Uses for Rivets(press fit Burgess)

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Rivets have been used for thousands of years to join materials together in a strong and permanent way. From ancient shipbuilding to modern skyscrapers, rivets continue to be an important fastening technology with a wide variety of applications. In this article, we will explore the many uses for rivets across several major industries.
Construction and Infrastructure
In construction and infrastructure projects, rivets play a critical role in joining structural steel members. Steel beams, girders, columns, and trusses are connected using rivets in bridges, buildings, transmission towers, rail tracks, and more. Structural rivets come in several head styles and materials to suit different design needs. The large flanged head provides extra bearing surface for connecting wide flanges on I-beams or columns. Dome head rivets allow for flush exterior finishes. Drive rivets are oval-shaped for tight spaces. High strength steel rivets meet seismic requirements in earthquake zones. Stainless steel and aluminum rivets withstand corrosion. Proper rivet installation entails drilling holes, inserting the rivet, and hammering the protruding end to form the second head. Rivets distribute stress evenly and provide solid joints that won’t come loose over decades of vibrations and load shifts. For maximum safety in critical infrastructure, rivets are still preferred over bolts and welds in many cases.
Aerospace and Aviation
Aircraft construction relies heavily on rivets due to their light weight, high strength, and reliability. The fuselage, wings, engine mounts, control surfaces, and interior components are all riveted together in aircraft. Though skins are usually joined with flush rivets, other types like round head and countersunk head rivets are used in airplanes and helicopters. Structural joints in aircraft experience enormous stresses from lift, thrust, vibration, wind gusts, and changes in air pressure and temperature. Rivets maintain integrity through these conditions where other fasteners might wear and fail over time. Aerospace rivets are made from lightweight and corrosion resistant alloys of aluminum, magnesium, nickel, titanium, or combinations thereof. Self-piercing and flow-form rivets enable airframe manufacture automation. Proper edge distance, spacing, and hole size ensure optimal rivet grip and load transfer. Aircraft rivets must be expertly installed and inspected according to regulatory standards for safety.
Marine and Shipbuilding
For boat building and offshore marine applications, rivets provide reliable watertight joints in high-corrosion environments. The hull, deck, bulkheads, railings, masts, and interior fixtures of ships and boats can all be riveted together. Marine-grade rivets are manufactured from stainless steel, aluminum, copper alloys, or polymer composites to withstand saltwater exposure. Structural joints use solid rivets, while seams in sheet metal plates use blind rivets that can be installed from one side. Lap joints with staggered rows of rivets effectively transfer shear loads. Large flange head rivets provide extra grip and bearing surface area for connecting thicker braces and frames. Dome head rivets allow for smoother exterior finishes. To prevent galvanic corrosion, rivets must be properly matched to materials being joined. Proper edge distances, sealants, and coatings further protect riveted boat joints from water intrusion damage. With periodic inspection and maintenance, riveted connections can last for decades in harsh sea environments.
Manufacturing and Equipment
In manufacturing machinery, appliances, vehicles, and other equipment, rivets provide durable and vibration-resistant joints. Assembly lines use specialized riveting tools to mass produce riveted products. Heavy equipment uses large structural rivets to join thick plates in cranes, bulldozers, farming equipment, mining machinery, and more. Consumer appliances rely on rivets for connecting parts like panels, handles, hinges, brackets, stands, and rollers that must withstand wear and tear. The auto industry has adopted self-piercing rivets for robotic welding of body panels. Many mechanized processes involve custom machinery built from riveted frames, guards, shafts, gears, chains, and other components. Riveted parts can be disassembled for maintenance and part replacements. Stainless steel and chemical resistant rivets withstand corrosion in food processing equipment. Proper drive and set tools deform rivets for optimal shear and tensile strength. Overall, riveting provides reliable, durable, and cost-effective joining for mass-produced equipment and machinery.
Military and Defense
Rivets have long been the fasteners of choice in military and defense applications where performance and safety are paramount. Armor plates on tanks, vehicles, aircraft, ships, and personnel are riveted together using hardened steel rivets. Weapons and weapon systems rely on rivet joints to tolerate blast pressures, vibration, and wear during repeated firing. Riveting is also extensively used in the manufacture of munitions casings. Precision machined rivets meet strict military specifications for strength, corrosion resistance, and quality control. Mission-critical equipment including communications gear, navigation instruments, and electronic systems are often packaged in riveted enclosures. Riveting is also utilized for field repairs and maintenance where welded repair is not feasible. The reliability and structural integrity of riveted joints make them an ideal choice for national defense applications where failure could cost lives. For maximum safety in military systems, key structural joints are often reinforced with both rivets and adhesive bonding.
Jewelry Making
In jewelry and accessory design, rivets serve both ornamental and functional purposes. Decorative rivet heads can form an intricate part of a bracelet, necklace, watchband, handbag, or other accessory to enhance the visual design. In settings like rings, belt buckles, clasps, and hinges, rivets provide sturdy mechanical joints as an alternative to soldering or welding. Jewelry rivets come in a variety of head shapes and finishes, allowing creative uses limited only by the designer’s imagination. The tubular and hollow design of rivets also enables their use in functional aspects like hinging, stone setting, and connections. Technical skills are needed for proper jewelry rivet setting to avoid damage and cracks. With care and some creativity, jewelry artisans can utilize rivets for beautiful and practical adornments.
Electronics and Appliances
Modern electronics involve extensive use of rivets for component assembly and product casings. Printed circuit boards are held in place with specialty non-conductive rivets. Appliance panels, handles, brackets, and control knobs are mechanically attached with rivets that can withstand vibration and repetitive forces during use. Computer cases, TV backings, and similar electronic enclosures are riveted for durability, serviceability, and aesthetics. In smartphones and tablets, tiny rivets help attach miniature components to circuit boards. Self-clinching rivets allow pre-assembly of electronics for automated production. Conductive metal rivets even function as electrical connections in some circuit layouts. As electronics shrink in size but increase in power, rivets remain an essential fastening method for improving device lifespan and safety. The functionality and reliability of rivets for electronics persists even as technological advances enable smaller, faster, and more efficient designs.
Automotive Manufacturing
Self-piercing rivets revolutionized automotive manufacturing by enabling high-speed robotic assembly of aluminum and mixed material body structures. As vehicles trend lighter for fuel efficiency, aluminum components have largely replaced steel – but cannot be spot welded. Self-piercing rivets pierce and join mixed metals by displacing, rather than melting, material. This eliminates surface damage from heat while providing similarly strong structural joints. Automated riveting lines perform up to 4 rivets per second across large panels for mass production efficiency. Rivets also replace welds for crash management systems to “program” collapse in a collision.countersunk head rivets provide a smooth exterior finish after painting. Hollow cavity rivets can even deliver adhesive bonding along with mechanical fastening. The auto industry continues to adopt more riveting innovations as demand grows for lighter, safer, and more efficient vehicles. Riveting enables flexible manufacturing using lighter, stronger, and mixed materials.
From holding ancient wooden ships together to fastening state-of-the-art aircraft, rivets have proven their versatility and reliability across countless applications. New specialty rivets and automated processes continue advancing the technology into further uses. Rivets distribute stress evenly, provide vibration resistance, and maintain joint integrity through extreme environments. With proper installation and inspection, durable riveted structures can last for generations. From massive bridges to tiny gadgets, rivets offer permanent and dependable fastening unmatched by other methods – and will continue proving indispensable across industries for the foreseeable future. CNC Milling CNC Machining