Metal Washers: Types and Uses

Metal washers are thin, disk-shaped plates with a hole that distributes the load of a screw, nut, or other threaded fastener. They can be manufactured for a variety of purposes and product requirements in industrial applications. While most of these components’ base features and design remain the same regardless of intended use, some differences do render certain washers better for specific applications.

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Types of metal washers and their uses infographic

Types of Washers & Their Uses

Since different projects call for their own tools and components, industry experts manufacture a range of separate washers. This allows them to select the product that best suits their application, rather than utilizing washers that may not be fully functional in certain scenarios. Some of these options include:

  • Flat washers
  • Lock washers
  • Structural washers
  • Beveled washers

Flat Washers

Flat washers, also called Type A or plain washers, are the most commonly available on the market today and see use in both simple and demanding applications. Their large surface area makes them ideal for distributing heavy loads. If an application involves a heavy load, thicker washers are available to accommodate the increased weight.

Lock Washers

Lock washers are specially designed to secure fasteners that could lose friction or rotate undesirably. There are three primary types of lock washers that see the most use:

  1. Split lock washers
    • Lock fasteners into place
    • Non-continuous
  2. External tooth lock washers
    • Ideal for wide-headed fasteners
    • Teeth on outer diameter of washer
  3. Internal tooth lock washers
    • Ideal for shallow-headed fasteners
    • Teeth on inner diameter of washer

While flat washers are good for distributing force or acting as temporary spacers, lock washers help mitigate the effects of vibration. This can prevent nuts from becoming loose during the work process.

Structural Washers

Structural washers are ideal for heavy-duty applications. These washers are thicker than most flat washers, so they can withstand exceptionally high loads. Their build tends to mimic that of a standard flat washer.

Most structural washers also include a rigid finish. This design combined with their durable construction allows these washers to provide a secure hold—no matter the application. Structural washers are most commonly utilized in the construction industry but can be seen in other applications as well.

Beveled Washers

Beveled washers help construction experts and designers compensate for the natural lack of parallelism that occurs during the building process. These washers are designed to be used in tandem with American Standard channels and beams.

If someone were attempting to use a traditional washer to fasten non-parallel surfaces, the connection would likely become loose. This can lead to component damage and system or project failure. Keeping connections tight is critical to the success of any project that relies on washers.

Beveled washers slope to one side to accommodate uneven surfaces. They’re most commonly employed in construction-based applications.

National Bolt & Nut Corp’s Metal Washer Products

At National Bolt, we offer washers and custom non-standard fasteners manufactured from a number of materials to our customers. Many of our products feature a carbon steel base and a clear, zinc/clear, or zinc/yellow coating. Other materials such as Aluminum, Brass, Silicon Bronze and Titanium. Washers in all grades of Stainless steel can also be supplied.

Keep in mind many other plated finishes are available upon request.

We provide rush services in case your application requires quick delivery or emergency same-day services. We also offer prototyping and services for large-diameter products, as well as a range of exotic materials. To find out more about our metal washers, contact us today or request a quote.