Rubber Washer Reference Site

Insulating And Sealing With Rubber Flat Washers

Rubber flat washers are spacing solutions that provide flexible support and stability between fasteners. They are used between screws, bolts, nuts, and the installation surface. These washers are frequently round, as they are meant to be paired with round and hexagonal shaped fasteners. They are also used in cylindrical hoses, pipes, and spouts. 

As with most flat washers, rubber flat washers will help to more evenly distribute force by extending the bearing range of an installation surface. They are, however, flexible and don’t offer the same type of rigid support as most metal and high-density plastic washers. 

Flat rubber washers provide a natural grip and cushioning effect. This makes them effective for holding and stabilizing fasteners and other parts in place. This same function contributes to damping of vibration, which is especially useful in applications with moving or motorized parts.    

Rubber is a natural insulator of electricity. This furthers the advantages that rubber flat washers provide in electronic appliances and similar placements. They can insulate components made from a variety of conductive materials in a range of settings.

Flat washers made from rubber can be very effective when used in a sealing capacity. They can contain the flow of liquids and gasses in many different settings, including plumbing, HVAC parts, processing containers, and more. This is because rubber provides the right combination of flexible cushioning and a sturdy grip. When they are properly sized for a connection, spout, or opening, they will be an effective seal that prevents leaks, even under pressure.

Rubber flat washers were once primarily made of natural rubber. This material is still in use and can be reliable in a range of applications. There is some potential for cracking and natural deterioration over time, which can be more likely to occur if the washer dries out, is exposed to certain chemicals, or is subject to severe temperatures. 

Many of these limitations are no longer an issue with rubber flat washers made from various synthetics and blended polymer-based materials. Silicone, EPDM, and Santoprene rubber washers have become popular alternatives to flat washers made from the natural form of the material.

When choosing a rubber flat washer for an application, it’s important to select the right measurements in terms of the inner and outer diameter. The thickness of the flat washer will also play a considerable role in its performance. A thinner flat rubber washer will be more flexible, which can make them more appropriate in applications that require a malleable and fitted sealing washer. Thicker rubber flat washers will be more sturdy. While they can provide some degree of cushioning and flex, thick rubber washers may be more suitable for keeping fasteners stationary and maintaining tension in various structural and equipment applications.   

Flat rubber washers can be sourced in standard and metric sizes from most fastener and hardware retailers. When specialty rubber flat washers are needed, including those that are odd-shaped or required for custom applications, then it may be necessary to purchase them directly from a larger fastener distributor or dedicated stamping manufacturer.

What Are Flat Rubber Washers Used For?

Flat rubber washers are used between fasteners and an installation surface to help maintain tension, prevent turning, and add support. They can also be used to insulate electricity, dampen vibration, and contain liquids and gasses when applied as a gasket. Rubber washers provide a firm but flexible cushion between parts and are used in many equipment-based, structural, and mechanical settings.  

Do Flat Rubber Washers Make Good Vibration Dampers?

Flat rubber washers can be effective for reducing tremor and vibration between fasteners and a surface. They are effective at gripping parts in place and absorbing shock or motion that might otherwise cause ratting in settings with moving parts. If vibration is severe or constant, dedicated vibration damping devices or extra thick rubber washers or shims may be more effective.