Sometimes you look at an object and wonder why it evolved to become the shape that it is. It would seem to make as much sense for a bolt to be a triangle, square, pentagon or a heptagon.
Yet, by far the most common type you see are six-sided hexagons that dominate the construction industry.
Is The Clue In Nature?
It adds intrigue to the fact when you look at how what appears to be an industrial shape is seen so commonly in nature. The most obvious example of this is a honeycomb, which has this structure, but it is also seen on the inside of a snowflake, and it can be famously seen on the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
It’s quite clear that nature favors the strong structure and when you think about it, that makes a lot of sense.
A circle seems like one of the most natural shapes that nature could make but it doesn’t work well for a building block; if you stacked circles, then there would be wasted space in between the shapes.
The hexagonal allows an equal amount of pressure from all sides but is still able to be packed more closely together. This makes it ideal for the construction of natural forms but can equally apply to your regular coupling nuts or extension nuts.
When Nature Meets Construction
It’s clear in nature that the circle would be the most natural shape but not the one which would be the most efficient. In the same way with bolts, the circle would have the lowest profile and be easiest to make but it wouldn’t be very efficient.
The hexagon means that you are able to add any pressure to the sides of the nut but still have it in a low profile, which is going to help it fit into tight spaces and allow for easier construction. Surely you have tightened a six-sided nut and found it easy to do, even if you are in a cramped space or can’t easily see it.
The hexagon is a structure that allows for 360-degree fastening but still provides flat sides that allow for a sturdy grip. Too many sides and the bolt would be too cylindrical, while any fewer means the shape starts to become awkward.
The construction industry has taken many lessons from natural structures and has come to the conclusion that the hexagon is an especially advantageous shape.
Building The Best
Not all bolts are hexagonal, of course, but they are the most common for a reason. Baco hex nuts are a prime example of a fastener that is going to be easy to use and will hold firm.
Hexagonal nuts can be traced back to the 1700s and have become a tried and trusted building material.
There are fascinating similarities between the hexagons that appear in nature and the ones that can be found on the building yard. That’s no coincidence, as it’s important to use the best forms when creating a larger structure, whether you are building a honeycomb or completing a major construction project.