Aluminium fastners have dominated the aerospace industry for over half a century. Now other industries are turning to the miracle metal.
Ford recently launched a revamp of its iconic F-150 pickup truck with an all aluminium body. In 2008, Apple launched an anodised aluminium casing for its new MacBook laptops, widely regarded as a design classic, while one year later, in the USA, the packaging industry began using more aluminium than the transport industry.
Why is aluminium the miracle metal for fastners?
Aluminium is light, strong and easily fabricated into extrusions and other casts. It has good corrosion resistance and can be joined by welding, adhesive bonding and mechanical methods. It can be anodised and painted to give a wide range of attractive finishes that improve appearance and further enhance corrosion resistance. Aluminium is a good conductor of electricity, better than copper by volume and a quarter of the price, and a good conductor of heat. Crucially, at the end of its very long life it is recyclable again and again with no loss of quality.
For the best organization, we can divide industrial fasteners into two overarching groups: threaded fasteners and non-threaded fasteners.
Threaded fasteners are those fasteners that feature spiral ridges, called threads, on their body. Threads help them stay secure.
Prominent examples of thread fasteners included nuts, bolts, screws, studs, clinching fasteners, hex bolts, self-tapping screws, cap screws, tap-end studs, double-end studs, and continuous-thread studs.
Nuts are metal blocks designed to work with bolts in order to create a strong attachment between the joining surfaces. To do so, they use internal threads that fit and hold onto the upper shaft of bolts.
Bolts (bolt stud fasteners) , the counterpart of nuts, feature an external, partially threaded shaft. Users push them through the workpiece and secure them on the other side with nuts. Together nuts and bolts are known as nut and bolt assemblies.
Screws are an extremely broad category of externally threaded fasteners. In general, they feature a spiral shaped thread shaft and a head. Since they feature a head, they do not need any other hardware to stay in place.
Studs are metal shafts or rods with threads on both sides.
Clinching fasteners, sometimes called clinch fasteners, self-clinching fasteners, or captive fasteners, are fasteners that when driven into ductile metal, deform the metal around the workpiece mounting hole. When they do so, the displaced metal cold flows into an annular recess located in the fastener pilot or shank. Clinching fasteners contrast with those fasteners that deform when they are installed.
Hex bolts are bolts that feature a hexagon shaped head. They are common for use in construction.
Self-tapping screws can tap their own hole as a user drives them into place.
Cap screws are fully threaded fasteners designed to fasten machine parts.
Tap-end studs are studs that feature long threads on one end and short ends on the other. The long end is called a nut-end. Users can round or chamfer the long end, and they can screw the short end into tapped holes.
Double-end studs are those studs that feature chamfered points and threads of equal lengths on both ends. Most often, customers purchase this type of fastener for flange bolting.
Continuous thread studs are studs that have no break in their threading. Rather, they are threaded continuously from end to end. Customers also often use continuous thread studs for flange bolting, though to do so, they must also use two