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Engineering Materials
Aerospace Fasteners Mix It Up
11/8/2012

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An A380 wing panel is being assembled on this automated line using Electroimpact E4380 automatic drilling and insertion systems for permanent fastener installation. The machines clamp the skin and stringer together, drill holes, insert and form aluminum rivets. They also drill and coldwork holes and then insert titanium pins or lockbolts.
An A380 wing panel is being assembled on this automated line using Electroimpact E4380 automatic drilling and insertion systems for permanent fastener installation. The machines clamp the skin and stringer together, drill holes, insert and form aluminum rivets. They also drill and coldwork holes and then insert titanium pins or lockbolts.

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TJ McDermott
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Repairs of composites
TJ McDermott   11/8/2012 10:30:47 AM
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Ann, while composites may cause fewer fasteners to be used in original manufacture, I would expect their use to be undiminished for composite repairs.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Repairs of composites
Ann R. Thryft   11/8/2012 12:31:07 PM
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That's true of course. The question is, given an increase in composite use, whether fasteners will be used in high enough quantities in repair to make up for the lower overall quantities in manufacturing.

ttemple
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Where is the picture?
ttemple   11/8/2012 3:58:21 PM
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Ann,

Is that picture from Textron in Nashville?

 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Where is the picture?
Ann R. Thryft   11/9/2012 12:16:51 PM
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ttemple, my sources did not divulge the locations of the aircraft assembly photos, probably due to customer NDA requirements. But feel free to guess!

bobjengr
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Aerospace Fasteners
bobjengr   11/11/2012 2:38:46 PM
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Excellent post Ann.  I know the longevity of any fastener is dependent upon the application and use.  Relative to composite fasteners, do we know how they "stack up" relative to metal fasteners?  I have seen no data that tries to correlate life cycles of either type.  Great point also about the grounding of composites.  I know this must be a huge issue but not talked about too much in the literature. 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Aerospace Fasteners
Ann R. Thryft   11/12/2012 11:56:51 AM
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Glad you liked the article. The whole issue of the grounding of composites used in aircraft has been widely misunderstood, so I thought it was a good idea to include some clear discussion on that issue. Could you clarify your question about comparisons between fasteners for composites and fasteners for metal? What sort of comparisons do you have in mind?

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Aerospace Fasteners
Cabe Atwell   11/21/2012 4:13:58 PM
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I never thought that lightening strikes on aircraft was so common. I read that it happens 2 times per year on average, per airplane. I have seen electrical discharge responsible for fastener loosening and in some cases, ejecting.  

There is a downside to composite pieces, price. Bolting parts together will always be around. I designed a mechanical system that ended up having over 60 bolts.. it was cheaper than with none, that was for sure.

C

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/travel/columnist/getline/2005-08-29-ask-the-captain_x.htm

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Aerospace Fasteners
Ann R. Thryft   11/26/2012 12:03:55 PM
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The lightning strike issue isn't about frequency so much as it is about catastrophic results. If you've only got a (for example) 1% chance of something happening, but that something has catastrophic results--people dying, lawsuits--then that's something you've got to protect against, or at least not encourage, in your materials and assembly process selection.

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