The longer the joint length, the greater the total elongation will occur in the bolt to produce the desired clamp load or preload. In design, if the joint length is increased, the potential loss of preload is decreased.
If the joint material is relatively stiff compared to the bolt material, it will compress less and therefore provide a less sensitive joint, less sensitive to loss of preload as a result of brinelling, relaxation and even loosening.
Thread Stripping Strength
Considering the material in which the threads will be tapped or the nut used, there must be sufficient engagement length to carry the load. Ideally, the length of thread engagement should be sufficient to break the fastener in tension. When a nut is used, the wall thickness of the nut as well as its length must be considered.
An estimate, a calculation or joint evaluation will be required to determine the tension loads to which the bolt and joint will be exposed. The size bolt and the number necessary to carry the load expected, along with the safety factor, must also be selected. The safety factor selected will have to take into consideration
the consequence of failure as well as the additional holes and fasteners. Safety factors, therefore, have to be determined by the designer.
Shear Strength of Material
Not all applications apply a tensile load to the fastener. In many cases, the load is perpendicular to the fastener in shear. Shear loading may be single, double or multiple loading. There is a relationship between the tensile strength of a material and its shear strength. For alloy steel, the shear strength is 60% of its tensile strength. Corrosion resistant steels (e.g. 300-Series stainless steels) have a lower tensile/shear relationship and it is usually 50-55%
Single shear strength is exactly one-half the double shear value. Shear strength listed in pounds per square inch (psi) is the shear load in pounds divided by the cross sectional area in square inches.
OTHER DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS
For elevated temperature, standard alloy steels are useful to about 550°F–600°F. However, if plating is used, the maximum temperature may be less (eg. cadmium should not be used over 450°F. Austenitic stainless steels (300 Series) may be useful to 800°F. They can maintain strength above 800°F but will begin to oxidize on the surface.
A plating may be selected for mild atmospheres or salts. If plating is unsatisfactory, a corrosion resistant fastener may be specified. The proper selection will be based upon the severity of the corrosive environment.
Most comparative fatigue testing and specification fatigue test requirements are plotted on an S/N curve. In this curve, the test stress is shown on the ordinate (y-axis) and the number of cycles is shown on the abscissa (x-axis) in a lograthmic scale. On this type curve, the high load to low load ratio must be shown. This is usually R =.1, which means the low load in all tests will be 10% of the high load.
Effect of Preload
Increasing the R to .2, .3 or higher will change the curve shape. At some point in this curve, the number of cycles will reach 10 million cycles. This is considered the endurance limit or the stress at which infinite life might be expected.
Modified Goodman/ Haigh Soderberg Curve
The S/N curve and the information it supplies will not provide the information needed to determine how an individual fastener will perform in an actual application. In application, the preload should be higher than any of the preloads on the S/N curve. Therefore, for application information, the modified Goodman Diagram and/or the Haigh Soderberg Curve are more useful. These curves will show what fatigue performance can be expected when the parts are properly preloaded.
METHODS OF PRELOADING
The modulus for steel of 30,000,000 (thirty million) psi means that a fastener will elongate .001 in/in of length for every 30,000 psi in applied stress. Therefore, if 90,000 psi is the desired preload, the bolt must be stretched .003 inches for every inch of length in the joint. This method of preloading is very accurate but it requires that the ends of the bolts be properly prepared and also that all measurements be very carefully made. In addition, direct measurements are only possible where both ends of the fastener are available for measurement after installation. Other methods of measuring lengths changes are ultrasonic, strain gages and turn of the nut.
By far, the most popular method of preloading is by torque. Fastener manufacturers usually have recommended seating torques for each size and material fastener. The only requirement is the proper size torque wrench, a conscientious operator and the
proper torque requirement.
Since stress/strain is a constant relationship for any given material, we can use that relationship just as the elongation change measurements were used previously.
Now, however, the strain can be detected from strain gages applied directly to the outside surface of the bolt or by having a hole drilled in the center of the bolt and the strain gage installed internally. The output from these gages need instrumentation to convert the gage electrical measurement method. It is, however, an expensive method and not always practical.
Turn of the Nut
The nut turn method also utilizes change in bolt length. In theory, one bolt revolution (360° rotation) should increase the bolt length by the thread pitch. There are at least two variables, however, which influence this relationship. First, until a snug joint is obtained, no bolt elongation can be measured. The snugging produces a large variation in preload. Second, joint compression is also taking place so the relative stiffnesses of the joint and bolt influences the load obtained.
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