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Stainless steel washers are applied in fastener assemblies to distribute pressure from a bolt's head across a wider surface area. As you tighten a bolt, more pressure is placed against the washer instead of the installation material. Washers can help to prevent pull-through and damage to soft materials.
Stainless steel washers can also act as a flush surface for a bolt head or nut to tighten against. While not their intended function, they can be used as spacers to shorten bolt lengths. They come in many varieties that have different functions. One example is a lock washer. A stainless steel lock washer holds a fastener assembly in place to prevent accidental loosening due to vibrations or other external forces.
Washers made from stainless steel are also corrosion and rust-resistant. Each grade has a different environmental range. Due to the metal's natural resistance to corrosion and rust, the washer's accidental burring will not compromise its performance.
Types of Washers
General-purpose flat washers are positioned under the head of a bolt or nut to provide an extra layer to protect the workpiece while distributing the fastener load over a wider area.
Flat washers come in the standard variety and extra thick and fender washer varieties when you need thicker or larger washers. You can also find flat washers that conform to Military (800 series), Airforce/Navy (AN 900 series), and National Aerospace Standard (NAS) sizing for applications that depend on exact specifications.
Lock washers are specifically designed washers for keeping threaded fasteners from loosening, typically resulting from vibrations. They often come in either split ring or toothed varieties.
Split ring lock washers use pressure and a spring-like effect to increase a nut or bolt's resistance from loosening because of vibration while internal and external tooth lock washers bite into either the nut/bolt or the application surface for the same effect.
These specialized roofing washers are frequently used with sheet metal screws for metal roofing, metal siding, and truss system applications. Also called sealing washers, the added EPDM neoprene rubber backing to the washer helps create a watertight seal around the screw to prevent leaks in these applications.
Rivet Backup Washers
Flat washers designed to bring to POP rivets what washers bring to other fasteners: a greater area to help spread pressure over the material area, preventing pull through. Backup rivet washers also help protect the material's surface during installation. Designed for blind rivets, backup washers should always use the same material as the rivet itself.
The Many Types of Stainless Steel Washers
Stainless Steel Washer Varieties Transcript
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Bob: Welcome back to Albany County Fasteners - Fasteners 101. I'm Bob and today we're going to discuss washers. Let's get started.
I wanted to show you the difference and different types of stainless steel flat washers we have here.
This is a standard flat washer. Right here. And this is a military flat washer. Military Flat Washers come in many different sizes. Those all fall under military spec. So they're going to be larger, smaller, all kinds of different specs that the military requires. You can use those for any of your applications but they're mostly used in military applications.
This is an NAS national aerospace washer. A lot of these washers are very small washers in size.
This is an AN 900 series. I believe there is a 900 series and also an 800 series. They're in all kinds of different diameters, as far as washers in AN.
And then we have the rivet backup washers. The rivet backup washers come in different sizes for #6 and #8. The same as the hat on a on rivet.
Also in stainless we have the extra thick fender washer. We have the standard fender washer. We have the metric stainless washer. Which is standard. And we have the extra thick standard stainless washer.
And of course we're going to throw in here the lock washers. High collar, which is that one there, and the standard lock washer. We have stainless finishing cup washers and of course we have the internal and external lock washers.
And last is a 316 stainless flat washer. How you determine it's a 316 stainless washer, along with hex cap screws and nuts, is that everything 316 is going to be marked with a 316 on the product to show you that it's 316. So if you go out there buying 316, look for the marks. The markings will tell you that you actually have 316. If you don't find the marks, then you don't have 316. The only thing that I can tell you that does not have a 316 stainless marking on it would be a lock washer. That's the only item that I am aware of that doesn't have that marking.
There you go.
What are steel washers?
Steel washers are flat disks on steel or stainless steel with a hole punched through the middle. They are used to distribute the load over a larger area and protect surfaces during the installation of screws and bolts.
When should you use a washer?
The primary purpose of a washer is to evenly distribute load for the bolt or screw that is fastened through it. To that end, washers are used in applications where you don't want to cause stress-related damage to your material because of the load. Relatively soft materials, such as wood or softer metals, will find washers frequently used on them for this purpose.
Why do you need washers on bolts?
Washers protect the surface from damage during the installation of bolts. They distribute the pressure evenly to prevent damage to your workpiece. Not having washers when installing bolts can dramatically reduce the lifespan of how your product holds together. It's generally recommended to use washers in most applications where bolts are involved.
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