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A nut is a type of fastener with a threaded hole. Nuts are almost always used opposite a mating bolt to fasten a stack of parts together. The two partners are kept together by a combination of their threads' friction, a slight stretch of the bolt, and compression of the parts. In applications where vibration or rotation may work a nut loose, various locking mechanisms may be employed: Adhesives, safety pins or lockwire, nylon inserts, or slightly oval-shaped threads. The most common shape is hexagonal, for similar reasons as the bolt head - 6 sides give a good granularity of angles for a tool to approach from. Other specialized shapes exist for certain needs.
Nuts are graded with strength ratings compatible with their respective bolts; for example, an ISO property class 10 nut will be able to support the bolt proof strength load of an ISO property class 10.9 bolt without stripping. Likewise, an SAE class 5 nut can support the proof load of an SAE class 5 bolt, and so on.
A wide variety of nuts exists, from household hardware versions to specialized industry-specific designs that are engineered to meet various technical standards.