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What are Blind Rivets?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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In building, aircraft, and in many other industrial applications, various metals and plastics often need to be firmly attached to one another. To do this, workers often use rivets, or fixed mechanical fasteners. When the back of the object is inaccessible to the worker, he or she may use blind rivets, which can be installed from a single side of the object.

A blind rivet consists of a tubular stainless steel body with a mandrel, or retention piece, through its center. The mandrel keeps the rivet in place as the worker uses a rivet gun to pull the body through, allowing the remaining piece to snap off. This leaves the mandrel head in place, securing the two objects being joined together.

Workers often seek blind rivets of the most vibration-resistant variety. Many are available with water resistant seals, which once installed will prevent leaking within the object. Rivets are also available in soft aluminum alloy, copper, aluminum coated in stainless steel, and Monel, a nickel alloy.

Oftentimes, when building an object out of metal, a worker does not have access to the back of the object. It may be hidden by other mechanical parts, or even simply out of the worker's reach. Blind rivets, which have multiple pieces, are optimal in such cases, and have the ability to be installed from any angle or position.

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Blind rivets can be used for a variety of applications. In particular, they have been integral in the creation of the leading edges of aircraft wings, as well as other aircraft spaces where worker access is limited, such as trailing edges. To make the process of riveting more ergonomic to the worker, as well as more economical in general, blind rivets are now used for many more functions, as well.

When a worker fastens a rivet from the front alone, it is referred to as blind setting. To engage in blind setting, he or she will first insert the rivet shaft into a hole previously drilled between two object parts that are to be affixed to one another. A blind rivet tool, such as a rivet gun, will then be used to drive the mandrel into the rivet.

After the rivet body flares against the unaccessible side, the "blind end" will then snap off. The mandrel's head will remain where the objects are connected, securing the two parts together. The mandrel's long stem, or body, is ejected in the process, either falling to the floor, or in to a waste bin.

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