By using an approach developed to determining the torque-tension relationship for bolted joints, frictional properties of several typical bolted joints were studied experimentally. The approach allows for the direct determination of the thread friction and the bearing friction between the nut and its bearing surface independently. Detailed studies were made on the influences of the size and shape of the hole, the use of a slot in a bolted joint, contact area and position, and other factors such as turning speed, coating, and the use of wax on the bearing surface. The contact area and position of the washer have a marginal effect on the bearing friction. The organic coating on the nuts reduces the bearing friction significantly. Nuts with organic coating over a washer with zinc finish provide the smallest and the most consistent bearing friction. Experiments on thread friction shows that prevailing torque nuts with distorted threads and nylon inserts provided trivial benefits for preventing “self-loosening” of the nut. Repeated tightening-loosening generally increases frictions in a bolted joint. It was noted that the data scatter of the experimental results of frictions in a bolted joint may overshadow the influence of size, speed, and contact positions. The results from the experimental investigation will help to better design bolted joints.

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