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Screw (1567)

A screw, or bolt, is a type of fastener characterized by a helical ridge, known as an external thread or just thread, wrapped around a cylinder. Some screw threads are designed to mate with a complementary thread, known as an internal thread, often in the form of a nut or an object that has the internal thread formed into it. Other screw threads are designed to cut a helical groove in a softer material as the screw is inserted. The most common uses of screws are to hold objects together and to position objects.

Often screws have a head, which is a specially formed section on one end of the screw that allows it to be turned, or driven. Common tools for driving screws include screwdrivers and wrenches. The head is usually larger than the body of the screw, which keeps the screw from being driven deeper than the length of the screw and to provide a bearing surface.

There is no universally accepted distinction between a screw and a bolt. Machinery's Handbook describes the distinction as follows:
A bolt is an externally threaded fastener designed for insertion through holes in assembled parts, and is normally intended to be tightened or released by torquing a nut. A screw is an externally threaded fastener capable of being inserted into holes in assembled parts, of mating with a preformed internal thread or forming its own thread, and of being tightened or released by torquing the head.

Screws and bolts may be made from a wide range of materials, with steel being perhaps the most common, in many varieties. Where great resistance to weather or corrosion is required, stainless steel, titanium, brass (steel screws can discolor oak and other woods), bronze, monel or silicon bronze may be used. Galvanic corrosion of dissimilar metals can be prevented (using aluminium screws for double-glazing tracks for example) by a careful choice of material. Some types of plastic, such as nylon or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), can be threaded and used for fastenings requiring moderate strength and great resistance to corrosion or for the purpose of electrical insulation. Often a surface coating is used to protect the fastening from corrosion (e.g. Bright Zinc Plating for steel screws), to impart a decorative finish (e.g. jappaning) or otherwise alter the properties of the base material.

Selection criteria of the screw materials include temperature, required strength, resistance to corrosion, joint material and cost.