Both experimental investigation and finite element analysis were conducted to explore the mechanisms for the early stage self-loosening of bolted joints under transverse cyclic loading. The nuts were glued to the bolts using a strong thread locker in the self-loosening experiments to ensure that no backing-off of the nut occurred. Depending on the loading magnitude, the clamping force reduction ranged from 10% to more than 40% of the initial preload after 200 loading cycles. Three-dimensional elastic-plastic finite element analysis was conducted with the implementation of an advanced cyclic plasticity model. The finite element results revealed that the local cyclic plasticity occurring near the roots of the engaged threads resulted in cyclic strain ratcheting. The localized cyclic plastic deformation caused the stresses to redistribute in the bolt, and the result was the gradual loss of clamping force with loading cycles. The finite element results agreed with the experimental observations quantitatively. When the two clamped plates started to slip and the slip displacement was controlled, both experiments and finite element simulations suggested that the friction between the clamped plates has an insignificant influence on the early stage self-loosening.
A Study of Early Stage Self-Loosening of Bolted Joints
Contributed by the Reliability, Stress Analysis and Failure Prevention Committee for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received May 2002; rev. Feb. 2003. Associate Editor: J. C. Moosbrugger.
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Jiang , Y., Zhang, M., and Lee, C. (September 4, 2003). "A Study of Early Stage Self-Loosening of Bolted Joints ." ASME. J. Mech. Des. September 2003; 125(3): 518–526. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1586936
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