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Most fasteners used in aircraft manufacturing are installed wet. The rivets or bolts are covered with sealant during installation. The process prevents moisture from penetrating the aircraft and provides corrosion protection to critical areas, such as the fuel tanks. Wet fastener installation is labor-intensive and very time consuming. You will only be able to perform this task if you have a lot of aircraft maintenance knowledge. The long-term integrity of the aircraft's structure will depend on the consistent application of the sealant on each fastener.
Mix the two-part aerospace sealant so it is thick and consistent. Stir the two-part sealant until it resembles caulking. Thaw out the pre-mixed sealant if it is the frozen type of aerospace sealant.
Brush each fastener by hand before inserting the rivet or bolt in place. Place a thick coating of the aerospace sealant on the end of the fastener. Leave the threads of the fastener clean.
Slide the fastener in place and screw on the nut. Tighten the nut and fastener with a ratchet and socket on one end and a wrench holding the other end secure.
Dip your rag in the bucket of cleaning solvent and saturate the rag. Wipe excess sealant from around the head of the fastener. Move to the nut side of the fastener and wipe excess sealant from around the nut.
Apply the same amount of sealant to the next fastener. Follow the same steps each time you insert a fastener. Ensure you use the same amount of sealant on each fastener so the seam or hole seals consistently.
Do not get any of the sealant on the threads of the fastener. If you do, remove that fastener from service.
Completely tighten the fastener before wiping the excess away with the saturated cleaning rag.
More sealant may be required on different fasteners and different fastening positions.
Applying too much sealant to the fastener will threaten the strength of the bond.
Allowing the sealant to get on the threads of the fastener and tightening those fasteners in place will result in installation failure.
Mitchell Brock has been writing since 1980. His work includes media relations and copywriting technical manuals for Johnson & Johnson, HSBC, FOX and Phillip Morris. Brock graduated from the University of Southern California in 1980, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English.