut under tension and preventing unscrewing.

Toothed washers increase the friction of the screw on the nut to avoide tightening from unscrewing. The tooth grip the material in order to avoid the unscrewing due to external forces, vibrations, or attempts to unscrew the tightening without proper tools.

Safety washers has tabs along the perimeter, which are folded against the nut to enhance the grip, improving in this way the distribution of the clamping force, and preventing the bolt from unscrewing in the presence of vibrations or intense solicitations.

Sealing washers, made of rubber, nylon, Teflon, or soft metal, are placed between a threaded element and its seat to ensure a seal, acting as a seal.

Spacer washers primarily create a thickness between the screw head and the surface to which it is screwed into, in order to space the elements or eliminating any millimeters of play.

Washers can be made of various materials. Those improving the sealing of the fastening, as well as anti-unscrewing ones, are almost always metallic: steel, copper, brass, aluminum. The choice of metal type depends on the environmental conditions the bolt will be exposed to: in outdoor environments, corrosion-resistant metals are preferred. Additionally, plastic and rubber washers are used to ensure a watertight seal in the hole where the screw is inserted or to protect the material on which the screw puts pressure.

VIPA’s warehouse, the most well-stocked in Italy with over 70,000 references, offers a wide range of washers in various materials for every application. For these, as well as for other components available in the catalog, VIPA guarantees order processing within 48 hours, one of the fastest supplies on the market. Relying on VIPA is a winning choice: visit the VIPA shop to order more suitable components to your needs.