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Heat Bud Blog Follow
Aerospace Fastener Materials and Types
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Before the airplane was around, the industry for aerospace fasteners was already existing and was providing service to once-emergent dirigible market.

As the aerospace technology continued to develop then various businesses, commercial, military and shipping jets and airplanes, and also space-destined ballistic and rockets missiles and aerospace fasteners also evolved.

All heavier-than-air travels are combination of engineering and physics, needs stringent adherence to high quality manufacturing and design standards.

Therefore, all these high-quality fasteners used in aerospace are not only dedicated to only aerospace hardware and equipment, but also the term of assessment of quality for all fastener industries as a whole. 

Overview

All aerospace industry uses all kinds of standard fastener including rivets, screws, nut and bolts, collars, pins and many more. Only key difference is their quality.

Aerospace parts has to be much more durable for withstanding a very high temperature and pressure environments, e.g. leaving the atmosphere of earth or burning rocket fuel exposure.

Also, aerospace products should be lightweight. This will help lifting planes and also fuel costs meant for rockets. 

Steels

Steels can be hard alloys, very strong but they are too heavy and may cause problems for spacecraft. Stainless steel is used in aerospace but are only alloy steels. Few stainless steels types are likely to get damaged or failed due to heat, so one has to select proper stainless-steel series.

Normally series C300 stainless steel which is corrosion resistant and not so much heat resistant like other types, can be used for screws and bolts in aerospace. Also, series 400 can be used, as it is heat resistant however can rust.

Also, various grades of precipitation-hardened stainless steels can be used too for few fastener applications. 

Aluminum

In atmosphere-based planes, aluminum will be lightweight metal, and most suitable for aerospace industry applications. However, it may need extra treatment. Rivets of aluminum are very common, but the aluminum should be cold-head formed.

Even after processing, aluminum is still heat sensitive at 250ᵒF, and also unfortunately has stress induced corrosion.

Superalloys

Due to versatility, superalloys, or any high-performance alloys, can be used as common aerospace fasteners because it has the ability to maintain its integrity in high-temperature environments. Also, they are resistant to creep factors.

As an example, A286 may withstand temperature between -420ᵒ and 1200ᵒ F. A nickel-based superalloy called Inconel 718 can retain a 220ksi tensile strength till 900ᵒ F. For many different kinds of stresses, there are superalloys which include:

  • A286
  • H-11
  • Hastelloy
  • Haynes
  • Inconel 718
  • K-Monel
  • Monel
  • MP35N
  • MP159
  • Waspalloy
  • Waspaloy

Titanium

Often aerospace rivets are made from titanium in place of aluminum, due to its similarities in strength of steel or alloy steel, but it is relatively light in weight. Besides, Titanium is cold and heat resistant than steel.

Fastener covers

Besides fasteners themselves, there are lots of applications of fastener covers in aerospace industry. Such covers are made with wider variation of materials having different resistances to various types of environments that experiences outside of normal atmosphere.

All these materials are:

  • Black oxide
  • Cadmium
  • Nickel
  • Phosphate
  • Silver
  • Zinc.
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