Nail (engineering)

Nail (engineering)

Overview

In woodworking
Woodworking
Woodworking is the process of building, making or carving something using wood.-History:Along with stone, mud, and animal parts, wood was one of the first materials worked by early humans. Microwear analysis of the Mousterian stone tools used by the Neanderthals show that many were used to work wood...

 and construction
Construction
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...

, a nail is a pin
Pin (device)
A pin is a device used for fastening objects or material together. It is usually made of steel, or on occasion copper or brass. It is formed by drawing out a thin wire, sharpening the tip, and adding a head. Nails are related, but are typically larger....

-shaped, sharp object of hard metal
Metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

 or alloy used as a fastener
Fastener
A fastener is a hardware device that mechanically joins or affixes two or more objects together.Fasteners can also be used to close a container such as a bag, a box, or an envelope; or they may involve keeping together the sides of an opening of flexible material, attaching a lid to a container,...

. Formerly wrought iron
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

, today's nails are typically made of steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

, often dipped or coated to prevent corrosion
Corrosion
Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...

 in harsh conditions or improve adhesion
Adhesion
Adhesion is any attraction process between dissimilar molecular species that can potentially bring them in close contact. By contrast, cohesion takes place between similar molecules....

. Ordinary nails for wood are usually of a soft, low-carbon or "mild" steel (about 0.1% carbon, the rest iron and perhaps a trace of silicon or manganese). Nails for concrete are harder, with 0.5-0.75% carbon.

Nails are typically driven into the workpiece by a hammer
Hammer
A hammer is a tool meant to deliver an impact to an object. The most common uses are for driving nails, fitting parts, forging metal and breaking up objects. Hammers are often designed for a specific purpose, and vary widely in their shape and structure. The usual features are a handle and a head,...

, a pneumatic nail gun
Nail gun
A nail gun, nailgun or nailer is a type of tool used to drive nails into wood or some other kind of material. It is usually driven by electromagnetism, compressed air , highly flammable gases such as butane or propane, or, for powder-actuated tools, a small explosive charge...

, or a small explosive charge or primer.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Nail (engineering)'
Start a new discussion about 'Nail (engineering)'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia

In woodworking
Woodworking
Woodworking is the process of building, making or carving something using wood.-History:Along with stone, mud, and animal parts, wood was one of the first materials worked by early humans. Microwear analysis of the Mousterian stone tools used by the Neanderthals show that many were used to work wood...

 and construction
Construction
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...

, a nail is a pin
Pin (device)
A pin is a device used for fastening objects or material together. It is usually made of steel, or on occasion copper or brass. It is formed by drawing out a thin wire, sharpening the tip, and adding a head. Nails are related, but are typically larger....

-shaped, sharp object of hard metal
Metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

 or alloy used as a fastener
Fastener
A fastener is a hardware device that mechanically joins or affixes two or more objects together.Fasteners can also be used to close a container such as a bag, a box, or an envelope; or they may involve keeping together the sides of an opening of flexible material, attaching a lid to a container,...

. Formerly wrought iron
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

, today's nails are typically made of steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

, often dipped or coated to prevent corrosion
Corrosion
Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...

 in harsh conditions or improve adhesion
Adhesion
Adhesion is any attraction process between dissimilar molecular species that can potentially bring them in close contact. By contrast, cohesion takes place between similar molecules....

. Ordinary nails for wood are usually of a soft, low-carbon or "mild" steel (about 0.1% carbon, the rest iron and perhaps a trace of silicon or manganese). Nails for concrete are harder, with 0.5-0.75% carbon.

Nails are typically driven into the workpiece by a hammer
Hammer
A hammer is a tool meant to deliver an impact to an object. The most common uses are for driving nails, fitting parts, forging metal and breaking up objects. Hammers are often designed for a specific purpose, and vary widely in their shape and structure. The usual features are a handle and a head,...

, a pneumatic nail gun
Nail gun
A nail gun, nailgun or nailer is a type of tool used to drive nails into wood or some other kind of material. It is usually driven by electromagnetism, compressed air , highly flammable gases such as butane or propane, or, for powder-actuated tools, a small explosive charge...

, or a small explosive charge or primer. A nail holds materials together by friction
Friction
Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and/or material elements sliding against each other. There are several types of friction:...

 in the axial direction and shear
Shear stress
A shear stress, denoted \tau\, , is defined as the component of stress coplanar with a material cross section. Shear stress arises from the force vector component parallel to the cross section...

 strength laterally. The point of the nail is also sometimes bent over or clinched after driving to prevent falling out.

Nails are made in a great variety of forms for specialized purposes. The most common is a wire nail. Other types of nails include pin
Pin
A pin is a device used for fastening objects or material together.Pin may also refer to:* Award pin, a small piece of metal or plastic with a pin attached given as an award for some achievement...

s
, tack
Thumbtack
A drawing pin , thumbtack , or push pin is a short nail or pin with a circular, sometimes domed, head, used to fasten items such as documents to a wall or board for display. Various designs and names are used. They are inserted and removed by hand, hence the terms "thumbtack" and "push pin"...

s
, brads, and spikes.

History


Nails go back at least to the Ancient Roman period. The provision of iron for nails by King David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

 for Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount , before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE....

 is mentioned in the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

. Until the end of the 18th century, they were made by hand, an artisan known as a Nailer providing them with a head and point. Until the early 17th century there were workmen called Slitters who cut up iron bars to a suitable size for Nailers to work on, but in 1590 the slitting mill
Slitting mill
The slitting mill was a watermill for slitting bars of iron into rods. The rods then were passed to nailers who made the rods into nails, by giving them a point and head....

 was introduced to England, providing a mechanical means of producing rods of uniform cross-section. In the 19th century, after the invention of machines to make "cut nails", some nails continued to be made by hand, but the handmade nail industry gradually declined and was largely extinct by the end of that century.

Manufactured cut nails were first introduced in America at the end of the 18th century. Cut nails are machine-cut from flat sheets of steel (originally iron). They are also called square nails because of their roughly rectangular cross section
Cross section (geometry)
In geometry, a cross-section is the intersection of a figure in 2-dimensional space with a line, or of a body in 3-dimensional space with a plane, etc...

. Though still used for historical renovations, and for heavy-duty applications, such as attaching board
Lumber
Lumber or timber is wood in any of its stages from felling through readiness for use as structural material for construction, or wood pulp for paper production....

s to masonry
Masonry
Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone; concrete block, glass block, stucco, and...

 walls, cut nails are much less common today than wire nails.


Usage


Types of nail include:
  • brass
    Brass
    Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

     tack

Brass Tacks are commonly used where corrosion may be an issue, such as furniture where contact with human skin salts will cause corrosion on steel nails.
  • bullethead nail
  • canoe
    Canoe
    A canoe or Canadian canoe is a small narrow boat, typically human-powered, though it may also be powered by sails or small electric or gas motors. Canoes are usually pointed at both bow and stern and are normally open on top, but can be decked over A canoe (North American English) or Canadian...

     tacks
  • carpet
    Carpet
    A carpet is a textile floor covering consisting of an upper layer of "pile" attached to a backing. The pile is generally either made from wool or a manmade fibre such as polypropylene,nylon or polyester and usually consists of twisted tufts which are often heat-treated to maintain their...

     tack
  • casing - similar to finish nails but on a larger scale. It has the same diameter as a common nail.
  • clout
  • coil nails
  • coffin nail
  • corrugated
  • Dheadnails
  • double-ended
  • fiber cement
  • finish - has the same diameter as a box nail.
  • horseshoe
    Horseshoe
    A horseshoe, is a fabricated product, normally made of metal, although sometimes made partially or wholly of modern synthetic materials, designed to protect a horse's hoof from wear and tear. Shoes are attached on the palmar surface of the hooves, usually nailed through the insensitive hoof wall...

  • joist
  • lost-head
  • masonry - fluted nail for use in concrete
  • Oval Brad

Ovals utilize the principles of Fracture Mechanics
Fracture mechanics
Fracture mechanics is the field of mechanics concerned with the study of the propagation of cracks in materials. It uses methods of analytical solid mechanics to calculate the driving force on a crack and those of experimental solid mechanics to characterize the material's resistance to fracture.In...

 to allow nailing without splitting. Highly anisotropic materials like regular wood (as opposed to wood composites) can easily be wedged apart. Use of an oval perpendicular to the wood's grain cuts the wood fibers rather than wedges tham apart, and thus allows fastening without splitting, even close to edges.
  • floor brad (aka 'stigs') - flat, tapered and angular, for use in fixing floor boards
  • panel pin
  • plastic strip
  • gutter
    Rain gutter
    A rain gutter is a narrow channel, or trough, forming the component of a roof system which collects and diverts rainwater shed by the roof....

     spikes
  • roof
    Roof
    A roof is the covering on the uppermost part of a building. A roof protects the building and its contents from the effects of weather. Structures that require roofs range from a letter box to a cathedral or stadium, dwellings being the most numerous....

    ing tack
  • ring shank - nails that contain ridges along the shank to provide extra support, an example would be the HurriQuake
    HurriQuake
    The HurriQuake nail is a construction nail designed by Ed Sutt for Bostitch, a division of Stanley Works, and patented in 2004. The features of the nail are designed primarily to provide more structural integrity for a building, especially against the forces of hurricanes and earthquakes.-Features...

  • shake - small headed nails to use for nailing sidewall shakes
  • square
  • T
  • Teco - 1-1/2 x .148 shanks nails used in metal connectors (usually hurricane ties)
  • veneer pin
  • wire
  • wire-weld collated

Sizes


Most countries, except the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, use a metric system
Metric system
The metric system is an international decimalised system of measurement. France was first to adopt a metric system, in 1799, and a metric system is now the official system of measurement, used in almost every country in the world...

 for describing nail sizes. A 50 x 3.0 indicates a nail 50 mm long (not including the head) and 3 mm in diameter. Lengths are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

For example, finishing nail* sizes typically available from German suppliers are:
Length Diameter
mm mm
20 1.2
25 1.4
30 1.6
35 1.6
35 1.8
40 2.0
45 2.2
50 2.2
55 2.2
55 2.5
60 2.5
60 2.8
65 2.8
65 3.1
70 3.1
80 3.1
80 3.4
90 3.4
100 3.8
90 3.8
100 4.2
110 4.2
120 4.2
130 4.6
140 5.5
160 5.5
180 6.0
210 7.0
  • Drahtstift mit Senkkopf (Stahl, DIN 1151)

United States penny sizes


In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the length of a nail is designated by its penny size, written with a number and the abbreviation d for penny; for example, 10d for a ten-penny nail. A larger number indicates a longer nail, shown in the table below. Nails under 1¼ inch, often called brads, are sold mostly in small packages with only a length designation or with length and wire gauge
Wire gauge
Wire gauge is a measurement of how large a wire is, either in diameter or cross sectional area. This determines the amount of electric current a wire can safely carry, as well as its electrical resistance and weight per unit of length...

 designations; for example, 1" 18 ga or 3/4" 16 ga.

Penny sizes originally referred to the price for a hundred nails in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in the 15th century: the larger the nail, the higher the cost per hundred. The system remained in use in England into the 20th century, but is obsolete there today. The d is an abbreviation for denarius
Denarius
In the Roman currency system, the denarius was a small silver coin first minted in 211 BC. It was the most common coin produced for circulation but was slowly debased until its replacement by the antoninianus...

, a Roman coin similar to a penny
Penny
A penny is a coin or a type of currency used in several English-speaking countries. It is often the smallest denomination within a currency system.-Etymology:...

; this was the abbreviation for a penny in the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 before decimalisation
Decimalisation
Decimal currency is the term used to describe any currency that is based on one basic unit of currency and a sub-unit which is a power of 10, most commonly 100....

.
penny size length
(inches)
length
(nearest mm)
2d 1 25
3d 32
4d 38
5d 44
6d 2 51
7d 57
8d 65
9d 70
10d 3 76
12d 83
16d 89
20d 4 102
30d 115
40d 5 127
50d 140
60d 6 152

Terminology

  • Box — a wire nail with a head; box nails have a smaller shank than common nails of the same size
  • Bright — no surface coating; not recommended for weather exposure or acidic or treated lumber
  • Casing — a wire nail with a slightly larger head than finish nails; often used for flooring
  • CC or Coated — "cement coated"; nail coated with adhesive (cement) for greater holding power; also resin- or vinyl-coated; coating melts from friction when driven to help lubricate then hardens when cool; color varies by manufacturer (tan, pink, are common)
  • Common — a common construction wire nail with a disk-shaped head that is typically 3 to 4 times the diameter of the shank: common nails have larger shanks than box nails of the same size
  • Duplex — a common nail with a second head, allowing for easy extraction; often used for temporary work, such as concrete forms
  • Drywall — a specialty blued-steel nail with a thin broad head used to fasten gypsum wallboard to wooden framing members
  • Finish — a wire nail that has a head only slightly larger than the shank; can be easily concealed by countersinking the nail slightly below the finished surface with a nail-set and filling the resulting void with a filler (putty, spackle, caulk, etc.)
  • Galvanized — treated for resistance to corrosion and/or weather exposure
  • Electrogalvanized
    Electrogalvanization
    Electrogalvanization is a galvanization process in which a layer of zinc is bonded to steel in order to protect against corrosion. The process involves electroplating, running a current of electricity through a saline/zinc solution with a zinc anode and steel conductor. ZincElectroplating maintains...

     — provides a smooth finish with some corrosion resistance
  • Hot-dip galvanized
    Hot-dip galvanizing
    Hot-dip galvanizing is a form of galvanization. It is the process of coating iron, steel, or aluminum with a thin zinc layer, by passing the metal through a molten bath of zinc at a temperature of around 860 °F...

     — provides a rough finish that deposits more zinc than other methods, resulting in very high corrosion resistance that is suitable for some acidic and treated lumber; often easier to bend than other types of nails
  • Mechanically galvanized — deposits more zinc than electrogalvanizing for increased corrosion resistance
  • Head — round flat metal piece formed at the top of the nail; for increased holding power
  • Helix — the nail has a square shank that has been twisted, making it very difficult to pull out; often used in decking
  • Length — distance from the head to the point of a nail
  • Phosphate-coated
    Phosphate conversion coating
    Phosphate coatings are used on steel parts for corrosion resistance, lubricity, or as a foundation for subsequent coatings or painting. It serves as a conversion coating in which a dilute solution of phosphoric acid and phosphate salts is applied via spraying or immersion and chemically reacts with...

     — a dark grey to black finish providing a surface that binds well with paint and joint compound
    Joint compound
    Joint compound is a white substance similar to plaster used to seal joints between sheets of drywall, primarily in building construction. It is often referred to simply as mud.-Ready-mix lightweight joint compound:...

     and minimal corrosion resistance
  • Point — sharpened end opposite the "head" for greater ease in driving
  • Ring Shank — small rings on the shank to prevent the nail from being worked back out often used in flooring
  • Shank — the body the length of the nail between the head and the point; may be smooth, or may have rings or spirals for greater holding power
  • Sinker — Same thin diameter as a box nail, length 1/8 in shorter than shown in above table, cement coated (see above), with a grid embossed on the head to keep the hammer from slipping; these are the common nails used in framing today
  • Spike — a large nail; usually over 4 in (100 mm) long

Nails in art



Nails have been used in art, such as the Nail Men
Nail Men
Nail Men or Men of Nails were a form of propaganda and fundraising for members of the armed forces and their dependents in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the German Empire in World War I. They consisted of wooden statues into which nails were driven, either iron , or coloured silver or gold, in...

 - a form of fundraising common in Germany and Austria around the Word War 1.

External links