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What Types of Materials Are Used To Make Aerospace Fasteners?

Screws, nuts, bolts, rivets, pins, and collars are common fasteners in the aerospace industry. But aerospace fasteners are frequently exposed to extreme environments, including high temperatures and pressures from leaving the Earth's atmosphere.  

As a result, the strength of materials is critical when building aerospace fasteners. Several designs and materials, each with unique characteristics and qualities, have been developed to meet the required standards. Below are some of the materials used to make aerospace fasteners.

Steel

Steel and its alloys are known for having surface hardness and high strength. However, they are heavier than other materials, which can cause problems when designing and building aircraft and spacecraft, so caution is vital when using these materials for parts and components.

The most common steels used in aerospace are alloy steel and stainless steel. Certain stainless steel forms are still prone to heat destruction and failure, so selecting the correct series of stainless steel depending on your application requirements is crucial. 

Examples:

  • CRES series C300 stainless steel is commonly used for aerospace fastener covers and screws and bolts, although its heat resistance is quite low.
  • CRES series 400 has higher heat resistance but is very prone to corrosion.
  • Precipitation-hardened (PH) stainless steel.
  • Alloy steels are extremely durable, but they are also prone to corrosion.

It is possible to surface-treat steel in various ways to prepare it for aerospace use. But you have to be aware of the fact that these types of treatments may decrease the material's resistance to tension corrosion and carburization.

Aluminum

Although aluminum is usually used in atmospheric planes, it also has applications in the aerospace industry. However, additional surface treatment is required in aerospace to achieve the desired performance standards. 

For example, aluminum rivets are popular, but achieving the required aerospace standards necessitates cold-heading the lightweight material. Unfortunately, even after this treatment, 

The material is still extremely sensitive to temperature changes above 250° F and stress-induced corrosion.

Titanium

In some cases, titanium can be useful as a substitute for aluminum in manufacturing aerospace fasteners. Some benefits of using it are its comparative lightness, strength, and resistance to cold and heat, with working temperatures ranging from 350 to 800°F.

Superalloys

Superalloys' ability to withstand different stresses makes them ideal for aerospace fasteners. They have high versatility and are able to maintain their structural integrity in harsh environments. 

The following superalloys are available for aerospace industry use:

  • A286: This is an iron-nickel-chromium alloy with corrosion, oxidation resistance, and high strength. They withstand temperatures from 420 to 1200°F.
  • A286 is useful in engines, turbines, and superchargers.
  • H-11: A chromium steel alloy with high surface hardness and high impact resistance. It is useful in structural and high-stress components such as landing gears.
  • Inconel 718: A nickel-based superalloy with a tensile strength of 220-kilo pounds per square inch up to 900°F.
  • Monel: A nickel-copper alloy with corrosion resistance and high tensile strength. It is usually used in structural components, combustion, and exhaust equipment.
  • Waspaloy: This is a nickel-based superalloy with oxidation resistance and high corrosion.
  • MP35N: A nickel-cobalt alloy with high tensile strength, high tensile strength, corrosion resistance, and surface hardness. It is ideal for structural components.

Materials selection is vital in aerospace bolt applications. Not all metals can withstand the extreme conditions when spacecraft leave the Earth's atmosphere or come into contact with burning rocket fuel. Your fastener manufacturer must account for these issues and meet your needs.

Big Bolt Aerospace Fasteners

At Big Bolt, we manufacture and sell high-quality fasteners customized to our clients' demands. We produce nearly every type of fastener in the world—including aerospace fasteners.

Here are some grades we often sell in the aerospace industry. They include:

  • A354
  • A193 B7
  • A193 B8
  • A1 SS
  • A2 SS
  • A4 SS
  • A286
  • PH

We’re also recognized as a one-stop shop for full-finished products, including: 

  • Plating  
  • Patching
  • Specials
  • Per Print
  • Prototypes
  • Items not found “on the shelf”

Supply chain issues may have you struggling to find the product you need, and the demand for aerospace fasteners is expected to increase by 2030. But, at Big Bolt, we pride ourselves on being able to deliver on even the most unique requests.


If we don't have what you require in our inventory, we can thread it on-site and deliver it at your convenience. Contact us for more information or request a quote today.

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