For the conjoining and securing of aircraft hardware parts and structures together, aircraft rivets and fasteners are used. Aircraft fasteners are simply hardware devices that are used to join two or more components together in a secure fashion, either permanently or non-permanently. There are multiple types of fasteners, such as rivets, pins, screws, nuts, bolts, washers, nails, and more. Rivets are a type of permanent fastener that consist of a cylindrical shaft that feature a head on one side and a tail on the other. For installation, a rivet is passed through the hole of the object it is to fasten, and then the tail is deformed as to form a second head on the other side, securing the components together. In this blog, we will discuss the various types and uses of rivets that are used within the aerospace industry.
There are many types of rivets used to fasten components together in general, but the two most common aircraft rivets are the solid and blind rivet. Solid rivets have been utilized for construction and engineering since early human civilization, and they are basic rivets that are passed through an object before the tail is deformed using a rivet compression tool, rivet gun, or hammer. On a typical aircraft, hundreds of thousands of solid rivets are used to secure components and assemble the aircraft structure. Solid rivets for aircraft are typically constructed from aluminum alloys, titanium, or nickel alloys.
For some aircraft hardware parts, there may be no easy access to the other side during installation, which proves very problematic for standard aviation fasteners such as the solid rivet. In cases such as this, blind rivets are used as they allow for installation while only having access to one side of the component or structure. Blind rivets feature a head and tube similar to a solid rivet, though there is also a mandrel within the tube. When a blind rivet is installed, the rivet is passed through the component, and then a special tool draws the mandrel through the rivet. The forces of compression caused by the mandrel being drawn begins to expand the tube, creating a second head and securing the components together.
Beyond rivets, there are many other aircraft fasteners that play a part in securing aircraft parts and structures together. The aircraft screw, for example, is the most common fastener used on aircraft. The common types of screws used for aircraft include structural, machine, and self-tapping screws. Structural screws are very robust, made from alloy steel and can be used as a structural bolt. Machine screws are more general purpose and are used for light mechanisms. Lastly, the self-tapping screw may be used for detachable parts that are temporary, such as metal plates before they are riveted to the aircraft structure. The aircraft camloc fastener is another commonly used fastener, installed within cowlings and fairings. These types of aviation fasteners may come in different types and styles, though series such as the 2600, 2700, 40S51, and 4002 are most often used. Other fasteners include the airlock fastener, turnlock fastener, Dzus fastener, Deutsch rivet, and many more.
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