Rivets: A Versatile and Important Fastener Technology(thermoset vs thermoplastic Moore)

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Rivets are a type of mechanical fastener used to join multiple pieces of material by inserting a metal shaft through aligned holes in the pieces and deforming the protruding end to create a head. Though often overlooked, rivets play an incredibly important role in many products and structures we interact with every day. In this article, we'll explore the functionality, manufacturing, and diverse applications of rivets across industries.
What are Rivets?
A rivet consists of a smooth cylindrical shaft and a head on one or both ends. The shaft is inserted into holes in the materials being joined - typically metals or other hard materials - and the head is formed on the protruding end by upsetting the rivet, which expands it to be larger than the hole. This creates a permanent mechanical fastening that holds the materials together.
Rivets come in a wide variety of types, materials, and sizes to accommodate different design needs:
- Materials: aluminum, steel, copper, stainless steel, titanium, etc.
- Head styles: flat head, round head, countersunk head
- Solid vs. blind (tubular): blind rivets have hollow shafts
- Drive styles: drive rivet, screw rivet, self-piercing rivet
Key Properties and Benefits
Compared to other fastener types, rivets offer unique advantages:
- Permanent fastening - unlike screws or bolts, rivets cannot come loose over time
- Vibration/shock resistance - solid rivet construction withstands forces better than threads
- Strength-to-weight ratio - rivets are very strong relative to their light weight
- No need to pre-tap threads - hole preparation is simpler compared to screws
- Air tight/water tight - solid rivet shaft creates a tight seal against leaks
- Quick installation - riveting is fast and easy relative to other techniques
- Low profile - rivet heads protrude little above surface
These qualities make rivets the optimal choice for many applications where a permanent, reliable, and low-profile fastening method is needed.
Manufacturing Process
Mass producing consistent, high-quality rivets requires precision machining and forming:
- Raw material - rod/wire stock of desired rivet material is cut to length
- Heading - one end of the rivet blank has a head pressed into shape
- Piercing - the rivet tip is sharpened for piercing stacked materials
- Hardening - rivets may be heat treated to increase strength
- Plating - corrosion resistant platings can be applied if needed
- Sorting - rivets are sorted by head style, diameter, length, etc.
Rivet setting equipment then installs the rivets by inserting the shaft through the workpiece holes and using a tool to flare out and form the second head. This may be done by squeezing, hammering, explosive force, or other methods depending on rivet type.
Applications Across Industries
Thanks to their versatility, rivets serve a huge range of applications across many industries:
Aerospace - Rivets are ubiquitous in aircraft construction, used to join the skin panels, ribs, stringers, and other components in the wings, fuselage, and tail. Aerospace rivets are specialty products engineered for lightweight strength.
Construction - Steel rivets secure steel beams and girders in bridges, buildings, transmission towers, and more. Their vibration resistance prevents loosening.
Appliances - Sheet metal casing parts in appliances like washers, dryers, and refrigerators are fastened with rivets for affordable reliability.
Automotive - Cars and trucks use rivets to assemble body panels, frames, and interior components that must withstand vibration.
Electronics - Rivets provide permanent fastening inside electronic devices while adding little weight.
Jewelry - Tiny jewelers rivets attach chains, hinges, bails, and other findings to jewelry pieces.
Crafts/Hobbies - Rivets allow crafters and hobbyists to securely fasten materials like leather, plastic, or fabric.
The convenience and adaptability of the technology ensures that rivets will continue serving these critical functions for the foreseeable future. While largely unseen, society relies heavily on the unique fastening properties of rivets.
In summary, rivets are cylindrical fasteners inserted through holes in multiple layers of material and flared at the end to create a permanent joint. The reliability, vibration resistance, and sealing abilities of rivets make them ideal for aerospace, construction, appliance manufacturing, automobiles, electronics, jewelry, crafts, and many other applications. Rivets are manufactured to high tolerances in a variety of materials, sizes, and head configurations to accommodate diverse situations where secure fastening is needed. Their usefulness and versatility ensure rivets will continue to be a vital fastening technology. CNC Milling CNC Machining