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The Difference Between Bolts and Rivets

With most commercial aircraft containing over a million fasteners in their assembly, they form an integral part of all vessels, in addition to a wide range of other industrial machinery. As two highly versatile fasteners, bolts and rivets can be found in a plethora of industrial operations. Though they are quite similar in some ways, these two fasteners differ in their design and usage overall. In this article, we will discuss these differences and how they impact the way that bolts and rivets are installed. 

What Are Bolts?

Bolts are a type of fastener used to securely join multiple workpieces together by way of mechanical force. They consist of a threaded shank and a head which can come in several different shapes, including hexagonal, square, and round variations. The shank may also be either fully or partially threaded to allow a nut to be attached, forming a second head. When used in such a way, a bolt can be employed to securely attach multiple parts by clamping them between two heads. Depending on the applicational setting, bolts can be made of steel, bronze, titanium, plastic, and more. They also come with a variety of features, including those that are self-locking or can be installed flush against a mounting surface.

What Are Rivets?

Rivets are another common form of fastener that is meant to hold multiple components together permanently. Like with bolts, they typically have a head and a shank, but the shank is not threaded and can be deformed at one end to create a permanent hold. Whereas a nut can be twisted on and off of the threaded end of a bolt, the end of a rivet is typically deformed in such a way that makes it irremovable without breaking the entire fastener. As such, rivets are commonly used in areas that require a permanent joint. Some rivets called “blind rivets” also have a special end which will form a second head once it passes through the other side of a mounting hole. These rivets are also permanent, and they are very useful for applications where you cannot access the back of a workpiece.

Difference Between Bolts and Rivets

While they are both used as a sturdy piece of hardware, bolts and rivets have some key differences between them. Firstly, only bolts have threading, which is used to add a nut when fastening multiple parts together. On a rivet, the shank is unthreaded and can instead be deformed to create a permanent hold. With this difference in mind, bolts can be installed by driving them into a threaded hole, while rivets are simply inserted with a specialized tool. Next, bolts are a temporary fastener, whereas rivets serve as a permanent solution depending on the job at hand. 


Bolts and rivets both form important roles in many fastening applications, but the differences between them affect how they are installed. If you are in search of fasteners of any kind, you can rely on Automatize Procurement for a wide range of options to suit your applications. Boasting a vast inventory of parts and a widespread supply network, we regularly find cost-effective solutions for our customers. Moreover, we offer expedited shipping on select in-stock orders, guaranteeing we can get our customers back on track with their operations ASAP. Kickoff the procurement process with Automatize Procurement today to see all that we can do as your strategic sourcing partner!


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