Fasteners aren't always used for simple construction projects. They are often needed for developing new technologies and machines that will expose their fasteners to incredibly high temperatures. These extreme temperatures demand specialized fasteners that can stand up to the challenging environment and keep on performing.
The development of high-temp fasteners is an incredibly difficult process that requires advanced design and manufacturing concepts and processes. The good news is that decades of new discoveries and advancement in the manufacturing of fasteners have created a collection of fasteners for high-temperature applications — materials that can get the job done dependably, even in extreme heat.
Read on to learn more about your options when searching for high-temperature fasteners.
How High Temperatures Affect Fasteners
We tend to think of metal as a durable material that can’t be easily destroyed or altered. But that line of thinking goes out the window when temperatures rise into the triple digits and well beyond.
How exactly does extreme heat affect metal fasteners? You may assume melting is the number-one threat to metals of all kinds, but metal isn’t likely to melt until temperatures rise into the quadruple digits: 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit or even higher. The more common threat to metal is oxidation, which is accelerated corrosion and rusting that results from extreme heat.
Extreme heat can also lead to the expansion of metal fasteners like rivets and screws. If a metal fastener expands, it begins to place pressure on the holes it was driven into. Also, if the metal then cools, it will contract and become loose within the hole. This is a natural concern when metal fasteners are installed in machinery that runs hot but cools down when not in use. For such machinery, manufacturers must have high-temperature fasteners that can withstand the extreme heat and alternate cooling phase without damage.
Additional factors that can impact a metal's performance in prolonged heat exposure include stress relaxation and creep failure.
Stress relaxation is a thermochemical reaction that naturally occurs in high-temp environments. During the process, elastic strain slowly becomes plastic strain, creating a reduction in contact force. The phenomenon can result in lower vibration resistance, reduced reliability and less normal force.
Creep failure refers to the deformation and buckling a material experiences under constant load. It's more common in high-temp settings and can affect the fastener's integrity.
The Best Alloys to Use
How can you find the best fasteners for high-temperature applications? The most important thing is to look for specific alloys. The following are strong alloys that can withstand high temperatures:
- Stainless Steel 309 and 310: These two stainless steel alloys are higher in chromium and nickel content than the alternatives. What makes them different from each other? The 310 stainless steel provides extra corrosion resistance, which makes it ideal for use in salty settings.
- Stainless Steel 630: This alloy is extra hard thanks to a process that includes cold working and aging at low temperatures. Stainless steel 630 is one of the most commonly used alloys in high-temperature fasteners due to its hardness, strength and strong ductility.
- A-286: This alloy includes chrome, nickel and iron. It stands up to the pressures of oxidation at high temperatures, though it does begin to break down at 1,300 Fahrenheit and above.
- Nickel: Find a nickel alloy for temperatures above 1,300 Fahrenheit, though you can only use nickel up to temperatures around 1,800 degrees.
Get the Right Fasteners
How can you find the right fasteners for high-temperature applications? The first step is to find out how hot the environment will be. In the section above, we outlined some of the temperature limits you may face. As mentioned, A-286 can withstand temperatures of up to 1,300 Fahrenheit, and nickel remains strong until temperatures reach 1,800 degrees.
But, if you need fasteners that can perform at even higher temperatures, explore your ceramic options. Alumina and zirconia can withstand temperatures much higher, even above 3,000 Fahrenheit. There is a trade-off, though, as these materials don’t provide the same strength as some of your other alloy options. Ceramics may be able to withstand high temperatures, but they may crack or break when faced with shocks or other forces.
Questions to ask yourself when choosing the best fasteners for your high-temp application include:
- Is electrical conductivity a necessity or concern?
- Will the fastener undergo shock or vibrations?
- Is corrosion an issue in the operating environment?
- What's the average temperature the fastener will experience?
- What's the most extreme heat the fastener will be exposed to and for how long?
Some manufacturers increase heat resistance through additives. The higher temperature ranges the resulting fasteners can withstand depend on the precise additive used and vary between producers.
Industries That Need High-Temperature Fasteners
Wondering what industries need high-temperature fasteners? These materials typically find use in industries that either need or require machines. The oil and gas and automotive industries are two great examples. These industries need tools and equipment that work hard even in extreme temperatures, and the automotive industry is building machines that need fasteners for high-temperature applications.
Other typical industries using high-temp fasteners include:
- Military and government
- Semiconductor manufacturing
- Power generation
The operating environments in these industries are exceptionally demanding, and standard solutions won't do. Think about the nuts and bolts that might go under the hood of a car. The same fasteners that are used for the framing of a house won't get the job done — rather, this type of application demands a fastener that's going to remain consistent and durable even as the engine heats up on a long road trip, and then again as the engine cools down when the engine is off.
About FMW Fasteners
At FMW Fasteners, you'll find a huge selection of high-temperature anchors, pins and other fasteners and materials that help you get the job done. If you need fasteners for high-temperature applications, we offer a wide range of options for you to choose from. You can order in the exact quantity you need rather than settling for a standard amount. You always enjoy low prices, and you get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.
Our team is a whiz at logistics so that you don't have to be. We'll handle all the freight requirements to ensure your confidence and convenience.
We also understand that your material requirements aren't always clear at the beginning of a project. That's why we offer no-hassle returns on unused merchandise within 90 days. You can return anything you don't want or need as long as the materials remain in like-new condition. When you need high-temperature fasteners quickly and affordably, trust the selection and customer service you'll find at FMW Fasteners.
Buy High-Temp Fasteners From FMW Fasteners
Our online storefront is open 24/7 and displays our current inventory and prices so you can shop our entire collection from anywhere. You'll always know what's in stock and get upfront, competitive pricing. Need advice on choosing the best high-temperature solution for your unique application? Our experts can provide answers!
Call us at 713-688-6021 for help or order assistance.