“How can we distribute the loads of threaded fasteners in a simple way?”
When working in engineering, we often have to consider how the loads of threaded fasteners such as a nut will impact a project. Often times, these parts will cause damage onto surrounding objects due to their threaded nature. So, how could we prevent such problems from happening without having to add too much complexity to the system? Well, let’s use our engineering mindset to think about it for a moment. If we do some research, we can find out that circular geometries are superb ways to safely distribute a load due to their symmetric nature. Also, since nuts are usually on the very small scale, we don’t have to have too much weight to absorb the resulting load. So what if we were to create thin, ring-like materials to cover up the burden resulting from the fastener? This is the exact idea behind a very common piece used in engineering called a washer. Washers can be not only be used to intake loads from a fastener, but can also be used spacers, springs, locking devices, and vibration reducers. Different sizes of washers can be identified by the size of their inner hole and their outer diameter. All in all, washers are another example of the ingenuity of the human species.