The nonlinear plastic deformation behavior of a clamped bolted joint model under a separating service load is investigated using analytical, finite element, and experimental techniques. An elastic-plastic model is used for the bolt material while the joint material remains in the linear elastic range. Both the analytical and finite element analysis (FEA) models investigate the variation in the tension of a preloaded bolt due to a separating service load that acts with an offset from the bolt center. Experimental verification is provided for both the analytical and finite element results on the bolt tension variation, clamp load variation and the clamp load loss caused by the incremental plastic bolt elongation under cyclic separating force.

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