Bolted joints are one of the most common fastening methods in engineering applications. To meet the requirements of structural parts, the torque method is often used for controlling the bolted joint performance. However, only a few investigations have been carried out on the conversion efficiency of bolt torque to the tensile force, leading to uncertainty and potential safety hazards during the bolt tightening. In order to study the input torque distribution and overcome problems caused by the Motosh method and experimental investigations, a new energy-based torque distribution model is established in the present study. In the proposed model, numerous affecting parameters, including the effective bearing radius, effective thread contact radius, spiral angle, and connector deformation are considered. Then a parameterized thread mesh model using finite element technology is proposed to analyze the influence of different bolt friction coefficients on the bolt tightening process. Based on 16 types of tightening analyses, it is concluded that as bolt friction coefficient increases, the corresponding torque conversion rate decreases from 14.45% to 7.89%. Compared with the Motosh method, the torque conversion rate obtained by the proposed method is relatively large, which makes the actual pre-tightening force larger than the design value. However, there is still a possibility of bolt failure.

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