Why are washers used in the fastening process?

Understand the function of washers in the fastening process and how they work with metal fastenings.

Why are washers used in the fastening process?
Photo by Hannah Busing / Unsplash

Have you ever wondered about the use of washers in the fastening process?

As you prepare to assemble furniture and other items in anticipation of a new family member, you may have noticed the presence or absence of washers with screws, nuts, and bolts.

Let's delve into the purpose of washers and when to use them.

Spreading Pressure

In general, washers are utilized when fastening a material that is softer than the material being fastened, such as a metal bolt on a wooden table leg.

The washer spreads the pressure of the bolt across a broader area, preventing the bolt from sinking into the soft wood.

This enables you to tighten the bolt more without damaging the material.

Preventing Vibration and Loosening

In addition to metal on wooden fastenings, rubber or plastic washers are used in metal on metal fastenings to prevent vibration from loosening the bolt over time.

These washers absorb the impact of the vibrations, keeping the fastening secure.

Factors Influencing Washer Use

The decision to use a washer depends on various factors, including the nature of the materials being fastened, the application, and the environment where the fastening will be used.

Understanding the specific requirements of the fastening application can help determine whether a washer is necessary.

Visibility of Washers

Interestingly, the presence or absence of washers in products may also be influenced by aesthetic considerations.

In some cases, washers are intentionally concealed to maintain a seamless and neat appearance, especially in consumer products where design plays a significant role.

The use of washers in the fastening process serves the crucial function of distributing pressure and preventing loosening due to vibration, whether it's to protect delicate materials like wood or to secure metal joints.

Washers play a key role in ensuring the longevity and stability of fastenings.