The Power Of Spacing And Sealing: 6 Washers Materials Explained

Washers are an integral part of much of the equipment and appliances we use every day. The fasteners create a tough barrier and will reliably space and seal two surfaces. Washers prevent leaks, keep fastener assemblies tight, and allow an easy way to adjust parts if needed. 

Washers have an impressive number of applications. They can be found in piping, cars, electronics, medical equipment, furniture, home appliances, and many other settings. They come in an expansive range of shapes and sizes. Lots of people are aware of that, but few understand how much the material of the washer can affect an installation.

Factors To Consider When Choosing The Right Washer Materials

When choosing the best washer material for your purposes, it’s important to consider:

  • Pressure
  • Temperature
  • Media Compatibility 
  • Application
  • Lifecycle Costs

This is why you’ll want to be familiar with common washer materials, including many non-metal varieties.

Cork Washers

Cupped or flat washers made of cork are highly compressible. They have an impressive flexibility, making them suitable for numerous applications. Cork has an expansive nature, which makes these washers an excellent choice for strong sealing.

Cork washers are often used for objects that are exposed to oil, fuel, and solvents. They come in round and square design. Many manufacturers offer customized shapes for various applications.

Metal Washers

Metal washers are highly popular due to their structural integrity, versatility, and variation of properties. They are used for multi-purpose and heavy-duty needs. Metal can withstand extreme pressure, temperatures, and exposure to some chemicals—depending on the addition of certain coatings and treatments. These washers can expand and contract naturally due to the physical properties of the metal.

Metal washers have become popular because they are long-lasting, durable, economical, and versatile. They’re ideal for spacing but they don’t always seal out moisture as well as washers made from softer material.

Silicone Washers

Silicone washers are pliable yet strong. They are a common addition to household fixtures and appliances, as well as industrial equipment. Though silicone is soft, it’s resistant to extreme temperatures and corrosion.

These washers have excellent UV and ozone properties, which makes them suitable for outdoor uses regardless of the environment. They can be used as gaskets, sealing out moisture and preventing leaks. 

Rubber Washers

Rubber washers are frequently used for their sealing capabilities, as well as their ability to insulate electricity. Custom rubber washers in all sizes can be manufactured for numerous applications.

These washers have been used as gaskets in fixtures, piping, and other applications. Though newer materials like neoprene are sometimes used instead, they are still a reliable and economical choice.   

Fiber Washers

Fiber washers are made out of different materials, including cellulose, non-organic, and aramid fibers. These materials are sometimes mixed with rubber for added elasticity. Fiber washers usually do a good job of adding insulation to a fastener assembly.

Fiberglass Washers

Fiberglass washers are useful for heavy-duty applications when a non-metal washer is needed. They can withstand excessive pressure up to 2,000 psi. They are sufficiently flexible, durable and can withstand high temperatures. 

While silicone washers can withstand a temperature of about 500°F, their fiberglass counterparts can deal with up to 1,200°F. These washers provide an excellent insulation while helping protect the machinery.

Final Thoughts

Numerous washer materials exist for different purposes. Failing to choose the right material may lead to breakdowns, downtime, damages, and injuries. The above common washer materials can take care of the majority of industrial and commercial needs.