Washers are small but very handy hardware materials that are used in almost every industry, machinery, factories and even domestic spaces. The idea of installing a washer between a nut and a bolt is not only to ensure that the pressure on the nut is distributed evenly but also prevent the nut from loosening.
The minute you think of a washer, we’re sure you picture a metal one. However, not many people know that plastic washers are a great substitute to metal washers and in certain aspects, they are more preferred and efficient than the metal ones. Here’s why.
- Vibration: Unlike metal washers, plastic washers are not subject to high levels of resonance that is a common occurrence in industrial products and appliances. This resonance causes vibrations which in turn may cause friction and sparks in your applications that can cause hazardous situations. Plastic, on the other hand, does not experience resonance the levels at which metal does. Also, plastic is a poor conductor of heat and electricity hence does not cause friction as metal does.
- Rust: Metal washers rust over time and hinder the proper functioning of the appliance. On the other hand, if your plastic washer is made of good quality plastic, you can be assured that it will last you just as long as metal washers, without all the rust and mess accumulating and will not come in the way of the functioning of the appliances.
- Anti-magnetic properties: Plastic washers are preferred over metal ones due to their anti-magnetic property. They also can withstand high temperatures and do not experience any sparking problems. In fact, plastic washers can withstand even excessive exposure to chemicals, acids, fluids, and other eroding materials more effectively than metal hence making them the preferred choice for a host of industries that engage themselves in hazardous chemical works.
There are various types of plastic washers, each coming with their own benefits and drawbacks. They are:
- Nylon: Nylon is a strong raw material and is the most widely used product for washers in many hardware applications. It is also a cost-effective solution.
- High-density Polyethylene (HDP): In situations where highly strong chemicals are involved, but at the same time you are required to use metal nuts and bolts, plastic washers are used making Polyethylene as it can withstand high exposure even to highly reactive chemicals and other corrosive agents.
- Low-density Polyethylene (LDP): Low-density Polyethylene has tremendous resistance to hazardous liquids such as acids and alcohols. It also is sturdy and can withstand strong impact forces. It works well in appliances that involve water exposure as it absorbs very less water compared to other types of plastic and is hence used in refrigerators and industrial freezing. In fact, LDP is a preferred choice over HDP in many applications.
- PTFE: For requirements that involve exposure to extremely high temperatures, PTFE is an apt choice. It has strong insulation properties in comparison to other plastic variants.
Plastic washers are used across a score of industries including construction, FMCG, mining, aerospace, electronics, automotive among others. Plastic is indeed bad for the environment and is not an easily degradable substance.
But in some cases where friction, magnetism and other hazardous problems are involved, plastic washers are more efficient, safe and suitable to use than any other substance. In fact, we as a society must consciously reduce single-use plastic like straws and bottles and employ the benefits of plastic where it is actually necessary and prudent.
So, the next time you are on the lookout for washers for your industrial or domestic job, do give plastic washers a chance.