What Are Aircraft Rivets
When assembling an aircraft, fasteners are extremely useful for securing components together. With the use of aircraft fastener components, structures, equipment, avionics, and other parts can be joined together. Fasteners are implemented within an assembly to support loads, relieve tension stresses, mitigate vibration, safely hold structures together, and beyond. Rivets in particular are a type of mechanical fastener, providing for a permanent attachment of components. In regards to aircraft assembly, rivets are widely used across many assemblies and structures. For example, a single Boeing 747 uses 40,000 rivets on a single wing.
Types of Rivets
There are also many types of rivets, including solid shank, blind, and cherrylock, all which may be used for fastening applications. In this blog, we will discuss how rivets secure components together, as well as some of the various types used within the aerospace industry.
Standard rivets consist of an unthreaded, cylindrical shaft and a head. For installation, the tail of the rivet is passed through the hole of the components they are to secure, and the tail is then deformed with the use of a special tool. When the tail is deformed, it creates a second head on the other side of the assembly, permanently locking the components in place. Rivets provide permanent fastening solutions, supporting both tension and shear loads. Typically, rivets are manufactured from materials such as steel, brass, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum. With their various capabilities and resistances, the chosen material depends on the operating conditions that the fastener will undergo.
1. Solid shank rivets are a rivet type that is often used for repairs, as well as are the most common rivet type for aircraft applications. Solid shank rivets may come in various types, denoted by their material, head type, temper condition, and size of shank. In regards to aircraft assembly, most solid shank rivets are produced from aluminum alloy. Solid shank rivets are used to secure and join aircraft structures due to their cost efficiency for providing strong, permanent installations. As a standard rivet, solid shank rivets are installed through the deformation of the tail to produce a second head with the use of a hammer or rivet gun.
2. Blind rivets are a special type of rivet, providing the capability to be installed from one side. In many areas of aircraft structural assembly, accessing both sides of the components may prove difficult or impossible, thus solid shank rivets cannot be used. Blind rivets consist of a smooth shaft and head, also containing a mandrel within the shaft and a weaker area near the head. When a blind rivet is passed through the components it is to secure, a tool is used to draw the mandrel through the center of the rivet. As the mandrel is drawn, the compression forces cause the weakened shaft area to begin expanding, creating a second head to establish a permanent fastening.
3. Cherrylock rivets are special (blind) rivets that provide for the ability to secure both thin and thick components. Cherrylock fasteners provide high shear and tensile strength, mechanical locked stems, high fatigue strength, and work well within applications with great amounts of vibration. Cherrylock fasteners may be manufactured to National Aerospace Standards (NAS) requirements, such as NAS1740 for fatigue requirements.
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