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Presented in this paper are results of an experimental investigation on the rivet flexibility and load transmission in a riveted lap joint representative for the aircraft fuselage. The test specimens consisted of two aluminium alloy Alclad sheets joined with 3 rows of rivets. Two different squeeze forces were applied to install the rivets. Rivet flexibility measurements have been performed under constant amplitude fatigue loading using several methods including two original optical techniques developed by the present authors. The axial tractions in the sheets required to determine the rivet flexibility have been derived from strain gauge measurements. In order to eliminate the effect of secondary bending the strain gauges have been bonded at the same locations on the outside and faying surface of the sheet. The experiments enabled an evaluation of the usefulness of various techniques to determine the rivet flexibility. It was observed that, although the measured flexibility was identical for both end rivet rows, the load transfer through either of these rows was different. Previous experimental results by the present authors suggest that behind the non-symmetrical load transfer distribution through the joint are large differences between the rivet hole expansion in the sheet adjacent to the driven rivet head and the sheet under the manufactured head [1]. It has been concluded that commonly used computation procedures according to which the load transfer is only related to the rivet flexibility may lead to erroneous results.
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