Chemical threadlockers have made it easier than ever to secure important assemblies.
Today, I’m going to explain how to choose the right chemical threadlocker and make sure your nuts, bolts, and washers stay secure.
Chemical threadlockers are liquids with powerful adhesive properties. They typically provide a superior layer of protection when compared to conventional lock washers and other fastening devices.
You apply liquid chemical threadlocker to the threads before tightening. Then, the threadlocker hardens to create a hard plastic seal.
Today, there are liquid, stick, tape, and gel threadlockers, all of which are suited for different applications.
Chemical threadlockers are powerful adhesives that come with a wide range of benefits compared to traditional fasteners. Those benefits include:
-Greater vibration protection: Threadlocker fills in the spaces between male and female threads, locking the fastener in place and providing greater vibration protection.
-Seal out moisture: Moisture can cause havoc when it gets into an assembly. Threadlocker helps you avoid rust and corrosion which would otherwise threaten the integrity of the joint.
-Seal out heat and other environmental conditions: Threadlocker does more than just protect assemblies against moisture. It also seals out heat, dirt, and other contaminants to create a clean, long-lasting seal.
-Better torque retention: If you’re building an assembly that will experience torque pressure, then chemical threadlocker is a virtual necessity. While lock washers only provide holding strength at the point of contact, chemical threadlockers transfer that force throughout the piece for greater durability against heat, vibration, and time.
-Adapts to all different sizes: Nuts and bolts are very size-sensitive. Threadlocker, on the other hand, is simply a solution you apply to assemblies of any size. If a correctly-sized lock washer isn’t available, then you may not be able to complete the job – or worse, you may use an incorrectly-sized lock washer. With threadlocker, this isn’t an issue. Ultimately, instead of carrying all different configurations and sizes of lock washers and lock nuts, you can carry a single tube of threadlocker.
Chemical threadlocker comes in a number of different configurations. When shopping for threadlocker, here are four things to consider:
-Size of the fastener: If you’re using a small 5/16” bolt, then you won’t need a high-strength threadlocker because the bolt won’t experience heavy torque. Typically, you need stronger threadlocker for larger fasteners.
-Torque specification: Consider how much torque the assembly will experience. Is it a small amount of torque, like 20 ft-lbs (27Nm)? If so, a lower strength threadlocker may be perfectly okay to use.
-Nature of the assembly parts: This category covers all of the qualities about the assembly parts you’re using. Do the assembly parts undergo any unique heat or moisture conditions, for example? Is it an especially important part of an overall assembly – like the structural fastener on a vehicle’s chassis?
-Expected need for future disassembly: Disassembling threadlocker isn’t always easy. Low to medium-strength threadlockers can be taken apart using hand tools, but higher strength threadlockers will require heat sources and advanced procedures.
Liquid threadlockers have been around for years and tend to be the most popular. But today, some people are opting for gel threadlockers.
Liquid threadlockers are easy to apply. One or two drops can thoroughly cover all the threads.
But gel threadlockers reduce drips and waste and may be the only option for overhead or hard-to-reach places. The gel sticks onto the threads just enough so it doesn’t drip, while still allowing a thorough, even spread across the threads.
The main downside to using threadlocker is that it can be really tough to pull threadlocked assemblies apart. After all, the point of threadlocker is to lock assemblies down.
Just like when using any adhesive, be careful when using threadlocker. Think twice before applying it to an assembly and always consider the expected need for future disassembly. If there’s a chance that the assembly will need to be taken apart at some point in the future, then you’ll likely want to use lower-strength threadlocker.
At Ram Products, we carry an assortment of Loctite threadlockers. Loctite has made choosing the right threadlocker easy. Loctite uses a color-based system which includes green, purple, blue, and red. Common applications for each threadlocker include:
In this image, threadlockers are ranked from left to right in terms of durability. Green threadlocker is the weakest, while red threadlocker is the strongest.