When assembling varying surfaces with fastener parts such as bolts and nuts, washers are common components that can aid in load distribution, spacing, vibration reduction, and much more. In general, a washer will come in the form of a thin, disk-shaped component that has a hole in the middle, though there are multiple types that vary in construction to cater towards different needs and applications. The flat washer and spring washer are both widely used types, set apart from one another in terms of their construction and uses. In this blog, we will discuss the design and applications of flat and spring washers, ensuring that you find what is best for your particular needs.
The flat washers are the most simplistic type, featuring flat construction and a hole in their center. When implemented within assemblies, such components are used to reduce friction, prevent leaking, isolate components, mitigate loosening, and distribute pressure. Due to the small supporting surfaces of bolts and other such fastener parts, washers are highly important for ensuring that pressure and loads are well distributed for decreased wear and tear.
Due to their disc shape, flat washers are often the most optimal choice for load distribution, ensuring that large axial forces are handled. Generally, the advantages of flat washer components are their ability to increase the contact area of a threaded fastener, ensuring that parts are protected from damage, and that pressure is reduced. Despite this, flat washers lack the abilities of other types to prevent loosening, and they are unable to offer earthquake resistance to an assembly.
Spring washers are discernable by their design, featuring a split at one point and a helical shape. Generally, such components are constructed from robust materials such as stainless steel, carbon steel, and iron. Coming in a wide variety of specifications, such washers are employed in assemblies for bearing loads or for non-load-bearing structures. Often, spring washers are chosen for their cost efficiency, easy installation, and ease of assembly and disassembly.
The spring washer may come in a number of types depending upon one’s needs, each differing in its particular features. Spring washers that feature internal or external elastic teeth are optimal for preventing fastener parts from loosening, taking advantage of teeth across their circumference that press against supporting surfaces. Toothed elastic washers are typically smaller than conventional spring washers, capable of distributing loads while being nonoptimal for frequent disassembly.
Wave washers are also common, coming in subtypes such as WL, WG, and WN wave washers. The WL wave washer is a lap type elastic washer, often being paired with a bearing for prestressing. With the bearing and washer assembly, operational noises may be reduced while accuracy and stability is increased. WG wave washers follow a similar role with bearings, also benefiting electronic applications. Lastly, the WN wave washer is an overlap elastic washer, featuring multiple material layers that allow for increased elasticity.
In general, spring washers are known for their optimal seismic features, great anti-loosening capabilities, low cost for manufacturing, and ease of installation. Despite this, their capabilities often hinge on their materials, and poor heat treatment or incorrectly carried out manufacturing processes can lead to various issues. Nevertheless, such components are regularly found in numerous assemblies where the loosening of fastener parts, bolt assembly bearing parts, or other components is a concern.
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