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What are Types of Washers Used in Aircraft Construction?

Aircraft fasteners serve as one of the most important components of aircraft construction, allowing for parts to be fixed together through mechanical means. In general, various types of aviation hardware provide their unique roles that benefit assemblies, and commonly used components include nuts, screws, bolts, and more. One type of aviation hardware type that is often overlooked for its importance is the washer, that of which may be paired with threaded fasteners and other components to provide various benefits.

While there are many types of aircraft washers that may be used for assemblies, the general roles that washers play include load distribution, spacing, vibration absorption, and liquid protection. As washers often come in the form of flat, circular discs that have a hole placed in the middle, they can be paired with aircraft fasteners in order to distribute loads. To install washers, a screw or bolt may be passed through the hole of the washer, and the washer remains between the head of the fastener and the surface of the component that it is installed in. This pairing also holds true for the means of acting as a spacer, as a washer can ensure that the excess length of aircraft fasteners do not result in a protruding part as to protect other components. Furthermore, washers that are constructed from softer materials such as rubber or urethane can act as vibration absorbers for assemblies, protecting fasteners from loosening or damage that may be caused from such vibrational forces. For liquid protection, soft material washers are often implemented within piping systems in order to act as a seal, preventing the flow of fluids in or out of the system.

Depending on the application or need, a number of aircraft washers may be used. The plain washer serves as the most common type, often consisting of the standard flat metal ring with a central hole. Plain washers are most often used alongside screws and bolts to distribute their loads, though they may also be used for assemblies in which the hole of the component is too big for the corresponding nut. Plain washers are also paired with lock washers as well, ensuring that the surface of the component is not damaged. For the construction of plain washers, aluminum and aluminum alloys are most common, though varying metals may be used depending on the application and surface material.

Lock washers are useful for securing nut assemblies, as they provide friction that keeps the nut in place even when influenced by vibrational forces. While they are useful for screw, bolt, and nut assemblies, lock washers should not be used to secure primary or secondary structures, areas in which failure may cause danger, where screws are often removed, where washers are subject to extreme conditions, and other hazardous areas. Shakeproof lock washers are a special type of lock washer that has upward lips or tabs, and these help secure the nut in place. As compared to standard lock washers, shakeproof lock washer components can withstand higher temperatures and vibrational forces.

As assemblies come in many forms and may require specific requirements for optimal performance and safety, special washers may also be used to accommodate such situations. With ball socket and seat washers, a bolt may be installed into a component at an angle, allowing for precise alignment for specific assemblies. For internal wrenching bolts, countersunk washer types are beneficial, allowing for the bolt head shank radius to be seated well. In such situations, the countersunk washer is placed underneath the nut within the assembly.

Despite their simplistic construction and appearance, aircraft washers serve as critical components for aviation hardware assemblies. Whether you are in need of threaded fastener components, aircraft washers, and other aviation hardware pieces, let the experts at ASAP AM Spares help you secure everything you need to keep your operations running smoothly and efficiently. ASAP AM Spares is a leading supplier of all types of aircraft washers and aircraft hardware components, offering customers access to an unrivaled inventory complete with competitive pricing and rapid lead-times for your benefit. We invite you to explore our part catalogues at your leisure, and our team of industry experts are on standby 24/7x365 to assist you through the purchasing process as needed.


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