Why Are Aircraft Riveted Instead of Welded?

When it comes to construction, early bridges and aircraft are similar in that a number of rivets are used for assembly and for securing infrastructure. In more recent years, many bridge builders have turned to welding instead, forgoing the rivet for new techniques. Despite this, aircraft continue to be manufactured with the use of aircraft grade rivet technology. This is due to the specific stressors and operations that aircraft undergo, requiring rivets to remain safe and intact.


 A rivet is a type of fastener that is used to permanently secure two or more objects together. Typically, a standard rivet will consist of a smooth cylindrical shaft and a head placed opposite to the tail end. For installation, a rivet is drawn through the hole of the components that they are to secure, and then the tail end is deformed with a tool, such as a hammer or rivet gun. By upsetting the tail end, a second head is created, securing the assembly.

Across most modern aircraft, a majority of main structures and components are composed of aluminum materials. When heated up, aluminum can begin to lose strength. As aircraft are constantly under heat from internal combustion engines and exhaust gases, an aluminum welded assembly has the risk of losing integrity, threatening safety of the aircraft. Beyond concerns for durability, welding can be a difficult process to conduct as well, much unlike the ease and economic efficiency of rivet installation. When conducting safety inspections during routine maintenance or in between flights, ensuring a rivet is not compromised is much faster and easier than checking welding. 

Beyond welding, some may wonder why manufacturers are not able to utilize screws instead of rivets. As compared to a rivet, screws are not often able to withstand the amounts of vibration caused during flight. With such vibrations, a screw may come loose, which would be very detrimental for an assembly. Even with a carbon fiber tube or material, rivets would prove most beneficial for a robust and secure assembly, ensuring integrity from each lift off to touchdown.

When procuring rivets for use for aviation purposes, utilizing an aircraft grade rivet is required as all components must meet certain manufacturing specifications so that they are capable of enduring the loads and stressors that they will be subject to during operation. Common aircraft grade rivet types include 5056, 2117-T, 2017-T, 2024-T, and 1100. When it comes time to begin sourcing the aircraft grade rivet components and other fasteners that you need for your next project or operation, RFQ Experts has you covered with everything you are searching for.

RFQ Experts is owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, and we can help you find the aviation, NSN, and electronic parts that you are searching for, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we're always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. ASAP Semiconductor is an FAA AC 00-56B accredited and ISO 9001:2015 certified enterprise. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@rfqexperts.com or call us at +1-780-851-3631.

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February 7, 2020

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