The History of Aircraft Fasteners
Aircraft & Aerospace Fasteners History
Marketing Masters’ fasteners have become the standard, specified by OEM’s in new equipment and modern aircraft built worldwide. But how did aircraft fasteners become what they are today?
Fasteners & Aircrafts: A Brief History
- By the late-1700s, a number of American businesses were manufacturing nuts, bolts, screws, and other fasteners in what had become “standard” sizes.
- In the early days of aviation, the pioneering Wright Brothers built the world’s first successful aircraft, the Wright Flyer I. The Flyer was built using a variety of metal fasteners. Corrosion issues with these fasteners caused the Wright Brothers to experience a number of setbacks with their plane.
- On December 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers made the first manned aircraft flight in history at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The flight lasted 12 seconds and covered roughly 120 feet—shorter than the wingspan of a Boeing 747.
- A modern Boeing 747 uses over 6 million individual parts in its construction. Of those parts, approximately 3 million are fasteners.
- Many of the fasteners found in 747s and other aircrafts are clip nuts. The clip nut was invented in the 1950s, at the advent of commercial aviation. Clip nuts make the construction and assembly of aircraft a much faster and easier process.
Aircraft Fasteners: Advantages of Marketing Masters’ Composite Clip nuts & Inserts
In 1993, McDonnell Douglas became the first aerospace OEM to specify our Torlon composite fasteners as the standard for the honeycomb panel inserts in their planes. Boeing, Airbus, and others soon followed suit. Marketing Masters’ composite clip nuts and inserts are OEM-approved for a wide array of aircraft fastener standards.
- Originally, aircraft clip nuts were made from steel. These steel clip nuts caused scratches on the components to which they were attached, allowing corrosion to propagate quickly. This corrosion resulted in the need for frequent part and component replacement.
- Titanium soon replaced steel as the material used to make clip nuts. Next came development of carbon fiber materials for aircraft construction. Because physical contact between aluminum and carbon fiber results in fast-acting galvanic corrosion, many aircraft OEMs switched to titanium. However, titanium has a greater strength-to-weight ratio than aluminum, but is roughly ten times the cost.
- Circa 2000, Marketing Masters developed clip nuts made from a composite material called Torlon®. Torlon® is significantly lighter than titanium, and completely eliminates corrosion caused by scratching or galvanic reaction. Our Torlon fasteners are also considerably less expensive than titanium versions.
- Honeycomb panels are another essential component in aircraft construction. These panels are typically made of Nomex core with fiberglass or carbon fiber skins. This replaced plywood and similar materials in the construction of the walls, floors, and other parts of aircraft cabins. They offer an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio.
- A honeycomb panel’s unique structure requires inserts at connection points for bolts, screws, and other fasteners. These inserts are glued into place in holes drilled in the panels.
- Marketing Masters’ Torlon® composite inserts are ideal for this application, thanks to their light weight, high strength, and total resistance to corrosion. They also cost significantly less than their metal counterparts.