Grommets vs Rivets: What’s the Difference?

Grommets by Monroe

Think grommets and rivets are the same? Think again. While they are both used in the aerospace industry, they are two different types of components with their own unique purpose. Unless you’re familiar with them, though, you might be wondering how grommets and rivets differ from each other.

What Are Grommets?

Grommets are small ring-shaped components that are designed to reinforce a hole in a given object. Also known as eyelets, they are commonly used in sheet metal. Grommets can reinforce holes in sheet metal so that they don’t fray or otherwise damage wires.

Wires are often run through sheet metal. Holes are punched or cut in sheet metal, resulting in passages for wires. Sheet metal, however, may have jagged edges. As wires rub against these jagged edges, they may fray. Grommets protect wires, cables and even hoses from damage such as this. Grommets are placed inside of holes to create a safe passage.

What Are Rivets?

Rivets are fasteners that are designed to permanently hold two or more parts together. While available in different types, most rivets have a flat or relatively flat head on top and a longer stem on the bottom. The stem is also known as the tail.

Most rivets require a special tool to install. When installed, the stem will expand around the back of the parts, thus holding the parts together. Most rivets aren’t removable. They are classified as permanent rivets that, like other permanent rivets, can’t be easily removed.

Differences Between Grommets and Rivets

Grommets and rivets are two different types of components. Grommets are ring-shaped, meaning they have an open center. Rivets, on the other hand, are disc-shaped with a solid center. You can find them in different sizes. Nonetheless, grommets and rivets are shaped differently. Grommets are ring-shaped, whereas rivets are disc-shaped. And the underside of grommets has a pin-like stem.

Aside from their appearance, grommets and rivets are used for different purposes. Grommets are used to reinforce holes while subsequently creating a safe passage for wires, cables and hoses. Rivets are used to permanently hold two or more parts together.

Grommets and rivets are typically made of different materials. Rivets are available in stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, brass and other metals. While grommets are available in many of these same metals and alloys, you can find them in synthetic materials like rubber as well. Rubber grommets are popular. They are resistant to corrosion, and they have a soft texture that protects wires from damage.

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