Uses for Rivets in Manufacturing and Construction(what are snap fit joints Robert)

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Rivets are one of the most versatile and widely used fasteners in manufacturing and construction. A rivet is a mechanical fastener that connects two or more objects by inserting a metal rod through pre-drilled holes and deforming the protruding end to form a head. The deformation process is called riveting.
Rivets come in a variety of head shapes, materials, strengths and sizes to accommodate different applications. Some of the most common uses for rivets are outlined below.
Aircraft and Aerospace Applications
Rivets are extensively used in aircraft and aerospace applications to join metals sheets and other components. Aircraft grade rivets are made from lightweight and strong materials like aluminum, titanium and specialty alloys. Rivets help assemble the fuselage, wings, control surfaces and landing gear of airplanes and spacecraft.
The main advantages of using rivets in aircraft assembly are:
- Lightweight - rivets add little weight to the overall structure.
- Reliable - properly installed rivets provide a tight and durable joint.
- Consistent strength - rivets maintain uniform mechanical properties throughout the structure.
- Easy inspection - loose or damaged rivets are visually identifiable.
- Quick installation - automated riveting machines allow fast assembly.
Some types of aircraft rivets include blind, flush head, countersunk head, brazier head, and specialty locking rivets.
Automotive Applications
Rivets are commonly used in automobiles for joining internal and external body panels. The hood, doors, roof, fenders and trunk lid are typically joined with rivets. They are also used to attach small components like hinges, latches and trim pieces to sheet metal frames.
Compared to welding, rivets in automotive applications provide:
- Lower heat input - no warping or weakening of thin sheets.
- Ease of disassembly for repairs and servicing.
- Consistent clamp load between panels.
- Aesthetic joining of visible components.
Self-piercing rivets that punch through sheet metals are popular for automated car body fabrication. Other types like round head, countersunk and semitubular rivets are also used.
Building and Construction Applications
The construction industry makes extensive use of rivets for assembling metal structures like bridges, cranes, transmission towers, offshore oil rigs and prefabricated buildings.
Structural steel joints using rivets offer:
- Good fatigue resistance under cyclic loads.
- Even distribution of shear stresses.
- Minimal site welding requirement.
- Easy quality control.
Common rivets used in construction include structural, tubular, blind and drive rivets. Carbon steel rivets are suitable for most applications while stainless steel and copper rivets provide corrosion resistance.
Shipbuilding Applications
Ship hulls, bulkheads and superstructures rely heavily on riveted joints due to their reliability and tight seal. The harsh marine environment demands specialized ship rivets made from corrosion resistant materials.
The benefits of using rivets in shipbuilding are:
- Strength - withstand heavy static and dynamic loads.
- Watertight joints - prevents leaks into the hull.
- Saltwater corrosion resistance - suited for marine use.
- Ductile failure - protects against cracks spreading across members.
- Noise isolation - reduces transmission of noise and vibration.
Common marine grade rivets include cup head, round head, flat head and countersunk head types made of copper, copper-nickel and stainless steel alloys.
Industrial Machinery Manufacturing
Rivets are instrumental in the manufacture of industrial machines and equipment. They are used to assemble gear boxes, engines, hydraulic cylinders, valves, presses, cranes and other structural or pressure retaining components.
Key advantages of rivets in this area are:
- Withstand vibration and shock loads.
- Ability to clamp thick materials.
- Allow precision alignment of components.
- Accommodate some flexibility in the joint.
- Maintenance free once installed.
Alloy steel rivets with countersunk heads are commonly used for machinery assembly. Stainless steel and brass rivets are also popular to prevent corrosion.
Electronics Manufacturing
Miniaturized rivets help assemble electronic devices like computers, cell phones, home appliances, automotive electronics and medical equipment. The small rivets provide mechanical fastening as well as electrical connectivity in circuit boards.
Tiny rivets offer benefits like:
- Precise fastening of micro components.
- Automated mass production.
- Minimal hardware weight.
- Good electrical conductivity.
- Avoid need for soldering or wires.
Micro rivets made from aluminum, copper and gold alloys are commonly used in electronics manufacturing.
Consumer Products
A variety of consumer products use rivets as fasteners and hinges for items like pocket knives, scissors, pliers, wire cutters, jewelry, watches, glasses, wallets, bags, shoes and kitchen tools.
Rivets in consumer goods provide:
- Quality feel and appearance.
- Permit articulation.
- Allow easy disassembly for cleaning or repair.
- Cheap alternative to machined hinges.
Brass, copper and aluminum rivets are most common for consumer products. Decorative rivets with colored or coated heads are also used for enhanced aesthetics.
Other Niche Applications
In addition to the above major uses, rivets serve countless other purposes across many industries including railways, furniture, playground equipment, power transmission, irrigation, fencing, scaffolding, and HVAC ducting.
Special types like drive rivets, blind rivets and solid rivets expand the functionality of rivets for unique settings. Ongoing rivet innovation and tailoring continues to create new uses for this age-old but still versatile fastener. CNC Milling CNC Machining