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    Sockets are tubular driver head attachments used for tightening and loosening nuts and bolts. They attach to the heads of drivers, drills, and other tools with output drive heads. Sockets are normally made from steel and are most commonly used with ratchet handles of various sizes. Combined together they provide more torque leverage than a simple spanner, helping you to tighten or remove nuts and bolts with less physical effort.

    There are two main classifications of sockets and a few different types of sockets, each with significant differences that make them suitable for specific jobs. It is important to match the socket size and type with the size and type of the tool and the size of the nut or bolt. Common sizes for sockets include 36mm sockets and 10mm sockets.

    While regular sockets may be made from steel alloy, impact sockets have a hardened carbonized surface, also known as heat-treated or drop forged. This allows an impact socket to manage torque impact changes. Non-impact (standard) sockets will bend or break when used with an impact tool, such as an impact socket wrench. This can be dangerous and cause injuries or damage to the tools or piece of machinery being worked on.

    Hex sockets, an abbreviation of hexagonal, are another socket design consisting of two types, 6-point, and 12-point. A hex socket will fit naturally around a six-sided nut or bolt. A 12-point hex socket also fits around a hex bolt; this is also known as a bi-hex or double hex socket. A double hex provides more flexibility in confined spaces and creates more friction contact points. Hex sockets are often sold in hex socket sets or as pieces in socket wrench sets.

    Deep sockets are also known as deep dive sockets and are longer than standard sockets. They provide added accessibility in limited spaces and in hard to reach places. Their deeper barrel allows them to reach bolts that are recessed.

    Insulated sockets are safe to work on live equipment up to 1000V. They are typically used by electricians and maintenance engineers working on live equipment.

    What are Sockets Made From?

    Regular sockets are commonly made from the steel alloy chrome vanadium, though others might be made from or plated with beryllium copper or aluminum bronze. Impact sockets need to be able to handle heavy vibrations, and are therefore commonly made from the more pliable chrome molybdenum.

    Socket Applications

    Sockets and socket wrenches are used primarily in the automotive industry, specifically with fixing or replacing tires and performing maintenance on a car or motorcycle engine. Many car and motorcycle enthusiasts like to keep a ¼ or ½ ratchet socket and a socket wrench set in their garages or in their cars for quick and easy maintenance and repairs. With similar applications, socket wrenches are also needed in Civil Engineering, Marine Maintenance, and Aerospace Industries.

    RS carries a full line of sockets across all sizes and makes. Whether you need a ¼ inch square socket, a ½ ratchet socket, or are in the market for a hex socket set, you can find what you need with RS.

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