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Research Papers

Finite Element Simulation of Process Control for Bolt Tightening in Joints With Nonparallel Contact

[+] Author and Article Information
Saravanan Ganeshmurthy

Fastening and Joining Research Institute,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Oakland University,
Rochester, MI 48309

Sayed A. Nassar

Fellow ASME
Fastening and Joining Research Institute,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Oakland University,
Rochester, MI 48309

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received August 30, 2012; final manuscript received May 13, 2013; published online February 24, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Donggang Yao.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 136(2), 021018 (Feb 24, 2014) (9 pages) Paper No: MANU-12-1258; doi: 10.1115/1.4025830 History: Received August 30, 2012; Revised May 13, 2013

In this paper, 3D finite element analysis (FEA) is used to simulate and evaluate different process control methods that are commonly used for automating the assembly of bolted joints in a mass production environment. The finite element (FE) model takes into account the thread helix angle of a fastener along with parallel and nonparallel contact surfaces under the bolt head. Simulation includes the torque-only and the torque-turn process control methods for achieving a desired level of the bolt preload at initial assembly of the joint. The torque-only process control option is simulated by applying the target torque at which the tightening process is automatically stopped. On the other hand, a torque-turn or torque-angle method is simulated by first applying a low level (threshold) torque, to the bolt head, followed by turning the bolt head by a specified angle of turn in order to achieve the desired bolt tension. The effect of variables such as thread and underhead bearing friction coefficients and bolt hole clearance is investigated. The FEA simulation provided in this study would be helpful in developing a reliable tightening strategy for joints with nonparallel bearing surfaces.

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References

Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of the finite element model

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Fig. 2

Method to develop a finite element mesh of the mating threads

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Fig. 3

Torque versus tension for torque-only process control method

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Fig. 4

Comparison of torque–tension curves for parallel contact to 1 deg wedge angle

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Fig. 5

Comparison of von Mises stress plot at end of tightening process

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Fig. 6

Contact pressure under the bolt head developed during the tightening process for 1 deg wedge angle (scale set to 100 MPa for all plots)

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Fig. 7

Comparison of torque–tension curves for parallel contact to 2 deg, 3 deg, and 4 deg wedge angles

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Fig. 8

von Mises stress plot at end of tightening process

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Fig. 9

Contact pressure under the bolt head developed during the tightening process for 4 deg wedge angle (scale set to 100 MPa for all plots)

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Fig. 10

Torque–tension curves illustrating effect of friction

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Fig. 11

Torque–tension curves illustrating effect of friction with 1 deg underhead wedge angle

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Fig. 12

Torque–tension curves illustrating effect of friction between bolt hole and bolt shank with 4 deg underhead wedge angle

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Fig. 13

Effect of bolt hole clearance on torque–tension relationship (1 deg wedge angle)

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Fig. 14

Effect of hole clearance on torque–tension relationship (parallel to nonparallel contact under the bolt head)

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Fig. 15

Torque-angle-tension signature from torque-only process control method (target tightening torque = 125 Nm)

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Fig. 16

Torque-angle curves from torque-turn process control method

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Fig. 17

Torque-angle curves with revised torque-angle process control method

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