Things to know about rivets

A rivet is a plastically formable, cylindrical connecting element. With rivets a form-fit rivet joint of two parts is realized.
Rivets are made of steel, copper, brass, and aluminium alloys.


Holes are drilled into the parts that are to be connected. These holes should have a slightly bigger diameter than the rivet. Now the rivet is slid into the holes of the parts in a way that the rivet protrudes from both parts. Afterwards, the projecting end is processed so that a head is created (the so called closing head) that connects both parts securely. The end on the other side of the rivet is called snap head; the part in-between the two heads is the rivet shank.

The advantage of rivets over screws is the fact that none of the building parts needs a thread. Disadvantage is that rivets form a permanent connection and can only be removed by destroying rivet. Nevertheless, in some areas this disadvantage actually is the most important advantage of this joining technology that is to say in areas that require permanent connections.

A rivet is a cylindrical (except special forms) metal stud with a thickened end, the head. Depending on the purpose rivets have different head forms, e.g. half-round head, countersunk head, flat head, and flat countersunk head. The head of the rivet lies flat on one side of the to be connected parts. The shank is slid through a previously drilled or punched hole and is then deformed under pressure. This way both pieces are connected tightly with each other. The pressure can be applied suddenly with a blow or continuing, e.g. with a hydraulic press.

Riveting method

There are three conventional riveting methods:
Solid riveting
Blind riveting
Punch riveting

Solid rivet

The oldest connecting technology is riveting with solid rivets. The origins of riveting with solid rivets can be traced back to the Bronte Age. Still, this connection technology has important characteristics that make it irreplaceable for safety-critical connections. To these belong steel constructions in buildings and above all also the area of aircraft construction. Even the latest aircrafts are manufactured by riveting metal plates with solid rivets.

The most important cause to use solid rivets can be found in the simple production of rivet joints and in the fact that the quality of a connection can be detected by pure eyesight without further tools. This might be the most important cause to use solid rivets for safety-critical applications that are exposed to a repeated load. The secure fit of the connection can be checked by simply looking at the shape of the snap head.

Semi-tubular and tubular rivet

Due to the technical development new forms of rivets were developed which comprehend the advantages of solid rivets, but enable an easier handling. Semi-tubular and tubular rivets also are permanent connections. When the end of the shank is folded over a rivet connection between two or more parts can be realized. The easier handling in contrast to solid rivets is obtained at the expanse of lower resilience of the riveting connection.