Even though made of the best materials and strongest parts, an aircraft would be of doubtful value unless those parts were firmly held together. Several methods are used to hold parts together. Welding/soldering, threaded fasteners and riveting are the three main methods. The use of threaded fasteners and soldering has been mentioned previously.
Rivets are an alternative method of fastening structure, a rivet being a metal pin on which a head is formed during manufacture. The rivet is inserted into a predrilled hole and the plain end of its shank is deformed (‘set’ or ‘closed’) by the use of a hand/power tool.
Rivets create a joint at least as strong as the material that is being joined. Rivets are normally strong in shear, but they should not be subjected to excessive tensile loads.
There are two main categories of rivet:
- Solid rivets: They are ‘set’ using a riveting gun on the manufactured head and a reaction (bucking) bar on the remote side.
- Blind rivets: They may be installed where access is restricted to the shank end of the rivet.