What are Lock Washers?

A classification of washer, lock washers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each uniquely designed for a specific application. Easily identifiable by their star-shaped body and rigid teeth, or a ring-like shape constructed with bent, spring-like ends, lock washers are used to hold fasteners in place through the application of tension. Providing axial flexibility when attached to the nut side of a fastener, all forms of lock washers are capable of exerting tension while remaining in place when exposed to vibrational forces. Often used for transportation vehicles within the automotive, aviation, aerospace, and marine industries, without the implementation of lock washers, fasteners employed for such jobs face issues in security. When choosing the next set of washers for your project, here are the primary facts you need to consider about lock washers, their common types, and the importance of their individual applications.

Belleville Washer

Commonly referred to as a cup spring washer or conical washer, Belleville washers are constructed in the shape of a flattened cone. When paired with a fastener, upon tightening and deformation, Belleville washers are able to provide axial force. These parts may also be manufactured with serrated surface areas for increased traction and gripping force.

Curved Disk Spring

Curved disk spring washers, similar in shape to Belleville washers, are curved to achieve a desirable amount of friction when coupled with a fastener and secured to a surface. Due to being curved in one direction, curved disk springs only provide four points of contact, minimizing their exertion to benefit light-pressure applications.

Wave Washers

Noticeable by their thin and wavy appearance, wave washers flow in an axial direction and provide a spring-like effect when compressed. Utilizing spring pressure to stabilize a fastener, wave washers are routinely substituted as lock washers, though are typically not as durable or effective as all other washers.

Spring Lock Washer (Split Washer)

A spring lock washer, commonly referred to as a split washer, is split and bent in a helictical shape to exert a spring-like force when compressed. Like wave washers, spring lock washers utilize spring pressure to exert friction, helping a fastener to resist becoming undone when exposed to continuous vibrations.

Toothed Lock Washers

Unlike the aforementioned washer types, despite their resemblance in sharing ring shaped bodies, toothed lock washers utilized serrated teeth to promote traction. Facing inward and lining the inner ring or facing outward and lining the outer ring, the teeth on toothed lock washers encourage friction between softer fastener materials such as aluminum or plastic. Manufactured in four variations (internal, external, combination, countersunk), each has their own unique characteristics, making toothed lock washers better suited for differing applications that require surface tension to be applied over a small area.      

Tab Washer       

Compared to the teeth present on spring lock washers or the curves formed on wave washers, tab washers operate by making use of outward facing tabs. Coming in single, multiple, formed, and flat options, once paired with a fastener, any tabs on a tab washer can be bent to secure it in place.                                                                                                                                                                                           

At Plane Parts 360, to keep your machinery up and running, we have all the necessary parts to fit your specific applications. As a dependable distributor of washers, nuts, bolts, and their various types, we invite you to browse our inventory for numerous aircraft components and their applicable aparatusses. Due to our quality control and export compliance, we operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. If you would like to request a quote for your comparisons, you can submit an RFQ form as provided on our website. Upon receipt, a dedicated account manager will quickly review and respond with a personalized solution to your needs in just 15 minutes or less, 24/7x365


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