Aircraft fasteners are a critical part of assembling just about any type of machinery. But most fasteners, such as screws, nuts, and bolts, have a key weakness: they require access to both sides of the material being fastened. Rivets, for instance, require that a riveting hammer be placed on one side, and a bucking bar on the other to hold the rivet in place while it is hammered into a secure position. Blind rivets, however, have no such weakness, and can be installed when you don’t have access to or can’t see the back side of the item being riveted.
A blind rivet consists of two components: the rivet itself, and an integrated mandrel. The blind rivet is pushed through the hole of the material being riveted, and a riveter is used to pull the mandrel back while holding the rivet in place. As the mandrel gets pulled back, the rivet is deformed by pushing the sides outward until the mandrel snaps. Doing this expands the back side of the rivet, which serves to hold the riveted materials together.
Blind rivets are categorized by the material of the rivet and the material of the mandrel. Aluminum/steel, for instance, means an aluminum rivet with a steel mandrel. Aircraft rivets usually come in steel, stainless steel, various alloys of aluminum, and nickel-copper alloys. When purchasing rivets, you should always try to match the rivet and mandrel materials to avoid causing galvanic corrosion and weakening the rivet.
Several of the most common categories of blind rivets include, but are not limited to:
Blind rivets are also commonly referred to as pop rivets. This is because the first brand of blind rivets was trademarked as Pop rivets, due to the distinctive noise they make when they are installed. This name has now become a generic term to describe products in this category, similar to Kleenex for disposable tissues, even though blind rivets are now produced by a wide range of manufacturers.
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