History of the Belleville Washer
Steel spring washers, also known as Belleville washers, have been in circulation since the mid-19th century. Invented by Julian Belleville, they have played an instrumental part in the development of mechanical equipment. They have the ability to hold heavy loads and distribute the weight evenly around their perimeter. Hence they maintain tension in tight spaces. Belleville washers can be used to separate different parts of machinery from each other.
The Steel Spring Advantage
They are often used to deter vibration, and thermal expansion. They are also effective in hindering bolt creep, or stopping bolts from moving around, which can result in machine malfunctions. Spring washers are resistant to corrosion, making the washers more durable.
Using Spring Washers
Once compressed down, spring washers apply secured pressure along a continuous curve pattern, instead of absorbing all of the pressure at one point. Multiple washers can be stacked on top of each other, allowing a greater amount of deflection. They are especially useful for extremely for adjustments. For example different levels of thickness can be substituted and configured differently to achieve different levels of compression.
Limitations of the Belleville
The advantage to the technician installing them is that, they are small and don't take up a lot of space in their tool box. The disadvantage to using disc spring washers is that they are limited to the length of their travel, compared to conventional coils where free length is not an issue. Disc spring washers are normally used in situations where a heavy spring force is needed with little free length and compression before reaching optimum height. They may also be used as locking mechanisms, but only in situations with little dynamic loads. For example, they can be used for the down-tube shifters for bicycles.
Steel Spring Washers in the Modern Day
Even in modern times, spring washers are still highly effective and useful. Current technology such as spacecraft, medical, and automobiles all use them. They are also used in target rifles and paintball guns to release the firing pin. They help reduce the firing time. They are commonly seen on Formula One cars, as they provide exceptional and detailed tuning ability. Surgical tools and instruments have to be of the utmost quality to be truly effective and safe.
More Uses for Bellevilles in the Future
These washers deliver exactly what they need by supplying the medical field with durable and reliable components, which perform under stressful environments. Another example of an environment where steel spring washers are used would be a college university. College campuses of today are loaded with audio visual equipment that was manufactured using spring washers. Audio visual technicians working at these universities are armed with spring washers to complete their job. These washers hold screws that are used tightly together in the use of projectors. Belleville washers have been an important part of products, and will continue to in the future.