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Lecture 11.3.2: Connections with Preloaded Bolts
OBJECTIVE/SCOPE: Introduction to the design of connections using preloaded bolts in shear and/or tension. PREREQUISITES: Lecture 1B.1: Process of Design Lecture 2.4: Steel Grades and Qualities Lectures 3.2: Erection Lecture 11.1.1: Connections in Buildings RELATED LECTURES: Lectures 11.3: Other lectures on Bolted Connections Lectures 11.4: Analysis of Connections Lecture 12.6: Fatigue Behaviour of Bolted Connections SUMMARY: The basic principles of connection design using high-strength preloaded bolts (HSFG bolts) are established. The load transmission is described for both shear connections and tension connections. The influence of the preload and the tightening of the bolts are considered.

As Stress area [mm2] Nominal diameter of the bolt (shank) [mm] do Diameter of a hole [mm] Fv Shear force [N] Ft Tensile force [N] Fp Preloading force of a bolt [N] Fs Slip resistance of a preloaded bolt [N] Ma Applied torque [Nmm] k Coefficient of friction between mating surfaces [-] 4 Rotation [degrees] P Slip factor [-] n Number of friction faces [-] Jms Partial safety factors for a slip resistant bolt [-]


25/9/2013 seen to be much stiffer than that which employs bearing bolts. LOAD TRANSMISSION 2. preloading improves the fatigue resistance by reducing the effective stress range.uni-lj. a clamping pressure occurs between the connected parts which enables load to be transferred by frictional resistance. In the case of bolts in axial tension. Once slip occurs the HSFG connection progressively becomes a bearing one and.ESDEP LECTURE NOTE [WG11] Page 2 of 12 When a connection is subject to a load reversal or to dynamic loading. Until slip occurs the connection which uses preloaded bolts usually termed High Strength Friction Grip (HSFG) bolts . 2.fgg. both types of connection behave in a similar way. after the hole clearance has been taken up. By pretensioning of the bolts. however. a shear connection which acts by shear stress in the bolt and bearing stress in the Friction Connections Preloaded bolts exert a compressive stress on the connected plates. http://www. the plates will slip relative to each other allowing the bolt to act in bearing. is not acceptable (Lecture 11. which enables load to be transferred between the connected parts. When the applied load F in Figure 2 exceeds the frictional resistance which is developed between the plates. The compression gives rise to high frictional resistance.1). Figure 1 compares the effect of using bearing and preloaded bolts to make-up a double-cover plate butt joint.htm 25/9/2013 .

Their behaviour under fatigue loading is also better than that of bearing bolted connections. or where fatigue loading is present. The main advantages of HSFG bolted connections are their greater stiffness and their ability to withstand alternating forces. 2.htm 25/9/2013 .fgg. HSFG bolted connections are usually used only where the stiffness of the connection is important. As a result. Controlled tightening of the bolts allows the frictional action to be quantified for design. the stiffness of the plate assembly is about 4 times the stiffness of the bolt. When an external tension force Fe is applied to the connection. The costs are greater than for bearing connections.2 Tension Connections Figure 3 gives the relation between the elongation of the bolt and the shortening of the plate assembly due to preloading. the force in the plate assembly decreases. Typically HSFG bolts are used in bridges. At the same time the elongation of the bolt increases.ESDEP LECTURE NOTE [WG11] Page 3 of 12 Bolts which transfer load by friction are known as High Strength Friction Grip (HSFG) bolts. As a result. The preparation of the friction grip surfaces and the controlled tightening require additional care (training of people).si/kmk/ESDEP/master/wg11/l0320. cranes and crane girders. where alternating loading would cause alternating slip. the force in the bolt Ft will increase.uni-lj. http://www. and the shortening of the plate assembly decreases by the same amount. In practice. Against these advantages are the costs of HSFG bolted connections.

si/kmk/ESDEP/master/wg11/l0320.ESDEP LECTURE NOTE [WG11] Page 4 of 12 The relation between the various forces can be illustrated by the "force triangle" in Figure 4. Further explanation is provided in Chapter 17 of Reference 1 and in Reference 2. In Figure 4(b). Any external tension will increase the bending in the plate increasing both Fc and 'Fb. contact is limited to the edges of the bolted connection. In Figure 4(a) contact is limited to the central region of the bolted connection.htm 25/9/2013 .fgg.uni-lj. There is no increase in bolt force until separation occurs. http://www.

ESDEP LECTURE NOTE [WG11] Page 5 of 12 The percentage of the force which is transmitted by an increase in the force in the bolts and the other part which reduces the clamping forces between the plates depends on the elastic behaviour of the connection (see Figure 3).fgg. 4.htm 25/9/2013 . the location of the contact pressure produced by tightening of the bolts is of crucial importance with regard to bolt fatigue (see Figure 4). TIGHTENING BOLTS Three methods of tightening are available: http://www. or near. The stress induced in the bolts by the pretensioning is at. As where As is the tensile stress area of the bolt (see Lecture 11. Since the elastic behaviour is the same.1) and fub the nominal ultimate stress of the bolt.Cd = 0. high tensile steel bolts (usually grade 10.3.7 fub .uni-lj. the proof stress. PRELOAD IN BOLTS In order to make practical use of the friction effect.9) are used so that an adequate clamping force can be obtained with reasonably sized bolts. The design preloading force of a bolt is given by: Fp.

and partly . If the geometry of the screw head and the coefficient of friction between the various mating surfaces were known.12 and 0. Therefore. for case of the use of the thread lubricant molybdenum sulphide k = 0.htm 25/9/2013 . If it is applied. The torque applied to the nut (or the head) is used partly to overcome friction between the nut and the surface against which it Torque method For this method of tightening a calibrated torque wrench is required which may be hand operated or.ESDEP LECTURE NOTE [WG11] Page 6 of 12 a. slightly oiled the ECCS recommendations [3] give k = 0. It may be concluded from the above that the scatter in the preloads obtained will be large (Figure 5). The uncertainties concerning distribution of contact pressures. If the coefficient k appears to be very drive the threads up the helix. then the desired preload will not be obtained.14. power operated. there is a danger that the bolt will break.20. the torque method is not recommended by the ECCS [3] and Eurocode 3 [4]. for bolts of larger diameters. then it is recommended that tests are carried out before erection.delivered condition. do not justify the use of anything other than a simple rule such as: Ma = k d Fp (1) where: Ma is the applied torque (Nmm) d is the bolt diameter (mm) Fp is the preload in the bolt (N) k is the coefficient of friction between mating surfaces In practice k values have been measured for new bolts which vary between 0. it would be possible to estimate the tension induced by a given torque. Special devices are available ("bolt force metre") to measure the bolt force as a function of the torque Ma. The tightening can be achieved in two ways as follows: http://www. overcoming the friction between the mating screw surfaces and the resolved component of the axial force.approximately half . If k is unexpectedly large.18 and. Turn-of-nut method This method is based on a predetermined rotation of the nut.uni-lj. b. For the as . and the variabilities of coefficients of friction in practice.fgg.

si/kmk/ESDEP/master/wg11/l0320. the bolt is first tightened until the plies of the joint achieve a snug fit (when the percussion wrench goes over to hammering).uni-lj. It should be remembered that the ductility of the bolt largely depends on the length of the threaded portion.htm 25/9/2013 . The contact surfaces must fit snugly before the bolts are tightened.fgg. while a large reserve exists before rupture occurs. http://www. • using a percussion wrench. after which the nut is further turned by the amount: 4 = 90q + 6 t + d (2) where: 4 is the rotation in degrees 6 t is the total thickness of connected parts in mm d is the bolt diameter in mm.ESDEP LECTURE NOTE [WG11] Page 7 of 12 • the bolt is first made "hand tight" and then turned further by a specified amount. The shank tension is then comparatively insensitive to variation in the nut rotation. Care must be taken with short bolts which have only a small amount of thread in the grip (5 threads is a minimum). The purpose of this method is to rotate the nut sufficiently to take the bolt well into the plastic state (Figure 6a).

Combined method (the best) In this method the torque method and the turn-of-nut method are combined. This method has the advantage that it is not particularly sensitive to: • variation in the friction between the nut and the thread. Where the plates are not flat and parallel as indicated in Figure 6b. By applying only 75%. • variation in the stiffness of the plate assembly (Figures 5 and 6).htm 25/9/2013 . 2. Then tighten by a further turn of 90q to 120q (the lower value for small bolt lengths and the larger value for large bolt lengths). A requirement of the method is that the contact surfaces must fit snugly before the bolts are tightened it is necessary to tighten the bolts in two stages: http://www. the actual preload appears very high.ESDEP LECTURE NOTE [WG11] Page 8 of 12 The danger of overloading (breaking) the bolt in the turn-of-nut method is far less than in the torque method. using the torque method. one is more sure that the plates fit snugly than with the turn of nut method. By applying the 75% torque.75 Fp (torque method). this method has the disadvantage that the preload will not be reached if the construction worker does not pay enough attention to closing the gaps. 1. the turn-of-the-nut by 4p gives no danger for rupture. The above is illustrated in Figure 7: • If after preloading to a nominal 0.uni-lj. c. First tighten all bolts to 75% of the full preload. the danger of overloading due to an unexpected low friction between nut and thread is acceptably small. At the same time the clamping force is usually large enough to close any gaps between the plates. the turn of nut by 4p gives a preload that is high enough for either assembly. In connections with several bolts (Figure 8).fgg. • If the actual preload is low.

and so on.fgg. It introduces the danger of partly failed fasteners being left in assemblies. The reason for the above is that after tightening the first bolt up to 75% of Fp or even Fp. Stripping is gradual and therefore difficult to detect.uni-lj. By applying the two stage procedure. Finally the turn-ofthe-nuts.120q turn-of-the-nut.htm 25/9/2013 . Second stage: all bolts a second time up to 75% of Ma. Figure 9 gives the results of tension tests with both failure modes. http://www. • Combined method. this effect is reduced to an acceptable level. NUTS AND WASHERS Failure of threaded fasteners due to over-tightening can occur by bolt shank fracture or by stripping of the threads of the nut and/or bolt. 5. • Turn-of-nut method. First stage: all bolts up to 75% of Ma.ESDEP LECTURE NOTE [WG11] Page 9 of 12 • Torque method. Finally the 90q .si/kmk/ESDEP/master/wg11/l0320. The fit depends on the imperfections of the joint (the plates not being flat) and the stiffness of the plates. Shank fracture is sudden and therefore easily noticed. If the contact surfaces do not fit snug after the first bolt is tightened. First stage: all bolts "hand tight". the contact surfaces may not fit snugly. Second stage: all bolts to 100% of Ma. compared to the preload of the first tightened bolt. Second stage: all bolts a second time "hand tight". First stage: all bolts up to 75% of Ma. tightening the second bolt will decrease the preload in the first bolt.

htm 25/9/2013 . In this respect an important quality requirement arises. Their nominal height is always greater than the classical value 0.20 http://www.). an appropriate taper washer must be used. the clearance is 2mm for diameters up to and including 24mm and 3mm for larger diameters. This leads to a more uniform and not too high friction between the rotated part and the underlying plates.uni-lj.Rd = nPFp. 7.3.ESDEP LECTURE NOTE [WG11] Page 10 of 12 It would be desirable therefore to design threaded connections so that their mode of failure would always be by shank fracture. Some values (1) are: surface not treated P = 0. for instance. The proof stress for ISO 898/1 [6] bolts. A hardened steel washer is placed under the part that is rotated (the nut or the head). SLIP RESISTANCE HSFG bolts in shear connections transmit the force by friction between the contact faces (Figure 1). Unfortunately.Cd /Jms (3) The slip factor P depends on the preparation of the surfaces. When the bolt axis is not normal to the contact surface (difference of more than 3q). etc. HOLES Clearance values are the same as for non-preloaded bolts (see Lecture 11. holes with smaller clearance than standard holes may be specified.fgg. To improve the resistance of the connection. As a result costs will be greater. differs somewhat from the design values for fub.).8 d and it can reach 1. Nuts with a width across flats according to ISO 898/2 [5] are used for preloaded bolts. because of the many variables which govern stripping strength (nut and bolt material strengths. across-flats dimensions. 6.1. The design slip resistance of a preloaded high strength bolt has a value: Fs. it is often equal to 0. In normal circumstances. The resistance of these connections depends on the preload Fp. thread clearances. nuts would have to be abnormally thick to guarantee this mode in all the slip factor P and the number of friction faces n.Cd.5 d. The bolt with its nut in a tensile test as indicated in Figure 9 must have a rupture strength of at least the so-called "proof stress".0 d.

in a moment connection. and the slip factor of the mating surfaces of the plates. the HSFG connection progressively becomes a bearing connection and.30 P = 0.ESDEP LECTURE NOTE [WG11] Page 11 of 12 surface blasted with shot or grit. The material used for blasting should be carefully selected (sand. sealing) may also be necessary as a temporary measure when joint faces are left wholly or partially exposed during erection. oiled or greased. The presence of an external tension reduces shear resistance and vice versa. Reference standard 8 of Eurocode 3 [4] gives more details. An effective means of protecting the contact surfaces is to apply self-adhesive or sprayed-on films of plastic.g. Under certain circumstances a lower slip factor must be considered. CONCLUDING SUMMARY • HSFG bolted connections are very stiff and they have good performance under fatigue loading.fgg. steel grit.50 P = 0. • The fact that the tensile stresses in the plates around the holes increase when bearing becomes effective.).8Ft) /Jms If. the slip resistance per bolt is taken as follows: Fs. during fabrication and erection. • The shear resistance of a connection with HSFG bolts is determined by the compressive forces between the plies. the contact surfaces shall be cleaned and roughened by blasting or shot peening with an appropriate material (sand. no reduction of the slip resistance is required. 9. so as to achieve a favourable slip factor. to ensure that the slip factors assumed for the calculation are achieved and maintained.0. During this process the prepared surface must not be damaged. which gives a decrease in P.uni-lj. Measures must therefore be taken to remove it.Rd = nP(Fp. the partial safety factor Jms is taken as: for the ultimate limit state ˜ for the serviceability limit state Jms = 1.htm 25/9/2013 . Parts to be joined with preloaded high strength bolts must be protected against corrosion by suitable measures designed to prevent moisture penetrating to the contact surfaces and the bolt holes. Up to the present. there is a risk of rusting. 10. if it is specified.3) with the axis of the slot perpendicular to the direction of the load transfer. it is particularly important that full use should be made of experience gained with regard to burner action (possible use of two burners).60 P m) surface blasted with shot or grit and hot dip galvanised P = 0. it is sufficient to remove any thin films of rust or other loose material by brushing with a soft steel brush. If the parts cannot be assembled as soon as the contact surfaces have been treated. When the joint is assembled the contact surfaces must be free from dust. This treatment shall be followed immediately by the application of an appropriate paint.25 Jms = 1.10 the connection which uses HSFG bolts is seen to be much stiffer than that which uses bearing bolts. Depending on the slip factor P assumed. All necessary precautions shall be taken. If structural components in which the contact surfaces have been prepared for friction grip bolting are stored for very long periods. cast iron shot.3.Cd . Until slip occurs. • For bolts in standard nominal clearance holes and for bolts in slotted holts (see Lecture 11.) and the treatment should be carried out. wire shot. however. When flame-cleaning is used. Spots of oil cannot be removed by flamecleaning without leaving harmful residues and must be removed by suitable chemical means. http://www. • There are several methods of tightening. reducing the thickness of the plates (Poisson ratio) and hence decreasing the preload (consider the different longitudinal stress patterns in Figure 1). with any loose rust removed. SHEAR AND TENSION RESISTANCE If a slip resistant connection is subjected to an applied tensile force Ft in addition to the shear force FV tending to produce slip. etc. paint. after the hole clearance has been taken up. PROVISIONS FOR FRICTION GRIP CONNECTIONS Tests carried in several countries have shown that mill scale adhering to the contact surfaces causes a substantial reduction in the coefficient of friction. The reason for the large decrease of the force transmitted by friction can be explained by: • The decrease of the surface roughness during slip.10 Painting may be necessary to prevent rust in the period before or during erection. no protective coating is known which does not affect the slip factor adversely. the best one is the combined method. steel shot. both connections behave in a similar way. the gas-oxygen mixture and the angle of inclination of the flame to the surface of the plate. Such a protection (e. Once slip occurs. no pitting surface blasted with shot or grit and painted with ethyl-zinc silicate coat (thickness 30 . caused by the pretension of the bolts. etc. Figure 2 compares the effect of using bearing and HSFG bolts to make up a double cover plate butt joint. making full use of all that is known of the process. etc. oil. the applied tensile force is counter balanced by a contact force on the compression side.

J. REFERENCES [1] Kulak. W. L. [6] ISO 898/1. [2] Bouwman. P. J.. European Convention for Constructional Steelwork (ECCS). Publication No.fgg. Report. Part 2: Nuts with Specified Proof Load Values. 1992 (see Chapter 6: Connections Subjected to Static Loading.ESDEP LECTURE NOTE [WG11] Page 12 of 12 • The control of the value of the slip factor between the connected parts is very important. and Struik. 6-79-9. Fischer. G. CEN. and Chapter 7: Fabrication and Erection). [3] European Recommendations for Bolted Connections in Structural Steelwork.. L. Delft University of Technology. 38. John Wiley and Sons. 1985. A. Part 1: Bolts. "Fatigue of Bolted Connections and Bolts Loaded in tension". [5] ISO 898/ International Standard Mechanical Properties of Fasteners. July 1979. Previous | Next | Contents http://www. 1987. International Standard Mechanical Properties of Fasteners. [4] Eurocode 3: "Design of Steel Structures": Part 1.1: General Rules and Rules for Buildings.. Department of Civil Engineering.uni-lj.htm 25/9/2013 . Screws and Studs. "Guide to Design Criteria for Bolted and Riveted Joints". 11. 2nd edition. H.