Bolted joints are widely used in the auto industry, energy field and Construction, and so on. Due to the wide use of the bolted joints, the degradation of bolts has significant effect on the performance of a whole machine. Under transversal vibration, the self-loosening of bolted joints, which is the biggest form of failure ranked only second to fatigue failure [1], will happen, due to the cyclic shear load. This paper is to study the mechanism of bolted joints’ self-loosening.

Aiming at analyzing the self-loosening mechanism of bolted joints under vibration, a three dimensional FEA model of bolted joints, which had taken thread into consideration, was built with the application of APDL, and the preload was applied on the bolted joints by dropping temperature, then FEA transient analysis of the bolted joints under transverse cyclic excitation was conducted. Effect of transverse cyclic excitation’s amplitude, initial preload, thread and bearing friction coefficients, the joints’ surface friction coefficient, the thread pitch and the hole clearance on self-loosening was investigated. The results show that the complete thread slip occurs prior to the complete bearing surface slip under transverse vibration; the smaller amplitude, the smaller thread pitch and the smaller hole clearance is, and the greater initial preload, thread and bearing friction coefficients are, the more difficult self-loosening is to happen; the joints’ surface friction coefficient has little relationship with self-loosening, however, the larger joints’ surface friction coefficient makes the needed shearing force, which induces the transversal vibration, larger. These are of great significance for understanding of fasteners’ self-loosening and designing of bolted joints’ anti-loosening.

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