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Disc Springs vs. Belleville Washers: What's the Differences

Aug. 29, 2023

In the world of mechanical engineering, small components often play a critical role in ensuring the functionality, reliability, and longevity of machines and systems. Two such components, disc springs and Belleville washers, may appear similar at first glance, but they possess distinct characteristics and applications that set them apart. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the differences between these two components, understanding their designs, functionalities, and the scenarios in which they excel.


 Understanding Disc Springs


Disc springs, also known as spring washers, conical springs, or Belleville springs (although there's a slight difference between a Belleville washer and a Belleville spring), are a type of compression spring. They are characterized by their conical shape, which allows them to provide a high amount of force in a relatively compact space. Disc springs are often used in situations where a dynamic load needs to be absorbed, controlled, or returned to its original position.


 Design and Functionality


The design of a disc spring consists of a series of conical discs stacked on top of each other. These discs are slightly curved, with the outer diameter larger than the inner diameter. This geometry allows the disc spring to exert force when compressed. When a load is applied to the stack of discs, they flatten and exert a proportional force based on their deflection. The greater the deflection, the higher the force exerted by the spring.




Disc springs find applications in various industries and scenarios:


1. High Load Requirements: They are particularly useful in situations where a high force needs to be exerted within a limited space. This includes heavy machinery, automotive suspensions, and industrial equipment.


2. Dynamic Load Absorption: Belleville disc springs are effective in absorbing shocks and vibrations, making them suitable for applications in vehicles, construction machinery, and damping systems.


3. Preload and Bolted Joints: They are often used in bolted joints to maintain preload on the bolts, ensuring a secure connection even in conditions of thermal expansion or contraction.


Belleville disc springs

 Understanding Belleville Washers


Belleville washers are a subset of disc springs and are specifically designed for applications that involve maintaining tension and preventing loosening in bolted connections. They are also known as conical washers or cupped spring washers. The primary function of Belleville washers is to act as locking devices that provide consistent tension and prevent fasteners from loosening due to vibration or other external forces.


 Design and Functionality


Belleville washers are characterized by their cupped or conical shape, with a slight curvature that allows them to compress and exert pressure on bolted connections. Unlike traditional flat washers, Belleville washers generate a spring force that counteracts the loosening effects of vibrations and dynamic loads. When a bolted connection is subjected to external forces, the Belleville washer provides continuous tension to keep the fasteners in place.




Belleville washers are commonly used in scenarios where bolted connections are at risk of loosening:


1. Heavy Machinery: They find applications in the construction and manufacturing industries, where large machinery is subjected to vibrations and shocks.


2. Aerospace: In aerospace applications, where safety and reliability are paramount, Belleville washers help maintain tension in critical fasteners.


3. Automotive: In automotive systems, such as engines and suspensions, Belleville washers play a role in preventing bolted joints from coming loose.


Belleville Washers

 Key Differences


While both disc springs and Belleville washers share the conical shape, their primary functions and applications differ:


- Function: Disc springs are general-purpose compression springs used for absorbing, controlling, or returning forces, while Belleville washers are specifically designed for maintaining tension and preventing loosening in bolted connections.


- Applications: Disc springs are versatile and can be used in various applications, including absorbing dynamic loads. Belleville washers, on the other hand, are specialized for applications involving bolted connections prone to loosening.


- Force Generation: Disc springs generate force through deflection, making them suitable for various load-absorption scenarios. Belleville washers generate a consistent spring force that maintains tension in bolted connections.


- Use Cases: Disc springs can be used in scenarios requiring dynamic load absorption, while Belleville washers are ideal for applications where preventing bolted joint loosening is critical.




Both disc springs and Belleville washers are essential components in engineering, contributing to the stability, safety, and efficiency of various systems. While they share some similarities in terms of shape, their distinct designs and functions make them suited for different applications. Whether it's absorbing dynamic loads with disc springs or preventing bolted joint loosening with Belleville washers, understanding their differences empowers engineers to make informed decisions when selecting the right component for a particular scenario.

HEGONG SPRING is established in 2000, also a member of SHANGHAI HEWEI GROUP which is state- owned enterprise, with headquarter in Shanghai. 


Specialize in Designing & Manufacturing of Various Standard & Custom springs with high quality, including Belleville Springs (DIN2093 Disc Springs), Belleville Washers DIN6796, Wave Springs, Corrosion Resistant Disc Springs, High Temperature/Cryogenic Disc Springs, Disc Springs for Ball Bearing, Disc springs for Valves, Flange Bloting Washers, Serrated Safety Washers, U-Shaped springs for elevator safety gear, Volute Springs, High temperature resistant cylindrical compression springs and other elastic elements.

Certified by ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018.


HEGONG SPRING owns a number of patents, is a High-Tech enterprise certificated by Chinese Shanghai government, a Council memeber of CMCA (China General Machine Components Industry Association).

Please contact us: https://www.discspringsmfg.com/contact-us/ for professional help if you need it.