Nonmetallic Fasteners

Non-Metallic Fasteners: Benefits & How to Use Them in Machine Design

Introduction

The “nonmetallic” fastener category encompasses a wide range of products available for many different designs and configurations across screws and nuts. Although you may think of fasteners as exclusively metallic components, this is simply not true. Other, nonmetallic materials have been specially engineered for use in specialized, unique fastener applications.

Many materials make effective fasteners, such as engineering-grade plastics and ceramics.  Let’s dive in and we will show you how!

Benefits and Uses for Non-Metallic Fasteners

Speaking broadly, non-metallic screws contain many advantages that are simply impossible to achieve on traditional metallic screws. Many of the most obvious features of metallic fasteners are a function of the simple fact that they are non-metallic.

For example, metallic properties such as electrical conduction, high thermal conduction, magnetism, and susceptibility to corrosion/oxidation are simply not present in non-metallic fasteners. Therefore, nonmetallic fasteners are great for use in applications where some or all of these features make the use of metallic fasteners difficult or impossible. For example, because plastic or ceramic fasteners will not conduct electricity, they are great for applications requiring electrical insulation. Additionally, plastic or ceramic fasteners will not experience rust or oxidation that metallic screws experience. They are excellent for achieving long useful lives in highly corrosive mediums when specified. 

Some other interesting features of nonmetallic fasteners are a bit more obscure. For example, plastic fasteners can be fabricated in a wide range of colors and finishes and are therefore employed in decorative applications where color, presentation, and appearance are important. The grades of plastics used in plastic fasteners can be specially formulated to be highly resistant to UV light exposure over long product lifetimes.

Plastic fasteners are also generally less expensive than metallic fasteners because they can be fabricated very quickly via an injection molding process instead of metallic die casting, thread rolling, or thread-cutting techniques required for metallic fastener fabrication.

Alternatively, ceramic fasteners provide excellent resistance to high temperatures as they do not conduct nearly as much heat as metallic fasteners. Ceramic fasteners also provide better wear and abrasion resistance than metallic fasteners because ceramic material is inherently harder than metal. However, ceramic fasteners are much more brittle than metallic fasteners and will fracture if exposed to blunt force impacts.

Nonmetallic Fastener Applications

Plastic screws are routinely used in applications with many electrical components, such as in household items such as computers, circuit boards, televisions, and microwaves. Since these components will not conduct electricity, this provides the component with a nice layer of insulation from electrical discharge which essentially amounts to an inherent product safety feature.

Circuit Board Fan Installation with Plastic Screws Application Example

Ceramic fasteners are also used within residential and industrial gas furnaces where temperatures are far too hot for a metallic screw.

Conclusion

With a solid understanding of the key benefits of nonmetallic fasteners, you will be much better able to incorporate them into your machine designs. To this end, we have a wide range of non-metallic fasteners available to fit the most unique fastened joint applications including:

About the Author

Carlicia Layosa

Carlicia is a Product Marketing Engineer at MISUMI. She holds a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and a master's degree in Energy Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate, Marketo Certified Expert, and is passionate about education and training.

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