Studs and bolts are both tension fasteners, secured by means of screw threads. Automotive repair and woodworking projects most commonly use studs and bolts.
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A stud is a long, threaded rod upon which a nut screws to increase or loosen tension. A bolt is a long shaft with a flat head on one end. This head allows a screwdriver or wrench to turn the bolt to tighten or loosen applied tension.
The tensile strain on a bolt is much different from that of a stud. According to Deanna Sclar, author of "Auto Repair for Dummies," a bolt is more likely to break because the entire length must turn to adjust tension. This creates the risk of shearing the head of the bolt off when increasing or releasing tension. In comparison, only the nut turns on a stud, significantly reducing the risk of breakage.
Bolts commonly have one end pointed so it can drive into material in a similar fashion to a screw. This allows the device to function without aid of a nut or washer. Alternatively, a stud must always have a nut added to the ends to secure it.
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