Three-dimensional finite element analyses (FEA) of an elastic, single rivet-row, aluminum alloy lap joint are presented. The effects of rivet geometry (countersinking), rivet material and interfacial friction coefficient are examined. Interference and lateral clamping are not treated. Panels loaded in tension with vacant, tapered holes are also examined. Load transfer through the joint, the joint compliance, rivet-tilt, the local slips at rivet-panel and panel-panel interfaces, contact pressures and local stresses are evaluated. Relations between these features and the contact and bending driven stress concentration are clarified. The work shows that the stress concentration factor, rivet-panel slips, peak stresses, contact pressures and rivet deformation are all related, and increase with the severity of the countersink. Panel bending, rivet tilt and countersinking introduce large, out-of-plane stress gradients and shift the peak stresses to the interior surface of the countersunk panel. The results demonstrate the importance of out-of-plane distortions in accounting for the behavior of the riveted lap joints. Three opportunities are identified for improving lap joint performance without increasing the weight.

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