A bolted joint is one of the most common fastening techniques. While the behavior of bolted joints under static or quasi-static conditions is well documented, their behavior under shock/impact loading is not well-understood. In many applications, where a bolted joint connects a sensitive component to the rest of a structure, it is important to interpret shock propagation through the bolted joints. This problem is further complicated owing to the fact that a bolted joint exhibits multiple types of nonlinearities, due to the interaction between the bolts and clamped parts, thread friction between the shank and nut, pre-tension, damping characteristics, and interference with the hole.
This study was focused on developing computational techniques for understanding shock propagation through a bolted joint. As a case study, the behavior of a bolted joint within a two-component cylindrical structure subjected to impact loading was considered. A finite element (FE) model of the fixture was developed. Two different approaches were considered. The first one modeled the bolt assembly as one part. The second model had the bolt and nut as separate parts. In this model, the tie contact between the bolt shank and the nut was defined using a shear failure criterion. Both models included bolt pre-tension. The two models were compared based on energy balance, acceleration signal, and displacement at the base of the fixture. The results indicated that the model with the separate bolt and nut resulted in a more realistic performance.