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# Measuring torque when installing controlled tensioning of a threaded fas- Authored by: *

threaded fasteners is the best indicator of tener while monitoring both torque and
future joint performance, right? Actually, tension. At a specified torque or tension, David Archer :4,
2t1
President
bolt tension is a better performance indi- the known values for 7, D, and F are in- ln
Archetype Fasteners LLC ',,
cator, but measuring torque is far easier serted into the short-form equation to per-
Orion, Mich. ,41

## to do. mit solving for K.

Bolt tension is created when a bolt elon- Many engineers use a single value of K Edited by Jessica Shapiro
jessica.shapi ro@penton.com
,:
gates during tightening, producing the across a variety of threaded-fastener diam- *
clamp load that prevents movement be- eters and geometries. This approach is valid Key points: .4
t
tween joint members. Such movement is to some extent, because an experimentally . The experimentally determined
*ta4
arguably the most common cause of struc- determined nut factor is by definition inde- nut factot K. consolidates the
/a
tural joint failures. The relationship be- pendent of fastener diameter. But to truly friction effects on threaded- t!:
fastener systems.
tween applied torque and the tension cre- understand the factors involved, it is help-
ful to compare the short-form equation . A nut factor determined for one tt
ated is described by the relationship:

## T=KxDxF with a torque-tension relationship derived fastener geometry is valid for ,

from engineering principles. fasteners of similar geometry but :al

different diameters. x
where T = torque, K = nut factor, some- Several of these equations are common, ia
times called the friction factor, D = bolt especially in designs that are primarily used .Testing joint prototypes y,;
g
diameter, and F = bolt tension generated in the E.U. Each produces similar results highlig hts fastener interactions
during tightening. This expression is often and takes the general form: and points out design flaws.
t;
L
called the short-form equation. Resources:
T=FxX *
n
ArchetypeJoint !LC,
The nut factor where X represents a series of terms w w w. a r ch ety pej o i nt. co m a,

The nut factor, K consolidates all fac- detailing fastener geometry and friction 'Joint Decisions," Mncurnr Drsrcru,
ar'
tat
tors that affect clamp load, many of which coefficients. These relationships are often April 1, 2005, http://ti ny.cc/ZgcTy
,.7

*
are difficult to quantify without mechani- referred to as long-form equations. (Three "How Tight is Right?" Mncurr're
ta
cal testing. The nut factor is, in reality, a of the most widely used long-form equa- Drsren, August 23, 2001, ta:l
ta,
fudge factor, not derived from engineering tions are discussed in the sidebar, The long http://tiny.cc/tH8zc
principles, but arrived at experimentally to wary')
make the short-form equation valid. To understand how the nut factor com-
Various torque-tension tests call for pares to the terms in the long-form equa-

## 40 I IVACHINE Design.com AUGUST 20,2OO9

i
tions, let's consider the so-called Motosh
equation:
7,,= Frx l(Pl2t) + (y,x r,lcos p1 + (y,x r,)J
where 7, = input torque, Fp = fastener pre-
contact, p = halfangle ofthe thread form (30'
for UN and ISO threads), l, = friction coef-
The equation is essentially three -
terms, each of which represents a
reaction torque. The three reaction
torques must sum to equal the input
torque. These elements, both dimen-
sional and frictional, contribute in
varying degrees to determining the
torque-tension relationship, the pur-
pose ofcalculating nut factor.

## The impact of variables

So how do design decisions influ-
ence the nut factor that defines the
torque-tension relationship? Specifi-
cally, engineers maywonder howvalid
a nut factor determined from a torque-
tension test on one twe of fastener is
for other fastener geometries.
The short-form equation is structured so that the fas- tests on one fastener diameter can be used to calculate the
tener diameter, D, is separate from the nut factor, K. This torque-tension relationship for fasteners with a different
implies that a nut factor derived from torque-tension diameter.

r-
,,v I

J

## Like the nut Validating variables

factor itself, how- 35o/o
ever, this approach While the nut
isonlyanipproxi- factor K, in
mation. The ac- \$J roo" the short-form
equation is
curacv of usine u F- experimentally
F )\o/^
nomlnal lastener determined,
diameter, D, to .g long-form
applyaconstant !2aon equations use
nut factor across E several variables
a range of fastener 3 rcon to quantify
sizes depends E the effects of
on the extent to P thread pitch and
" c ^^",
lv-/o friction on the
wnrcn lastener clr- ; torque-tension
ameter affects re- .0
relationship.The
traces shown
here help explain
the effect each
4oo/o 600/o 80o/o 1\$0o/o variable has on
lncrease in variable (o/o) bolt tension.

## sense to examine them individually. importance of thread pitch falls.

Clearance-hole diameter, for instance, is directly tied There is a maximum deviation of 4.2o/o between the
to nominal diameter. The long-form equations calculate results ofthe short and long-form equations for stan-
that swapping a close-diametrical-clearance hole with dard-pitch, metric, hex-head-cap screws with constant
one 10% larger leads to a 2o/o reduction in bolt tension and equal coefficients offriction. As friction coefficients
for a given torque. Enlarging the fastener-head bearing increase, there's less error in assuming the nut factor var-
diameter by 35o/o, say by replacing a standard hex-head ies directly with nominal diameter because the impact of
fastener with a hex-flange-head, cuts bolt tension by 8% thread pitch, the most independent variable, falls.
for a given torque. So, if all else is held constant, it's reasonabie to apply
Both bearing diameter and hole clearance generally a nut factor calculated at one fastener diameter across a
scale linearly with bolt diameter, so their relative impor- range offastener sizes. For best resuits, engineers should
tance remains the same over a range of fastener diame- base testing on the weighted mean diameter of the fasten-
ters. However, different head styles or
clearances change the reaction torque
ficient on its own, say by changing the
finish or removing lubricant, reduces 50
bolt tension by 28Vo for a given torque.
Engineers should note that the thread 240
and underhead friction coefficients are CJ

## often assumed to be equai for conve- x5u

nience in test setups and calculations.
ISO 16047 estimates that this assumD- 20
tion can lead to errors of I to 2o/o.
Thread pitch tends to be more 10
indeoendent of nominal diameter
thanlhe other variables. Increasing
just thread pitch by 40% cuts tension 0l020304050
5o/o for a given torque. However, the Tension (kN)
reaction-torque term containing the
thread pitch, P Torque-tension tests on simplified representative joints let engineers
- Pl2n - does not
contain a friction coefficient. There-
determine a nut factor that can define the torque-tension relationship for
similar fasteners with different diameters. However, sample-to-sample
fore, as fastener diameter and, conse- variations in friction can make results vary by as much as 10o/o.
quently, friction increase, the relative

## 42 MACHINE Design.com AUGUST 20, 2009

a; .f the long-
The long and short of it ri)r:m equa-
Theshort-form tlons get en-
equation, I=K
xDxF,usingan gli'eers closer
experimentilly to the "right"
derived nutfactor, aF 'wer thanks
F=0.16,K=0.206 K,givesslightly to their fun-
f=008,K=0115 different results da.nental cor-
90ok -i '-i thanthelong-form re tness. How-
>s;:
-:l equationovera e,.
- r lnno_fnrm
""'
xii rangeoffastener "'""b
Q B0olo -r-, sizesasshown here
ei atlons' even
xl
v fortwo different \'! en oerlveo
frictionlevels. tI. n enqlneer-
700/0 ;--'-.*- 1..--.- Results fall within ing principles,
i: I
5oloofeachother. u, l assumP-
l
Thevaluesforpand ti ns and ap-
600/0! :- -.. :, - "M; ,,.-,;...-..-.,-.---,..,-,,...,...."-,..,.,-...,....:,.- ........-..,.---.--,-,;--..---,"-..';-) Kwere chosen to pr ximations
-.
--
-.. - -
M5 M6 Mlo M12 M14 M16 M20 M22 M24 normalizetracesfor ih t may make
Ml2fasteners. tt m no more
Nominal fastener diameter
, ,:i,r,t:t,t,t1: I t,t:
I i :. .. :-.:::':' :' '... . (lC fect than an
rr( ation using
ers forwhich the nut factor will be used. an experimentally derived nut factor.
Many engineers find it expedient to apply a single nut The potential errors in both types of e uations pale
factor across even greater fastener ranges, such as those compared to the variations in real-world jo, ts. Benchtop
with different head styles or clearance diameters. Apply- torque-tension testing shows approximate y 10% varia-
ing the nut factor to joints where geometric variables other tions within samples even when all fastt:ner and bearing
than nominal diameters are changing causes the short- materials are the same. According to both s, trt and long-
form-equation results to differ from the long-form results form equations, there should be no variatir n at all. Fric-
byupto l5%. tion coefficients seem to vary from sample t sample.
The situation is even worse in prodtr.ct )n-represen-
Long or short? tative joints. One in-joint torque-lension est with bolt
all the discussion about which variables im-
So given tension measured in real time using ultraso c pulse-echo
pact the nut factor and when it is reasonable to use a con- techniques revealed variations inherent in how compo-
stant nut factor across a range offasteners, it may seem nents fit together. A slx-bolt pattern magnil ed the effects
of imperfect contacl i :tween bolts
and the bearing surfa ce ind produced
a 607o sample-to-sample variation
because both geometric and friction
variables were changinS tver the sam-
ple set.
t
The bottom line is it neither the
nut factor nor the lon -form equa-
E
tion's friction coefficier .s can be reli-
z
OJ
ably established using reference ta-
bles. Only testing acci,rately deter-
mines friction conditicns. As we have
seen, these are too sensitive to com-
ponent and assembly variation to be
determined by analysis lone.
Testing reliably c verts input
torque to induced te ion, Ietting
0102030405060 engineers determine ean friction
coefficients or nut fa iors and the
Tension (kN)