Thread-locking fluid

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A bottle of Loctite thread-locking fluid

Thread-locking fluid or threadlocker is a thin, single-component adhesive, applied to the threads of fasteners such as screws and bolts to prevent loosening, leakage, and corrosion.

Most thread-locking formulas are methacrylate-based and rely on the electrochemical activity of a metal substrate to cause polymerization of the fluid. Thread-locking fluid is thixotropic, which allows it to flow well over time, yet still resist shocks and vibrations. It can be permanent or removable; in the latter case, it can be removed with heat, for example. Typically, brands are color-coded to indicate strength and whether they can be removed.

Thread-locking fluid was developed by Vernon K. Krieble in 1953 and commercialised with the Loctite brand.


Thread-locking fluid was developed by American professor Vernon K. Krieble in 1953. His company, American Sealants, founded the Loctite brand.[1]


Typically, thread-locking fluids are methacrylate-based, and cure anaerobically. Thread-locking fluid is a thixotropic fluid: under shear stress, it exhibits a time-dependent decrease in viscosity. This allows it to flow well over time, yet still resist short-duration shearing, as in vibration or shock.

Thread-locking fluid is typically sold in small containers, in amounts from 5 millilitres (about one teaspoon) to 250 millilitres (8.5 US fl oz). Threadlocker is also sold in sticks and in tape form, similar to Teflon tape.

Typical properties of thread-locking fluids [2]
Type Typical color code Torque to break free Torque to continue turning Temperature range
Low strength Purple 62 in-lb (7 N-m) 27 in-lb (3 N-m) −54 to 149 °C
Medium strength Blue 115 in-lb (12 N-m) 53 in-lb (6 N-m) −54 to 149 °C
Medium strength surface insensitive Blue 180 in-lb (20 N-m) 62 in-lb (7 N-m) −54 to 149 °C
High strength Red 230 in-lb (25 N-m) 225 in-lb (25 N-m) −54 to 149 °C
High temperature Red 180 in-lb (20 N-m) 270 in-lb (30 N-m) −54 to 232 °C
Penetrating Green 90 in-lb (10 N-m) 310 in-lb (35 N-m) −54 to 149 °C


Thread-locking fluid may be applied before or after assembly, depending on the type. Threadlockers are available in "permanent" and "removable" formulas, with heavy-duty permanent threadlockers rated to withstand as much as 3,000 psi (21 MPa) in shear. Some threadlockers are removable with the application of heat. Many brands use color-coded labeling to indicate each type's strength and whether it is permanent or removable.

Because thread locking adhesives typically rely on the electrochemical activity of a metal substrate to form a bond, substrates often require thorough cleaning, and in the case of less electrochemically active metals such as aluminium, priming.[3]

Lock washers, locknuts, jam nuts, and safety wire may be used in conjunction with thread-locking fluid to prevent loosening of bolted joints.

Because electrochemical activity is one of the two triggers that cause polymerization of the threadlocker fluid, care must be taken to avoid contaminating the entire container of threadlocker with threadlocker that has had contact with metal, otherwise the material in the container may polymerize.[4]


  1. ^ The Loctite Story by Kenneth W. Butterworth. New York: Newcomen Society of the United States, 1988.
  2. ^ "Devcon Permatex Product Selector". Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  3. ^ "Hernon Introduces a New Surface Insensitive Thread Locking Adhesive". ThomasNet Industrial Newsroom. June 26, 2002. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  4. ^ "Permatex Medium Strength BLUE Threadlocker Gel Technical Data Sheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-11-16. 

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