Analysis of externally loaded bolted joints: analytical, computational and experimental study

J.G. Williams, R.E. Anley, D.H. Nash, T.G.F. Gray

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55 Citations (Scopus)
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The behaviour of a simple single-bolted-joint under tensile separating loads is analysed using conventional analytical methods, a finite element approach and experimental techniques. The variation in bolt force with external load predicted by the finite element analysis conforms well to the experimental results. It is demonstrated that certain detailed features such thread interaction do not need to be modelled to ensure useful results. Behaviour during the pre-loading phase of use agrees with previous long-standing studies. However, the pre-loading analysis does not carry over to the stage when external loading is applied, as is normally assumed and it is shown that the current, conventional analytical methods substantially over-predict the proportion of the external load carried by the bolt. The basic reason for this is shown to be related to the non-linear variation in contact conditions between the clamped members during the external loading stage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-427
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • bolted joints
  • piping
  • pressure vessels
  • non-linear methods
  • loading
  • pre-loading
  • bolt stiffness
  • member stiffness
  • member contact


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