Whether one is assembling a piece of furniture or a large aircraft, fasteners of various types will be used to join parts together in a temporary or permanent fashion. Rivets are a particular type of mechanical fastener that can serve both light and heavy-duty applications, making them quite versatile. Generally, they can handle tensile and shear loads, and they are known for their simple installation and high reliability. In this blog, we will discuss some of the most common types of rivets that one may come across, ensuring that you are aware of your options and which applications they each best serve.
While there are a number of rivets, most have a similar design with a head and tail on opposite sides of a smooth, cylindrical shaft. Rivets can be made from many materials, though the most common are aluminum and steel. Unlike bolts and nuts that are installed through traditional means, rivets follow a unique implementation method. Passing the tail end of the rivet through a preformed hole, a special riveting tool is used to deform the tail so that a second head can be established. This ensures high security, making it so that the rivet cannot be easily removed through tampering. To deform the tail, it is generally pounded or smashed with a tool to form a dumbbell shape.
Solid rivets are the most common types, featuring a solid shaft and a head on one side. These rivets are regularly used when assembling and securing metal assemblies, an example being the aluminum skin sections of aircraft. For installation, solid rivets require a rivet gun or a hammer so that their tail can be deformed. Additionally, they may either be procured with round, universal heads or 100 degree countersunk heads. Typically, applications call for solid rivets when there is a need for high safety and reliability.
Blind rivets are also quite popular, and they feature a unique installation method and design that allows them to be installed from one side of an assembly. Blind rivets are typically made from metal, and they are a tubular fastener with a mandrel located in the center. For installation, the pop rivet is first passed through a preformed hole, but rather than deforming the tail, a tool is used to draw the mandrel. As the mandrel is drawn, it forces the blind end of the rivet to expand. Eventually, the mandrel will break off, creating a second head on the other side. This makes blind rivets extremely beneficial for applications where there is no access to the other side, such as with an aircraft, marine vessel, or other such assemblies.
While solid and blind rivets are the most popular types, there are various others that one may use. For example, home repairs often call for split rivets which allow for leather, plastic, and wood to be joined with ease. If aerodynamic drag is a concern, then a flush rivet may be relied on with its ability to ensure optimal airflow. Lastly, self-piercing rivets do not require a pre-drilled or punched hole as they can pierce the surface they are implemented in during installation. If you have a specific application and know what type of rivet you need for your applications, let the experts at NSN 360 help you procure all you require with ample time and cost savings.
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