Plastic fasteners are screws, bolts, and other plastic tools used to join and secure materials together.
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Applications of Plastic Fasteners
Plastic fasteners are a popular alternative to traditional metal fasteners in some situations despite their comparative lower strength. Common components of children's toys, plastic fasteners are also used to help make appliances and automobiles.
Notable Types of Plastic Fasteners
Plastic fasteners can be broken down into two main types: threaded industrial fasteners and non-threaded industrial fasteners. Threaded plastic fasteners, such as nuts, bolts, and screws, contain spiral ridges (called threads), which aid in the fastener's attachment. Continuous-thread studs, with two nuts applied and threading from end to end, are often used for flange bolting.
Tap-end studs, in contrast, have a short thread on one end (used for screwing into a tapped hole) and a longer thread on the other. This longer end, called a nut-end, may have either a chamfered or round point. Double-end studs, another type of threaded plastic fasteners, have equal-length threads on both ends with chamfered points. This type is primarily used for flange bolting or other applications in which torching from both ends is necessary.
Non-threaded plastic fasteners, such as rivet plastic fasteners, ring plastic fasteners, and pin plastic fasteners, do not contain threads. These plastic fasteners can be quickly assembled and removed from components and do not need extra plastic fastening hardware. Bind plastic fastener rivets, or pop plastic fastener rivets, are inserted into a pre-drilled hole, and a rivet gun pulls on a headed-shaft that passes through the rivet. The shaft breaks or "pops," leaving a bulge on the head of the rivet, which holds the two parts together. Dowel pins can be straight, tapered, rolled, or grooved and provide perfect alignment, holding parts in absolute relation to one another. Most retaining rings need a groove to seal them into position and are stamped both internally and externally. While some of them may be self-locking, both kinds are used to keep parts from slipping or sliding apart.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Plastic Fasteners
Plastic fasteners offer the benefits of being durable, economical, efficient, and aesthetically appealing. They are available in a wide range of colors and sizes. Fasteners constructed from plastic also offer the advantage of being resistant to corrosion, shock, and vibration. Plastic fasteners are available in different plastic materials, fastener head types, colors, and panel ranges.
Though plastic fasteners have gained in popularity in a number of industrial, commercial, and consumer products contexts, they remain unsuitable for use in many applications. Aerospace fasteners, for example, are often constructed with titanium because of the tremendous stress that they are expected to endure, particularly in the case of aircraft structural fasteners. Automotive fasteners are also made of metal, usually steel or stainless steel, with the exception of fasteners used to secure upholstery or other non-structural components.