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An Overview of Belleville Washers

Jun. 17, 2024

Belleville washers, also known as Belleville spring washers, cupped spring washers, coned-disc springs, conical spring washers, and disc springs, are unique conical-shaped metal discs designed to support heavy loads with minimal deflection. They are an excellent choice for applications that require high load-bearing capacity along with resistance to vibrations and thermal expansion. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the design, applications, advantages, and disadvantages of Belleville washers, as well as how to choose the right one for your specific needs.


The distinct conical, spring-like shape of Belleville washers allows them to compress and exert an equal amount of force when subjected to heavy loads. Unlike conventional helical springs, which consist of multiple coils, Belleville washers flatten under load, enhancing load security and providing resilience against vibrations and other challenging conditions. These characteristics make Belleville washers particularly suitable for managing heavy loads in confined spaces or meeting specific spring load requirements. However, they are not ideal for very light loads, as they do not deflect properly under such conditions.


Applications of Belleville Washers

Belleville washers, originating from the designs of Julien Belleville in 1867, were initially employed in military applications such as landmines, artillery, and bolt action rifles.


Today, Belleville washers are utilized across diverse industries including aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, valve manufacturing, energy, and medical sectors. Their versatility has expanded beyond military uses to a wide range of civilian applications. Key uses include:


- Automotive Industry: Supporting pistons and cylinders in automobiles to reduce vibrations and noise while ensuring mechanical integrity.


- Construction: Used as stacks under buildings to dampen vibrations, particularly in seismic-prone regions.


- Aerospace Industry: Employed to indicate swelling or shrinkage of wooden propellers in aircraft, thereby enhancing safety and performance.


- Manufacturing: Used in manufacturing processes to maintain stability, prevent thermal expansion, and ensure optimal functioning of machinery.


Belleville washers continue to play a crucial role in various industrial applications due to their ability to handle heavy loads, provide resilience against vibrations, and maintain structural integrity under challenging conditions.


Belleville Spring Washers

How Belleville Washers Work


Belleville washers utilize their unique conical shape to function as springs, compressing and providing resistance when bolts and nuts are tightened. Their convex design ensures optimal axial loading, making them highly effective in distributing loads evenly and absorbing shocks. Properly chosen and installed Belleville washers can significantly enhance machinery reliability and prevent bolt failures.


The performance of Belleville washers varies depending on how they are stacked and used together:


- Stacking in the Same Direction: Increases load capacity. Two washers double the load capacity, three washers triple it, and so on.


- Stacking in Opposite Directions: Increases deflection. Two washers double the deflection, three washers triple it, and so forth.


- Combination Stacking: Combining both methods increases both load capacity and deflection. For example, stacking two sets of washers in parallel but facing opposite directions.


Belleville washers can also be used in conjunction with flat washers to achieve specific performance characteristics. Their versatility and reliable performance make them indispensable in various industrial applications.


Design and Manufacture of Belleville Washers


Belleville washers are manufactured in accordance with standards such as DIN 2093 and DIN 6796. DIN 2093 specifies calculations for predictable deflection based on applied loads. DIN 6796 specifically addresses heavy-duty Belleville washers used in static applications, particularly in bolted joint tightening.


A crucial stage in the manufacturing process is presetting, where the washer is temporarily flattened to reduce its original unloaded height. Preset Belleville washers are commonly employed to maintain load or tension in bolted assemblies, ensuring consistent performance and reliability.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Belleville Washers


Belleville washers offer several advantages, including the ability to conserve space, provide a long service life, work in conjunction with coiled springs, and distribute loads evenly. They also excel in absorbing shocks, preventing bolt failures, and maintaining the positioning accuracy of ball bearings. However, it is crucial to choose the right washer for your application. Using them inappropriately can lead to disadvantages such as excessive compression for lighter loads.


Choosing the Correct Belleville Washer


Selecting the appropriate Belleville washer for your application requires careful consideration of factors such as load requirements, environmental conditions, and bolt specifications. To choose the right washer, follow these steps:


1. Determine the Load: Calculate the anticipated load that the washer will bear to determine the necessary spring rate and deflection characteristics.


2. Select the Material: Choose a material that can withstand the specific environmental conditions of your application, whether it involves high temperatures, corrosive agents, or other challenging factors.


3. Choose the Right Size: Ensure the washer is sized appropriately to fit securely around the bolt, providing sufficient support and ensuring optimal performance.




Belleville washers play a crucial role across diverse industries, providing reliable load-bearing and shock-absorption capabilities. Their unique conical design enables them to distribute loads evenly, making them invaluable in numerous applications. To fully utilize Belleville washers, it's essential to carefully select the appropriate type, size, and material based on your specific requirements, as well as consider the optimal stacking method. With their versatility and effectiveness, Belleville washers significantly contribute to enhancing the reliability and performance of machinery and equipment across various sectors.

Belleville Spring Washers