Whether you are attaching the skin of an aircraft or creating robust assemblies for infrastructure, fasteners serve as a critical aspect of construction. As hardware components that can affix two or more parts together in permanent or non-permanent fashion, fasteners are used in countless industries for a wide variety of applications. Blind rivets and pop rivets are two fastener types that are regularly used in construction, and they are often confused with one another for their many similarities. As each rivet type slightly differs in its characteristics that benefit certain situations, understanding the functionality and application of each can be very useful for anyone who regularly uses fasteners.
Generally speaking, rivets are permanent mechanical fasteners that feature a head on one side and a smooth, cylindrical shaft across the other. To install a standard rivet, one must pass the tail through a preformed hole in the component, and then the tail is deformed to create a second head to hold the components in place. With the strength provided by rivets, such fasteners can withstand tension and shear loads. With their applications ranging from bridge construction to aircraft assembly, rivets prove to be one of the most important types of fasteners. While they are extremely beneficial to many assemblies, however, the method of installing rivets can create difficulties when there are areas that are hard to reach, not visible, or when only one side may be accessed. In such instances, blind and pop rivets are the solution.
A blind rivet is a type of rivet that features a nail-like mandrel within its body and a weakened area close to its head. To install the fastener, it is passed through the preformed holes of the components, and a tool can then be used to draw the mandrel through the body. As the mandrel is drawn, a resulting force of compression causes the rivet tube to expand and lock the assembly in place with a second head. With this method of installation, a blind rivet can be installed from one side of the assembly, benefiting situations in which the other side is unreachable or would require major disassembly.
Pop rivets, despite their different naming, are actually quite similar to blind rivets. As a brand name for rivets produced by George Tucker Eyelet Company in 1928, pop rivets were originally cup rivets with a separate mandrel component and a rivet body that had to be assembled prior to installation. In later years, the pop rivet was improved to be a single piece unit, and the design continued to be used by many manufacturers to create more styles. While pop rivets may also be installed from one side of the assembly like blind rivets, they set themselves apart in their material applications. Generally, pop rivets can be used to secure plastic, wood, and metal assemblies with long service-lives.
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