A Guide to Common Threaded Fasteners

Fasteners are hardware components that may be used to conjoin parts for assemblies and to distribute loads. Threaded fasteners in particular are extremely common to countless applications and industries, and they are often discernible by a spiraling thread that trails down a cylindrical shaft. With this configuration, such fasteners can ensure more secure connections that are established by applying torque to the component. As there are many threaded fastener types available, each with their own characteristics, being aware of the most common types can be useful when searching for an optimal fit.

As compared to other fastener types, threaded fasteners excel in their ability to withstand tension stress which ensures that they are not pulled apart from their installation. With clamping force, such fasteners can also prevent the sliding of mated components. Lastly, threaded fasteners can often be joined and disassembled with ease, making them highly beneficial for numerous applications such as construction, industrial machinery, aircraft, and more.
Bolt fasteners are very common to numerous assemblies, and they feature a head and external male thread. To install bolts, the tail-end of the fastener is passed through the hole of a component, and a mating nut or other fastener is used as the female threading. Steel, aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel all serve as common materials for bolt fasteners, and the choice will often depend on the application’s requirements.
The nut is a fastener that features a threaded hole, and they are almost entirely used for bolt assemblies. With friction, compression, and the slight stretching of the bolt, nuts can secure assemblies in place with high reliability. Nuts can come in a variety of forms to accommodate varying needs, and common types include the hex nut, wing nut, and dome nut. The hex nut is a general purpose type, and they feature six sides and internal screw threads. With the wing nut, wing-like surfaces protrude from each side of the component so that the fastener may be tightened manually. Lastly, dome nuts are named after their appearance as they have a domed top that can prevent contact with other threading or may be used to protect threaded rods or machine screws.
Screws are often compared to bolts as both fasteners feature external threading on a shaft and a head for applying torque. Unlike a bolt, screw fasteners are often capable of boring their own hole in a component and do not require a mating nut for installation. Machine screws are a common type, and they have a flat point at their end. Typically, machine screws are commonly found in machines, vehicles, electronic devices, and tools.
In order to more optimally distribute loads for the benefit of bolts, screws, and nuts, washers may be implemented. A washer is a thin plate that is often circular, and they have a central hole that allows for fasteners to be passed through for the means of furthering load distribution. While flat washers are the most common type, one may also use a lock washer in the case that potential fastener loosening is a concern.


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