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University of Guyana

SCREWS AND
APPLICATIONS
MEC 4103
Lecturer: D. Parris

Julien Reddi
11/0937/2361

Contents
Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 3
Screws ............................................................................................................................................. 4
Power screw ................................................................................................................................ 4
Ball Screw ................................................................................................................................... 5
Types of thread used in Power Screws and their application. ........................................................ 5
Acme Thread and application ..................................................................................................... 5
Square thread and applications ................................................................................................... 6
Buttress Thread and Applications .............................................................................................. 6
Other common types of thread forms. ............................................................................................ 7
Metric threads ............................................................................................................................. 7
Unified National Thread ............................................................................................................. 7
Knuckle Thread ........................................................................................................................... 8
Bibliography ................................................................................................................................... 9

Introduction
A mechanical screw is a cylinder or cone that has a helical ridge called a thread. A helix has one
or more turns, so a screw can have several turns. If the helix is on the outside surface of a
cylinder or a cone, it is an external thread. If the helix is on the inside surface of a hollow
cylinder or cone, it is an internal thread. Threaded components or screws are of two types: screw
fasteners and power screws. The principle uses of threads are fastening, adjusting & transmitting
power. A power screw is used to convert a rotary motion into a linear motion for power
transmission while screw fasteners are used to hold two or more components together in a
detachable joint.
There are two general type of screws used to create motion and power: Power screws and Ball
screws. Power screws are the simplest of these as they have only two main elements, the screw
and the nut.
Power screws should be designed for smooth and noiseless transmission of power with an ability
to carry heavy loads with high efficiency. Power screws are capable of producing uniform
motion.
Power Screws are used for the following reasons.

Can obtain high mechanical advantage in order to move large loads with a minimum
effort; e.g., screw jack.
To generate large forces; e.g., tensile test machine, compactor press.
To obtain precise axial movements; e.g., machine tools.

Depending on the purpose of the application the screw could be either stationary or moving. For
example in a screw clamp the screw moves to perform the task. On the other hand in the case of
jack screws, lead screws of a lathe, screws for vices, presses, etc. the screw remains stationary.
Square, Acme and buttress are some of the type of threads that are used in power screws.
This assignment covers the power screw and its application.

Screws
There are two types of screws used to create motion and power

Power screw
Ball Screw

Power screw
Power screws cover a wide variety of screw series and include

Acmes
Square
Buttress.

Regardless of the thread series, an externally threaded screw mates with an internally threaded
nut of the same thread form; when either member rotates, the other member translates. Contact
between the screw and nut is sliding friction at the screw and nut interface surface. Efficiencies
vary from 20% - 30% for standard Acmes. Efficiency of any power screw and nut is dependent
upon the coefficient of friction between the screw and nut materials, the lead angle and the
pressure angle of the screw thread. Of these, the lead angle has the greatest effect, the coefficient
of friction has a secondary effect and the pressure angle has a minimal effect. Efficiencies of
power screws may vary with load. When the load increases, unit pressure increases and the
coefficient of friction can drop. This is especially true for plastic nuts but has also been observed
with bronze nuts. Power screws in the Acme screw series (single start screws) are self-locking.
This means that they can sustain loads without the use of holding brakes. In vibrating
environments, some locking means may be needed, but Acme screws rarely require brakes. This
makes them simple and inexpensive for use in many different applications such as machine tools,
clamping mechanisms, farm machinery, medical equipment, aerospace and other mechanisms of
many industries. Power screws are typically made from carbon steel, alloy steel, or stainless steel
and they are usually used with bronze, plastic, or steel mating nuts. Bronze and plastic nuts are
popular for higher duty applications and they provide low coefficients of friction for minimizing
drive torques. Steel nuts are used for only occasional adjustment and limited duty so as to avoid
galling of like materials

Ball Screw
Ball screws are used to perform tasks which require high speed and high efficiency. The ball
screw is used for many applications previously completed by the conventional power screws. By
using a ball screw the efficiency of performing a task could be greatly improved. The ball screw
assembly includes a circular shaped groove cut in a helix on the shaft. The ball nut also includes
an internal circular shaped groove which matches the shaft groove. The nut is retained in position
on the shaft by balls moving within the groove. When the nut rotates relative to the shaft the
balls move in one direction along the groove supporting any axial load. When the balls reach one
end of the nut they are directed back to the other end via ball guides. The balls are therefore
being continuously re-circulated. Ball screws have efficiencies of above 90%.
One example of where ball screw is used in automotive steering.

Figure 1: Ball Screw

Types of thread used in Power Screws and their application.


Acme Thread and application
This is the most common form of thread used in power screws. This is a trapezoidal thread type
that has sloped sides. This thread is commonly used when a rapid movement is required. The
acme screw thread has been developed for machine tool drives. They are easy to machine and
can be used with split nuts. The thread has an optimum efficiency of about 70% for helix angles
between 25o and 65o. Outside this range the efficiency falls away.
They are cheap and easy to manufacture. The disadvantages of this thread include its low
efficiency and difficulty in predicting service life.
These threads may be used in applications such as lead screw of a lathe where loss of motion
cannot be tolerated.

Figure 2: Acme Thread

Square thread and applications


This form is used for power/force transmission i.e. linear jacks, clamps. The friction is low and
there is no radial forces imposed on the mating nuts. The square thread is the most efficient
conventional power screw form. It is the most difficult form to machine. It is not very
compatible for using split nuts-as used on certain machine tool system for withdrawing the tool
carriers.

Figure 3: Square Thread

Buttress Thread and Applications


A strong low friction thread. However it is designed only to take large loads in on direction. For
a given size this is the strongest of the thread forms. When taking heavy loads on the near
vertical thread face this thread is almost as efficient as a square thread form.
Buttress threads are used in screw jacks, guns and vices.

Figure 4: Buttress Thread

Other common types of thread forms.


Metric threads
This is the international standard thread profile. The flat root profile has flat crest and root while
the rounded root profile has flat crest and rounded root. The internal profile for Metric screws is
the flat root type. Flat root profile screws are identified by the letter M while rounded root
profile screws are identified by letters MJ. The MJ profile is preferred in high fatigue stress
environment and is popular in the aerospace industry.

Figure 5: Metric Thread

Unified National Thread


This is the standard agreed on by United States, United Kingdom and Canada on November 18,
1949. The standard is identified by the letters UN.

Figure 6: Unified National Thread

Knuckle Thread
Thread has curved flanks, others have straight flanks. It is used on brittle materials such as glass,
ceramics, plastics, or thin materials like sheet metals. These materials do not readily accept
densely spaced sharp counters. Knuckle threads are molded or rolled on components. Bottle tops
glass jars, and base of light bulbs are typical components with knuckle threads.

Figure 7: Knuckle Thread

Bibliography
Anon., n.d. [Online]
Available at: http://www.thomasnet.com/articles/hardware/fastener-threads
[Accessed 01 march 2013].
Anon., n.d. [Online]
Available at: http://www.roton.com/application_engineering.aspx
[Accessed 1 March 2013].
Anon., n.d. [Online]
Available at: http://www.roymech.co.uk/Useful_Tables/Cams_Springs/Power_Screws.html
[Accessed 1 March 2013].

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