Structural Fasteners – Special Purpose Fasteners – Rivet Nuts and Blind Fasteners (Nonstructured)

in Aircraft Metal Structural Repair

Rivet Nut

The rivet nut is a blind installed, internally threaded rivet invented in 1936 by the Goodrich Rubber Company for the purpose of attaching a rubber aircraft wing deicer extrusion to the leading edge of the wing. The original rivet nut is the Rivnut® currently manufactured by Bollhoff Rivnut Inc. The Rivnut® became widely used in the military and aerospace markets because of its many design and assembly advantages.


Rivet nuts are used for the installation of fairings, trim, and lightly loaded fittings that must be installed after an assembly is completed. [Figure 4-114] Often used for parts that are removed frequently, the rivet nut is available in two types: countersunk or flat head. Installed by crimping from one side, the rivet nut provides a threaded hole into which machine screws can be installed. Where a flush fit is required, the countersink style can be used. Rivet nuts made of alloy steel are used when increased tensile and shear strength is required.

Figure 4-114. Rivet nut installation

Figure 4-114. Rivet nut installation

Hole Preparation

Flat head rivet nuts require only the proper size of hole while flush installation can be made into either countersunk or dimpled skin. Metal thinner than the rivet nut head requires a dimple. The rivet nut size is selected according to the thickness of the parent material and the size of screw to be used. The part number identifies the type of rivet nut and the maximum grip length. Recommended hole sizes are shown in Figure 4-115.

Figure 4-115. Recommended hole sizes for rivets and nuts.

Figure 4-115. Recommended hole sizes for rivets and nuts.

Correct installation requires good hole preparation, removal of burrs, and holding the sheets in contact while heading. Like any sheet metal fastener, a rivet nut should fit snugly into its hole.

Blind Fasteners (Nonstructural)
Pop Rivets

Common pull-type pop rivets, produced for non-aircraftrelated applications, are not approved for use on certificated aircraft structures or components. However, some homebuilt noncertificated aircraft use pull-type rivets for their structure. These types of rivets are typically made of aluminum and can be installed with hand tools.

Pull Through Nutplate Blind Rivet

Nutplate blind rivets are used where the high shear strength of solid rivets is not required or if there is no access to install a solid rivet. The 3⁄32-inch diameter blind rivet is most often used. The nut plate blind rivet is available with the pullthrough and self-plugging locked spindle. [Figure 4-116]

Figure 4-116. Rivetless pull-through nutplate.

Figure 4-116. Rivetless pull-through nutplate.

The new Cherry® Rivetless Nut Plate, which replaces standard riveted nutplates, features a retainer that does not require flaring. This proprietary design eliminates the need for two additional rivet holes, as well as reaming, counterboring, and countersinking steps.