Fasteners are a necessity that transcends industry. Whether you’re building IKEA furniture or a supersonic jet, fasteners must hold key components together and be reliable under stress. As you’d imagine, aerospace fasteners have evolved along with the industry itself. When newer and faster products are invented, fastener performance requirements increase. Aerospace manufacturers use a variety of familiar fasteners like screws, nuts, and bolts, as well as more specialized pieces such as rivets, pins, and collars.
Aerospace technology experiences extraordinary conditions during flight, like the extreme pressure and temperatures while leaving the atmosphere or the intense heat of burning fuel. Because of this, every part of an aircraft must be able to not only survive, but thrive in these conditions. As these aircraft fasteners parts have to withstand a variety of conditions, various fastener materials are optimal for different uses. Here are a few of the different materials used for aerospace fasteners:
Aluminum, a common material for fasteners called rivet fastener, is usually found in atmospheric planes. While it is still employed in aerospace, aluminum requires special treatment before reaching the standards needed for flight beyond the atmosphere. However, this process is not always enough as aluminum is still sensitive to temperatures above 250 degrees fahrenheit.
The strength and hardness of steel makes it a very popular material for aerospace fasteners. A drawback of steel is that its strength also means it is significantly heavier than other materials. This added weight can lead to a lot of issues, so steel fasteners should only be used when appropriate.
Titanium is frequently employed as an alternative to aluminum. The primary benefit of using titanium over other materials is that it has strength that rivals steel while still remaining relatively light. It is also functional in a wide array of temperatures, ranging from -350 to 800 degrees fahrenheit.
High-performance alloys called superalloys are the most versatile of these materials. Superalloys are highly resistant to creep, the slow deformation or movement of a solid under persistent stress. In addition to this, they possess great surface stability as well as better resistance to corrosion and oxidation.
While any of these materials are great for use in fasteners components, it is important to fully understand the circumstances under which the fastener will be used. Each material is ideal for different scenarios, and a fastener tailored to your specific needs will produce the best results.