Rubber Washer Reference Site

Thin Rubber Washers For Low-Profile Spacing

Thin rubber washers are flexible, compact spacing components that provide a number of advantages in industrial applications. A reduced thickness means that they do not significantly raise the profile fasteners or greatly affect the width of a joint. They still amount to an integral element within an assembly.

Because these rubber washers are thinner than standard types, they are excellent in certain capacities but may not be the best choice for others. Thin rubber washers can provide a light degree of cushioning and compression between parts, but not to the degree of thicker rubber washers. They therefore may not be effective shock absorbers, vibration isolators, or mounts.

Thin rubber washers are better used when a narrow barrier is needed between materials. This can be favorable if an effective but unobtrusive buffer is required under the heads of screws or bolts. They are also placed between a nut and installation surface. Rubber washers used in this capacity will help to prevent corrosion and other reactions between potentially incompatible materials.

Because rubber naturally has a high coefficient of friction and will compress, thin rubber washers are able to grip materials in place, thus preventing fasteners from rotating and losing tension over time. Reliable gripping capability combined with flexibility make them effective for sealing.

Thin rubber washers aren’t always placed between threaded fasteners but are instead used as gaskets or hose washers. As they will cling between connections, they can be used to seal in liquid and gases in pipework and the opening of spouts and valves. They are a common component used in plumbing, HVAC, and hydrodynamic systems because of this function.

Thin rubber washers can also be used to help insulate electricity in various electrical appliances. Since they have a low profile and can be made in very compact sizes, they are a minimal and versatile addition to equipment.

Natural and vulcanized rubber are just a few options for flexible thin washers. Comparable materials made from high-elasticity polymers can be used as alternatives. Thin washers made from neoprene, silicone, EPDM, and Santoprene, for example, provide many benefits that are on par with natural rubber, along with added durability. These synthetics resist cracking and deterioration that sometimes occur when natural rubber washers are subjected to extreme temperatures, caustic substances, and other factors.

Thin rubber washers can be purchased from most fastener and hardware retailers. If non-standard sizes or custom shapes are required, it can be more economical to source them directly from a stamping manufacturer. Washer manufacturers are also better able to provide thin washers made from a broader variety of synthetic rubber materials or that meet with industrial-specific requirements. 

What Are Thin Rubber Washers Used For?

Thin rubber washers have two main functions. They are used as spacing or cushioning devices between fasteners and joined parts or they are used in a gasket or sealing capacity. Because of the material properties of rubber, these washers can prevent the rotation of components, insulate electricity, seal the flow of liquids and gases, and provide a damping effect. Thin rubber washers are more frequently used in fastener assemblies where a lower profile is more important than shock absorption or rigid support.   

Can Thin Rubber Washers Be Used As Hose Washers?

Thin rubber washers are sometimes used as hose washers or gaskets. When used in such a capacity, the washer’s inner and outer diameter ratio is narrow. This will permit the flow of liquids and gasses through the center portion of the washer. Thin rubber washers are more effective when placed against a flat opening. If a gasket is required for placement in a grove or in between threads, then an o-ring with rounded edges will provide better sealing than a rubber hose washer.