Socket screws are a common, popular fastener that has applications in many areas. Because of the superior torque compared to standard screws, socket screws serve well where greater force is required.
Even if you are pretty familiar with socket screws, you may not have realized just how many different material types they are made of. Consider this your guide to socket screws and what the most common material types are.
Aluminum Socket Screws
One of the most common material types for socket screws is aluminum. Socket screws like these are perfect for applications where weight must be factored into the equation. Some of those applications include installing trim and hardware on furniture, cabinets, and doors or a plethora of uses in the automotive industry. As it turns out, they also have plenty of uses for in-home projects.
Though they are roughly one-third the weight of steel, it loses nothing in the process. It tends to have similar durability to steel while also possessing a lower shear strength. The only downside compared to something like stainless steel is that it may not completely hold up against corrosion when it comes to being in outdoor environments.
Brass Socket Screws
While they are not quite used for as broad a range of applications as steel or aluminum, brass socket screws have several uses. When it comes to the aesthetic value, it is hard not to love what brass socket screws bring to the table. Since it is an alloy of zinc and copper, brass and brass-tipped socket screws can offer advantages that the other material types do not.
For starters, brass is quite a bit stronger than copper when it is on its own. It might not be quite as rigid as stainless steel or normal steel, however. Under extreme duress, brass socket screws may wear down and eventually become compromised.
There is one thing worth noting about brass socket screws. They do not all share the same properties and assuming so can lead to some issues. For instance, brass plating isn’t quite as resistant to corrosion as solid brass. If you plan on using these screws outdoors or in an exposed area, solid brass should be what you go for before brass plating.
Nickel/Zinc Plated Steel Socket Screws
Steel socket screws are right up there with aluminum in terms of availability and usefulness. And the main reason that you are going to see socket cap screw sets with some form of nickel or zinc plating is that it has superior corrosion resistance. We’ve all been in a situation where a screw is rusted out and impossible to loosen. The material type plays a big role in limiting that corrosive impact.
A combination of nickel and zinc plating is considered to be far tougher than anything else since it has twice the level of hardness. When compared to zinc plating, it is also roughly four times more corrosion resistant. If you’re looking for something more heavy-duty for outdoor or exposed applications, then a combined plating is probably the best way to go.
If there is one major caveat to getting nickel, zinc, or dual plated screws it is the cost. They are quite expensive and can really add up if you need a lot of them. Galvanized steel tends to be the choice in its stead because it is so much more cost effective. But if you have the budget, you will not be disappointed by the strength, durability, and corrosion resistance that the dual plating has on this screw type. But each project is different.