Introduction(zinc vs aluminum Kelly)

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Rivets are small fasteners that are commonly used in manufacturing and construction projects to join pieces of metal, plastic, or other materials. While welding and screws are also popular joining methods, rivets offer some unique advantages that make them one of the most versatile and widely-used fasteners today. In this article, we’ll explore the many applications and benefits of rivet fasteners.
What are Rivets?
A rivet is a two-part mechanical fastener that consists of a smooth cylindrical shaft and a head. The shaft is inserted into pre-drilled holes in the materials being joined, and the head is deformed on the other side to create a bulge. This bulge clamps the materials together with tremendous strength.
Rivets are available in a wide range of materials, including aluminum, steel, copper, stainless steel, and specialty alloys. Aluminum and steel are the most common. The material chosen depends on factors like strength, corrosion resistance, weight, cost, and appearance.
Head styles can be round, countersunk, or brazier. Different head types are used for specific applications and material thickness. Rivet shafts also come in different grip lengths to accommodate various material stack ups.
Key Uses and Applications
Thanks to their versatility, reliability, and cost-effectiveness, rivets are used in countless industrial and construction settings. Here are some of the most prominent applications:
- Aircraft and aerospace vehicles - Rivets are extensively used in airframe manufacturing to join wings, fuselage, tail sections, doors, skins, frames, bulkheads, and other components. Aerospace-grade rivets meet stringent aviation standards.
- Automotive manufacturing - Cars, trucks, buses, trains, and other vehicles rely on millions of rivets during assembly. Rivets join body panels, frames, doors, hoods, trunk lids, roofs, bumpers, wheels, and interior components.
- Appliances - Kitchen appliances, white goods, HVAC equipment, and electronics utilize rivets to assemble sheet metal casings, frames, doors, and panels. Stainless steel and aluminum rivets are common.
- Building and construction - Rivets provide reliable, long-lasting fastening for metal roofing and siding, HVAC ductwork, railings, ladders, suspended ceilings, lights, structural frames, cranes, and more.
- Bridges - Structural steel girders and corrugated decking on bridges depend on heavy duty rivets. Truss bridges used millions of rivets before welding became more prominent.
- Ships and boats - Marine-grade rivets withstand corrosion from saltwater exposure. They are used to assemble hulls, masts, railings, deck hardware, propellers, and interior components.
- Railroad applications - Rivets hold together railroad tracks, railcars, locomotives, and equipment. High shear strength resists heavy loads and vibration.
Benefits of Rivet Fasteners
There are many good reasons rivets have endured as a trusted fastening method. Key benefits include:
- High strength - The head of the rivet is mechanically deformed to create very high clamping pressure between joined materials. This leads to excellent shear and tensile strength.
- Reliability - When properly installed, rivets provide consistent, long-lasting bonds. Sudden fastener failure is extremely rare.
- Durability - Rivets handle vibration, shock loads, and stress cycles very well. This makes them ideal for dynamic mechanical connections.
- Corrosion resistance - Many rivets have excellent corrosion resistance for use in harsh environments. Stainless steel is commonly used for marine applications.
- Light weight - Rivets are much lighter than welds or bolts. Weight reduction is critical in aircraft and transportation.
- Quick installation - Rivet setting tools allow for fast installation. This improves manufacturing efficiency and reduces assembly costs.
- Minimal preparation - Holes can be quickly punched or drilled. No threading or precision tapping required.
- Versatility - With various head styles and alloys, rivets can accommodate diverse applications and material combinations.
- Cost effectiveness - Rivets are inexpensive, readily available, and require little specialized tooling. Ideal for high volume production.
- No vibration loosening - Unlike screws and bolts, rivets will not work loose over time. Locking features are inherent.
- Appearance - The smooth exterior surface of flush rivets provides a clean, appealing look for visible applications.
Rivet Installation Process
Installing rivets involves a few simple steps, making them quite user-friendly:
1. Holes are drilled or punched through materials to be joined. Hole diameter matches rivet shaft.
2. Rivet shaft is inserted through holes. Rivet length allows material stack-up thickness.
3. A rivet set tool applies pressure and deforms the rivet head. This flares the rivet shaft.
4. The flared shaft expands under head and clamps materials together in a tight joint.
5. Excess rivet shank is trimmed flush for a smooth, clean look.
Properly drilled holes, material alignment, and pressure from the rivet setting tool are key factors for quality rivet joints. Installation is quick and does not require extensive training or expertise.
Modern automated riveting systems are used by aerospace and auto manufacturers for very high speed, repeatable joining. Robotic arms precisely place and set thousands of rivets per hour.
With capabilities to join a wide spectrum of materials in countless configurations, it’s easy to see why rivets continue to be a staple fastening method after over a century of use. Their combination of strength, reliability, economy, and ease of installation make rivets a logical choice for connecting anything from aircraft wings to metal siding. As manufacturing techniques and materials evolve, this simple yet profoundly useful fastener will undoubtedly continue playing a key role in bonding the world around us. CNC Milling