When assembling an aircraft and their various equipment and instruments, a plethora of fasteners are used to secure components together, providing for load bearing, preventing movement of parts, and more. Threaded inserts are an extremely useful fastener component that can be paired with a correlating fastener to provide high strength and versatility. In this article, we will discuss what threaded inserts are, as well as the various types of threaded inserts that are used across aerospace applications.
Threaded inserts, sometimes referred to as threaded bushings, are fastener components that may be installed into a part in order to create a threaded hole. This may benefit an assembly that is too thin for threading, features stripped threading, or is of a soft material and needs a strong threaded hole. There are multiple types of threaded inserts, including screw thread, rivet nut, slotted body, Molly Jack threaded nut, stud-style, well-nut, and more. Each type presents different capabilities that may benefit various applications.
Screw thread inserts, also commonly referred to as helical inserts, are produced from coiled wire of stainless steel or phosphor bronze. This threading then allows for a mating screw or stud to be inserted and tightened to secure components together. Screw thread inserts are best utilized for components that have stripped threading, or are too soft to optimally provide a secure connection. Screw thread inserts are most typically installed into aluminum, wood, magnesium, and zinc die cast materials.
Rivet nut inserts are another type of threaded insert, creating the ability for installation from one side and allowing for screws and bolts to mate and secure components. Rivet nut inserts are installed with the use of a screw, and depending on the type may be drawn into a sleeve or form a bulge on the backside of a component to lock in place. Rivet nut inserts are most often manufactured from steel, stainless steel, or aluminum.
The slotted body threaded insert provides a secure attachment of components through gashes that expand in size as a mating bolt is tightened. The two common types of slotted body threaded inserts are straight shank and pre-bulbed shank.
Molly Jack threaded nut inserts serve best with components that are soft or thin, providing an insert for a correlating fastener. When the Molly Jack threaded nut insert is installed into a component, the sides of the insert create a threading as they collapse against the walls of the hole. Typical materials used to manufacture Molly Jack threaded nut inserts include steel, coated steel, and brass.
Stud-style threaded inserts are another common insert type, providing for many applications where there are discrepancies in thread sizes, head types, materials, or lengths. Stud-style threaded inserts are designed for mating with a stud to secure components, and may be manufactured with steel and a zinc finish.
Lastly, well-nut threaded inserts are installed into a component and allow for mating with a bolt and nut from the flanged end. Well-nut threaded inserts are most commonly used for components that are in need of vibration dampening and sealing of holes. When torque is applied to the bolt, the flange begins to expand, preventing rotation of the insert and to create a seal.
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