Home Improvement

Spring Washers: Types, Purpose, and Application

Whether you are a DIY homeowner or a contractor who builds, installs, and repairs things, you need to have the right tools and equipment to do your job. In general, a typical toolbox should consist of several tools including, screwdrivers, pliers, hammers, drills, and utility knives. 

However, depending on the type of construction or servicing you are doing, you may need additional tools to complete the job properly. One such tool is a washer, which is a type of fastener used in the construction of items and joining objects together. They come in many types, shapes, and sizes, with spring washers being one of the most commonly used.

But, what are spring washers and what are they used for? To help you understand the purpose and function of spring washers, we have written the ultimate guide elaborating on everything you need to know about this washer type. 

The basics of spring washers

By definition, spring washers are a subtype of washers that are mainly used in load-bearing and non-load-bearing structures. They are typically conical in shape and come in different sizes whose dimensions change depending on the deflection. 

In addition to this, the elastic structure of the spring washer’s material—which should have sufficient strength and proper elastic limits—is also a factor in how well spring washers function. The most commonly used materials for spring washers are steel, chrome vanadium alloy, and nickel-chrome alloys.

For instance, steel is very popular due to its ease of processing and high tensile strength. Chrome vanadium alloy is a higher-quality steel that has excellent through-hardening properties, whereas nickel-chrome alloy is also strong but has very low elastic ratios. 

Types of spring washers

In general, there are several types of spring washers, with each serving a different purpose. The most common ones include:

  • Adjustable spacers
  • Belleville washers
  • Bowed or curved washers
  • Conical washers
  • Finger washers
  • Wave washers

For instance, the Belleville washer is shaped like a washer, but it has the characteristics of a spring. They are typically common in thermal expansion applications because they are able to support high loads with small deflections. 

Finger washers are another type of spring washer which are primarily used for noise and vibration dampening as well as to eliminate play and axial wear for high-speed applications. 

Wave spring washers are wavy metal washers designed to provide precise and predictable loading for small deflections in applications with restricted axial space.  

Installing a spring washer

When it comes to installing a spring washer, there are several things you need to consider. For starters, you need to know the outside diameter, hole size, and thickness of the workload so you can specify the rated spring washer that will be placed through the equipment and a load of bolts and nuts.

Next, you need to determine which type of spring washer you should use as each one has a different purpose. 

The final step is the installation of the spring washer which needs to be done properly in order to ensure a tight connection. Follow these tips for optimal results:

  1. Place the spring washer under the bolt or nut with the concave side of the washer facing the bearing surface. 
  2. Make sure the washer is tightly pressed against the fastener to create a tight connection.
  3. Tighten with torque by turning a wrench or ratchet clockwise for safe and reliable application. 
  4. Finally, check to see if the washer is working correctly. If not, loosen the nut or bolt and insert the washer. 

Purpose of spring washers

As mentioned previously, spring washers play an important role in the construction and joining of objects together. This is mainly in industries that use high-vibration machinery, such as electrical, industrial, oil and gas, where washers are needed to limit movement, absorb shock loads, and give controlled reactions to dynamic loads. 

In addition, spring washers may also be used in transportation-related industries such as automotive, aircraft, and marine, as well as in household appliances such as washing machines. 

Final thoughts

Whether you are a DIY handyman or a professional contractor, it is important that you have all the right tools and equipment to be able to install, build, and repair things. A tool that can really come in handy, especially when trying to hold objects together is a spring washer.

For more information, refer to our post and read about the different types of spring washers and how they are used in construction.