Mechanical and thermal behaviors of the bolted joint subjected to thermal load are analyzed using axisymmetric FEM, where the effects of thermal contact resistance at the interface and heat flow through small gap are taken into account in order to accurately evaluate the variations of bolt preloads. It is expected that the numerical procedure proposed here provides an effective means for estimating the strength of such critical structures as pressure vessels, internal combustion engines, steam and gas turbines, etc. An experimental equation that can compute the thermal contact coefficient at the interface composed of common engineering materials has been proposed in the previous paper. In this study, a simple equation for evaluating the amount of heat flow through small gap is shown by defining apparent thermal contact coefficient. Accordingly, a numerical approach has been established, which can accurately analyze the thermal and mechanical behaviors of a bolted joint, by incorporating the two kinds of thermal contact coefficients into FE formulation. By use of the FE code thus developed, it is shown that only a slight difference in coefficients of linear expansion among the joint members significantly affects the variations of bolt preloads. The validity of the numerical approach is demonstrated by experimentation.

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