Ways to Protect Steel Flat Washers Against Rust

Washers are thin plate usually disk-shaped with a hole in the middle. Washers seem to be small but its function should not be underestimated. Many industries use it to evenly distribute the load of threaded fasteners like bolts and nuts. Aside from that, it can be used as a spacer or spring. Additionally, many use it to reduce the vibration preventing the loosening of fasteners.

Washers have three types – plain (like a flat washer, fender washer, spherical washer, anchor plate, and torque washer), spring (like Belleville washer, crescent washer, dome spring washer, finger spring washer, and wave spring washer) and lock (like an external tooth, internal tooth and helical). It also comes in different sizes and diameters.

If you need a flat washer, you should be aware that it is made of different materials like metal, plastic, rubber, and fiber. Steel washers are considered standard washers used for general-purpose fastening. It is placed under or above the head of a bolt or nut to dissipate clamping force and prevent the fasteners from pulling through the materials. Most use 1010 Steel Flat Washers.

Even though washers are small components, it is crucial that you keep it functional. You need to prevent it from rusting. Rust is the discoloration that builds up on metal. It happens when metal objects are exposed to moisture and oxygen. Rust is not about keeping the appearance but if left untreated, it can completely destroy the entire structure.

With this, how to protect steel flat washers against rust? Here’s a list:

Evaluating the design

You have to know that proper planning, especially during the designing stage, can significantly minimise water penetration. Through this, you are reducing the risk of rusting. If the washer is near cavities and crevices, you should seal it. For joints, you can consider welding it instead of bolting. Aside from minimising water penetration, the design should allow for air to properly circulate. For large structures, it should be accessible to maintain regular maintenance.

flat washers

Considering galvanisation

Galvanisation is a process that coats the surface of the metal with an external layer of metallic zinc. This is usually done through electroplating or hot-dip galvanising. The zinc layer serves as a protective layer that will keep the corrosive substances from penetrating into the metal. Basically, the zinc will act as a sacrificial layer.

Choosing bluing

Bluing is a technique that provides limited protection against the rust, especially for small steel items. The finish gives a blue-black appearance. This is accomplished by submerging the steel parts into a potassium nitrate, sodium hydroxide, and water solution.

Opting for organic coating

The cost-effective way to protect metal parts against rust is through organic coatings. The organic coating works by providing a barrier against the corrosive elements. The ideal coating for preventing the oxygen and water penetration is oil-based. Typically, the organic coating is about fifteen to twenty-five micrometer thick.

Thinking about regular maintenance

Regular maintenance is important as it can stop the formation of rust. In some cases, if rust is already there, maintenance can halt its progress. It is crucial that you remove the rust through a razor blade. The grime should also be removed through warm water and soap. Then you can start to put the rust-resistant coating.