In current times, there has been a lot of interest in the use of composite materials in the design of all manner of things from electronics to cars. The rationale behind this is that such materials tend to be much easier to work with, are more environmentally friendly and tend to have ideal physical qualities such as being very light yet very strong. For this reason, a large number of manufacturing industries are now exploring ways of using them to manufacture various products.
The fact that the composite materials are relatively new means that if you are thinking of using them, it would be wise to find out as much as you can about them before doing so. One aspect of this is finding out how to optimally fasten them. It is important that you use fastening methods that will not compromise the quality of the composite materials, but rather complement them. It is also wise to consider some of the challenges that you are likely to face when doing so.
What exactly are composites made of?
In order to understand some of the fastening challenges you are likely to face when using composite materials, you first need to figure out what they are. In the most basic sense, a composite is a material that has a matrix and reinforcement. The former is normally made of materials such as resins and cements, while the latter is made of fibers and aggregate. The matrix supports the reinforcement material, and this arrangement accounts for the special physical properties that composites have.
The composites are usually designed in the desired shape during the manufacturing process. This means that if you intend to use fasteners such as titanium hex head cap screws for them, you would need to keep this in mind when deciding on where to place the fasteners.
The expansion of the composite material
One of the major challenges that you are likely to face when fastening composite materials is the fact that the softer composites tend to expand with time. This means that if you use regular fasteners such as rivets rather than Monel 400 hex lag bolts or similar fasteners, you will notice them loosening over time.
The other problem you are likely to face when using composite material is the fact that there are some fasteners that can damage them during the process of fastening. The best way to avoid this is to not only use high quality fasteners for the job, but also ensure that the technique used is correct.
The role of your vendor
One of the best ways of avoiding any mishaps when you need to use such fasteners is to consult your vendor. If you are buying from one who has a lot of experience and who deals with a large number of clients, they are likely to be a huge resource in helping you figure out which ones to use. This way, you can avoid having to deal with issues such as loosening of the fasteners and damage to the composite material during installation. This will ultimately turn out to be cheaper for you.
Started my career in the fastener world in 1969 at, Parker Kalon Corp. a NJ based screw manufacturer located in Clifton, NJ working in inventory control, scheduling secondary production and concluding there in purchasing. In 1971 I accepted a sales position at Star Stainless Screw Co., Totowa, NJ working in inside sales and later as an outside salesman, having a successful career at Star I had the desire with a friend to start our own fastener distribution company in 1980 named: Divspec, Kenilworth, NJ. This was a successful adventure but ended in 1985 with me starting Melfast in August 1985 and have stayed competitive and successful to date. Melfast serves the OEM market with approximately 400 accounts nationally.