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Designer's Corner

Designer's Corner

Panel-aligning fastener

Panel-fastening systems rely on a combination of oversized structural holes and nut-element float to accommodate panel removal and installation. Improvements in positional tolerances of tooling used to produce interchangeable panels, makes a new Panel Aligning Fastener System (PAFS) feasible.

PAFS differs from common panel fastening systems in that the access panel and its mating structure are treated as a stiff-spring system in which each fastener loads/unloads the spring system a small amount. With PAFS "pinning'' panels in place, it should be possible to design and manufacture improved, lighter weight, more efficient structure using fewer fasteners. Other advantages:

All male fasteners for a given panel can be identical, regardless of substructure thickness

  • The fastening system eliminates bending moment failures in the threads

  • Receptacle has no moving parts for high reliability

  • Improved fastener flushness

  • Improved fuel sealing (gasket chafing eliminated)

  • Inherent low cost

Panel hole misaligned with structure hole With > 3 threads engaged, fastener becomes a jackscrew Fastener chamfer engages receptacle barrel Major diameter of bolt moves into the shear plane

Jim Landgrebe, Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems, MZ 4266, Box 748, Fort Worth, TX 76101; (817) 763-2113.

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