Fasteners are critical in countless industries and applications. As such, they are often used in extreme environments and must withstand harsh conditions. When fasteners are used in extreme environments, they must meet regulations on ductility, vibration resistance, corrosion resistance and more to ensure they work correctly.
When selecting fasteners for extreme environments, carefully assess the environmental challenges and choose materials and designs accordingly. Here are seven considerations when choosing fasteners for extreme environments.
- Corrosion resistance: Corrosion is especially prevalent in environments with high humidity, saltwater exposure or chemical exposure. Materials like stainless steel, titanium or corrosion-resistant alloys are commonly used to resist these types of corrosion.
- Fatigue resistance: Repeatedly loading and unloading over fasteners can fatigue them over time, making them more prone to failure. Choosing materials with good fatigue resistance increases longevity in extreme environments.
- UV resistance: Fasteners in outdoor environments must resist ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is particularly important when prolonged exposure to sunlight degrades materials over time.
- Temperature resistance: Extremely high and low temperatures can affect the fasteners’ material properties. For example, extremely high temperatures can expand metal materials, breaking surrounding or fastening parts. Choosing materials with high-temperature stability or low-temperature flexibility is crucial to prevent expansion, shrinkage and breaks.
- Chemical resistance: Fasteners are frequently exposed to acids, bases, solvents and other corrosive chemicals. Understanding specific chemicals in the environment helps determine the appropriate material.
- Vibration resistance: Vibrations can loosen fasteners over time. Fasteners in environments with high vibration levels, like aerospace crafts, must resist loosening. Specialty fasteners with locking mechanisms or adhesives help prevent vibration-induced loosening.
- Dimensional stability: Fasteners should maintain their dimensional stability and not deform or undergo dimensional changes in extreme conditions.
Astonishing Fastener Requirements in 3 Vital Industries
With these considerations in mind, let’s explore three industries where fasteners must withstand extreme demands.
Spacecraft, satellites and aircraft must maintain structural integrity and functionality while facing violent conditions. In aerospace, fasteners are exposed to rapid temperature changes, high vibration levels and the space vacuum. Subsequently, fasteners must have excellent temperature resistance and resist vibrational forces during launch and space operations, requiring designs that minimize the risk of loosening or failure.
Fasteners are critical to offshore oceanic oil and gas platforms. These structures face corrosive saltwater, high winds and constant waves. Fasteners used in offshore platforms must have exceptional corrosion resistance to withstand the aggressive saltwater environment. Stainless steel and other corrosion-resistant alloys are commonly used in these platforms to prevent deterioration.
Geothermal power plants collect energy from the Earth’s internal heat. Fasteners in geothermal power plants must withstand elevated temperatures, aggressive geothermal chemicals and vibrations from potential seismic activity. Corrosion-resistant alloys are commonly used in geothermal structures to address these harsh conditions.
Get Expert Help Selecting Fasteners for Extreme Environments
Compliance with industry standards is a final consideration when choosing fasteners for extreme environments. Most industries, especially those with extreme environments like aerospace or geothermal power, have stringent rules and regulations that must be followed for every piece of the product. These regulations reach even the smallest fasteners. Fasteners must comply with relevant industry standards and certifications to ensure they work correctly and hold up against intense, harsh conditions.
For help ensuring your fasteners meet strict regulations and harsh environments, contact the experts at Global Certified Fasteners. We’ve provided exceptional products and services for over 50 years, and our team is happy to help. Contact us today to get started.