# T. F.

Lehnhoff
Professor.

Kwang II Ko
Graduate Student. University of Missouri-Rolla, Rolia, MO 65401

Member Stiffness and Contact Pressure Distribution of Bolted Joints
Member stiffnesses and the stress distributions in the bolts and members of bolted joints have been calculated for various bolt sizes, as well as thicknesses and materials of the members. The finite element method has been used to calculate the displacements and the stress distributions in the components of the bolted joint. Using axisymmetric elements, the bolted joint could be analyzed as a two-dimensional problem. Member stiffness ratios were calculated from the finite element results and compared with those calculated by a commonly used theory. The values were approximately comparable (16-30 percent difference) for the assumptions under which the theory was applied. Formulas and dimensionless curves which can be used to estimate the member stiffness ratios for several kinds of bolted joints are presented.

M. L. McKay
Graduate Student. University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40503

Introduction The bolted joint is a type of mechanical connection which is used commonly for the construction of many types of structures. In fact, bolted joints are important in most of the mechanical devices and machines used in modern society. When a bolt (Fig. 1) is used to connect two members (plates), the bolt is normally preloaded with an initial tensile load. The purpose of the preload is to place the bolted member components in compression for better resistance to either static or cyclic external loads and to create force between the parts or members so that the shear loads can be resisted by friction forces. Variations in the magnitude of the tensile preload on a bolted joint can produce dramatic differences in the cyclic life of the connection. Accurate predictions of member stiffnesses are essential for determining proper preloads. When the external load P is applied to the bolted joint under initial preload Fh the resultant force in the bolt is

Fb
Ob

AbE

(3)

where F is the applied force, 5b is the deflection, E is the modulus of elasticity, L is the grip length (assumed to be unthreaded) of the bolt, andAb is the cross-sectional area based on the nominal diameter. However, the determination of the stiffness of the members presents more difficulties, and past analytical and experimental attempts to calculate it have been only partially successful. Better understanding of the forces, stresses, and deformations of bolted joints is necessary if member stiffnesses are to be accurately calculated.

P/2

P/2

F„ = -

khP

kb + k,

+F,

(1)

1

and that of the connected members is kmP -Ft kh + k„
(2)

where kb is the stiffness of the bolt and k,„ is the stiffness of the members. Thus, the stiffnesses of the bolt and the members are needed for the calculation of the resultant force in the bolt and members of the joint when the external load is applied to the members. The stiffness of the bolt is determined from the ratio of the force applied to the bolt to the deflection of the bolt produced by the force, i.e.,

1
P/2
Fig. 1

Contributed by the Reliability, Stress Analysis, and Failure Prevention Committee for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received Jan. 1992; revised Dec. 1992. Associate Technical Editor: S. D. Sheppard.

Tl
Typical boiled joint

P/2

5 5 0 / V o l . 116, J U N E 1994

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