Bolts, nails, and screws are all examples of fasteners. A lesser-known, but just as important fastener, is the rivet. A rivet is a permanent mechanical fastener used to join two plates together. Because rivets are permanent (meaning they cannot be removed) their joints are incredibly strong and similar to those of adhesive or welded joints. It is a cylindrical piece of steel usually made from low carbon, but can also be made from aluminum, monel (a type of nickel alloy), or copper, depending on the application’s weight and corrosion-resistance requirements.
A rivet has three parts: a body, known as the shank, a forged head on one end which fastens two materials together, and a tail on the other end which is flared. Rivets are a very versatile fastener. Large rivets can be used to connect pieces of metal and small rivets are even used to join paper or wood materials. Though they are commonly used to support shear loads perpendicular to the shaft’s axis, rivets can still support tension loads that are parallel to the axis. However, bolts and screws are better for this type of support.
Many different types of rivets exist based on function, material, shape, and more. These include solid, semi-tubular, countersunk, blind, Oscar, drive, flush, friction-lock, and self-pierce. The most common types of rivets are solid, blind, and countersunk.
Solid rivets are the oldest and most popular type of fastener. They are safe, reliable, and proven. Because of this, they are widely used in the construction of aircraft. In this application, a hammer and anvil are needed to form the factory head of solid rivets. Both sides of the hole also require access during installation, so the anvil is placed against one end of the rivet while the hammer strikes the other end. Hand hammers are almost never used for this process. Modern manual riveting operations require hand-held air hammers.
Automated drilling and riveting machines are also commonly used in aerospace manufacturing. These machines often utilize hydraulic or electromagnetic presses. Semi-tubular rivets are solid across the main part of the rivet shaft, allowing them to carry a shear load, but are hollow at the end to make it easier to form the shop head. In construction applications, like when joining steel structures for bridges or building frames, solid rivets have in large part been replaced by bolts. The main reason for this is that bolts are more time-efficient in regards to installation and removal.
Blind rivets are hollow and feature a mandrel on a stem that runs through a central hole. During installation, the mandrel is drawn back through the rivet’s body, forming the factory head on the opposite end. This makes it possible to install them from one side - hence their name. Special-purpose rivets are often required to install blind rivets. Plier-type riveters and lazy tong rivet tools are the most common manual riveting tools. Plier-type riveters are generally less costly and more compact, but lazy tong rivet tools are stronger and can be used to install rivets that require great force.
Countersunk rivets are used on flat surfaces where a smooth exterior is required for appearance or aerodynamic purposes. For this reason, they are commonly used on the exterior of aircraft for their reduced drag and turbulence. Because countersunk rivets are flush with the surface, they are also known as flush rivets. Whatever type of rivet you need, it’s important to get them from a quality source. For all types of rivets and much more, ASAP Fasteners is here to help.
ASAP Fasteners provides all types of rivets, NSN parts, connector parts, and much more for various military and civilian applications. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all types of unique parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. Our dedicated account managers are standing by and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at email@example.com or call us at 1-714-705-4780.
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