Introduction to Rivets and Their Uses(automotive fasteners Zachary)

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Rivets are mechanical fasteners used to join two or more materials together. They consist of a smooth cylindrical shaft with a head at one end. The end opposite the head is deformed or bucked during installation to create a second head, clamping the assembly securely together. Rivets have been in use for thousands of years and continue to be an important fastening technology due to their strength, durability, and ease of installation. In this article, we'll take a closer look at different types of rivets and their common uses across a variety of industries.
Rivet Types
There are several main categories of rivets based on their manufacturing process and intended function:
- Solid/Blind Rivets - Tubular rivets that are deformed on one side to create a head. Often used in aircraft construction.
- Semi-Tubular Rivets - Hollow rivets with a partially open bottom. The shaft is deformed during installation. Common in boatbuilding, bridges, etc.
- Structural Rivets - Extra strong rivets designed for critical structural joints. Used in high-stress applications.
- Drive Rivets - Also known as open-end rivets. They have pre-formed heads on both ends and are driven through prepunched holes.
- Split Rivets - Rivets with a split shaft. As they are driven in, legs splay outward to clamp materials together. Quick installation.
- Self-Plugging Rivets - Designed to seal holes and gaps from fluids/gases. The rivet head covers the hole.
- Breakstem Rivets - The mandrel snaps off after installation leaving a flush surface. Cosmetic applications.
- Multi-Grip Rivets - Can clamp varying thicknesses of material due to a deformable shaft. Very versatile.
Key Uses of Rivets
Rivets serve well in a wide range of functions thanks to their light weight, strength, and ease of installation. Here are some of the most prominent applications:
Aircraft Construction
Rivets are extensively used in airplanes and helicopters. Solid aluminum rivets are ideal for joining thin sheets of aircraft aluminum. The widespread use of rivets in aircraft allows for simplified repairs and alterations. Rivets also withstand aircraft vibration better than many other fasteners.
Bridges
Steel rivets are commonly used in the construction of steel truss bridges and towers. The riveted connections handle tension loads well. They are also easily inspected for corrosion and cracks during maintenance. Rivets distribute bridge loads efficiently, increasing durability.
Shipbuilding
Ships and boats make heavy use of semi-tubular and drive rivets. The marine environment can corrode many fasteners, but rivets hold up very well to moisture. Their high shear strength suits well for hull assembly. Rivets allow for flexibility as ships flex in rough seas.
Industrial Machinery
Machinery parts often undergo dynamic loads, vibration, and misalignment. Rivets can handle these conditions while providing strong, permanent fastening. They are easy to install in awkward assembly positions. Stainless steel and corrosion resistant rivets suit corrosive industrial uses.
Construction
Steel rivets serve as connections for critical joints in steel frame buildings, transmission towers, and construction equipment. Their high clamping force creates durable joints. Rivets allow the steel members to endure seismic and wind forces. Inspection is easy during ongoing maintenance.
Automotive
Self-piercing rivets efficiently join different materials like metals and composites in car manufacturing. They create strong joints without reducing metal strength from drilling prepunched holes. Rivets withstand engine vibration, road shock, and temperature changes. Many body panels, wheels, and engine parts are joined with rivets.
Electronics
Small gauge stainless steel and brass rivets work well for assembling electronic device enclosures and chassis. The joining process minimizes distortion of sensitive components. Rivets allow for disassembly and repair of electronics. Breakstem rivets provide a flush surface for aesthetic reasons.
Railroads
Rivets have served as the main fastener for connecting steel rails to railroad ties and joining sections of rail since the early 19th century. The durability and reliability of rail rivets is crucial for safety. Their vibration resistance prevents loosening over years of train traffic.
Common Installation Methods
There are various techniques used to install rivets depending on the rivet type and application:
- Hand Riveting - Hammering the rivet head into place manually. Requires access to both sides.
- Pneumatic Riveting - Using pneumatic rivet guns for quicker installation. Applies to most rivet types.
- Hydrolic Riveting - Uses water pressure to form the closing head. Facilitates one-sided installation.
- Self-Piercing Rivets - Mechanically driven to pierce and clamp materials in one action. No hole pre-drilling.
- Countersunk Rivets - Driven flush into pre-drilled countersunk holes. Provides an aerodynamic surface.
- Blind Rivets - Installed with only access to one side using manual or pneumatic rivet tools. Very versatile.
- Buck Rivets - Traditional two piece rivets hammered into shape. Requires access to both sides.
In summary, rivets continue to serve as a tried and true mechanical fastening solution valued for their vibration resistance, shear strength, and ease of installation across diverse applications. Improved rivet designs and installation tools have further increased their convenience and functionality for modern manufacturing needs. CNC Milling CNC Machining