SkyGeek knows aviation involves managing an assortment of tasks and functions. Certainly pilots and mechanics know this. With so much on their plate it's easy to forget about small parts including thin, round plates. That's right, we're talking about washers—those disk-shaped pieces of hardware.
Washers work by attaching themselves to fasteners such as screws or nuts. They serve as a means of distributing a threaded fastener's load and can also be used as spacers and as a way to curb vibrational forces.
Washers can be organized into types—plain washers, lock washers, and special washers. Plain washers are placed under nuts in order to provide a smooth bearing surface; they also act as a shim for a bolt's thread and its adjacent nut. Whenever castellated or self-locking nuts are not used, lock washers are often employed; they are anti-vibration, i.e. they create enough friction to keep a nut in place. "Special washers" is a term that has a broad scope, meaning it refers to washers designed for special applications. Thus, there is no single special washer but many including ball seat and socket washers—just to name a few.
A washer's material is useful in determining the appropriate one. Generally they come in metal (steel, brass, copper) but can also come in plastic or rubber. When choosing a washer, also consider these variables: thickness, inner diameter, and outer diameter. Because SkyGeek carries a growing inventory of washers that meet or exceed U.S. military specifications, we suggest you click on each series of washer and compare the differences so that you can make the best purchase.