Screw Thread Types and Associated Key Geometric Parameters

Screw Thread Types and Associated Key Geometric Parameters

Screw threads and their geometric features are important. These intricate helical ridges are critical in a variety of mechanical applications, offering a mechanism for secure attachment, efficient power transmission, and precise positioning.

Screw thread geometry encompasses parameters such as pitch, thread angle, and profile shape, all of which affect the operation and performance of the thread.

The ability of screw threads to convert rotational motion into linear motion, or vice versa, is crucial in devices such as screws, bolts, and nuts. This capacity allows for precise adjustments and controlled movement in various devices and equipment.

Furthermore, thread geometry directly impacts parameters such as load-bearing capacity, thread engagement, and self-loosening resistance, which determines the reliability and safety of assembled components.

To efficiently design and fabricate the thread, you should first understand its features, notably the different geometric parameters that define it.

With this knowledge, we can proceed to select appropriate thread machining techniques such as milling, turning, whirling, and tapping, among others, to get the desired result. Your expertise in these areas will significantly contribute to completing the task at hand.

Let’s dive deep into this article and learn the important things about the threads.

What is Screw Thread?

A screw thread is a basic mechanical feature distinguished by helical ridges that wrap around a cylindrical or conical surface. These threads are used in various applications to secure, fasten, or transmit motion between components.

Threads play an important role in mechanisms ranging from basic screws and bolts to complicated equipment due to the interaction between the male thread (screw) and the female thread (nut or tapped hole).

What Are Screw Types Based on Tread Direction?

What Are Screw Types Based on Tread Direction

There are basically two types of screws based on the tread direction as described here:

Left-Hand Threads:

These threads are positioned for left-handed rotation and anti-clockwise turning. When you tighten these threads, you’ll go against the conventional direction, giving a different experience to use.

Right-Handed Threads:

Right-handed threads, on the other hand, give a more traditional route. They turn towards the right hand and spin clockwise when tightened. In many ways, they are the opposite of their left-handed counterparts, used in various situations.

What are the Geometric Features of Screw Tread?

What are the Geometric Features of Screw Tread

The developing and producing threads necessitates a fundamental understanding of their basics, particularly the precise geometric factors.

With this understanding, you’ll be able to seamlessly navigate the diversity of thread machining techniques, such as turning, milling, whirling, and tapping, bringing your idea to life.

Let’s study the essential requirements that offer a complete picture of thread types:

Maximum Diameter

Largest diameter of the threaded screw

The maximum diameter is the largest diameter of the threaded screw. This diameter refers to the diameter of a screw and encompasses the surrounding helix height.

The screw shaft’s major diameter is the distance between two opposing crests, while the nut’s major diameter is the distance between two opposing roots. A clipper or thread pitch gauge can precisely measure the maximum diameter.

Minor Diameter

Minor Diameter

The minor diameter refers to the thread’s diameter when measured at its narrowest point. The minor diameter of the screw shaft corresponds to the distance between two opposite roots, whereas the minor diameter of the nut corresponds to the distance between two opposite crests.

Inner or minor diameter measurements require specialized tools, such as a floating carriage micrometer to ensure precision.

Effective Diameter (Pitch Diameter)

Effective Diameter (Pitch Diameter)

The effective or pitch diameter is the diameter of a hypothetical coaxial cylinder capable of intersecting the thread surface. This cylinder is located concentrically and nearly halfway between the major and minor diameters.

The pitch diameter may cross in such a way that the point of intersection on a cylinder generator corresponds with the place where the pitch diameter meets the opposing sides of the thread groove. This thread groove is half the size of the screw thread’s nominal pitch.

A thread pitch gauge tool is used for measuring and determining thread diameter and size.



It also refers to the name “thread pitch,” which refers to how far apart the screw thread is from its starting point. This measurement indicates the distance between a certain point and its point of origin.

It is essential for this measurement that the screw thread be consistent throughout. Parallel to the thread’s pitch, measure the axial width of the thread. A screw gauge or thread gauge is usually used to measure the thread pitch.


It indicates the linear span along the screw thread’s axis during one complete round. The lead and pitch of single-threaded screws are the same.

The lead on double-threaded screws must be double the value of the pitch. In the case of triple-threaded screws, the lead should be three times the magnitude of the pitch.

Thread Starts

Thread Starts

When we talk about the number of starts, we’re essentially discussing how many individual threads are circling along the length of the thread.

To figure out the lead of a screw, you simply multiply the number of these independent threads by the pitch. If you’ve got a single-start lead screw, its lead matches its pitch.

If it’s a single-threaded screw, it’s got just one thread start. But if it’s a double-threaded screw, you’ve got a pair of thread starts.

Helix Angle

Helix Angle

It is the angle between the helix of a thread and a line that stands upright against the rotation axis. Here’s the scoop: when a lead screw has a larger helix angle experiences fewer frictional problems, resulting in a more impressive efficiency rating.

Threaded Angles

Threaded Angles

The axially measured side angles of the thread are known as the threaded angles. It is also known as the angle of the thread.

Tooth Angles

Tooth Angles

These angles contain the essence of the thread’s form and geometry. Triangular, square, or trapezoidal shape variants give threads their distinct signature.

What are Types of Screw Thread Based-on Geometric Features?

What are Types of Screw Thread Based-on Geometric Features

International or Metric Threads

Metric threads, also known as international threads, set the foundation for global screw thread standards. These threads are widely embraced for general-purpose applications across the globe.

The “M” symbol in metric threads signifies the thread’s outer diameter. Crafted with rounded roots and flat screw surfaces, they span a diameter range from 0.25 mm to 300 mm, forming a 60° angle.

Additionally, the “M” denotes the diameter of the smooth-walled hole. ISO metric screw threads, a universal favorite, offer fine threads with narrower pitches than their coarse counterparts.

Applications of International or Metric Threads:

International or Metric Threads

  • Well-suited for various uses including tapped holes, nuts, screws, and bolts.
  • Versatile and effective in many applications.

British Standard Whitworth Thread (BSW)

British Standard Whitworth Thread (BSW)

The British Standard Whitworth (BSW) thread signifies a milestone in imperial unit-based screw thread standards. The BSW thread presents a unique V-shaped design with a 55° flank angle.

Beyond general applications, BSW threads find their purpose in specialized contexts such as line adjustments.

Applications of British Standard Whitworth Thread:

  • Integral to components like screwed fastenings and bolts.
  • Widely adopted in nut bolts and line adjustment scenarios.
  • A choice where substantial strength at the roots is important.

British Standard Pipe (BSP)

The British Standard Pipe (BSP) is a set of technical standards for screw threads. These standards are recognized worldwide for connecting and sealing pipes and fittings.

The connection of an external (male) thread with an internal (female) thread accomplishes this. With the exception of North America, where NPT and associated threads are favored, the BSP has earned international recognition as the standard in plumbing and pipe fitting.

Applications of BSP:

Applications of BSP

  • BSP threads are extensively employed in fluid conveying systems, including plumbing, hydraulic, and pneumatic applications.
  • BSP threads, available in both parallel (BSPP) and tapered (BSPT) forms, facilitate effective sealing through parallel threads or the taper’s mechanical grip.
  • BSP threads achieve compatibility among various components, allowing easy connection and disconnection without compromising fluid tightness.

Unified Threads Strandrad (UNF, UNC, UN, UNEF)

The Unified Thread Standard (UTS) is the foundation of American screw thread fastening standards. It’s the outcome of a trilateral agreement between standard organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada – a transcontinental accord for thread perfection.

These standards have created a seamless and complete system dedicated to fastening, not merely threads. What actually distinguishes them is their ability to weave threads together smoothly, like puzzle pieces fitting together perfectly.

UTS essentially turns threads into a symphony of cohesiveness and compatibility. This imperial standard includes four thread alternatives including coarse (UNC) and fine (UNF).

The UTS represents a family of threads with rounded crests and roots.

Within this standard, three distinct classes emerge:

  • Class 1: Suited for applications requiring relaxed tolerances to facilitate easy assembly.
  • Class 2: Commonly embraced for general applications.
  • Class 3: Reserved for scenarios demanding meticulous thread element accuracy and close fit.

UTS is an important standard for nuts and bolts, boasting a 60° profile similar to the ISO metric screw thread. Regulated by ANSI/ASME in the USA, UTS represents a versatile, general-purpose screw thread.

Knuckle Threads

Knuckle threads contribute a distinctive touch to thread design due to their rounded configuration. These threads exhibit a semi-circular profile at both the root and crest, with generous gaps that serve as an effective place for unwanted particles.

This protective feature prevents thread damage caused by unwanted particles. Knuckle threads, with their remarkable strength and malleability, find use in a wide range of applications.

Applications of Knuckle Threads:

Applications of Knuckle Threads

  • Facilitates secure rail coaches’ coupling.
  • Finds utility in oilfields because of unwanted particle resistance.
  • Prominent in European automobiles for “low eye” applications.

Square Threads

Square Thread

Renowned for their efficiency, square threads serve as a potent means of transmitting power in high-load applications. The “square” in their name derives from their square cross-sectional profile.

Though challenging to fabricate, square threads reign supreme due to their exceptional efficiency. These threads grace various machinery components like tools, spindles, and screw jacks, boosting their performance.

Uses of Square Thread:

  • Powerful in power transmission tasks.
  • Perfect for exerting pressure in specific applications.
  • Well-suited for press machines and vice spindle instruments.

V-Shaped Thread

V-Shaped Thread

Easily recognizable by its distinctive “V” shape, the V-shaped thread takes center stage as one of the most widely used thread varieties. Its production involves versatile machines such as milling machines, lathe machines, and die or tap equipment.

Diverse standards guide the manufacturing process, with a flank angle of 60° in its design.

Uses of “V” Shaped Thread:

  • Highly prevalent in fasteners and bolts.
  • V-shaped threads are used in a variety of mechanical components, such as gears, to transmit motion and power between components.
  • V-shaped threads are frequently utilized to offer a more strong and secure threaded connection in plastic, wood, or soft metal materials.

ACME Threads

ACME Threads

Acme threads, similar to square threads in certain aspects, offer their own unique attributes. Characterized by their tapered shape and slanting ends, these threads possess a slender upper section and a flat bottom.

The 29° angle imparts notable strength. The slanting design further accommodates split-minute adjustments.

Applications of Acme Thread:

  • Highly versatile in CNC systems.
  • Essential for lead screws and jack screws.
  • Serves in power transmission within industrial setups.
  • Indispensable for high torque applications.
  • Ideal for tasks that involve heavy loads.

Tapered Thread

Tapered Thread

Tapered threads provide a self-sealing mechanism when the thread flanks come into contact. Whether left-hand or right-hand, these threads serve a dual purpose of sealing and joining components effectively.

Applications of Tapered Thread:

  • Highly adept at forming tight and reliable seals.
  • Frequently employed in shafts like buffing spindles.
  • Excellent for joining different machine components.
  • Serves remarkably well in power transfer applications.

Buttress Thread

Buttress Thread

The buttress thread sports a triangular cross-section with one side sloping and the other standing at a right angle to the screw axis. Elevating the concept of pulling power, buttress threads excel at unidirectional power transmission.

Harnessing the strength of V-threads and the low friction of square threads, they strike an impeccable balance. Buttress threads find their place in critical applications, including airplane propeller hubs, large gun breech assemblies, and hydraulic press columns.

Uses of Buttress Thread:

  • Optimal for unidirectional power transfer scenarios.
  • Commonly employed as lead screws in heavy-duty machinery.

Worm Threads

Worm Threads

Worm threads possess a similar angle of 29°, closely related to Acme threads, but they delve deeper.

Widely applied in the worm wheels of motor vehicles, their distinct feature enables transmission at a 90° angle. Three teeth of a worm wheel can fit into the shaft, showcasing their compatibility and efficiency.

Uses of Worm Thread:

  • Key in transmitting power within motor vehicle worm wheels.
  • Find their role in rolling mills and press machinery.

Single and Multi Threads

Single and Multi Threads

Complex scenarios often require workpieces with independent threads known as “starts.” Single-threaded components house a single thread or a single start.

Conversely, multiple-threaded structures encompass multiple threads or starts, effectively catering to various needs.

Uses of Multiple Threads:

  • Ideal for applications requiring rapid motion.
  • Multiple-start threads efficiently handle power transmission needs.

Important Tips to Choose the Suitable Screw Tread

Important Tips to Choose the Suitable Screw Tread

It’s essential to consider specific thread characteristics that significantly impact its performance and best suit your demands.

This careful planning ensures the necessary strength and improved efficacy across various applications.

Here are some suggestions to help you with the decision-making process:

  • Understanding that not all screw threads are compatible in all applications. Each thread variant uses unique materials designed for various functions and is properly produced to fulfill the assigned role.
  • Depending on the requirements, specific screw threads could call for primed for direct drilling configurations that are precision-sharp. On the other hand, other thread types can require pre-drilled apertures to enable their intended purpose.
  • Thread spacing, a crucial aspect of screw threads, can significantly vary across different screw types. This divergence is crucial because it creates distinctive qualities in screw threads.


This comprehensive guide has provided an in-depth analysis of various screw thread types and the associated critical geometric factors.

Understanding the differences between thread profiles, pitch, diameter, and tolerance is critical for successful thread selection, design, and implementation in a wide range of applications.

As an engineer, designer, or enthusiast, this information enables you to make informed decisions that ensure optimal performance and functionality in threaded systems. Use these insights to improve the precision and efficiency of your initiatives.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need anything else. You’re in good hands for thread-related considerations!

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