A locking washer is a type of fastener that locks onto the thread of screws, bolts, or other threaded fasteners. It has a key-hole shaped recess with an internal diameter smaller than the outside diameter of the fastener it is meant to secure.
A lock washer is a type of fastener that locks into place. It is used on doors, windows, and cabinets to prevent the door or window from opening.
Many objects, from industrial equipment to domestic goods like string trimmers, rely on washers, nuts, and screws to keep them together. They are generally extremely efficient, but when the nut fails to stay in place, it isn’t always a component failure. Vibration is the primary cause of nuts loosening dangerously. A normal washer keeps a screw in place and equally distributes nut pressure across a larger surface, but what is a locking washer and why would you need one?
What Is A Lock Washer And How Does It Work?
A locking washer’s job is to keep a nut in place, but how does it work? To operate together, these one-of-a-kind pieces of hardware perform a totally different function than a conventional washer. It is, nevertheless, critical to utilize them in the proper sequence. A washer is a piece of hardware that keeps a screw in place and keeps other hardware from sinking into a soft surface like wood. It avoids holes and additional damage by dispersing pressure. These may be used on either the nut or the screw side, and they are sometimes used on both. Standard washers are broad, flat, round disks with a round hole in the middle that go between the nut or screw head and the surface you screw into. The larger surface area protects screwed-together items from being crushed by the strain. The bigger the washer, in general, the better it distributes weight. When utilizing them together on the nut side, a locking washer is typically smaller than a flat washer, and it must sit on top of a normal washer. It won’t perform the job it was designed for if you put it beneath the other washer’s wide, flat surface. Locking washers have a particular design that exerts stress on the nut, preventing it from loosening. The size and thickness of standard and lock washers vary based on their intended applications. Aluminum, bronze, or phosphor bronze alloys, carbon steel, and stainless steel are often used. The material, like the form and size, influences how a locking washer is utilized, with stronger alloys able to withstand greater torque.
What Are the Different Types of Locking Washers?
Locking washers are divided into five categories. Some are more specialized, such as the Wedge lock washers, while others, such as the spring type, are more generalist. Although the designs differ, each of the locking washers on this list may assist hold your screws, bolts, regular washers, and nuts in place.
- Dish and Dome-style washers feature a concave and convex face, respectively. These curved washers resemble conventional washers in appearance and disperse pressure across a wider area. The dish type is utilized for lesser torque, while the dome style can withstand higher forces. Because they produce tension and weight distribution, unlike the Split washer, you may occasionally use them to replace a regular washer.
- External and Internal Tooth Lock Washers- An external tooth lock washer resembles a gear, while an internal tooth lock washer resembles an inverted gear with the teeth inside, however both sets of teeth are conceivable. These protrusions bite into the surface or the bolt to keep everything in place, and they function best with hardware that has a greater diameter.
- Helical Spring (Split)- Helical Spring washers, also known as split washers, resemble a slightly flattened spiral chainmail ring. They do not form a continuous circle, as their name implies. When you tighten a nut on top of this type, it flattens down, providing the tension you need. Split lock washers are the most popular kind and what most people think of when they think of washers. It’s worth noting that applying too much power to this type may flatten it, essentially turning it into a normal washer with no additional benefit.
- A pyramidal lock washer resembles a cross between the dome and internal tooth types. They usually have four teeth, and the ‘dome’ is steeper and more pyramid-like than a shallow semi-sphere.
- The wedge or wedge lock washer is a “single-use, heavy-duty, self-locking washer consisting of a pair of washers having cams on one side and nonslip ridges on the other,” according to Huyett. Because of their distinct texture, these two pieces lock together and keep everything in place.
When Should Locking Washers Be Used?
There are a few occasions when a lock washer is an excellent addition to your project. To begin with, home appliances, especially washers and dryers, vibrate and move a great deal. Your nuts will be less likely to loosen if you apply stress to them. A Helical Spring locking washer may also be added to the bottom of your weed wacker or lawnmower where the blades connect. However, you must first check to see whether you have enough space to do so securely. Transportation is the most frequent use for locking washers. Tight nuts and well-fitted screws are essential for every vehicle, including cars, planes, motorcycles, trucks, and boats. Your car may actually break apart if you don’t have the right hardware. Because tension is so important while working on cars, torque wrenches are often utilized. The additional confidence provided by a lock washer may help linked parts last longer. Loose parts may rattle about, and moving hardware can fly off, inflicting further harm to the machine. Furthermore, finding your lost gear when it falls off of a moving vehicle is virtually difficult.
What Not To Do With Lock Washers
Even though they are more prevalent in the transportation industry, a locking washer may assist secure most projects. However, there are instances when lock washers should never be used. When a screw or nut doesn’t fit correctly because it’s too big or tiny, for example, no amount of strain will make it safe. Lock washers should not be used to tighten overlong nut and bolt combinations, according to Hunker. Instead, you’ll need new, better-fitting gear in this situation.
If you’re worried about vibration or loose hardware, use a locking washer. These are often seen on maritime equipment since a broken screw or nut on the sea may rapidly develop into a life or death scenario. Fortunately, although lock washers have a plethora of applications, you won’t always need them. There’s no need for additional components, especially if your project isn’t going to move significantly.
The lock washer vs flat washer is a tool that can be used to lock the wheels of your car or truck. This tool prevents it from rolling away while you are working on the vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should you use a lock washer?
When you are tightening a bolt with an open-ended nut, the lock washer is used to prevent the nut from turning.
Do you need a washer and a lock washer?
Yes, you need a washer and a lock washer.
How does a lock washer work?
A lock washer is a device that is used to prevent the bolt from turning when its tightened down. It does this by creating friction between the nut and the bolt which prevents them from rotating.
- how to use lock washers diagram
- how to use a lock washer with a flat washer
- lock washer types
- lock washer vs lock nut
- nord-lock washer