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Discussions on Behavior of Bolted Joints in Tension

Ouqi Zhang
Dana Corporation, Structural Solution Group, Robeson & Weiser Street, P.O. Box 13459, Reading, PA 19612 e-mail: ouqi.zhang@dana.com

mentioned member deformations to the responsible forces. These are 1 the member compression stiffness Kc / associated with the external load, 2 the varying member stiffness KmF associated with the residual force, and 3 the member rotation stiffness K associated with the moment of the external load. Taking into account these stiffness, the new model is obtained 1:

It is known that the behavior of real axisymmetric bolted joints in tension is much more complicated than that the conventional theory describes. Phenomenon conicting with the theory prediction was observed in experimental and nite element analysis [Kwiatkowski, J. K., Winnicki, L. A., and Krzyspiak, A., 1986, Stress Analysis of Bolted Tensile End Plate Connections, Rozprawy Inzynierskie Eng. Trans., 34, pp. 113137; Webjrn, J., 1988, Die Moderne Schraubenverbindung, VDI-Z, 130, pp. 76 78; Grosse, I. R., and Mitchell, L. D., 1990, Nonlinear Axial Stiffness Characteristics of Bolted Joints, ASME J. Mech. Des., 122, pp. 442449; Gerbert, G., Bastedt, H., 1993, Centrically Loaded Bolt Joints, ASME J. Mech. Des., 115, pp. 701705]. Recently, a new analytical model of bolted joints was presented [Zhang, O., and Poirier, J. A., 2004, New Analytical Model for Axisymmetric Bolted Joints, ASME J. Mech. Des., 126, pp. 721 728], based on which some discussions are further made in this note. DOI: 10.1115/1.1867513

K m F K m F K m F K m F 1 + + K c/ K Km Kb Fb = Fi + F K m F K m F 1+ 1+ Kb Kb

Fb Fi CF = F

K m F K m F K m F 1 + K c/ K Km Fi + K m F F K m F 1+ 1+ Kb Kb 1

Effects of Member Stiffness on Load Factor

1 Background: Conventional Theory and New Model of Bolted Joints


For a bolted joint in tension, Fig. 1, the conventional theory determines the joint behavior by the stiffness ratio of bolt and members,

2.1 Member Compression by External Load Helps Reduce the Load Factor. Since the external load is transmitted to the effective compression members via shear force, even if the external load is applied at the member outer surface, there is always a layer compressed by the external load. Consequently, the total expansion of the members is smaller than that predicted by the conventional theory, and so is the bolt load and load factor. This member deformation is determined by the stiffness Kc / . Equation 4 shows that stiffness Kc / with nite value results in a lower load factor.

1 Fb = Fi + F 1 + K m/ K b

2.2 Member Stiffness Reduction is the Source of Nonlinearity. As shown in Refs. 1,2, stiffness Kc / and K are constant with respect to the external load. If taking KmF = Km, Eq. 4 yields,

The so-called load factor is dened as the percent of the external load carried by the bolt, 1 C Fb Fi 1 = F 1 + K m/ K b 2 C K m F K m = Km Km + K c/ K Km 1+ Kb 5

In Eqs. 1 and 2, stiffness Km and Kb are measured at preload. However, the preload condition is just the initial state of the joint. In addition to the initial state, the joint behavior is determined by how the joint responses to the external load. Under the external load, the additional member deformation consists of 1 the member compression due to external load, 2 member expansion due to residual force relief, and 3 member apparent thickness dimension change, seen by the bolt, due to member rotation. None of these deformations and apparent thickness change are determined by the member stiffness measured at preload 1. Member stiffness other than that measured at preload come to play when the external load is present, which relate the above
Contributed by the Mechanics and Robotics Committee for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received November 2, 2004; revised November 24, 2004. Associate Editor: J. M. McCarthy.

The load factor becomes constant. Therefore the varying member stiffness KmF, which is lower than Km, is the source of the joint nonlinearity 1,3. Equation 5 is equal to the load factor at joint separation, Csep 1.

2.3 Member Stiffness KmF and Km Have Opposite Impacts on the Load Factor. The new model distinguished two member stiffness, Km and KmF. It sounds like nonsense since Km and KmF are the same member stiffness member deformation versus member contact force, but due to member contact area reduction, it decreases. We realize this distinction is crucial because stiffness Km and KmF have opposite impacts on the load Transactions of the ASME

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factor. Given an external load, the member deformation is larger, and load factor C is higher if stiffness Km is lower. In contrast, a lower stiffness KmF allows more member deformation due to residual force, which will reduce the total member expansion, and the load factor is lower. More discussions will be given in the next paragraph and Sec. 3.

Km Km Km 1 Fi T Km + C K m F K m C F = Km Km Km F 1+ 1+ Kb Kb 1 Km Km T Km Km 1+ Kb 1

2.4 Member Stiffness Reduction Also Helps Reduce the Load Factor. This conclusion has been made in the previous discussion; It can be reached by the new model. Denoting 1 / T = 1 / Kc / 1 / K, substitution of KmF = Km Km, Km 0, into Eq. 4 produces

Noting that Fi / F Fi / Fsep = 1 Csep = Km / Kb + Km / T / 1 + Km / Kb, the following inequality can be obtained from Eq. 6:

Km Km Km Km 1 Fi T Km T C K m F K m C F + Km Km Fsep Km Km Km 1+ 1+ 1+ Kb Kb Kb 1

Km T

1+

Km Km Km Km Km Km Km + + 1 Kb Km Kb T T Km Km Km 1+ 1+ Kb Kb

1+

Km Kb

=0

Inequality 7 also indicates that CF reaches its maximum Csep at joint separation. 2.5 Member Apparent Thickness Change Increases Load Factor. Due to member rotation, the member thickness seen by the bolt increases when the external load increases, which results in a larger bolt elongation and higher load factor. As shown in Eq. 4, the load factor CF is higher when a nite member rotation stiffness K is present.

3 Member Stiffness Reduction is not Responsible for Joint Stiffness Reduction


It was found that bolted joints may exhibit strong nonlinearity 35: The joint stiffness can reduce more than 50 times from preload to high external load 3. The higher the external load, the lower the joint stiffness. The joint stiffness in this note is dened as the ratio of the external load and bolt additional deformation, KJ = F K bF K bF Kb = = = b Fb Fi + CF Fi C 8

well. At F / Fi 0, the load factor CF is very sensitive to the variation of KmF, since the residual force is high, Fres Fi, the member deformation change is sensitive to the reduction of the member stiffness, and so is the load factor. On the other hand, when F approaches to the separation load Fsep little residual force Fres is left and the load factor is no longer sensitive to the reduction of the member stiffness; at separation, Fres = 0, KmF has no effect on the load factor at all. This is why the load factor is mainly an ascending function of F, and reaches its maximum at separation. In other words, what observed in 3 is not a reduction of the joint stiffness, but an increased joint stiffness at low external load, that is caused by member stiffness reduction.

4 Load Factor Could be Negative Due to Member Stiffness Reduction


The bolt load is expected to increase when the external load increases. Thus, the load factor is positive. But a negative load

Equation 8 is valid for both the conventional theory and new model. According to the conventional theory, the joint stiffness reduction is caused by member stiffness reduction: At F / Fi 0, the member stiffness is high, the load factor is low, and the joint stiffness is high; when F / Fi increases, member stiffness goes down, and the joint stiffness also goes down. This interpretation cannot be recognized by the understanding of the effect of member stiffness reduction. As discussed in the previous section, at a given external load F, a lower member stiffness KmF results in a lower load factor, and higher instead of lower joint stiffness. Therefore the reduction of the member stiffness is not responsible for the joint stiffness reduction. A descending joint stiffness just indicates an ascending load factor, while the load factor is not only determined by KmF in addition to Km / Kb, but also Kc / , K, and the ratio of F / Fi as Journal of Mechanical Design

Fig. 1 Axisymmetric bolted joints

MAY 2005, Vol. 127 / 507

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Fig. 2 Joint stiffness, load factor, and bolt load

factor could be seen at a low external load 3. Recall that Fb = Fres + F = Fi Fi Fres + F. If the member stiffness goes down so fast that the relief of the member contact force Fi Fres is greater than the increment of the external load F, Fb will be less than Fi, the bolt load goes down and the load factor is negative. In Eq. 4, the rst item is negative, and when F / Fi approaches to zero, Fi / F approaches to innity, and the load factor could be controlled by the rst item which is negative.

About Joint Stiffness

The concept of joint stiffness KJ = F / b = Kb / C is widely used in describing the joint behavior. In conventional theory, C = constant= 1 / 1 + Km / Kb, and KJ = Kb1 + Km / Kb = Km + Kb; the joint behavior can be equally well described by load factor or joint stiffness. However, once the nonlinearity is taken into consideration, the load factor is no longer constant, and care must be taken. Since KJ = Kb / C, the joint stiffness can be considered as a scaled reciprocal of the load factor. At low external load, the load factor C may nearly equal zero so that a minor numerical error may cause an extremely large variation of the joint stiffness. Such a large variation of the joint stiffness obviously does not mean a signicant change of the bolt behavior. Ultimately, the bolt load increment is the concern. A large variation of joint stiffness at low external load is not important simply because the external load F is low, and the bolt load CF will remain virtually the same. An illustration of this discussion, with negative load factor at low external load, is given in Fig. 2.

and Kb, n by actual load plane, generally the prediction of Eq. 9 will be worse because of the model error of the conventional theory some numerical examples from nite element analysis can be found in 1,2. Conceptually, there exist some inconsistencies. Equation 9 is derived on the base of a cylinder model for members, while the calculation of member stiffness Km is usually based on a conical model. Furthermore, the factor n refers to the external load F and stiffness Km, but Km is related only to the preload. The physical explanation of the factor n is also questionable. For the model given in Fig. 1, the factor n should be taken as 1.0 since the external load is applied at the member outer surface. As discussed in Sec. 2, there is always a layer of the member compressed by the external load, therefore n = 1.0 is not appropriate. In fact, if the load is applied from a distance to the bolt, the actual load plane makes little difference 8, which was conrmed by nite element analysis at Dana Corporation.

Joint Separation Load

The joint separation includes two quantities: The separation load Fsep and the load factor Csep at separation. One determines the other, Csep = 1 Fi / Fsep; the two will be over- or underestimated at the same time. However, an overestimation of Csep

Load Plane Factor

Load plane factor n is introduced into the current design guidelines, e.g., 6,7. The physical explanation of the factor is that the external load is applied at some intermediate level of the members as shown in Fig. 3. Using a cylinder model for the compression members as shown in Fig. 3b, the conventional joint theory is modied to 6,7 Fb = Fi + nCF, 0.0 n 1.0 9 The factor n is not well documented as an adjustment coefcient. In practice, either an articial number 1.0 or 0.5 is taken, or the designer turns to nite element analysis or lab experiments. In the latter case, however, only the product of nC needs to be determined, and individually evaluated n and C becomes useless. In fact, if the load factor C is determined by accurate stiffness Km 508 / Vol. 127, MAY 2005

Fig. 3 Load plane factor

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Fig. 4 Bolted joint diagram: Conventional theory

gram is constructed by three lines: bolt elongation line, member compression line, and member expansion line. For conventional theory, the last two lines overlap each other as concluded in Eq. 14, Km,exp = Km. The bolt load and its elongation follow the bolt elongation line. The member force at member contact and member deformation follow the member compression line during preload setup, but follow the member expansion line in service. The external load is divided into two portions: The portion above the preload is equal to CF that is seen by the bolt; below the preload but above the member expansion line is equal to 1 CF that is relieved from the member contact surface. And below the member expansion line is the residual force left at the member contact surface. When the residual force is equal to zero, the joint is separated. The horizontal distance from the point of Preload to the external load gives the additional bolt elongation that is equal to the member expansion. 8.3 Member Expansion Stiffness: New Model. In general, Km,exp Km, and the member expansion line does not overlap the member compression line. Consider a simple case rst. Assuming that the member rotation stiffness is so high that KmF / K 0, and KmF / Km 1, from Eq. 4 or 5 we have a constant load factor: Km K c/ C= Km 1+ Kb 1 The member total expansion now can be expressed as m 1 CF 1 CF F = Km,exp Km K c/ 16

means conservative, while an overestimation of Fsep means unsafe. The conventional theory is conservative in load factor estimation and may result in an overdesign, but it is aggressive and unsafe at the same time in terms of separation load or the joint ultimate load carrying capacity. It is concluded that if the bolt load is conservatively calculated, the joint separation load cannot be estimated from Csep = 1 Fi / Fsep. In order to keep the estimations of both the load factor and separation load conservative, the design standard must assign a coefcient of less than 1.0 to the separation load obtained from Csep = 1 Fi / Fsep. The consistency between the load factor and joint separation load has to be discarded.

15

Member Expansion Stiffness and Joint Diagram

Bolted joint diagram is popular and useful in graphically describing the behavior of bolted joints, and showing the relationships of the external load, bolt and member stiffness, bolt load, member residual force, and joint separation, etc. The concept of member expansion stiffness is introduced and the diagram is rened in this section. 8.1 Member Expansion Stiffness: Denition. By denition of the load factor C, a portion of the external load CF is carried by the bolt, and the rest 1 CF is relieved from the member contact surface. Unless the joint separates, the total expansion of the members the member deformation change when the external load is present must be equal to the additional elongation of the bolt: m = b These deformation changes can be expressed by b = m = CF Kb 11 12 10

where 1 CF / Km is the member expansion due to member compression force relief, and F / Kc / is the member compression deformation caused by the external load. Equation 16 yields Km,exp = Km Km 1 1 C K c/ 17

Substituting Eq. 15 into Eq. 17, we have Kb K c/ Km,exp = Km Km Km 1 K c/ 1+

18

The same inequality can be obtained from Eqs. 1012 and 15. 8.4 Rened Bolted Joint Diagram. The rened joint diagram is sketched in Fig. 5. Since the member expansion line has a higher slope than the member compression line as shown by Eq. 18, the two lines are separated. The comparison of the two member expansion lines in Fig. 5 new: KmF = Km, Kc / nite, K = ; conventional: KmF = Km, Kc / = K = shows that because of the nite stiffness Kc / , Km,exp is greater than Km, and the member has more compression force relief. Accordingly, the bolt load is decreased and the joint separates earlier. With similar analysis, the member expansion line in general can be obtained, which is also sketched in Fig. 5. Due to member rotation stiffness K, the member expansion line KmF = Km, Kc / and K are nite rotates an angle to the right in the plot, and the joint separation is delayed; due to member stiffness reduction, KmF Km, the member expansion line KmF Km, Kc / and K are nite becomes a curve and the bolt load is further reduced. MAY 2005, Vol. 127 / 509

1 CF Km,exp

in which Km,exp is the member expansion stiffness, dened by Km,exp member contact force relief member total expansion 13

8.2 Conventional Bolted Joint Diagram. For the conventional theory, from Eq. 2, we have 1 C / C = Km / Kb; Combining Eqs. 1012 then produces Km,exp = 1 CF 1 CF 1 CFKb = = = Km m b CF 14

The joint diagram of the conventional theory is given in Fig. 4, incorporating the concept of member expansion stiffness. The diaJournal of Mechanical Design

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Fig. 5 Rened bolted joint diagram

Acknowledgments
The author wishes to thank Mr. T. Tsai for his comments made on our paper 1 and aerospace engineering practice in applying the conventional theory of bolted joints, which inspired the author to write the present discussion.

Nomenclature
C Csep ds dw E F Fb Fi Fres Fsep load factor, C = Fb Fi / F load factor at joint separation diameter of the bolt head diameter of the bolt hole material Youngs modulus external load force seen by the bolt preload of the bolted joint residual force, compression force at member interface separation load, minimum external load that causes joint separation bolt stiffness member cylinder stiffness, for two equal thickness mem2 bers, Kc = ds d2 w E / 8 t member expansion stiffness, ratio of member contact force relief and member total expansion joint stiffness, ratio of the external load and additional bolt deformation, KJ = F / b member stiffness at preload

KmF varying member stiffness associated with Fres, function of F, Km0 = Km K member rotation stiffness n load plane factor, ratio of thickness between load application points and total member thickness t thickness of each compression member proportional factor, dened by = Kcm,F / F m,F member deformation, caused by external load b additional bolt deformation when external load is present m additional member deformation when external load is present

References
1 Zhang, O., and Poirier, J. A., 2004, New Analytical Model for Axisymmetric Bolted Joints, ASME J. Mech. Des., 126, pp. 721728. 2 Zhang, O., 2004, Member Stiffness of Axisymmetric Bolted Joints in Axial Tension, SAE 2004-01-0819. 3 Grosse, I. R., and Mitchell, L. D., 1990, Nonlinear Axial Stiffness Characteristics of Bolted Joints, ASME J. Mech. Des., 122, pp. 442449. 4 Kwiatkowski, J. K., Winnicki, L. A., and Krzyspiak, A., 1986, Stress Analysis of Bolted Tensile End Plate Connections, Rozprawy Inzynierskie Engineering Trans., 3412, pp. 113137. 5 Webjrn, J., 1988, Die Moderne Schraubenverbindung, VDI-Z, 1301, pp. 7678. 6 NSTS-08307, Revision A, 1998, Criteria for Preloaded Bolts. 7 VDI 2230, 1986, Part 1, Systematic Calculation of High Duty Bolted Joints: Joints with One Cylindrical Bolt, VDI-Dusseldorf, Germany. 8 Gerbert, G., Bastedt, H., 1993, Centrically Loaded Bolt Joints, ASME J. Mech. Des., 115, pp. 701705.

Kb Kc Kexp KJ Km

510 / Vol. 127, MAY 2005

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