Screws are among the most useful simple machines ever invented. Today, they are utilised in construction, electronics, medicine, and other sectors as fasteners, among other applications. Besides its design, what makes a screw so effective is the material it’s made of. Using the material that suits your goals and the requirements of the task will maximise a screw’s potential benefits. But it all depends on the material.
Most screws produced each year are made from this material. Not only is steel extremely durable, but it is also very affordable. There are many different types of steel, each one possessing qualities that make them ideal for specific uses. For instance, special high-strength steel is better for screws that will be subjected to immense impacts and forces.
This alloy contains chromium and has a low carbon content. Stainless steel screws are known for being corrosion-resistant, which makes them great for applications that expose them to normally corrosive elements. They also tend to be stronger than fasteners made from un-hardened steel, but are not as robust as those made of hardened steel. Keep in mind that stainless steel is magnetic, so it might not be ideal for applications where magnetism is a concern.
Combining aluminium with other metals creates formidable alloys that are ideal even for heavy-duty applications. Although costlier than other materials, aluminium has several advantages that justify its price. For one, its lightweight quality makes it great for applications where weight is a significant consideration. Aeroplanes, for instance, use fasteners made of aluminium, among others. Second, aluminium’s natural shine means it can be polished and incorporated into projects that require an aesthetic appeal.
Copper, brass, and bronze
Brass and bronze are alloys of copper – each of these three possess specific characteristics ideal for particular uses. Like stainless steel, copper resists corrosion very well, which is why it’s often used in underwater equipment and facilities. Bronze is just as protected from corrosion and is harder than copper, so it’s often used in building ships. Brass is softer than bronze and is known for its gold-like yellow sheen (some types of brass are red), so most fasteners made from this material are valued for their attractive qualities.
Lightweight and impressively durable, titanium is one of the best materials for fasteners used in aeroplanes and cars. However, titanium is considered very rare and is extremely expensive.
Some screws are made from non-metallic materials. Although not resistant to extreme conditions and are weaker than metallic fasteners, non-metallic screws have much to offer in terms of aesthetics. Some of the most common materials under this category are neoprene, PVC, and nylon.
There is a type of screw for any application. The secret to making the right choice is understanding the demands and requirements of the project where you will be using the screw. Modern life and technology has made simple machines and tools vital for everyday life. Whether it’s an equipment or a machine, the humble screw is still an essential part of civilisation.