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The Purpose of Washers & Why They’re Used With Fasteners

A washer is a mechanical component that consists of a circular flattened metal, plastic, or rubber disk with a hole through the middle. Washers are typically used with fasteners such as screws and bolts to distribute the load of the fastener, prevent damage to sensitive surface materials, and reduce the potential for leaks. Are washers necessary? That depends largely on the application and the substrate. 

For more than 70 years, APM Hexseal has been creating innovative sealing solutions for customers in every industry. We leverage our extensive knowledge and hands-on experience to create cutting-edge sealing fasteners that meet the most rigorous expectations. In this article, we discuss the purpose of washers and their uses with fasteners.

The Purpose of Washers

APM Hexseal Seeloc WasheFasteners join two or more surfaces together through the use of threaded screws or bolts. Washers are incorporated into fastening hardware for everything from wooden furniture to automotive engines. 

How Do Washers Work With Bolts?

To enhance fastener performance, a washer is placed on the bolt or screw between the head and the mating surface. In some applications, washers may also be placed between the nut and object surface. 

What is the Purpose of a Washer?

Since not all applications require them, it can be difficult to determine when to use washers. Washers serve a variety of purposes, including: 

  • Load Distribution: Fasteners exert high levels of force when installed. Washers help to distribute that load to prevent damage to the material. Without washers, materials are more likely to crack due to tightening pressure.
  • Spacing: If the length of the bolt or screw is greater than the object’s thickness, it is impossible to sufficiently tighten the fastener without the screw protruding from the other side. By adding washers, you can create enough space to prevent the fastener from going too far into the substrate.
  • Absorbing Vibrations: Washers made from plastic or rubber absorb vibrations in high vibration applications. Vibration reduction keeps the fasteners from loosening over time and helps to protect the attached equipment from vibration damage.
  • Sealing Connections: Washers can be used to seal joints on piping, tubing, and ductwork, to create a waterproof seal that prevents gas or fluid leakage. 

Why Washers Are Used With Fasteners

To determine whether a washer is appropriate for your application, it is important to know how washers work with bolts, screws, and other fasteners. 

  • Washers Divide Weight: When you add a washer, the force exerted by the fastener is spread out over a larger area, reducing the potential for cracks due to pressure and stress.
  • Washers Enhance Space: Washers help to ensure that the bolts and screws fit snugly. By threading the fastener through the washer before installation, you ensure that the fastener doesn’t go too deeply into the surface material.
  • Vibration Reduction: Vibration isolation washers are manufactured using soft vibration-absorbent materials like rubber or plastic. They help to absorb vibration, reducing the amount of stress applied to the fastener and surrounding equipment. 
  • Leak Protection: By creating an airtight, watertight seal, washers can prevent liquid from leaking around the drilled fastener holes in plumbing and process piping and connections.

Seeloc Washers From APM Hexseal

Using the latest technology, APM Hexseal has created a washer that provides all of the benefits of traditional washer materials in one convenient package. Our state-of-the-art Seeloc® washers consist of strong, corrosion-resistant stainless steel bonded to flexible silicone rubber, for a soft yet durable sealing and fastening solution.

Our Seeloc Washers are self-sealing for use with traditional screws, nuts, and bolts. We also offer captivated designs for time-sensitive applications. They are available in imperial and metric sizes, in both standard and heavy duty. The captivated Seeloc washers remain attached to the screw, which reduces the potential for lost parts and allows for quicker, easier installation.

Learn More About our Quality Sealing Solutions

Whether you need a vibration-absorbent bonded washer for industrial machinery or a captivated sealing washer for automotive equipment, APM Hexseal has the perfect solution for your needs! Ask the experts for more information on our innovative self-sealing fasteners and other sealing solutions.