Top 4 metals for high-tech nuts and bolts

Written by: Goodfellow Cambridge Ltd | Published:

Goodfellow’s guide to the metal properties needed for nuts and bolts used in complex and demanding applications.

Fasteners such as nuts, bolts and washers are among the most familiar construction items used around the world, whether as part of everyday furniture construction or in more complex activities such as automotive engineering.

While common in millions of uses in day-to-day life, fasteners become more critical when used in high-tech applications. For example, in high-temperature applications or in harsh environments, standard steel fasteners won’t always provide the necessary performance characteristics.

1. Molybdenum

This particular metal maintains its hardness and a low rate of expansion at very high temperatures, making Molybdenum fasteners ideal for applications where both high temperature and stiffness are needed.

2. Tantalum

With corrosion resistance similar to glass but with the mechanical properties of a metal, Tantalum is an excellent choice for extremely corrosive environments. Fasteners made from this material can be found in the chemical processing, mining, energy, pharmaceutical and metal processing industries.

3. Niobium

Niobium finds application in atomic reactors because of its corrosion resistance and low capture cross-section for thermal neutrons. Fasteners made from Niobium (or from Nickel-, Cobalt-, and Iron-based superalloys containing Niobium) are found in jet engine parts, gas turbines, rocket subassemblies, advanced airframe systems, and heat-resisting and combustion equipment.

4. Tungsten

This material has the highest melting point of all metals (3410 ˚C) and is well known for its high density. Because of these unique characteristics, Tungsten fasteners are often used in high-temperature vacuum furnaces and for balancing rotating parts, respectively. Tungsten’s high mass also makes the fasteners radiopaque, blocking radiation even better than Lead.

For more information on fasteners or material uses for high-tech applications, please contact the Goodfellow team.

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