The Incredible Partnership Of Rivet Nuts, Aluminum And Aircraft

How is aluminum used in aircraft construction held and secured together?

The history of aircraft manufacturing is closely related to the history of creating aluminum alloys. As aluminum evolved into a reliable and durable material, airplanes flew higher, safer and farther. But even though aluminum proved to be the best material for aircraft construction, it would be of questionable value unless aluminum and the other components were held together firmly and securely.

Rapid Rivet - Rivet Nuts - Sept 2013 800px-Aluminum_Overcast.1Joining Methods

There are numerous methods by which metal parts can be held together. Some of these methods include:

  • Bolting
  • Brazing
  • Welding
  • Riveting

The union produced by these joining methods should be as strong as the joined parts.

Difficult-To-Solder Alloy

The natural characteristics of aluminum and its alloys make them difficult to solder. This presents a big obstacle in aircraft construction. Aluminum is a perfect material for an aircraft body but even as such if it cannot be joined with other parts, it would not be of any use for the aircraft. Fortunately, aluminum parts can be bolted, riveted or welded together.

Rapid Rivet - Rivet Nut - Sept 2013 -AST-32-2686Aluminium And The Aviation Industry

Aluminum is used in the aviation industry in all parts of the world. The share of aluminum is about 2/3 to ¾ of the dry weight of a passenger plane, in airborne aircraft. In a rocket ship, aluminum accounts for 1/20 to ½ of its dry weight. And as aluminum is used for aircraft construction, it is also used for manufacturing the different components of space ship equipment including brackets, fixtures, covers, chassis and casing for various tools and devices.

What Is A Rivet Nut

A rivet is a metal pin that is used to join two or more plates, metal sheets or pieces of materials together. Also called a nut-sert, rivnut or blind nut, rivet nut has an internal thread and counter bored tubular rivet which can be fastened totally from one side. There are two kinds of rivet nuts:

  • One type is bulge-forming on the back side of the panel
  • The other type uses a screw and is drawn into the sleeve instead of creating a bulge.

Rivet Nuts And The Aviation Industry

Rivet Nuts are commonly used to attach different items in the field of aviation – panel, static wicks, tube, extrusions, surface of an aircraft, castings and inspection access covers. Once installed, the rivet nut remains captive to which a mating component can be attached using standard hardware.

Rapid Rivet - Rivet Nuts - Sept 2013800px-Defense.gov_News_Photo_071210-N-7571S-002Rivet Nut Hand Tool

A rivet nut offers numerous benefits over other bolts, nuts, self-tapping screws and pressed inserts, the main benefit of which are faster assembly and low cost of installation. Installation of a rivet nut is not as difficult as it seems. By using lightweight, inexpensive and easy-to-operate hand tools or handheld power air or hydraulic setting tools, rivet nut installation can be very efficient.

Designed For Rivet Nut

A rivet nut hand tool allows the rivnuts to be seated tighter because the tool is especially designed for such a task. With far greater loads than other regular sheet metal screw a rivet nut tool is highly recommended for most installations.


Is there a better material for aircraft construction than aluminum?