The lighter an aircraft is, the less fuel it consumes. Given the need to cut carbon dioxide emissions, this is a key aspect of materials research. Aircraft manufacturers are therefore pinning their hopes on particularly lightweight construction materials. These include not only lightweight metals, but also fiber composite plastics, particularly carbon-fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs). Whenever two CFRP components have to be joined together, this has so far been accomplished primarily by riveting.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research IFAM in Bremen are experts in adhesive techniques and plan to enlarge their expertise to include mechanical joining. At the Composites Europe trade fair in Essen, they show a state-of-the-art C-clamp riveting machine (Hall 10-11, Stand 150). This device enables the necessary rivet holes, complete with one- or two-part riveted bolts, to be installed accurately and automatically in compliance with aviation standards.