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The Influence of ‘‘Shell Behavior’’

L. Bruschelli
Doctor of Mechanical Engineering,
on Load Distribution for
Viale Madonna 2,
22063 Cantu (Como), Italy Thin-Walled Conical Joints
V. Latorrata This article presents a new analytical method with a numerical solution to calculate load
Doctor of Mechanical Engineering, distribution in threaded connections. Our departure model was that suggested by D. G.
Via Resistenza 22, Sopwith who has proposed the most recent and most tested theory. Our research consists
22072 Cermenate (Como), Italy in the introduction of conicity and, above all, in the development of the influence of
boundary geometry (i.e. the nonthreaded section) on load distribution. Pipe joints are
analyzed in special detail, supplying us with useful finite element method comparative
results. 关S0021-8936共00兲02002-X兴

Introduction 3 ␦ III , relative axial displacement due to the different axial

bolt and nut strain.
The experimental approach in the research into threaded con-
nections is that which has been followed by the majority of au- We have considered 共Fig. 1兲 the threaded part of a conic joint
thors, especially prior to the establishment of numeric methods, 共intended as the part between two planes perpendicular to the axis
such as finite elements. and crossing the first and last points of engagement between nut
In recent times, computer-based methods have attracted all the and bolt兲 as being subjected to boundary actions by the remaining
attention in giving the opportunity of obtaining complete results in parts.
terms of local stress and no longer only in load distribution. The situation examined, which will be indicated as ‘‘forcing
J. N. Goodier 关1兴 was the first in 1940 to use an analytical condition,’’ is that characterized by the placing of the axial
approach consisting in an approximate formula between displace- make-up load ⫺P on the lower nut surface and P on the lower
ment and axial load. In 1948 D. G. Sopwith 关2兴 suggested the first bolt surface 共Fig. 1兲.
accurate theory to obtain load distribution, having been inspired The basic geometrical measurements of the threaded part 共Fig.
by Goodier’s work. E. E. Stoeckly and H. J. Macke 关3兴 broadened 1兲 are the length L, the thread start diameter D 0 f il , internal and
Sopwith’s formula in 1952 with the introduction of the taper. external diameters D 0 and D 3 , and the conicity ␺.
Thus, the analytical bibliography available basically consists of The characteristic abscissas 共Fig. 2兲 are x, the axial abscissa and
Sopwith’s theory, which is weak in that the following are not s, the curvilinear abscissa along the thread helix, both measured
taken into consideration: from the loaded surface.
There is a link between them, which can be obtained for the
1 threading conicity,
constant pitch 共a兲 helix with conicity ␺ of Fig. 2:
2 element bending behavior due to the variable load absorbed
by the thread, and
3 the effect of the boundary substructures on the threaded part. x共 s 兲⫽
D 0 f il
2 tan ␺
⫺ 冑 D 02 f il
4 tan2 ␺

␲ tan ␺
. (1)
A new analytical approach is presented to improve the Sopwith
model which is not suitable for thin joints with complex structural The diameters corresponding to the half-thickness surfaces of
schemes. the nut and bolt, represented with dotted lines in Fig. 1, are
D n (s)⫽2R n (s) and D b (s)⫽2R b (s); D f il (s)⫽2R f il (s) is the ge-
neric engagement diameter 共Fig. 1兲.
The calculation of load distribution is done by expressing the
displacements of the contact points by means of the contact
forces, by writing a congruence equation to impose the contact
共without separations or penetrations of teeth flanks兲, and by solv-
ing the differential problem obtained.
The factors forming the relative total separation between the
flanks are three:
1 ␦ I , relative axial displacement due to thread bending,
2 ␦ II , relative axial recession due to radial displacement of
bolt and nut sections 共according to Goodier’s notation, reces-
sion is the axial separation of two threads consequent on a
relative radial displacement between them兲, and

Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division of THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF

MECHANICS. Manuscript received by the ASME Applied Mechanics Division, De-
cember 23, 1998; final revision, April 12, 1999. Associate Technical Editor: W. K.
Liu. Discussion on the paper should be addressed to the Technical Editor, Professor
Lewis T. Wheeler, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston,
Houston, TX 77204-4792, and will be accepted until four months after final publi-
cation of the paper itself in the ASME JOURNAL OF APPLIED MECHANICS. Fig. 1 Threaded part of a generic joint

298 Õ Vol. 67, JUNE 2000 Copyright © 2000 by ASME Transactions of the ASME

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Fig. 4 Polar coordinates in the thread, equivalent loads and
boundary conditions

Fig. 2 Threading geometry

The vertical factor w is the unknown element, the global force
r is equal to w sec(␤⫺␾), and the horizontal factor is w tan(␤
⫺␾) where ␾ ⫽arctg( f ) is the static friction angle.
Factor ␦ I The mutual forces are per unit thread length and act at the
resulting force application point, which may not necessarily be the
We assume that the thread 共Fig. 2兲 is obtained by turning with point M of middle contact area 共Fig. 2兲.
a radial 共and not perpendicular to the external conic surface兲 pen-
So, we express the w lever arm referring to point O 1 as b/2* c f
etration of the tool.
共Fig. 2兲, introducing a position coefficient c f .
The independent dimensions are: a, pitch; ␤, thread half-angle;
Under nominal conditions, with the resulting force r acting on
␺, thread conicity; ␦ 2 , upper cut off value; and r, notch radius.
M 共the middle point of L f ), we have
The dependent dimensions are

冉 1
2 tan ␤
⫺tan ␤ * tan2 ␺ 冊 (2) c f ,nom⫽
b⫹b * tan ␤ * tan ␺

2b * tan ␤

␦ 1 ⬵r 冉 1
sin ␤
⫺1 冊 (3) ⫺
a * tan ␺ r

冉 冊
⫺ tan ⫺ ␤ cos ␤ .
b 2

d⫽b⫺ ␦ 1 ⫺ ␦ 2 ⬵b⫺ ␦ 2 ⫺r 冉 1
sin ␤
⫺1 冊 (4) After having moved the two forces to point O 1 it is possible to
solve the elastic wedge problem in a plain-strain condition in the

L f ⫽AB⫽

a * tan ␺
2 sin ␤ 2 cos ␤

⫺r * tan ⫺ ␤
2 冉 冊 polar coordinates shown in Fig. 4, binding point X with a hinge
and Y with a roller sloped at a ␺ angle to the axis.
The three forces shown in Fig. 4 are f ⫽w, q⫽w tan(␤⫺␾),
␦2 m⫽w 关 1⫹tan(␤)tan(␤⫺␾)兴*b*c f /2.
⫺ (5) The stresses are 共关4兴兲
cos ␤ ⫹sin ␤ * tan ␺
冉 1 tan ␺ ␦1
冊 ␴ ␽ ⫽0

R y ⫽O 1 Y ⫽ ⫹ ⫺ (6) 9共 a 兲
2 sin ␤ cos ␤ cos ␤
2A 2B 2C

冉 冊
␴ ␳ ⫽⫺ sin共 2 ␽ 兲 ⫹ sin共 ␽ 兲 ⫺ cos共 ␽ 兲 共 9b 兲
a 1 tan ␺ ␦1 ␳2 ␳ ␳
R x ⫽O 1 X⫽ ⫺ ⫺ . (7)
2 sin ␤ cos ␤ cos ␤ A
␶ ␳␽ ⫽ 共 cos共 2 ␽ 兲 ⫺cos共 2 ␤ 兲兲 . 共 9c 兲
The factor ␦ I is the one due to the bending, caused by contact ␳2
forces, of both thread flanks in contact 共Fig. 3兲.
The constants A, B, C are

A⫽ , (10a)
sin共 2 ␤ 兲 ⫺2 ␤ cos共 2 ␤ 兲

B⫽ , (10b)
2 ␤ ⫺sin共 2 ␤ 兲

C⫽ . (10c)
2 ␤ ⫹sin共 2 ␤ 兲

If u( ␳ , ␽ ) and v ( ␳ , ␽ ) are the radial and tangential displace-

ments, we obtain from the displacement strains and strain stresses
Fig. 3 Contact forces and displacements links in polar coordinates

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E ⳵u ␯ 2A cos共 2 ␤ 兲

⫽ ␴ ␳⫺ ␴ 共 11a 兲 B 2 ⫽⫺ ⫺2 log共 R x 兲共 C sin ␤ ⫹B cos ␤ 兲
1⫺ ␯ 2 ⳵␳ 1⫺ ␯ ␽ Rx
E 1
1⫺ ␯ 2 ␳ 冉
⫽ ␴ ␽⫺

1⫺ ␯ ␳
共 11b 兲 冉
⫹ ␤ 1⫺

1⫺ ␯ 冊
共 C cos ␤ ⫺B sin ␤ 兲 ⫺
1⫺ ␯
cos ␤

E 1 ⳵u

1⫺ ␯ 2 ␳ ⳵␽
⫹ ␳ ⫺ ␯ ⫽2 1⫹

␶ .
1⫺ ␯ ␳␽ 冊 冉 冊 共 11c 兲

1⫺ ␯
sin ␤
We obtain the displacements solving the equation system 共11兲:
E 2A sin共 2 ␽ 兲
u共 ␳,␽ 兲⫽ ⫹2B sin共 ␽ 兲 log共 ␳ 兲 2A
1⫺ ␯ 2 ␳ B 3⫽ 关 sin共 2 ␤ 兲 cos共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲 ⫺cos共 2 ␤ 兲 sin共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲兴

冋 册
⫺2C cos共 ␽ 兲 log共 ␳ 兲 ⫹C 1 cos共 ␽ 兲

冉 冊
␯ ⫺B cos ␤ sin共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲 ⫹2 log共 R y 兲 ⫹2B sin ␤ cos共 ␤
⫹C 2 sin共 ␽ 兲 ⫺C 1⫺ ␽ sin共 ␽ 兲 1⫺ ␯

冉 冊
1⫺ ␯

⫺B 1⫺ 冉

␽ cos共 ␽ 兲 .冊 (12)
⫹ ␺ 兲 log共 R y 兲 ⫺B 1⫺
1⫺ ␯
␤ cos ␤ cos共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲

冉 冊
1⫺ ␯

E A ␯ cos共 2 ␽ 兲 ␯ ⫺B 1⫺ ␤ sin ␤ sin共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲
1⫺ ␯
2 v共 ␳ , ␽ 兲 ⫽⫺ ⫹2B cos共 ␽ 兲

冉 冊
1⫺ ␯ ␳ 共 1⫺ ␯ 兲 1⫺ ␯

␯ A ⫺C 1⫺ ␤ cos ␤ sin共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲
⫹2C sin共 ␽ 兲 ⫹ cos共 2 ␽ 兲 1⫺ ␯

冉 冊
1⫺ ␯ ␳

⫹2B cos共 ␽ 兲 log共 ␳ 兲 ⫹2C sin共 ␽ 兲 log共 ␳ 兲 ⫹C 1⫺ ␤ sin ␤ cos共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲 ⫹2C log共 R y 兲
1⫺ ␯
A cos共 2 ␤ 兲 C
⫹C 3 ␳ ⫹ ⫺C 1 sin共 ␽ 兲 ⫹C 2 cos共 ␽ 兲 ⫻cos ␤ cos共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲 ⫹ ␤ sin ␤ sin共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲
␳ 共 1⫺ ␯ 兲 1⫺ ␯

⫹C 1⫺ 冉 ␯
1⫺ ␯ 冊
共 sin共 ␽ 兲 ⫺ ␽ cos␽ 兲
⫹2C log共 R y 兲 ␤ sin ␤ sin共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲 .

⫹B 1⫺ 冉 ␯
1⫺ ␯ 冊
共 cos共 ␽ 兲 ⫹ ␽ sin ␽ 兲 . (13) The system 共15兲 can be solved numerically.
We evaluate the displacements 共especially v 兲 at the point where
The three unknown constants C 1 ,C 2 ,C 3 can be obtained by the mutual forces act, having ¯␳ ⫽b/2 cos ␤c f ,␽
¯ ⫽␤; so we express
introducing the boundary conditions
u 共 ␳ ⫽R x , ␽ ⫽ ␤ 兲 ⫽0 共 14a 兲

⫺2 v共 ¯␳ , ␽
v共 ␳ ⫽R x , ␽ ⫽ ␤ 兲 ⫽0 共 14b 兲 ␦ I ⫽2 ␦ I,1tooth⫽ . (16)
cos ␤
u 共 ␳ ⫽R y , ␽ ⫽⫺ ␤ 兲 * cos共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲
⫹ v共 ␳ ⫽R y , ␽ ⫽⫺ ␤ 兲 * sin共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲 ⫽0. 共 14c 兲
We can introduce factor h 共axial recession compliance factor兲:
By developing the boundary condition expressions 共14兲 we ob-
tain a linear equation system in the unknown C 1 ,C 2 ,C 3 :

冋 A 11
A 21
A 31
A 12
A 22
A 32
A 13
A 23
A 33
册再 冎 再 冎
C1 B1
C2 ⫽ B2 ,
C3 B3
␦ I⫽
w (17)

the coefficients So
A 11⫽cos ␤ , A 12⫽sin ␤ , A 13⫽0,
A 21⫽⫺sin ␤ , A 22⫽cos ␤ , A 23⫽R x , ⫺ v共 ¯␳ , ␽
h⫽E . (18)
A 31⫽cos ␤ cos共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲 ⫹sin ␤ sin共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲 , w cos ␤

A 32⫽cos ␤ sin共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲 ⫺sin ␤ cos共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲 ,

A 33⫽R y sin共 ␤ ⫹ ␺ 兲 , Conical Shells With Shear Behavior
and the known terms We need to develop a theory which allows us to deal with
conical shells of variable thickness.
2A sin共 2 ␤ 兲 The best approach is Mindlin 关5兴 and Reissner 关6兴 for cylindri-
B 1 ⫽⫺ ⫹2 log共 R x 兲共 C cos ␤ ⫺B sin ␤ 兲
Rx cal axisymmetrical shells, which includes the shear strain in the

冉 冊
kinematic model.
␯ The extension in the case of the half-thickness conical surface
⫹ ␤ 1⫺ 共 C sin ␤ ⫹B cos ␤ 兲
1⫺ ␯ is obtained by modifying the equilibrium equations keeping the

300 Õ Vol. 67, JUNE 2000 Transactions of the ASME

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Displacements of a point outside the half-thickness shell sur-
face are

再 s x ⫽u 共 x 兲 ⫺z ␸ 共 x 兲
s r ⫽y 共 x 兲
s ␽ ⫽0
. (19)

Strains are

Fig. 5 Shell coordinates

ds x du 共 x 兲 d␸共 x 兲
␧ x⫽ ⫽ ⫺z
dx dx dx

ds r
␧ r⫽ ⫽0
s r ds ␽ y 共 x 兲
␧ ␽⫽ ⫹ ⫽
r rdr R 共 x 兲
ds x ds ␽
␥ ␽x⫽ ⫹ ⫽0
rd ␽ dx
ds r ds ␽ s ␽
␥ r␽⫽ ⫹ ⫺ ⫽0
Fig. 6 Shell displacements and load conventions rd ␽ dr r
ds x ds r dy 共 x 兲
␥ rx ⫽ ⫹ ⫽ ⫺␸共 x 兲
dr dx dx
kinematic model unchanged. The criteria used are shown in Fig. 5
and Fig. 6. and stresses are

zd ␸ 共 x 兲 ␯E y共x兲

E E du 共 x 兲 E
␴ x⫽ 共 ␧ x⫹ ␯ ␧ ␽⫹ ␯ ␧ r 兲⫽ ⫺ ⫹
共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 dx 共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 dx 共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 R 共 x 兲
E E y共x兲 ␯ E du 共 x 兲 ␯ E zd ␸ 共 x 兲
␴ ␽⫽ 共 ␧ ␽⫹ ␯ ␧ x⫹ ␯ ␧ r 兲⫽ ⫹ ⫺ (21)
共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 R 共 x 兲 共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 dx 共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 dx

␶ rx ⫽G ␥ rx ⫽G 冉 dy 共 x 兲
⫺␸共 x 兲 冊
Integrating the stresses we obtain the internal forces per unit tesimal quantities and simplifying the expressions we obtain
length; we introduce the equivalent thickness h * (x)⫽5/6h(x) so

dN x dR
as not to overlook the variation of ␶ xr on the same thickness ⫽⫺
共Timoshenko 关7兴 and Corradi Dell’acqua 关8兴兲. dx dx
The internal forces are dT xr T xr dR N ␽
⫹ ⫽ ⫺p (24)
Eh 共 x 兲 d ␸ 共 x 兲
␯ Eh 共 x 兲 d ␸ 共 x 兲
dx R dx R
M x⫽ , M ␽⫽
12共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 dx 12共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 dx M x dR dM x dR
⫹ ⫺N x ⫽m⫺T xr .
Eh 共 x 兲 du 共 x 兲 ␯ Eh 共 x 兲 y 共 x 兲 R dx dx dx
N x⫽ ⫹ ,
共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 dx 共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 R 共 x 兲 Substituting in the last two Eqs. 共24兲 the expressions 共22兲, 共23兲
we get the following equation system:
␯ Eh 共 x 兲 du 共 x 兲 Eh 共 x 兲 y 共 x 兲
N ␽⫽ ⫹ (22)
共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 dx 共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 R 共 x 兲

T xr ⫽Gh * 共 x 兲 冉 dy 共 x 兲
⫺␸共 x 兲 . 冊
The following links can be observed:
M ␽⫽ ␯ M x
Eh 共 x 兲
N ␽⫽ y 共 x 兲⫹␯Nx . (23)
R共 x 兲
We write the equilibrium equations including the conicity effect
of the half thickness surface 共Fig. 7兲; ignoring the superior infini- Fig. 7 Internal and applied loads

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再 D 2共 x 兲

D 1共 x 兲
冉 d2y共 x 兲 d␸共 x 兲
dx 2
d 2␸共 x 兲
dx 2


D 1共 x 兲 R ⬘共 x 兲
R共 x 兲
D 2共 x 兲 R ⬘共 x 兲
R共 x 兲

⫹D ⬘1 共 x 兲
⫹D ⬘2 共 x 兲

dx 冊
d␸共 x 兲
⫹D 2 共 x 兲
dy 共 x 兲
dy 共 x 兲

⫺ ␸ 共 x 兲 ⫺D 3 共 x 兲 y 共 x 兲 ⫽⫺p 共 x 兲 ⫹

⫺ ␸ 共 x 兲 ⫽m 共 x 兲 ⫹N x 共 x 兲 R ⬘ 共 x 兲
␯ N x共 x 兲
R共 x 兲

Eh 3 共 x 兲 Eh 共 x 兲 dR 共 x 兲
D 1共 x 兲 ⫽ , D 2 共 x 兲 ⫽Gh * 共 x 兲 , D 3共 x 兲 ⫽ , R ⬘共 x 兲 ⫽ .
12共 1⫺ ␯ 2 兲 R 2共 x 兲 dx

The boundary conditions are the following: mind the axial load expressions P n ⫽⫺( P⫺ 兰 s0 wds) and P b ⫽ P

D 1 共 x⫽0 兲
冏 x⫽0
⫽M x,in
⫺ 兰 s0 wds for nut and bolt, we maintain the equation already pro-
posed by Sopwith:

D 2 共 x⫽0 兲 冉 冏
dx x⫽0

⫺ ␸ 共 x⫽0 兲 ⫽T xr,in
d ␦ III ⫽ 冉
dx P n P b

E An Ab

E 冊 再冕 冋 s

Ab An
⫺P册 冋

Ab An 册冎 .

D 1 共 x⫽L 兲 ⫽M x, f in (28)
dx x⫽L

D 2 , 共 x⫽L 兲 冉 冏
dx x⫽L

⫺ ␸ 共 x⫽L 兲 ⫽T xr, f in . (26) Differential Equation System
The congruence equation is d ␦ III ⫽d( ␦ II ⫹ ␦ I ); substituting the
Factor ␦ II explicit expressions 共17兲, 共27兲, 共28兲 we obtain
We consider the nut and bolt as two smooth conical shells,

冉 冊 冕 冉 冊
touching along the surface defined by the points of contact on the s
thread. 1 1 dx dw dy n dy b dx
⫺ ⫹ wds⫹2h ⫹Etan␤ ⫺
If we ignore the radial displacement variation between the half- A b A n ds 0 ds dx dx ds

冉 冊
thickness surface and the interface we can express
dx 1 1
␦ II ⫽ 共 y n 共 s 兲 ⫺y b 共 s 兲兲 tan ␤ , (27) ⫽⫺ P ⫹ . (29)
ds Ab An
coupling the shell equations to the congruence relation.
The load system of the two shells consists in the axial load
N x,n ⫽( 兰 s0 wds⫺ P)/(2 ␲ R n ) and N x,b ⫽( P⫺ 兰 s0 wds)/(2 ␲ R b ) and s
The associated boundary condition is 兰 01 wds⫽ P; s 1 is the over-
in the interface pressure 共made axisymmetrical by giving the same
value to all the points on each parallel兲 p⫽w/a tan(␤⫺␾). all length of the thread helix.
Since in the shell Eqs. 共25兲 the loads refer to the half-thickness It is necessary to emphasize how the differentiation of the term
surface, it is necessary to move there the axial distributed load w, ␦ II ⫽(y n (x(s))⫺y b (x(s)))tan ␤ takes place by means of compos-
acting on the interface at a distance of D f il /2 from the axis, thus ite derivatives, in such a way as to obtain the derivatives of y n and
introducing the distributed moment m n ⫽w/a(R n ⫺D f il /2) and y b as regards the axial coordinate x, the most simple to solve the
m b ⫽w/a(D f il /2⫺R b ) 共Fig. 8兲. shell equations.
In the case of the congruence equation it is easier to use the s
variable, both for the presence of the integral term 兰 s0 wds, and for
the more immediate physical interpretation of w.
Factor ␦ III Thus in the system both variables s and x are found; however,
Factor ␦ III is associated with the relative axial displacement in the system will depend on a single unknown, since we have the
the contact area due to axial strains ⑀ x,n and ⑀ x,b . link 共1兲.
Ignoring the contribution of N ␽ , M x and M ␽ into ⑀ x,n and Keeping in mind the shell equations, it is possible to express the
⑀ x,b , due to the strengthening effect of the tooth, and keeping in overall differential system of Eqs. 共30兲:

Fig. 8 Distributed moment m due to w movement

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The Boundary M x,n,in and T xr,n,in between nut and shell A, M x,n, f in and T xr,n, f in
In order to calculate the mutual boundary forces, which depend between nut and shell D, M x,b,in and T xr,b,in between bolt and
on the overall structural geometry, it is not possible to formulate a shell C and finally M x,b, f in and T xr,b, f in between bolt and shell D.
general theory; each type of joint is an individual case and re- The interaction between shell A and shell C on the shoulder is
quires a specific solution. characterized by the axial make-up load P 共which loads by com-
We obtain the solution for the pipe joints, assuming that no pression the lower surface of shell A and generates traction on the
radial interference is found between the two elements during section of shell C between the shoulder and the start of the bolt兲
makeup. and tangential load T xr,A,in ⫽ f P/( ␲ D med,sp ) due to friction
The geometrical dimensions of the structure and the subdivision (D med,sp is the medium thickness shoulder diameter兲.
into six elements 共nut, bolt, shell A, shell B, shell C and shell D兲 To be exact a mutual contact moment should be present be-
are shown in Fig. 9. tween shell A and shell C 共this is not shown in Fig. 10兲; said
The evaluation of the boundary actions for nut and bolt takes moment cannot be expressed in terms of P, and as such would be
place considering the adjacent parts as shells, in order to evaluate a further unknown source of mathematical complexity. So from
numerically the border coefficients and write the kinematic con-
now on we will ignore it, introducing an approximation which can
gruence solving equations.
be verified numerically.
In Fig. 10 the subdivision of the joint in its substructures and
mutual actions in forcing condition is shown. The annotation used is the following: y T M ,shell, in ( ␸ T M ,shell, in )
f in f in
It is possible to recognize the actions already introduced: for the displacement 共rotation兲 coefficients due to shear/moment

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Fig. 9 Pipe joint dimensions, coordinates and substructures

Fig. 10 Mutual forces in a pipe joint’s forcing condition

on the initial/final part of ‘‘shell’’; y shell, in ( ␸ shell, in ) for the ‘‘bor- assumed to be positive, using, in writing the congruence equa-
f in f in
der’’ displacement 共rotation兲 due to shear/moment on the initial/ tions, the plus/minus criteria of the shell theory. The congruence
final part of ‘‘shell.’’ equations at the beginning and the end of the nut and bolt are,
The border coefficients and the ‘‘border’’ displacements are respectively,

再 ⫺T xr,n,in * y T,n,in ⫹M x,n,in * y M ,n,in ⫹y n,in ⫽T xr,n,in * y T,A, f in ⫹M x,n,in * y M ,A, f in ⫹y A, f in

T xr,n,in * ␸ T,n,in ⫺M x,n,in * ␸ M ,n,in ⫹ ␸ n,in ⫽T xr,n,in * ␸ T,A, f in ⫹M x,n,in * ␸ M ,A, f in ⫹ ␸ A, f in

再 T xr,n, f in * y T,n, f in ⫹M x,n, f in * y M ,n, f in ⫹y n, f in ⫽⫺T xr,n, f in * y T,B,in ⫹M x,n, f in * y M ,B,in ⫹y B,in
T xr,n, f in * ␸ T,n, f in ⫹M x,n, f in * ␸ M ,n, f in ⫹ ␸ n, f in ⫽T xr,n, f in * ␸ T,B,in ⫺M x,n, f in * ␸ M ,B,in ⫹ ␸ B,in

再 ⫺T xr,b,in * y T,b,in ⫹M x,b,in * y M ,b,in ⫹y b,in ⫽T xr,b,in * y T,C, f in ⫹M x,b,in * y M ,C, f in ⫹y C, f in

T xr,b,in * ␸ T,b,in ⫺M x,b,in * ␸ M ,b,in ⫹ ␸ b,in ⫽T xr,b,in * ␸ T,C, f in ⫹M x,b,in * ␸ M ,C, f in ⫹ ␸ C, f in

再 T xr,b, f in * y T,b, f in ⫹M x,b, f in * y M ,b, f in ⫹y b, f in ⫽⫺T xr,b, f in * y T,D,in ⫹M x,b, f in * y M ,D,in

T xr,b, f in * ␸ T,b, f in ⫹M x,b, f in * ␸ M ,b, f in ⫹ ␸ b, f in ⫽T xr,b, f in * ␸ T,D,in ⫺M x,b, f in * ␸ M ,D,in
. (34)

The systems 共31兲, 共32兲, 共33兲 and 共34兲 cannot be solved by The detailed functional expressions of the ‘‘border’’ displace-
T xr,b,n , M x,b,in , T xr,b, f in , M x,b, f in , T xr,n,in , M x,n,in , T xr,n, f in , ments for nut and bolt are the following:
and M x, ␯ , f in ; in fact, all the ‘‘border’’ displacements of nut and
bolt depend on the unknown w which influences the load systems y n,in ⫽y n,in 共 p,m n ,N x,n ,M x,n, f in ,T xr,n, f in 兲
and is in its turn a function of all mutual actions:
␸ n,in ⫽ ␸ n,in 共 p,m n ,N x,n ,M x,n, f in ,T xr,n, f in 兲
w⫽w 共 M x,n,in ,T xr,n,in ,M x,n, f in ,T xr,n, f in ,M x,b,in ,
⫻T xr,b,in ,M x,b, f in ,T xr,b, f in 兲 . y n, f in ⫽y n, f in 共 p,m n ,N x,n ,M x,n,in ,T xr,n,in 兲

The problem is thus implicit and requires an iterative solution. ␸ n, f in ⫽ ␸ n, f in 共 p,m n ,N x,n ,M x,n,in ,T xr,n,in 兲 (35)

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y b,in ⫽y b,in 共 p,m b ,N x,b ,M x,b, f in ,T xr,b, f in 兲
␸ b,in ⫽ ␸ b,in 共 p,m b ,N x,b ,M x,b, f in ,T xr,b, f in 兲
y b, f in ⫽y b, f in 共 p,m b ,N x,b ,M x,b,in ,T xr,b,in 兲
␸ b, f in ⫽ ␸ b, f in 共 p,m b ,N x,b ,M x,b,in ,T xr,b,in 兲 (36)
p⫽ tan共 ␤ ⫺ ␾ 兲

⫺ P⫹ 冕 s

冉 冊
w D f il 0
m n⫽ R n⫺ , N x,n ⫽ ,
a 2 2␲Rn

冕 s

冉 冊
P⫺ wds
w D f il 0
m b⫽ ⫺R b , N x,b ⫽ .
a 2 2␲Rb Fig. 11 API NC38 joint Rfl in forcing condition with coefficient
of friction f Ä0 and axial load P Ä543 kN
The shell D ‘‘border’’ displacements are always void in that on
shell D external loads do not act; for shell A, shell B, and shell C
‘‘border’’ displacements are directly obtainable as the external
actions are known functions of load P:
y A, f in ⫽y A, f in 共 N x,A ,T xr,A,in 兲
␸ A, f in ⫽ ␸ A, f in 共 N x,A ,T xr,A,in 兲
y B,in ⫽y B,in 共 N x,B 兲
␸ B,in ⫽ ␸ B,in 共 N x,B 兲
y C, f in ⫽y C, f in 共 N x,C ,T xr,A,in 兲
␸ C, f in ⫽ ␸ C, f in 共 N x,C ,T xr,A,in 兲 (37)
⫺P fP
N x,A ⫽ , T xr,A,in ⫽ N x,B ⫽0,
2␲RA ␲ D med,s p
N x,C ⫽ where L C ⫺L A ⭐x C ⭐L C ;
0 where x C ⬍L C ⫺L A . Fig. 12 API NC38 joint radial displacement with coefficient of
friction f Ä0 and axial load P Ä543 kN
The iterative solution used consists in the following steps:
1 Calculate all the border coefficients involved.
2 Calculate the ‘‘border’’ displacements of shell A, shell B and
shell C.
3 Calculate w with all the void nut and bolt border actions:
M x,b,in ,Txr,b,in ,M x,b,fin ,Txr,b,fin ,M x,n,in ,Txr,n,in ,M x,n,fin ,Txr,n,fin
4 Construct the nut and bolt load systems and calculate the
associated ‘‘border’’ displacements.
5 Solve the congruence systems to find the boundary actions.
6 Calculate w with the actions of Step 5.
7 Iterate Steps 4, 5, and 6 until convergence.
The calculation of border coefficients and displacements takes
place solving each shell by a numeric approach based on the finite
differences method; also the overall differential system, due to its
complexity, is treated in the same manner.

The results given are related to pipe joint API NC38 关9兴 for Fig. 13 API NC38 joint maximum Rfl value in forcing condi-
which we have developed a finite element method model. tion, with three friction values

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The comparative results are Rfl 共ratio of flank load, the percent- The optimization process involves only the load distribution
age of axial load adsorbed by each thread pitch兲 and the radial without providing information on the local stress, which cannot be
displacement outside the box 共‘‘nut’’ element兲 and inside the pin obtained by elaborating the internal element forces due to stress
共‘‘bolt’’ element兲. concentration induced by the notch radius.
In order to get Rfl from the w(s) function we only need to However, the stress concentration can be limited using suitable
integrate on each thread pitch: constraints on the notch radius r, on the flank contact length L f ,

R f l j⫽
P 冕 s pitch j⫹1

s pitch j
w 共 s 兲 ds.
and on the minimal resistance area A n (s⫽0).
Therefore, this proposed new approach is a very quick and
efficient tool in the design and optimization process of threaded
The results obtained 共Fig. 11, Fig. 12兲 show an affinity, both in connections, which can significantly reduce the number of nu-
Rfl terms and in displacement terms, between the theoretical and merical analyses required.
finite element method values.
It is interesting to analyze the dependence, shown in Fig. 13,
between the maximum Rfl value and the friction coefficient.

Discussion References
The results shown by this new approach clearly indicate how 关1兴 Goodier, J. N., 1940, ‘‘Distribution of Load in Threads of Screws,’’ Trans.
important the correct reproduction of the threaded joint bending ASME, 62, pp. A10–A16.
behavior is, especially for those with thinner characteristics and 关2兴 Sopwith, D. G., 1948, ‘‘The Distribution of Load in Screw Threads,’’ Inst.
Mech. Eng. Appl. Mech. Proc., 159, pp. 373–383.
complex boundary substructures, such as the pipe joint API NC38
关3兴 Stoeckly, E. E., and Macke, H. J., 1952, ‘‘Effect of Taper on Screw Thread
examined. Load Distribution,’’ Trans. ASME, 74, pp. 103–112.
For this type of joint Sopwith’s theory 共generally accepted for 关4兴 Timoshenko, S. P., and Goodier, J. N., 1982, Theory of Elasticity, 3rd Ed.,
common nuts and bolts兲 is no longer valid as it underestimates by Mc.Graw-Hill, New York.
approximately 40 percent the load absorbed by the first pitch, 关5兴 Mindlin, R. D., 1951, ‘‘Influence of Rotatory Inertia and Shear on Flexural
mainly because of the inexact deformed shape produced by the Motion of Isotropic Elastic Plates,’’ ASME J. Appl. Mech., 18, p. 31.
use of the thick cylinder formulas for the ␦ II factor, which is now 关6兴 Reissner, E., 1985, ‘‘Reflection on the Theory of Elastic Plates,’’ Appl. Mech.
calculated with suitable equations for conical shells. Rev., 38, p. 1451.
关7兴 Timoshenko, S. P., and Woinowsky-Krieger, S., 1959, Theory of Plates and
One of the most valuable characteristics of the theoretical ap-
Shells, McGraw-Hill, New York.
proach is the speed with which the solution is obtained by the 关8兴 Corradi Dell’acqua, L., 1992, ‘‘Meccanica Delle Strutture, Vol. 1—II Com-
variation of the geometric parameters of the structure, which al- portamento dei Mezzi Continui,’’ McGraw-Hill, Milano.
lows us to carry out the joint optimization process, otherwise dif- 关9兴 American Petroleum Institute, 1994, ‘‘Specification for Rotary Drill Stem
ficult by the finite element method. Elements—Specification 7,’’ 38th Ed.—1/4/1994.

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