What Are Fasteners and Their Common Types?

Fasteners are an indispensable part of countless buildings, machinery, vehicles, and other assembly types, serving as hardware devices that join components and materials together through non-permanent joints. While some connections may be permanent in nature, the design of a fastener is to allow for the joined components to be removed from one another without being damaged. As vital components for engineering, fasteners come in many shapes and forms to accommodate a wide variety of applications and requirements. To help you familiarize yourself with fasteners and their importance, we will discuss some of the most common types and how they are used to join materials.


Bolts are a common fastener type, featuring threading that allows for the attachment of a correlating nut. Despite featuring a number of subtypes, the general design of a bolt is to have a head on one end of a long shaft with threading across a portion of the shaft. For their installation, the tail-end of a bolt may be passed through pre-established holes of elements before a nut is tightened on the other side to secure the assembly through an axial clamping force.


Nuts are a fastener type that feature a threaded hole, allowing them to mate with a bolt for establishing an assembly. The way in which a nut is able to remain tightly on the bolt is through the friction stemming between both fasteners’ threading, bolt stretching, and compression. Nuts may come in many types to facilitate certain application needs, an example being locknuts which are specifically designed to withstand vibration and rotation without coming loose. The most common designs are those with hexagonal shapes, allowing for ample torque to be provided during the installation phase for optimal tightness and security.


Screws are fairly similar to bolts in terms of their design, featuring an externally threaded shaft and a head on one end. However, their major difference lies in how they are installed in a component. While a bolt requires a pre-established hole and a mating nut, a screw can simply bore its way into the surface of materials to establish its own hole while pulling materials together to create security.


While washers cannot secure materials together by themselves, they play a pivotal role in supporting fasteners. Generally, washers come in the form of thin, disc-shaped plates that have a hole in the middle, and they can be combined with a screw, bolt, or nut to further distribute loads. Additionally, subtypes of washers may be used as spacers, wear pads, locking devices, and more, each varying in design and material to accommodate a specific need. 


Rivets are a type of permanent fastener, such components often being a smooth, cylindrical shank with a head on one end. While rivets are passed through pre-established holes of components much like bolts, their method of securing an assembly is what makes them very different. With a rivet hammer, gun, or similar tool, the tail-end of the rivet is deformed to create a second head on the opposite side of the assembly, ensuring that all parts are held together with high security. As a result, rivets can support the construction of aircraft and other assemblies that periodically undergo high amounts of stress.


Beyond such examples, there are many types of fasteners that one may use, all of which are offered on our website with competitive pricing and rapid lead-times. Industrial Part Sphere is a leading supplier of industrial parts, all of which have been sourced from top manufacturers that we trust. With over 2 billion items readily available for purchase at any time, we invite you to explore our website as you see fit, and our industry experts are always ready to assist you throughout the procurement process however you need. With our RFQ services, customers can rapidly request quotes for their comparisons with ease, and we guarantee responses within 15 minutes of receiving a completed form. Get started today and see how Industrial Part Sphere can fulfill your needs with time and cost savings.


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