Fasteners form a solid connection between two different objects. They are usually a small piece of hardware that secures objects together without creating a permanent joint. What differentiates a fastener from a rope or hinge, is the fixed nature of the fastener. Ropes and clips are maneuverable, whereas a fastener is rigid in nature. A rope can help tow a car, but the nature of the rope is flexible, making it structurally less sound. In comparison, a fastener, such as a lock bolt fastener are very sturdy pieces of hardware that can withstand high strength standards.
Due to the large number of different types of aircraft fasteners, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) created a uniform manufacturing standard. Fasteners must be uniform in shape, material, and composition. Similarly, the Military has a set of standards that all fasteners must be compliant with. The most important standard for fasteners for military purposes is traceability. The Military must be able to trace the fastener all the way back to the manufacturer and supply chain.
Aircraft fasteners come in all different shapes and sizes. Most people would recognize a screw, clip, clasp, pin or ring. The shape of these pieces can vary, therefore alternating the applicability of the fastener. For example, hex bolts are typically used in machinery and construction, whereas, wood screws are used in carpentry.
Types of screw fasteners include hex bolts, wood screws, sheet metal screws and socket screws. Washer types include flat, fender, finishing, split lock, square and dock.
We at ASAP Axis, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, supply aviation fasteners from top manufacturers worldwide. A few of the manufacturers that provide premium fasteners are PCC Fasteners, Arconic, Eaton, HI Shear, Monogram, and Huck International.
Fasteners Used in Aerospace:
As an aircraft climbs higher into the air, the pressure level and altitude cause a shift in the shape of the aircraft body. Due to this environment, the fasteners used in an aircraft must be more durable than a simple binder clip. Fasteners can be defined by the type of joint the fastener will be connected to. For example, is the fastener required to be load bearing? The material of the fastener is chosen in regard to the location of the fastener. Aluminum is a popular material as it is lightweight and inexpensive. The temperature range, however, is not the most optimum. An example of an aluminum fastener is the Jo-Bolt fastener that is used in difficult riveting jobs.
In comparison to aluminum, steel is a more reliable material considering the condition of an aircraft. Steel is able to withstand higher levels of corrosion; however, it is heavier than aluminum.
Fasteners in Automotives:
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) sets out a list of guidelines that all automotive fasteners must comply with. The most common fasteners used in the automotive industry include bolts, nuts and studs.
Bolts are described in terms of the head, thread and grip. The head has various designs and shapes. The grip on a bolt is longer than the thread to ease the application. Nuts fall under two categories: self-locking and non-self-locking. They also differ in shape and size depending on their use. Nuts are easy to distinguish between bolts as they are usually square or hexagonal in nature, with a hole in the middle. Nuts are used to secure bolts.
In comparison to bolts, studs are threaded on each end, with an unthreaded middle. Studs are used in automotive engines where bolts are not applicable.
Fasteners in Marine Craft
The biggest consideration when using fasteners in marine craft is the level of corrosion. Fasteners must be made out of a material that is durable enough to withstand high levels of salt. Unlike in aircraft and automotives, wood is commonly used in marine craft, therefore the material of the fasteners is more specific.
Stainless steel is a popular material choice of marine craft fasteners. Stainless steel has a high tolerance to corrosion. An example of a stainless-steel fastener is the 316 grade stainless steel series.
An alternative material to stainless steel is silicon bronze. An alloy copper and tin, silicon bronze is well matched to the conditions on a marine craft. It is very resistant to corrosion, strong, and durable.
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