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High Strength Fasteners Steel DIN 94 GB91 Split Pin
Nov 10, 2016

A split pin, also known in the United States as a cotter pin or cotter key,[1] is a metal fastener with two tines that are bent during installation, similar to a staple or rivet. Typically made of thick wire with a half-circular cross section, split pins come in multiple sizes and types.


The British definition of "cotter pin" is equivalent to U.S. term "cotter", which can be a cause for confusion when companies of both countries work together. There are signs that manufacturers and stockists are increasingly listing both names together to avoid confusion; this led to the term split cotter sometimes being used for a split pin.


A new split pin (see figure A) has its flat inner surfaces touching for most of its length so that it appears to be a split cylinder (figure D). Once inserted, the two ends of the pin are bent apart, locking it in place (figure B). When they are removed they are supposed to be discarded and replaced, because of fatigue from bending.


Split pins are typically made of soft metal, making them easy to install and remove, but also making it inadvisable to use them to resist strong shear forces. Common materials include mild steel, brass, bronze, stainless steel, and aluminium.