Marine fasteners and fixings are often exposed to harsh environments, including saltwater, moisture, and temperature changes. Therefore, selecting the right fastener material is critical to ensuring its long-term performance and durability.
Given the factors mentioned above, the best materials for marine fasteners are those that offer high corrosion resistance and strength.
So let’s quickly look at some of the most popular materials chosen for the job.
Stainless Steel Marine Fasteners
Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, carbon, and chromium and is highly resistant to corrosion. It is often used in marine environments due to its strength and durability. Marine-grade stainless steel, such as A4-316 stainless steel, is exceptionally corrosion-resistant and ideal for use in saltwater environments. There’s also A2–304 for internal marine applications.
Ideally, for anything submerged, you need an alloy of at least 6% Molybdenum, which the A4-316 grade contains.
Brass Marine Fasteners
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc known for its strength and corrosion resistance and is often used in marine applications, particularly in cabin fittings. Brass also often boasts a higher tensile strength than stainless steel, ranging from 40-85 KSI (thousand pounds per square inch), depending on how much zinc is present in the alloy.
However, only certain classifications of brass fasteners should be used below the waterline due to the process of dezincification. Zinc is corroded by the chloride in seawater, meaning high-zinc brass alloys would have very little structural integrity after prolonged exposure to salt water.
It will also readily tarnish when exposed to seawater, usually leaving a green patina.
Silicon Bronze Marine Fasteners
Silicon bronze contains copper, tin, silicon, and sometimes small amounts of other metals like zinc and manganese. This alloy is highly resistant to corrosion and is particularly effective in saltwater environments, where other metals may corrode quicker. It forms a protective oxide layer on its surface, preventing further corrosion and ensuring long-lasting performance.
In many marine applications, this fastener material is preferred to stainless steel due to enhanced performance in many aspects, including thermal conductivity and tensile strength.
Titanium Marine Fasteners
Titanium fasteners have the unique ability to rapidly regrow their protective passive layer in the presence of oxygen, giving them unparalleled resistance to saltwater environments. They’re also naturally lighter than other metal alloys and composites, making the material an excellent choice for weight-sensitive vessels.
Like silicon bronze, it boasts the ability of resistance to extreme temperatures and fluctuations, making it an ideal material for marine applications.
Source the Perfect Marine Fasteners for the Job from Leyton Fasteners
When choosing the perfect marine fastener, you need to ensure that it’s a) incredibly resistant to corrosion caused by saltwater (even for internal applications), and b) can withstand harsh operating environments such as in the engine room or out on deck.
If you’re unsure what you need, just contact a member of our friendly and knowledgeable team at Leyton Fasteners. We can talk you through your options and source even the most left-field of fasteners – chances are we already stock whatever you’re looking for!
So either come down to visit the trade counter or pick up the phone and call us on 0151 355 8045 to discuss your marine fastener requirements in more detail.