When it comes to fastener materials there are also many different options based on the chosen use or application of the fastener. These include common steel and titanium as well as plastic and even more exotic materials. These materials are then often segregated into different grades which describe anything from alloy mixtures to different hardening processes used. Fastener material is an important step to choosing the right fastener for application based on differences in strength, corrosion resistance, and cost.
The more popular fastener materials include stainless steel which is highly corrosion resistance and is stronger than an un hardened steel. However because of its low carbon content stainless steel fasteners cannot be hardened making weaker than a hardened steel fastener.
Steel is by far the most common fastener and are available plain as well with carious treatments like chrome and zinc plating. Steel has four common grades: Grade 2, Grade 5, Grade 8 and Alloy Steel.
Grade 2 is a standard steel and is most common and least expensive.
Grade 5 steel fasteners are hardened to increase strength and are most commonly used in the automotive industry.
Grade 8 fasteners are hardened even more than grade 5 steel fasteners and are thus stronger and used in more demanding applications.
Alloy Steel is the strongest of fasteners as they are made from high strength alloy and further heat treated. While alloy steel fasteners are extremely strong they are also very brittle.
Silicone bronze is another common fastener material and is sometimes plainly referred to as bronze. Silicon bronze is an allow which is mostly copper and tin with a small amount of silicon. Because of its superior corrosion resistance and its strength it is the material of choice for wooden boat construction and re-fastening. You will also see bronze fasteners used in fine woodworking where it is used for its appearance.
Aluminum fasteners are a light, soft and corrosion resistant metal. Similar to stainless steel fasteners, aluminum fasteners are sought after due to their corrosion resistance that is inherent to the metal. Aluminum fasteners are constructed from a variety of aluminum alloys with metals such as magnesium iron, zinc and copper with silicon added to increase strength.
Brass fasteners are primarily copper and zinc. The use of brass fasteners is fairly limited because it is relatively soft compared to other metals. It is used primarily for its appearance and is also highly corrosion resistant and electrically conductive.
In addition to the actual material of the fasteners there are several types of coating that are often applied.Many steel fasteners are plated with zinc as it is better for corrosion resistance. Typically if a fastener has been plated with zinc the fastener will have a shiny silver or gold look, usually referred to clear or yellow zinc.
Another common coating is hot dip galvanizing which essentially involves laying a layer of zinc. This puts a very thick layer of zinc coating on the metal which is ideal for superior corrosion resistance. Because of the added thickness from the layer of zinc these fasteners require special nuts that are tapped slighty larger to fit the extra coating. These fasteners are typically used in coastal environments to accommodate for the added moisture.
Finally chrome plating is a coating that is used for appearance. Like zinc plating it adds to the corrosion resistance but the main drawback to chrome is its higher cost.
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Many people think of nuts and bolts as a simple purchase, just one that fits and does the job. But as you can see in this article choosing the proper fastener and proper fastener is extremely important. We strive to educate our customers to make sure they are purchasing the right products for the job. Check out www.asmc.net for more information on fasteners.
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