From steering links and tie rods to control ends and more, rod ends are used in a variety of applications. Also known as Heim Joints, they are mechanical joints consisting of a shank and bearing. Like with other mechanical joints, you can find rod ends in different materials. Below are some of the most common materials used for rod ends.
#1) Chromoly Steel
Some rod ends are made of chromoly steel. Chromoly steel is a type of low-alloy steel. It consists mostly of iron with a small amount of carbon. Chromoly steel is strong, durable and lightweight. These properties make it an attractive material for rod ends.
#2) Carbon Steel
While some rod ends are made of chromoly steel, others are made of carbon steel. Also known as high-carbon steel, carbon steel is exactly what it sounds like: steel with a higher concentration of carbon than other types of steel. All types of steel contain some carbon. The term “carbon steel” simply refers to steel with a high concentration of carbon.
#3) Aircraft Aluminum
You can find rod ends made of the same type of aluminum used in airplanes. Known as aircraft aluminum, it’s an exceptionally strong and lightweight aluminum alloy. One of the most common types of aircraft aluminum is 7075. It’s an aluminum alloy that features zinc as the main alloy element.
There are also rod ends available in plain aluminum. Plain aluminum isn’t as strong as aircraft aluminum. Nonetheless, it’s still a versatile material. You can find rod ends made of aircraft aluminum and plain aluminum. The former is a specific type of aluminum alloy that’s commonly used in the aerospace manufacturing industry as well.
#5) Stainless Steel
Another common material used for rod ends is stainless steel. Stainless steel is an iron alloy. It consists mostly of iron but with one or more alloy elements. The main alloy element used in stainless steel is chromium. There are different varieties of stainless steel, but nearly all of them contain at least 11% chromium. Chromium helps to protect the iron from oxidation, which could otherwise lead to rusting.
You may discover that some rod ends are made of an oxide-coated material. An oxide coating is a thin layer that’s added to the surface of a given material, such as aluminum. The presence of this oxide coating will protect the material from environmental damage. Oxide-coated materials like aluminum are commonly used for rod ends.