Uses for Rivets in Manufacturing and Construction(sheet metal rivets Hilary)

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Rivets are versatile fasteners used in a wide range of manufacturing and construction applications. A rivet consists of a cylindrical shaft with a head on one end. The shaft is inserted into pre-drilled holes in the materials being joined, and the opposite end is deformed to create a second head. The deformed end acts to clamp the materials together.
Rivets come in many sizes, shapes and materials to accommodate different applications and load requirements. Some of the most common uses for rivets are outlined below.
Aircraft and Aerospace Applications
Rivets are extensively used in aircraft and aerospace structures. Aluminum and titanium rivets are commonly used to assemble airplane fuselages, wings, and other components. Rivets in aircraft must withstand vibration, fatigue, and extreme temperature variations. Aerospace rivets are precision fasteners designed for weight savings and reliability.
Some common aircraft rivet types include:
- Solid shank rivets - Cylindrical rivet with a solid shank used for general applications. Offers good shear strength.
- Blind rivets - Rivets that can be installed from one side without access to the opposite end. Used in locations with limited space.
- Drive rivets - Also known as squeeze rivets. Deflection of the tail rather than upsetting fills the hole. Useful where access is limited.
- Lockbolt fasteners - Consist of a pin and collar rather than a rivet shank. The collar locks onto the pin when set to provide vibration resistance.
Automotive Applications
Rivets are used extensively in automobiles for joining internal and external components. Steel rivets are commonly used to assemble chassis components, drivetrains, interior parts, and body panels. Unique rivet designs like self-piercing rivets are used to join dissimilar metals on auto bodies and frames.
Shipbuilding and Marine Applications
Marine grade rivets made of corrosion resistant materials like stainless steel are used in the construction of ships, boats, offshore platforms, and other marine structures. The saltwater environment demands rivets that can withstand corrosion for decades. Large structural rivets are used to connect steel or aluminum members in hulls and superstructures. Smaller rivets secure deck hardware, rails, and other fittings.
Construction and Infrastructure
A variety of rivet types are used in building construction, bridges, towers, and civil infrastructure projects. Structural steel rivets assemble I-beams, channels, and gusset plates in buildings, transmission towers, elevator shafts, and cranes. Stainless steel and copper rivets provide long service life in coastal projects or corrosive environments. Concrete anchors and rebar rivets connect structural elements.
Industrial Machinery Manufacturing
Manufacturers of industrial equipment like agricultural machines, construction equipment, and factory automation rely on rivets at many assembly joints. Grade 8 high strength steel rivets are commonly used for pivots, hinges, frames, and brackets. Stainless fasteners withstand exposure to chemicals and weather. Specialty rivets like shouldered studs provide strong, permanent pivots.
Appliances and Electronics
The assembly of appliances and electronic devices makes extensive use of small aluminum and steel rivets. Appliance handles, panels, brackets, screws, and other hardware are often riveted for durable attachment. Heat resistant rivets join internal oven and range components. Electronics enclosures, brackets, and wire managers also rely on rivets for secure fastening and grounding.
How Rivets Work
Rivets create very strong joints by mechanically deforming the tail end of the rivet while in the hole. This deformation acts to clamp the riveted materials tightly between the rivet head and deformed tail. The friction created between the rivet and the hole walls provides excellent resistance to vibration loosening.
Installation processes include:
- Hand riveting - Hammering the rivet tail to deform it. Requires access to both sides.
- Impact riveting - Using a tool like an air hammer to upset the tail. Faster than hand riveting.
- Blind riveting - Tools upset the rivet tail by pulling its stem. Only one side access needed.
- Self-piercing rivets - Cut through softer materials and flare out to lock in place without drilling.
Rivet Strengths
The shear and tensile strength of rivets depends on the material and processing method. Annealed aluminum rivets have allowable shear strengths around 20,000 psi. Heat treated steel rivets can have double that shear strength. Rivets also have high fatigue strength compared to screws.
Corrosion resistant rivet materials like stainless steel and Monel resist attack from chemicals, water, and outdoor exposure. Plastics and nylon can provide electrical insulation. Copper and brass rivets conduct electricity for grounding and EMI shielding.
Key Rivet Material Types
- Aluminum - Lightweight, general purpose rivets. Medium strength. Used for aircraft, appliances, electronics, etc.
- Steel - Stronger and less ductile than aluminum. Used in machinery, construction, automotive applications.
- Stainless steel - Resists corrosion in harsh environments. Used in marine hardware and chemical processing equipment.
- Titanium - Extremely strong but light rivets used in aerospace applications. Difficult to machine.
- Copper and brass - Corrosion resistant rivets with good conductivity. Used for EMI shielding.
- Monel - Nickel-copper rivets with strength and corrosion resistance. Used in marine, chemical, and nuclear applications.
- Nylon and plastics - Insulating, chemical resistant fasteners. Used in electronics and appliances.

Rivet Design Considerations
- Shear strength and clamping force needed
- Materials being joined - match rivet material accordingly
- Operating environment - high temps, chemical exposure, etc.
- One or two side access for installation
- Hole size and grip range fit the application
- Static or fatigue strength needs - some rivets have better fatigue resistance
- Assembly efficiency - manual, pneumatic, or specialty tools used
Rivets offer a fast, permanent joining method that continues to adapt to new manufacturing challenges. Their versatility ensures rivets will remain an integral fastening solution for the foreseeable future across countless industries. CNC Milling CNC Machining