Common Fastener Types and Their Applications

Fasteners find use in countless applications, allowing individuals to assemble and secure furniture, aircraft, buildings, and so much more. To accommodate a wide range of materials, loads, sizes, and other assembly characteristics, there are many types of fasteners that one may use. As each differs in their design and capabilities, it can be highly beneficial to have a general understanding of the most basic fastener types before making a purchasing decision. 


Bolts are a common type of threaded fastener, typically coming in the form of a threaded shaft with a head on one end. For their installation, bolts are passed through the hole of a component, secured with the use of mating nuts and washer components. Bolts are useful for creating bolted joints, relying on the use of the nuts to create an axial clamping force. Bolts may be used to secure numerous materials, and their common types include hex, slotted hex, and socket cap variations. The nuts paired with bolts may also vary in their type, hex nuts being a commonly used component.


Screws are regularly compared to bolts, featuring a threaded shank and a head on one end. Their difference, however, is the method in which they secure materials together. Typically, a screw is driven into a material, capable of forming its own threading as it is turned. This allows for an internal thread to be formed, pulling materials together for the prevention of pull-out. Screws may vary in their type to accommodate the surface that they are installed in, and they are often used for wood, sheet metal, and plastic assemblies.


Washers are often paired with bolts and nuts, serving to distribute their loads. While varying in type, washers often come in the form of thin plates that have a hole in their center. With this hole, a threaded fastener may be passed through, the head resting on the washer for load distribution. Alongside such roles, washers may also serve as a spacer, wear pad, locking device, vibration reducer, and more. Generally, the most commonly used washers include the plain, spring, and locking washer.


Rivets are a form of permanent mechanical fastener, often coming in the form of a component with a smooth cylindrical shaft and a head on one side. The side opposite of the head is known as the tail, and this end is passed through the hole of components for installation. Once placed in a hole, a tool is used to upset the tail-end, causing it to expand in size to form a second head. This ensures that the rivet stays secure. Coming in numerous forms, rivets are commonly used for the construction of boats, aircraft, bridges, and more.


Common to woodworking and construction, nails are fasteners constructed from metal or wood that have a sharp end on one side and a head on the other. Using a hammer or nail gun, nails can be driven into a material, securing materials to an object through axial friction or lateral shear strength. Generally, nails are used for hanging objects, assembling materials together, and more.

Beyond such fasteners, one may also take advantage of anchors, coupling components, and other various components for their needs. When you are in the market for top quality fasteners that you can steadily rely on for your various projects, there is no better alternative to Aerospace Unlimited. Unmatched in our lead-times and offering competitive pricing on over 2 billion items, we are well suited to meet your various requirements with ease. Call or email us today and get connected with a sales representative who can assist you throughout the purchasing process however necessary.


February 11, 2021
August 5, 2020

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