Nuts are commonly used in conjunction with threaded fasteners to join multiple parts together. You can use them with bolts, for instance. Nuts have internal threading that supports mating with the external threading of bolts.
Over time, however, nuts may loosen. You can tighten a nut by turning it clockwise around the bolt. Turning a nut counterclockwise, conversely, will loosen it. Nuts can even loosen on their own when exposed to vibrations. Fortunately, self-locking nuts are available to protect against vibration-related loosening.
Overview of Self-Locking Nuts
Self-locking nuts are nuts that lock in place. They are still used in conjunction with threaded fasteners, and they feature the same type of internal threading as their traditional counterparts. Twisting a self-locking nut onto a bolt, though, will lock it in place.
Self-Locking Nuts vs Traditional Nuts
Traditional nuts will typically loosen when exposed to vibrations, whereas self-locking nuts are designed specifically to withstand vibrations without loosening.
Also known as locking nuts, self-locking nuts feature some type of built-in mechanism to resist loosening. Some of them have a deforming elastic base. As you twist them onto a bolt, the base will deform. It will then apply a counter force against the bolt that protects it from vibration-related loosening.
Self-locking nuts and traditional nuts are available in many of the same materials. You can find them in stainless steel, carbon steel and other heavy-duty materials. The difference is that self-locking nuts feature some type of mechanism to resist loosening. They may have an elastic base. Even if a self-locking nut is made of stainless steel or carbon steel, it may feature an elastic base that allows it to withstand vibrations without loosening.
When to Use Self-Locking Nuts
You may want to use self-locking nuts in applications where vibrations are common. Machines, for instance, will often produce vibrations. As a machine vibrates, some of its fasteners may loosen. The machine’s nuts may separate from the bolts with which they are used.
Loose nuts such as this can jeopardize the performance and integrity of machines. Self-locking nuts, though, are protected against vibration-related loosening. They won’t prevent machines from vibrations. Nonetheless, self-locking nuts won’t separate from the bolts with which they are used if the machine begins to vibrate.
Self-locking nuts are commonly used in the aerospace manufacturing industry. Like machines, airplanes produce vibrations. Airplanes will produce vibrations, and exposure to these vibrations can cause their nuts to loosen. But self-locking nuts will lock in place, thus making them a popular choice among aerospace manufacturers.