Rivet Shear Strength

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AME Structures

Rivet Layout

The concept behind any repair to an aircraft structure is that it must restore the original strength. In order to pass the stresses from the skin, through a patch, and back into the skin again, there must be a sufficient quantity and quality of rivets. We commonly refer to a line of rivets close by on the aircraft structure to mimic the size, type and pitch, but what do we install if there are no references available?

As AME's, we should be aware of the different strengths available through the various types of joints available. In order to help with this explanation, we should be familiar with the idea of "tear-out." In the diagram below, tear-out is shown as the material between the edge of the fastener hole, and the edge of the material. This is the amount of metal that will be lost or damaged if the stresses encountered are beyond the yeild point of the material.

lear Out

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r: =::jJ r-! ::::1.J ............ ....,._" ~ ~ r ... _ ~~~~~....-!l

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The illustration below shows a double row, single shear lap joint. Other types of joints can attain higher strength by adding rows of rivets, or layers of material.

Just above is a single shear butt joint. It employs a doubler under the shop heads to pass stresses through to the skins. Below, a double shear butt joint passes loads from the

through the dark doublers.

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Rivet Shear Strength

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This last illustration shows a double shear lap joint passing stresses from the yellow skins into the blue skin.

There are a number of factors which affect the strength of a repair:

1. Thickness, temper and strength of material being repaired.

2. The number of layers of material through which stresses may pass.

3. The diameter, material and quantity of rivets being used in the repair.

4. The quality of the installed repair.

Structural repair manuals are commonly used for reference information to obtain many of the above details, but if none is available, then the AC43.13 will offer some standard repairs which can be used. For example, a chart and formula is presented to offer a guide for re-establishing the strength of the affected area.

I Applies to 2024 T3, 2024 T36, 7075 T6 I

Thickness "T" Number of 2117 AD rivets per inch of Number of
in inches repair width AN3 bolts
3/32" 118" 115/32" 113/16" 11114" II AN-3 I
0.016" 6.5 4.9 II II ID
0.020" 6.9 4.9 I[}I]CDI I
0.025" 8.6 4.9 3.9 ID
0.032" 12.5 7.0 4.5 3.3 I [IT]
0.040" 13.8 7.7 5.0 3.5 I [IT] I 3.3 I
0.051" 9.8 6.4 4.5 I[TI]I 3.3 I
0.064" 12.3 8.1 5.6 ICIIJI 3.3 I
0.081" 10.2 7.1 1[]l]1 3.3 I
0.091" 11.4 7.9 ICITJI 3.3 Created wlth

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Rivet Shear Strength

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12.8 8.9 1CI2J1 3.4

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11.2 IGlJI 3.2

0.102"

0.128"

If the repair is required to primary structure, an Engineering Department order will decide upon rivet selection, quantity and spacing. Although these decisions are likely made by the manufacturer, it is advisable that AME's be familiar with the concepts behind their recommendations. Generally, the diameter and number of rivets recommended depend upon their shear strength, although another consideration in the formula is the bearing strength of the material.

Rivet Shear Strength

Rivet shear strength is found by multiplying the area of the cross-section by the shear strength of the material used in the rivet. For example, if you were to use your rivet cutters to shorten the length of a rivet, you would look at the fresh aluminum scar which now makes up the end of the shank. This could be described as the cross section of the rivet diameter. If you are a determined pursuant of the mathematics details, you would fmd the area of the rivet shank, then multiply it by the material shear strength. Shear strengths vary directly as the square of the rivet diameter.

Material Sheet Strength

The material (that is, the aircraft skin, or metal being used) strength is measured by a rating of its' unit bearing strength in pounds per square inch, multiplied by the rivet diameter (since that is what it is bearing against), and multiplied again by the material thickness. Here's a cross section of an installed rivet:

~(--------L--.-3Jb- ...• --r-------~J!

Consider, for example, only the blue skin portion of the riveted joint. If this is the material under stress, then it will fail when its' strength is exceeded, provided that the rivet has not failed first. There are several steps prior to complete failure and tear-out of the material. The hole may distort, then elongate, or there may appear joggles in the body of the shank of the rivet. (Ajoggle is a form of lateral stepping) If the rivet was installed with less than optimal edge distance, this makes tear-out of the fastener easier.

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Rivet Shear Strength

http://www.mleve13.com/BelT/Rivetlayout2.htm

This illustration shows a rivet head still holding a small piece of skin material which has been tom away from the parent skin.

The strength of the rivet joint also depends upon the number of rivets. If a large number of small diameter rivets are used, it is possible to have the same total shear strength as a smaller number of large rivets. But this equation also has a dark side; if the number of small rivets is TOO great, then the material bearing strength will be greater than the rivet shear strength, and the rivet joint will be weaker. Conversely, if a small number of huge rivets are used, then the loads are concentrated on a fear small areas, which loads up the material.

If a rivet is too large for the thickness of the material, the AME will fmd the skin tends to bulge around the rivet, particularly near the shop head. A proper balance in size, diameter, alloy, and location will offer the greatest strength.

Rivets in double shear carry twice the load, and those in triple shear carry three times the load.

Numbers you need to know

The standard formula for determining the correct diameter of rivet is to use three times the thickness of the thickest sheet of metal. If the repair is required on primary structure or critical parts, the SRM will dictate precisely what fasteners are required.

Standard grip length is one-and-one-half diameter protruding from the material before rivetting. (Experienced users can properly set rivets as short as one-and-one quarter protruding) After setting the rivet, properly set rivets should measure one-half diameter high, and one-and-one-half diameter wide.

Edge distances are as follows, and apply to all solid shank rivets, nominal and oversize blind rivets, hiloks, hucks, and other special fasteners;

Universal head rivets shall have an edge distance of 2 diameters minimum, to a maximum of 4 rivet diameters.

Countersunk head fasteners shall have edge distances of 2 and 1/2 diameters minimum, to a maximum of 4 rivets diameters.

Rivet spacing (pitch) shall not be any closer than 3 rivet diameters, measured center-to-center. Rivet pitch is recommended at 6 - 8 times the diameter. Generally, rivet pitch does not exceed 12 diameters. Pitch is generally determined by the aircraft manufacturer.

Rivet gage (row to row spacing) is 75% of the pitch.

Rivet hole diameters are assessed at 0.003" larger than the diameter of the rivet being installed. As an example, install a 1/8" rivet into a 0.1285 (#30) hole.

Countersinking and Dimpling

Countersinking procedures are very sensitive to the thickness of the materi

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"knife-edging" the rivet holes by countersinking the holes too deep or using material too thin. When upper skin thicknesses are thinner than the required amount for countersinking, one of the methods of dimpling may be used to prepare the holes for countersunk rivets.

Rivet Top Skin Next Sheet I Method recommended I
Diameter Thickness Thickness
Countersink top sheet
0.032 or more. only.
3/32" 0.025 or less 0.051" or greater Dimple top, Countersink
next.
0.025 or less 0.040" or less Dimple top, Countersink
next.
Countersink top sheet
0.040 or more. only.
1/8" 0.032 or less 0.064" or greater Dimple top, Countersink
next.
0.032 or less 0.051" or less Dimple top, Countersink
next.
Countersink top sheet
0.051 or more . only.
5/32" 0.040 or less 0.072" or greater Dimple top, Countersink
next.
0.040 or less 0.064" or less Dimple top, Countersink
next.
Countersink top sheet
0.064 or more. only.
3/16" 0.051 or less 0.091" or greater Dimple top, Countersink
next.
0.051 or less 0.081" or less Dimple top, Countersink
next.
I II I Note that dimpling methods demand quality deburring of the holes due to the increased stretching tendencies during forming. Without due attention, improperly deburred holes can develop cracks around hole circumferences.

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