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Bolted joints in wind turbine applications.

1. Introduction
The most important factor among those which influence the fatigue strength of bolted
joints is preloading of the bolts. Preload increase the fatigue strength, it raises its mean
stress but, for a given dynamic load, it reduces the effective stress amplitude. In
general fatigue life is more sensitive to stress amplitude than it is to mean stress, and
then fatigue life can be greatly increased by preloading. Increases of 50 to 250 percent
are possible and scatter is notably reduced. The benefits of preload increase with the
amount of preload, and use of preloads up to 90 percent of the yield strength of the
bolt are generally desirable.

Bolted joints in wind turbine applications are naturally subjected to cyclic loadings
applications should certainly be designed for safe life, i. e. at least twenty years.
However, bolted joints are sensitive to a number of parameters and recurrent control
remains an important action to obtain the right level of safety. The tightening
procedure is very important. Insufficiently tightened bolts can lose pre-stress and an
accelerated fatigue process may result.
Moreover, bolt material should be carefully chosen. High strength bolts may enable
high tightening torques, but the obvious drawback is that these bolts are often very
fatigue sensitive.
Most joint failures are not due to joint design or the fastener selection. More often
they are the result of insufficient or inconsistent clamp load at assembly. Problems
such as bolt fatigue or vibration loosening, which account for over 75 percent of all

. can usually be prevented by achieving and maintaining a correct level of clamp load in the joint.bolted joint failures.

Even with a good procedure utilizing a crisscross pattern to apply torque in steps at 30. will impact resulting preload. Variations in installed fastener clamps load of 30 percent is typical with tightening control methods based on the measurement of applied torque. This problem can be summarized as bolt Factor. which means that bolt Factor can be known unless the bolt is already tightened and measured the load. it takes time and still may not be accurate. As a way of overcoming bolt Factor problems. Monitoring preloading methods. The problem applying torque is we must understand all of the parameters that get in the way of applied torque resulting in desired bolt load. that is this factor is not correctly estimated the stress is not going to be correct. The problem is. Several factors make up the bolt Factor: contaminants. rust. 100 percent of final torque with a 100 percent circular. washers and surface condition that could allow embedment. lubricant. 70. Torque Torque is probably the most widely used method in a lot of applications is a relatively inexpensive option to tighten bolts.2. Is possible to predict based on experience. and more. that we will analyze bellow. All of these factors. bolt fit. but it is an experimental factor. . bolt preload can be measured by using an ultrasonic extensometer or strain aguges (sensorized bolts).

. Ultrasonic measurement of bolt preload is made possible by introducing a sonic pulse at one end of the fastener and accurately measuring the time of flight (TOF) required for the echo to return from the opposite end.Ultrasonics In certain critical bolting applications. Another big problem with these machines is that they are very expensive and difficult to operate them. The concurrent use of longitudinal as well as transversal waves in principal allows determining the residual clamp load of bolts that have been tightened into the yield without disassembling the joint. However the method is an indirect method which is not only influenced by the stress in the bolt but also by temperature and plastic elongation leading to some limitations which have to be observed and may not satisfy the accuracy needed for most applications (+-15%). It allows tracking the clamp load during the whole tightening process. Using material constants is possible to transform TOF into an "ultrasonic length" of the fastener. factors such as friction or bolt/joint geometry are such that the measurement of applied torque alone will not provide the degree of accuracy necessary to control the preload to be monitored over the service life of the fastener. providing the actual tightening force. Real time ultrasonic clamp load measurement is a sophisticated method for the analysis of bolted joints.

More accurate tensile force measurement is possible by calibrating the bolt after installing the bolt gauges. This method is recommendable when an ordinary strain gauge cannot be mounted on the bolt surface. these strain gauges are connected using 2-3 wires techniques. fixing the gauge. The process includes drilling a hole. there are two methods of installing strain gauges on bolts. and applying load calibration to the bolt. and additional problem is the drilled hole diameter. For long term condition monitoring. One of the main problems related to this method is the space required for the strain gauges.6-2 mm. as standard sensor for strain measurements are used for measurement of tensile strain of bolt. and changes the mechanical behavior. that makes nearly impossible to use half bridge configuration for temperature compensation. Strain gauges. connecting the cable. that weaks the bolt. . diameters between 1.Electrical Strain Gauges Monitoring of the fixing condition are possible by measuring axial force applied to the bolt. The bolt strain gauge is inserted into the hole or on the bolt surface. and cabling. Also the axial force measurement is useful for knowing the strength of bolt and designing the bolt connection. They are inserted into a pre-drilled hole in the bolt head. thermal compensation is a requirement that allows obtaining precise measurements.

After that. minimizing the mechanical interference that we have seen that it shown using electrical strain gauges. separated by dielectric liquid and subject to an electric voltage.0mm. the optical fiber is inserted in this tiny hole. it allows a precise strain monitoring of bolts. Taking advantage of the small diameter of the optical fiber of around 200 microns. The hole diameter is normally from 0.3mm to 3.Optical Strain Gauge. two strain gauges are included in different positions allowing Thermal compensation. this can be obtained using EDM (Electrical discharge machining). Material is removed from the bolt by a series of rapidly recurring current discharges between two electrodes. and the possibility of including two strain gauges on the same fiber. Hole drilling EDM uses low cost electrode tube (normally brass or copper material) to drill holes on an electrically conductive material at a very high speed. and glued using specially designed adhesives. Can be used to machine conductive materials of any hardness (for example steel or titanium) to an accuracy of up to onethousandth of a millimeter with no mechanical action. The process for optical strain gauges it requires a hole drilling of around 500 – 600 um (One third of the required diameter for electrical strain gauges). . the hole depth diameter ratio can reach up to 200 mm.

Optimed OMF Datasheet. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS. Webpage. Webpage (ibolt Technology) Bolt Science. Gunther Hartmann KAMAX-Werke. July 2010 Damage prevention for wind turbines. Leonard Mordfin. HBM Tokio Sokki(TML). US Patent 6. U. Webpage .472.: Method of Monitoring and Controlling a Screwing Process..581.-Ing. 1961 Load Control. Webpage Norbar. Webpage GF Machinning solutions. et al. E. Phase 2 – Recommended measures.2007 Schneider.References: Potentials and Limitations of Ultrasonic Clamp load Testing. North American Windpower. June 2003 Why Bolt Tensioning Matters During Tower Installation. Elforsk report 11:18 SOME PROBLEMS OF FATIGUE OF BOLTS AND BOLTED JOINTS IN AIRCRAFT APPLICATIONS. Dr. S.