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Distributor's Link Magazine Fall Issue 2017 / Vol 40 No4

26 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

26 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Guy Avellon Guy Avellon has been in MRO and Fastener Distribution for over 30 years, in such positions Sales Engineer, Chief Engineer, Manager of Product Marketing, Product Engineering & Quality and Director of Quality & Engineering. He founded GT Technical Consultants where he performs failure analysis, lectures on fastener safety, works for law firms and designs/audits Quality systems. He is a member of SAE, is Vice Chairman of the ASTM F16 Fastener Committee, Chairman of the F16.01 Test Methods Committee and received the ASTM Award of Merit in 2005. Guy can be contacted at 847- 477-5057, Email: ExpertBoltGuy@gmail.com or visit www.BoltFailure.com. WHAT FASTENER DISTRIBUTORS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WASHERS Many times, the question is asked; do we still need washers? The short answer is: yes. Besides adding a line item to an order, flat washers will offer the customer several advantages; if the surface is rough, the washer covers it and provides a smooth and even load bearing surface; against softer materials, the washer will prevent embedment of the nut or bolt head into the joint material; the washer will protect the surface of the joint material; the washer will assure joint integrity by bridging slightly oversized holes to provide support to the fastener; promote electrical conductivity and contribute to the vibration resistance of the connection. The maintenance supervisor may have ordered Grade 8 bolts and nuts but the P.O. just says ‘washers’, it is best to match all of the products with the same performance characteristics, as there are several choices to make; plain or hardened, USS or SAE, plain finish, plated or galvanized? USS or SAE? Among the first known commercial flat washers were the wide style USS flat washers. The USS designation was derived from the name “Unified Standard Series.” At the time, coarse threaded fasteners were also called USS bolts. Even today, many will still refer to coarse threaded bolts as being USS and will also believe that the USS flat washer is meant to be used with the ‘USS’ coarse threaded bolt. As we shall later see, this is not the case and is incorrect for many applications. The ‘USS’ term has since been replaced with the UNC designation, which represents Unified National Coarse, to properly identify this thread style. The USS flat washer was first developed in the early CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE 19th century for applications involving compressible materials, such as wood, thin sheet metal, etc. The outside diameter was wide enough to provide a large surface area to prevent embedment of the bolt head into the material and minimize joint compression while the inside diameter was large enough to accommodate bolts with very loose tolerances for handmade bolts of that era. Since the Great Industrial Revolution, more equipment and machines were made of steel, which did not compress as did the wood. Therefore, the smaller, more compact SAE flat washer was developed and named after the Society of Automotive Engineers. The inside diameter of the SAE flat washer is much closer to the diameter of the size of bolt it is to mate with since the bolts of today are all manufactured to close tolerances by machine from cold forming to hot heading. The outside diameter of the SAE flat washer is also smaller as it does not need to provide for a large load bearing surface area to prevent compression as did the USS washer against compressible materials. Figure 1 illustrates the dimensional differences between the same internally sized flat washers: the USS flat washer being on the left and the SAE washer on the right. FIGURE 1 CONTINUED ON PAGE 130

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