Three-dimensional photoelasticity was used to analyze the effect of bending on the normalized stress at the roots of threaded connectors. Loading was effected by steel cages and a combination of eccentric weights (to provide the bending load) and concentric weights (to provide the axial load). The ratio of the bending stress to the axial stress was determined and various levels of this stress ratio, Rσ, were tested. The connections were analyzed by taking thin slices in the plane of bending and perpendicular to it. The position of the maximum fringe order at the roots was determined using Mesnager’s theorem and the maximum fringe order found by Tardy compensation. The fringe orders were normalized using the nominal axial stress and the total nominal stress (bending plus axial stress), which were calculated from the loads applied. The results, when normalized using the nominal axial stress and compared to those in connections without bending, exhibit a lower and broader peak of normalized stress values plotted against the helix length. The normalized stress values are also periodic in relation to the bending plane due to the variation in stress around the longitudinal axis of the bolt. It was found that bending in connectors will affect the normalized stress and that it is possible to determine this effect in a similar way to the method used for axially loaded connections.

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