Abstract

The axial stiffnesses of the bolt and clamped members of bolted joints are of great importance when considering their integrity and capacity to withstand external loads and resist relaxation due to creep. There are many techniques to calculate the stiffnesses of the joint elements using finite element (FE) modeling, but most of them are based on the displacement of nodes that are selected arbitrarily; therefore, leading to inaccurate values of joint stiffness. This work suggests a new method to estimate the stiffnesses of the bolt and clamped members using FE analysis and compares the results with the FE methods developed earlier and also with the existing analytical models. A new methodology including an axisymmetric finite element model of the bolted joint is proposed in which the bolts of different sizes ranging from M6 to M36 are considered for the analysis to generalize the proposed approach. The equivalent bolt length that includes the contribution of the thickness of the bolt head and the bolt nominal diameter to the bolt stiffness is carefully investigated. An equivalent bolt length that accounts for the flexibility of the bolt head is proposed in the calculation of the bolt stiffness and a new technique to accurately determine the stiffness of clamped members are detailed.

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