Nuts and bolts are critical components in any assembly, but they often loosen because of thermal expansion, vibration, or improper torque. On such occasions, conventional mechanical fasteners (spring washers, nylock nuts, double lock nuts, castellated nuts, etc.) are commonly used to keep the threads secure.
Unfortunately, most mechanical devices are unable to maintain the necessary clamp load and eventually fall out. This is why thread lockers have become the go-to methods to ensure a threaded assembly remains securely locked for the entirety of its service life.
What is a Thread Locker?
A thread locker is a liquid lock nut that works on anaerobic technology – meaning that it hardens (cures), into a tough solid in the absence of air and the presence of metals.
But you might ask how is a liquid thread locker better than a mechanical fastening method? Mechanical fasteners don’t solve for the 85% gap between threads of mating nuts and bolts. Yes, as shocking as it may sound, even after tightening a nut bolt to the fullest, there’s an 85 per cent gap between the threads which allows for loosening under vibration and impact. This is where a liquid can take the full gap and solidify securing the nut & bolt.
And don’t worry about disassembly, you can easily open a nut-bolt tightened with threadlocker with a hand tool as and when needed.’
This is all great information, but where all is it advisable to use threadlockers?
The answer is all threaded assemblies – as these nuts & bolts are what keeps the assemblies together and even one nut-bolt failing can lead to the failure of the entire assembly. Not just that, threadlockers protect the threaded assemblies from getting corroded. You can use threadlockers on through bolts as well as blind holes. Below are some popular use cases of threadlockers:
1. Locking of adjustment screws, countersunk head screws, motor through bolts, and set screws; on collars, pulleys, tool holders, and controllers. Also, if the threaded parts are made up of Aluminium and brass – In these cases, a low viscosity low strength threadlocker is recommended e.g.: LOCTITE 222)
2. Locking of metal threaded fasteners on pump casing, motor mounting bolts, mechanical coupling, gearboxes, presses etc. – in these cases, a medium strength threadlocker is recommended e.g.: LOCTITE 243)
3. Locking of threaded fasteners made of steel, stainless steel and most plated fasteners – in these cases a threadlocker with consistent curing even on passive substrates is recommended e.g.: LOCTITE 263)
4. Locking of large bolts and studs or where the vibrations are heavy for e.g. in some material handling equipment’s, mixers – in these cases a high strength threadlocker is recommended e.g.: LOCTITE 277)
5. Locking pre-assembled fasteners, i.e. instrumentation screws, electrical connectors etc – in these cases a threadlocker that has wicking capacity is recommended e.g.: LOCTITE 290)
These are just a few examples of where you can potentially use threadlockers however you can use them on all metallic threaded assemblies to ensure they don’t come to lose by themselves.
How to Use a Thread Locker
Threadlockers are easy to use – You just need 3 steps:
· Step 1: Clean the threads to remove any dirt
· Step 2: Apply a few drops on the bolt where the nut will engage. In case of a blind hole, apply few drops along the sides of the blind hole as well as on the bolt
· Step 3: Assemble and tighten as required. The tightening helps spread the liquid to all the gaps.
Leave the assembly aside for 10 minutes for it to gain handling strength. Most machines can be operated after handling strength has been achieved. 100% strength will be gained in 24 hours.
Dr Vernon Kriebel invented anaerobic adhesives in the 1950s and since then threadlockers have been helping mechanical engineers ensure reliability. He was the founder of LOCTITE and today this brand boasts of a comprehensive range of adhesives. No matter your thread locking needs, there is a LOCTITE thread locker to help you achieve a reliable assembly instantly.
(Disclaimer: This is a Brand Desk content)