Washers are metal or non-metallic machine components that are used alongside a nut, an axle bearing, or a joint to reduce friction, prevent leakage and loosening, and isolate and distribute pressure. There are varying types of washers that suit a myriad of applications. For example, lock washers are utilized to secure fasteners, while spring washers are considered load bearing devices that provide preload between two surfaces. As there are so many washer types, this blog will outline some of the most common ones and their uses.
Spring washers, also called disc springs, have a unique profile, with irregularities that allow them to compress with a proportionate resistance to “spring” or retract back to their predeflected shape. They are often utilized in applications where assemblies require a part to maintain assembly tension, compensate for expansion or contraction in materials, and more. Furthermore, a spring washer has a spring rate which describes the deflection range and load capacity of the washer. It is worth noting that deflection and load ratings can be adjusted by stacking spring washers in a series or parallel configurations. Below, we will cover six spring washer subtypes.
Belleville Washers have the ability to support high loads with small deflections.
Crescent Washers are intended for lighter loads and produce small deflections. These washers find use in flexible, load-cycling applications.
Dome Washers possess a very high load capacity with small deflections. Similar in appearance to a crescent washer, a dome washer is designed with small curves to produce a smooth load-bearing surface.
Finger Washers are recognized for their unique construction that consists of a split design with protruding flanges. Additionally, they combine the flexibility of crescent washers with the load distribution characteristics of wave washers. They are ideal for applications that require noise and vibration dampening qualities.
Wave Washers provide a moderate load capacity and deflection rate; thus, they serve as cushions or spacers in many operations. As their name suggests, they have multiple waves in their design.
Single Wave Washers are similar to their crescent counterparts but have flatter load points. This design minimizes abrasion against sensitive materials.
Lock washers are constructed in order to secure fasteners that rotate or lose friction. While there are several different types of lock washers, they generally operate under the same principle. That being said, most lock washers are intended to exert a load, partially deform, and lock a fastener into place. They are equipped with split coils or teeth that bite into the head of the fastener and against another flat surface. In some applications, they are used in tandem with flat washers to distribute the load without deforming the assembly that the fastener is secured to.
Helical Lock Washers, also called split lock washers, are designed with a single coil of non-continuous flat wire filament. Each end of the coil is bent outward toward a mating surface, and when secured, the washer flattens and each end of the coil bites into the mating surfaces.
External Tooth Lock Washers have a cylindrical inner diameter with several teeth around the outside diameter that are aligned at an irregular angle to the face of the washer. When secured, their teeth bite into a mating surface, resisting the compressional force.
Internal Tooth Lock Washers are equipped with a cylindrical outer diameter that has numerous teeth that are also aligned obscurely. When they are secured onto a surface, their teeth also resist compressional forces.
Other Common Types
Beyond the aforementioned types, there are a variety of other common washers. For instance, there are plain washers, C-washers, fender washers, torque washers, and many more.
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