Bolted joints are used widely in mechanical design and represent a weak link in a system where loss of joint clamping force can lead to degraded product performance or human injury. To meet current market demands, designers require reliable material data and analysis tools for their industry specific materials. The viscoelastic response of bolted aluminum joints used in the small die-cast engine industry at elevated temperatures was studied. Bolt load-loss tests were performed using strain gages in situ. It was found that after a week at temperature, most bolts lost 100% of their initial prestress. Nonlinear constitutive equations utilizing parameters obtained from uniaxial creep and relaxation tests were used in a simple one-dimensional model to predict the bolt load loss. The model cannot predict the detailed response and overpredicts retained bolt stress for bolt holes that are not preconditioned. For preconditioned holes, the behavior is intermediate between creep and relaxation.

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