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Aircraft often rely on nearly a million fasteners that play a vital role in preserving the structure of the whole vessel. Though these small components may not be as complex as a jet engine or propeller, they must be similarly equipped to handle the tough working environment on board an aircraft. As such, it can be very beneficial for aircraft owners and operators to have a well-rounded understanding of the various types of fasteners used and what qualities they need to work effectively.
General Types of Aircraft Fasteners
Just as with any other machine, aircraft require a number of different types of fasteners to meet the demands for a wide set of tasks. Here is a list of the common varieties used:
Aircraft Bolts: Bolts are externally threaded fasteners that are used to create non-permanent joints which can be disassembled if required. In the aerospace industry in particular, they are usually made from high-strength steel or aluminum alloys coated with corrosion-resistant materials. Combining these high-strength materials with a sturdy design, aircraft bolts provide excellent strength and resistance against heavy loads.
Aircraft Nuts: Used in conjunction with bolts, aircraft nuts are internally threaded components that are attached to bolts to bolster their hold. In order to best handle vibration and heavy loads, aircraft nuts often include features such as self-locking and sealing via internal teeth, nylon inserts, and other characteristics.
Aircraft Screws: Screws are the most commonly used hardware on aircraft and have external threading like a bolt but with a pointed end, as well as a manufactured head to assist with installation. While a wide variety of screws are used, the majority can be split into two categories: structural and machine. Structural screws have a similar strength to bolts, and are suited for heavy-duty applications. Alternately, machine screws are less durable but extremely versatile, coming with many different sizes and head designs to fit an array of operations.
Aircraft Rivets: Aircraft rivets are pin-like hardware that are deformed during installation to create a permanent joint. As a result, they are most commonly used to join metal sheets as a cost-effective, but sturdy option.
Desired Qualities in Aircraft Fasteners
To work effectively, aerospace fasteners must have superior physical qualities. The main requirements are:
High Strength: Aircraft are exposed to immense pressures and stresses during each flight. Therefore, fasteners need to have high tensile and shear strength in order to withstand such loads. Additionally, since dynamic loads like turbulence are common, the fasteners must also have good fatigue strength.
Thermal Resistance: Spacecraft and military airplanes must face extreme temperature shifts which can cause thermal failure. As a result, fasteners must be capable of maintaining their performance in high temperature ranges.
Corrosion Resistance: Many aircraft fasteners must also be able to withstand exposure to a moist environment, with some needing further corrosion resistance for the chemicals used in aircraft.
Lightweight: In order to optimize their fuel efficiency, aircraft must have weight kept to a minimum, including their fasteners. While a single fastener may not be very heavy, the amount of them used on board adds up.
Overall, aerospace fasteners are an essential form of hardware with unique characteristics that make them fit for use in flight operations. When you require such items, turn to Civil Aviation Parts, a leading supplier of hardware in the aviation industry. As an AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accredited enterprise, we go above our market competitors to ensure the quality and authenticity of all our offered parts. Beyond giving our customers access to a vast inventory of reliable aviation components, our market expertise and purchasing power allows us to leverage time and cost savings for all the items we offer. If any of the products in our catalog pique your interest, you may send an Instant RFQ form to receive a quote for your comparisons in just 15 minutes or less!
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