WINCHESTER — Dale E. Van Cor is setting out to revolutionize the world of nuts and bolts with a new fastener technology he says is stronger and more durable than standard nuts, bolts, pipes or any threaded connection.
According to Van Cor the first destructive test on the wave thread on May 9 pulled the heads of the bolts off at 1,631 pounds while the standard threads broke at 1,398, showing his new fasteners have 16.1 percent more strength.
The wave thread is a stack of circles that distributes stress evenly. "It's just a way of making a stronger connection," said the 57-year-old Winchester native, who says he's been an inventor all his life.
"I made things. I made toys," said Van Cor.
There are many advantages to the wave thread design, he said. The total surface contact transmits vibration instead of absorbing it and conducts heat efficiently, he said. The thread is quick to connect, takes fewer turns to fully engage and is impossible to over tighten, he said. Over-tighten and you break the bolt instead.
"You cannot over-tighten a wave-headed bolt. Your next threshold is to break it. You can over-tighten nuts and bolts, and they cause hidden damage," Van Cor said, such as vehicle damage caused by the over-tightening of nuts and bolts. "It would eliminate some of the warranty claims that the car industry has to deal with."
And because there is total contact with the wave thread, there is a total seal, so water cannot seep in and cause rust, damage that deteriorates nuts and bolts in municipal water lines that lead to water main breaks, he said.
"They are radically different than anything else on the market," Van Cor said. "I predict in 20 years, 10 percent of all connections, all things that screw together, will be using wave thread. ... It's a total surface fastener, which means it creates a total seal."
To get his latest invention into the hands of engineers, scientists entrepreneurs or anyone else who wants to play with it as quickly as possible, Van Cor said he is currently raising funds to create a library of 2,000 files with all the UNC nuts, bolts and washers with the corresponding wave thread nuts and bolts. (UNC are 90 percent of the bolts used today.)
These files are for 3D printers that can make parts across a range of plastics and metals. The future of 3D printers are lower cost and stronger materials. Later libraries will have plumbing, hydraulic and pneumatic parts, Van Cor said. "I don't have one thing. I have a box of tools, and these will all have different applications, and in each place they are used they will be made differently."
Van Cor has started a crowd-funding campaign online at rockethub.com called the "Campaign to Fund access to Wave Thread technology for everyone."
Van Cor's mission is to raise $18,000 to create an online store and library.
That library will sell for $299 and be for personal use. This will get the wave thread into the market place with the goal to sell commercial licenses for a variety of applications, he said.
"I'm trying to make it as accessible as possible to as many people as possible," Van Cor said.
The wave thread was one of 24 crowd grant challenge finalists, chosen out of 300 readers submissions by Popular Science July 15.
Retired Keene State College math and computer science professor Ronald Tourgee of Spofford has known Van Cor since he was his student in the 1970s and has consulted with Van Cor about his inventions. Though he sees funding a major hurdle for an individual inventor, Tourgee believes the wave thread has a future based on Van Cor's inventive thinking and its performance in stress tests.
"I personally think that this will take hold," Tourgee said. "It seems to me his idea of this special thread is pretty important."
A class of graduate engineering students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst conducted stress tests of the wave thread in a cooperative project to develop a new kind of wave thread that "could transform the strength, performance, and sealing ability of nuts, bolts, pipes, containers, valves, and other types of 'fastener' products," according to a July 2011 UMass Mechanical and Industrial Engineering online article by PhD Sanjay Awarde, who teaches at UMass Amherst.
Jigar Patel, a PhD candidate student who led the study, has been Van Cor's research assistant and has conducted numerous tests on the technology.
"The key finding generated by Patel is that stress concentrations appear to be significantly lower in wave threads than in standard threads. This indicates that wave threads will make a stronger connection," Awarde wrote. "Their sophisticated computer analyses gave some very promising results for Van Cor's invention."
You can read more about the invention at www.wavethread.com.