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What are the marks shown on the head of a bolt?

Usually fastener standards specify two types of marks to be on the head of a

bolt. The manufacturer's mark is a symbol identifying the manufacturer (or
importer). This is the Organisation that accepts the responsibility that the
fastener meets specified requirements. The grade mark is a standardized
mark that identifies the material properties that the fastener meets. For
example, 307A on a bolt head indicates that the fastener properties conform
to the ASTM A307 Grade A standard. The bolt head shown at the side
indicates that it is of property class 8.8 and ML is the manufacturer's mark
Both marks are usually located on the top of the bolt head, most standards
indicating that the marks can be raised or depressed. Raised marks are
usually preferred by manufacturers because these can only be added during
the forging process whereas depressed marks can subsequently be added
(possibly with illegitimate marks).
What is the best way to check the torque value on a bolt?
There are three basic methods for the checking of torques applied to bolts
after their installation; namely, taking the reading on a torque gauge when:
1. The socket begins to move away from the tightened position in the
tightening direction. This method is frequently referred to as the "crack-on"
2. The socket begins to move away from the tightened position in the untightening direction. This method is frequently referred to as the "crack-off"
3. The fastener is re-tightened up to a marked position. With the "marked
fastener" method the socket approaches a marked position in the tightening
direction. Clear marks are first scribed on the socket and onto the joint
surface which will remain stationary when the nut is rotated. (Avoid scribing
on washers since these can turn with the nut.) The nut is backed off by about
30 degrees, followed by re-tightening so that the scribed lines coincide.
For methods 1. and 2. the break lose torque is normally slightly higher than
the installation torque since static friction is usually greater than dynamic
friction. In my opinion, the most accurate method is method 3 - however
what this will not address is the permanent deformation caused by gasket
creep. An alternative is to measure the bolt elongation (if the fastener is not
tapped into the gearbox). This can be achieved by machining the head of the
bolt and the end of the bolt so that it can be accurately measured using a
micrometer. Checking the change in length will determine if you are losing

The torque in all three methods should be applied in a slow and deliberate
manner in order that dynamic effects on the gauge reading are minimized. It
must always be ensured that the non- rotating member, usually the bolt, is
held secure when checking torques. The torque reading should be checked
as soon after the tightening operation as possible and before any subsequent
process such as painting, heating etc. The torque readings are dependent
upon the coefficients of friction present under the nut face and in the
threads. If the fasteners are left to long, or subjected to different
environmental conditions before checking, friction and consequently the
torque values, can vary. Variation can also be caused by embedding (plastic
deformation) of the threads and nut face/joint surface which does occur. This
embedding results in bolt tension reduction and affects the tightening
torque. The torque values can vary by as much as 20% if the bolts are left
standing for two days

How do you select a fastener size for an application?

When selecting a suitable fastener for an application there are several
factors that must be considered. Principally these are:
1. How many and what size/strength do the fasteners need to be? Other than
rely upon experience of a similar application an analysis must be completed
to determine the size/number/strength requirements. A program like
BOLTCALC can assist you with resolving this issue.
2. The bolt material to resist the environmental conditions prevailing. This
could mean using a standard steel fastener with surface protection or may
mean using a material more naturally corrosion resistant such as stainless
The general underlying principle is to minimize the cost of the fastener whilst
meeting the specification/life requirements of the application. Each situation
must be considered on its merit and obviously, some detailed work is
necessary to arrive at a detailed recommendation.
Does it matter whether you tighten the bolt head or the nut?
Normally it will not matter whether the bolt head or the nut is torqued. This
assumes that the bolt head and nut face are of the same diameter and the

contact surfaces are the same (giving the same coefficient of friction). If they
are not, then it does matter.
Say the nut was flanged and the bolt head was not. If the tightening torque
was determined assuming that the nut was to be tightened, then if the bolt
head was subsequently tightened instead then the bolt could be overloaded.
Typically, 50% of the torque is used to overcome friction under the tightening
surface. Hence a smaller friction radius will result in more torque going into
the thread of the bolt and hence being over tightened.
If the reverse was true - the torque determined if the bolt head was to be
tightened, then if the nut was subsequently tightened - the bolt would be
under tightened.
There is also an effect due to nut dilation that can, on occasion, be
important. Nut dilation is the effect of the external threads being pushed out
due to the wedge action of the threads. This reduces the thread stripping
area and is more prone to happen when the nut is tightened since the
tightening action facilitates the effect. Hence if thread stripping is a potential
problem, and for normal standard nuts and bolts it is not, then tightening the
bolt can be beneficial.
Does using an extension on a torque wrench change the ability to
achieve the desired torque value?
If you use an extension spanner on the end of a torque wrench, the torque
applied to the nut is greater than that shown on the torque wrench dial.
If the torque wrench has a length L, and the extension spanner a length E
(overall length of L+E) than:
i.e. the torque will be increased.