A Short Article On Mechanical Fasteners

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A mechanical fastener is a device that is used to mechanically join (or fasten or affixes) two or more objects together. In general, fasteners are used to create non-permanent joints; that is, joints that can be removed or dismantled without damaging the joining components.

A welding joint or riveted joint can be termed as a permanent joint, which if required to be removed tends to damage or destruct both the joining components as well as the joint itself.

Mechanical fasteners are usually made of stainless steel, carbon steel, or alloy steel. There are many different types of mechanical fasteners being used in many different industry sectors. Some of them that are extensively being used in the process piping industry will be detailed out in this article.


Nuts are flat steel pieces, usually hexagonal in shape with internally cut threads. Nuts are almost always used in conjunction with a mating bolt to fasten multiple parts together. The two partners are kept together by a combination of their threads and compression of the parts to be held together.

The most common shape for nuts today is hexagonal, for similar reasons as the bolt head. Six sides give a good granularity of angles for a tool to approach from (good in tight spots), but more (and smaller) corners would be vulnerable to being rounded off. It takes only one sixth of a rotation to obtain the next side of the hexagon and grip is optimal.

A wide variety of nuts exists, from household hardware versions to specialized industry-specific designs that are engineered to meet various technical standards.

Bolts and nuts can be made of various materials such as steel, titanium, bronze etc. The finish or plating on a metal bolt or nut affects its look and durability. Below are some common finishes and benefits:

  • Zinc – Most common, low cost, resists corrosion and rust

  • Nickel – Very hard finish, higher investment, good corrosion resistance

  • Chromium – Bright finish, good rust and corrosion resistance

  • Chromate – Adds color, shine, superior rust resistance

  • Anodizing – Aluminum, hard oxide surface, excellent corrosion resistance


A washer is a thin plate (typically disk-shaped) with a hole (typically in the center) that is normally used to distribute the load of a threaded fastener, such as a bolt or nut. Washers can also relieve friction, prevent corrosion or leakage, maintain tension and may serve as a spacer. High-quality bolted joints require hardened steel washers to prevent the loss of pre-load due to permanent indentation after the torque is applied. Washers are also important for preventing galvanic corrosion, particularly by insulating steel screws from aluminium surfaces.

Washers can be categorized into three types;

  • Plain washers, which distribute the load to a relatively larger area minimizing the stress present in the bolt and nut while preventing damage to the surface being fixed.

  • Spring washers, which have axial flexibility and are used to prevent fastening or loosening due to vibrations.

  • Locking washers, which prevent fastening or loosening by preventing unscrewing rotation of the fastening device. Locking washers is a type of spring washer.

Anchor Bolts & Screws

Anchor Bolt is a type of heavy-duty fastener that’s designed to allow objects to be attached to concrete surface. The bolt head is usually embedded in concrete leaving the threaded end exposed. The threaded end is attached to the connecting object with the help of nuts.

Anchor bolts are used widely for foundation purposes. They are used for anchoring and erecting structures and/or industrial equipment where durability and stability is required. Concrete forms, columns, foundations and pads are the most popular mediums where anchor bolts are used.



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