An aircraft hinge is a mechanical bearing device used to connect two parts and allow them to rotate relative to one another along a fixed axis. Depending on the hinge’s type, its components can move either within a limited arc or with complete 360° freedom. Hinges are used in a broad range of applications such as doors, gates, window shutters, lids, and more. Because they are used in so many different areas, there are a wide range of types of hinges available. This blog will discuss the most prominent types of hinges and the materials they are commonly made from.
The first type of hinge, the barrel hinge, is a type of hinge featuring two barrel-shaped parts connected by a pivot. In general, barrel hinges are used for concealed attachment purposes within cabinets and furniture. The next type, butt hinges, are among the most commonly used types of hinges. These consist of two plates with an interconnecting set of loops fastened together by a central guide pin to create a flexible joint. Butt hinges are typically used in pairs at intervals along the interior portion of a joint.
The third type of hinges, continuous hinges, are designed similar to butt hinges. However, they are longer, narrower, and usually used as a single hinge that runs along the entire length of the joint formed by two objects. They are commonly used in pianos, and are sometimes called piano hinges. Another hinge, European hinges, are found in frameless and face frame cabinets where they allow for complete concealment of the hardware component when the door is closed. European hinges provide a range of benefits and are ideal for a wide range of door styles.
Yet another type, flag hinges, feature a fixed pin inserted onto either of the rectangular leaf components. These hinges are designed to allow for a complete 360° rotation as well as easy assembly and disassembly. Flush hinges, as their name implies, are designed to sit flush against one another and take up less space. They are able to sit flush without a recess by fitting each leaf inside the other. Flush hinges are typically used for very light weight attachments.
Pivot hinges are another type of hinge used for doors. Their name is derived from their function of turning or swiveling around a pivot point. Unlike other types of hinges, pivot hinges are usually placed at a distance away from the edge of the frame and below the door, rather than on the sides of the frame. This allows the hardware to be concealed and the door to move in both directions. Spring hinges are built with a spring component integrated into the hinge to make them suitable for applications that call for the door, lid, or panel, to be kept in an open or closed position.
Due to the constant stress of repeated opening and closing, hinges need to be made from strong materials. As such, many are made from stainless steel because of its strength and resistance to corrosion. However, as stainless steel does not respond well to the application of finishes, it is mainly used for hidden hinges. For exposed hinges, brass and bronze are more common. Both brass and bronze are copper based alloys which can withstand extreme weather conditions such as rain, salt air, smog, etc.
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