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​Are Disc Spring Washers Effective Against Bolt Loosening?

May. 31, 2024

Spring washers, also known as disc springs or conical washers, use spring loads to create axial flexibility, counteracting settlements and maintaining an initial level of preload.


These washers are installed between the bolt head or nut and the mating surface. Their mechanical capabilities rely on their conical shape. When subjected to a load, the washer undergoes elastic deformation and then returns to its pre-deflected shape. They can be stacked to adjust deflection and load capacity without significantly affecting the forces. The forces created by the washers vary depending on the material thickness, curvature, and size, allowing the operator to customize the spring loads as needed.


How Do Disc Spring Washers Work?


When a disc spring washer is compressed, it flattens out, providing a counteracting force against the load. This force helps to maintain tension in bolted joints, preventing the bolts from loosening due to vibration, thermal expansion, or other dynamic forces. The washers can be stacked in various configurations (series, parallel, or combination) to achieve the desired load and deflection characteristics.


Disc Spring Washer

Effectiveness of Disc Spring Washers in Preventing Bolt Loosening


Vibration Resistance


One of the primary reasons bolts loosen is due to vibration. Disc spring washers are highly effective in dampening vibrations, as their spring-like action maintains constant pressure on the bolted joint. This pressure counteracts the forces that cause bolts to loosen, ensuring that the joint remains secure even under dynamic conditions.


Load Distribution


Disc spring washers provide uniform load distribution across the bolted joint, reducing the risk of bolt fatigue and failure. By evenly distributing the load, these washers minimize stress concentrations that can lead to loosening or damage over time.


Thermal Expansion Compensation


In applications where thermal expansion and contraction occur, disc spring washers can compensate for these changes by maintaining consistent tension. As the materials expand and contract with temperature fluctuations, the washers adjust to preserve the integrity of the bolted joint.


Long-Term Reliability


Disc spring washers are known for their durability and long-term reliability. Their robust construction and resistance to wear and corrosion ensure that they can perform effectively over extended periods, providing ongoing protection against bolt loosening.


Applications of Disc Spring Washers


Automotive Industry


In the automotive industry, disc spring washers are used in critical applications such as engine assembly, suspension systems, and transmission components. Their ability to maintain tension and resist vibration makes them ideal for ensuring the safety and reliability of vehicles.


Aerospace Industry


The aerospace industry relies on disc spring washers for their high load capacity and reliability in extreme conditions. These washers are used in aircraft engines, landing gear, and other critical components where bolt integrity is essential for safety.


Construction and Heavy Machinery


Disc spring washers are also used in construction and heavy machinery to secure structural bolts and joints. Their ability to withstand high loads and dynamic forces makes them suitable for applications such as bridges, cranes, and earth-moving equipment.


Comparison with Other Types of Washers


Flat Washers


Flat washers are simple, flat discs that provide a larger bearing surface but do not offer the same load-deflection characteristics as disc spring washers. While they can help distribute loads and protect surfaces, they do not effectively prevent bolt loosening due to vibration or dynamic forces.


Lock Washers


Lock washers, such as split or toothed washers, are designed to prevent bolt loosening by creating friction between the bolt head and the surface. However, they can lose effectiveness over time, especially under conditions of high vibration or thermal cycling. Disc spring washers, with their predictable load-deflection characteristics, provide more reliable long-term performance.




Disc spring washers are highly effective in preventing bolt loosening due to their ability to maintain tension, dampen vibrations, distribute loads evenly, and compensate for thermal expansion. Their robustness and reliability make them suitable for a wide range of applications in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and construction.


For more information on disc spring washers or to explore our range of high-quality fastening solutions, please contact us. As a leading supplier of mechanical components, we are committed to providing innovative solutions to meet your engineering needs.


Disc Spring Washer