An aircraft is held together by hundreds of thousands of rivets. Fully automatic machines install rivet holes and rivets with precision in numerous materials. A new hybrid technology combines this mechanical joining technique with adhesive bonding. 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.
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