Experimental and Finite Element methods are used for investigating the effect of cyclic thermal loading on the clamp load decay in preloaded single-lap bolted joints that are made of dissimilar-materials. Joint material combinations include steel and lightweight materials such as aluminum and magnesium alloys, with various different thicknesses. The range of cyclic temperature profile varies between −20°C and +150°C. A computer-controlled environmental chamber is used for generating the desired cyclic temperature profile and duration. Real time clamp load data is collected using high-temperature load cells. Percent clamp load decay is investigated for various combinations of joint materials, initial preload level, and test specimen thicknesses. Thermal and material creep finite element analysis is performed using temperature-dependent mechanical properties. FEA result has provided insight into interesting experimental observations regarding model predictions and the experimental data is discussed.

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