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BEAM MODEL FOR THE CALCULATION OF THE MULTIPLE BOLT CONNECTIONS

By P. Agatonovic, D-85244 Rhrmoos, Germany



Abstract: Different non-linear interactions in a bolted flange connection do not allow
accurate evaluation of bolt loading using current calculation methods, which are
based on linear relationships. An algorithm that compensates for non-linear
interactions has been developed, allowing accurate evaluation of all significant
parameters of the proper MBC design The algorithm is proved based on
experimentally and numerically obtained results.

Introduction

The bolt connections occurring in the practice are mostly the connections with more than
one bolt. For such connections a non-linear model, which could guarantee the reliable design, has
to be developed. The basic idea of the model is shown in Figure 1. It is assumed, that each
multiple bolt connection can be decomposed in a number of single bolt connections, which are
essentially constructed from plate segments or beams and a connecting element. The connection
of the single model to the remaining structure is defined by the influence coefficients depending
on support geometry and stiffness.

Figure 1 : Beam model of the bolt connection

Under eccentric external load, the reaction force shifts with increasing load from the
position of the connection axis balancing at the same time the moment caused by external force.

B A K K
F a M F s = (1)
Usually, during assembly of the connection, the both forces, bolt preload F
V
and the
reaction force on the separation surface F
K
, act along the bolt axis (Fig. 2, a). The clamped parts
are pressed together where the compliance is o
P.
Under the external load this effect separates
(Fig. 2, b), so that the compliance is divided to the effect based on the bolt force and effect based
on the force in the separation surface.

P PS PF
o = o +o (2)


Fig. 2: Compliances in connection under loading
1. Determination of the Clamping force

Differential equation of the beam has the following form

( )
2
K S K 2
d y
EJ F x F x s
dx
=
(3)
This equation applies to the two fields of the beam, if the expression in brackets, if not
greater than zero, is not taken into consideration. The integration yields:

( )
2
2
K
K S 1
x s
dy x
EJ F F C
dx 2 2

= + (4)

( )
3
3
K
K S 1 2
x s
x
EJ y F F C x C
6 6

= + + (5)
A currently unknown rotation angle of the beam o
o
can emerge in lieu of the clamping
force
x 0 =
O 1
dy 1
C
dx EJ
= o =
Dissolved according to C1

1 O
C EJ = o


The beam can be only displaced at this position, as the elastic flexibility in the connection
this allows. Consequently


x 0 =

K pf
y F = o


and


2 K pf
C EJ F = o


Under the bolt (x = s
K
) the deflection of the beam equals the amount between initial
deformation after preloading of the connection and the bolt extension by the additional force F
SA
:


K
x s =

( ) ( ) ( )
S V S PS V pf S S PS V
y F F F F F = o +o o = o +o o


Or respectively, after the introduction of the equilibrium condition: F
S
= F
K
+ F
A
( ) ( )
3
K K
K S PS A S PS V O K K pf
F s 1
F F F EJ s EJ F
EJ 6
(
o +o + o +o o = +o o
(

( 6)
Dissolved against F
K
this yields:

( )
s ps
V O K
A
V A S ps O K
A
K 3 3
K K
S PS PF
F s
F
F F s
F
F
s s
1
6 EJ 6 EJ
o + o | | o
+
|
o o + o + o
o o
\ .
= =
o + o + o
o
(7)
The expression in the first brackets is based on the significant relationship, which
determines the loading conditions in a connection: the ratio between preload and working force
and the ratio of the resilience of the parts of the connection. After inserting


S ps SE
o +o = o
and


V SE
A
F
F
o
u =
o


the relationship (7) simplifies in:


K
A O
K 3
K
s
F
F
s
1
6 EJ
u + o
o
=

o
(7)
2. The support stiffness influence
The conditions at the connection of the model to the rest of the structure (x = s
K
+ a)
depend on the force relationships at this point and can be written in general:


i i F A M A P
L F M p....... o = E| =| +| +|
(8)

We consider nearby the connection point, which is in equilibrium under the influence of
external forces L
i
, where under the "force" also a moment (M
A
) or pressure (p) is to be
understood. Under the assumption of linear elastic behaviour, the rotation angle of the connection
is determined by superposition of the rotating parts originating from the individual load
components.

The angular position of the beam (see (2)) is for x = s
K
+ a:


( )
2
2
K
K S O
s a
dy 1 a
F F EJ
dx EJ 2 2
(
+
( = + o
(


and because F
S
= F
K
+ F
A



( )
2 2
K K K A O
dy 1
F s 2 s a F a
dx 2 EJ
(
= + +o

(9)

The introduction of relations (8) in this equation results in:


( )
2 2
F A M A P K K K A O
1
F M p F s 2 s a F a
2 EJ
(
| +| +| = + +o

.

The solution of this equation for M
A
:


( )
p 2 2 O F
A K K K A A
M M M M
1
M F s 2 s a F a F p
2 EJ
|
o |
(
= + +

| | | |
(10)

leads, after the consideration of (1) and the simplifications in the form of influence numbers:


M M
b 2 EJ = |

F
F
b 2 EJ
a
|
=

P
P
b 2 EJ
a
|
=


to the second relationship for the clamping force


( )
p
F O
A
M M M A M
K
K
K K
M
b
b 2 EJ a 1
1 a F
b b b F b
F
S
s s 2 a
b
| | o
+ + +
|
\ .
=
+ +


that after the multiplication with
b
M
b
M



( )
M F p A O
A
K
K K M
1
a b b b a F 2 EJ
F
F
s s 2 a b
| |
+ + + o
|
\ .
=
+ +


and simplification B = (a + b
M
+ b
F
+ b
p
.
1
F
A
) can be written


( )
A O
K
K M K
B a F 2 EJ
F
s b 2 a s
o
=
+ +
(10')
3. Solution of the system
The solution is possible if both conditions (6') and (10')) become fulfilled. After equating
both relationships for clamping force:


( )
K
A O
A O
K 3
K K K M
s
F
B a F 2 EJ
F
s s 2 a s b
1
6 EJ
u + o
o
o
= =
+ +

o


the slope of the beam at the place of the clamping force could be determined:


( )
( )
3
K K K M
O A
K
3
K K K M
B a
s s 2 a s b
1
6 EJ
.F
s
2 EJ
s s 2 a s b
1
6 EJ
u

+ +

o
o =

o
+
+ +

o
(11)

or


O K A
(s ) F o =
(11)

The simplest conditions for the solution apply, if the position of the clamping force is far
enough from the edge, so that the edge influences are not to be expected. It can be assumed, under
these conditions, that the angle o
o
equals zero, leading to:


( )
3
K K K M
B a
s s 2 a s b
1
6 EJ
u
=
+ +

o


and after rearranging according s
K


( )
3
2 K
K M K
s
s b 2 a s 1 0
6 EJ B a B a
u u
+ + + =
o
(12)

or after introducing of
K
s
x
a
= as the new unknown to the characteristic equation of the
connection:

C
1
.x
3
+ C
2
.x
2
+ C
3
.x +C
4
= 0 (13)
Here are

3
1
a
C
6 EJ
=
o

2
a
C
B
u
=

( )
M
3
b 2 a
C
B
u +
=

4
C 1 =


For two flanges (also of different thickness) counts


1
E
o
J
o
=
1
2
.(
1
E
1
J
1
+
1
E
2
J
2
)

o
S
= o
S1
+ o
S2
(symbolically)

o
P
= o
P1
+ o
P2


A reasonable solution to the equation above presumes that the s
K
distance is not
approaching the edge. If the position of the clamping force to the edge is so close that the pressure
distribution in the joint is not symmetric, the beam tilts on at the edge and the conditions o
o
= 0
become increasingly inaccurate. It must be pointed out, that the so-called lever principle must not
be valid for this case, because the clamping is not free and when turning around the edge, it
cannot happen without the influence of the restraint of the remaining structure. Thus, concerning
the multi-bolted connection is the lever principle in its primitive form, a rough simplification,
which is also on the unsafe side, and therefore really should not be used.

Nevertheless, a reasonable solution of the system is still possible. Putting in the
relationship for o
O
(11) for an effective clamping force eccentricity the value that edge
approaches (for example
R
0.8 S ) o
O
may be determined. Adopting this value in (10 ') results in
F
K
evaluation that can be used for the determination of other forces in the connection.

However, shifting the bolt axis position and approaching the edge has an additional effect -
the reduction of the effective preloading force due to the additional embedding at the new loaded
separation surfaces caused by the change in the position of the clamping force. For the present, the
effective reduction of the initial preload can be approximated by the following relationship:


z
V
f 1
F tanh
| |
A =
|
o u
\ .
(14)

Therefore, the bolt additional force is to be calculated based on

F
Z
= F
K
+ F
A
- F
V
+ AF
V
(15)
4. Determination of the influence numbers b

The influence numbers for a series of the typical connection forms could be determined (or
approximated) according to the table:

In this way, when the form of the connection is approaching the tabular forms, the
calculation of the connection or the estimation of the influence numbers necessary for the
calculation simplifies. The joining stiffness may be also taken from a FE-calculation. The
significance of this possibility is commonly underestimated. Compared to the usual FE -
calculations with non-adapted boundary conditions (at the joining) and linear behaviour, a
combined analysis delivers more and more exact information about the effect of the preloading of
the connection, eccentricity of the force introduction and the separation in the joining surfaces. A
non-consideration of the non-linear effects can particularly in the case of the FE-analysis leads to
inaccurate results.

The demonstration of the above method is given by two typical examples given in the
Annexe.

November 2010
Dr. P.Agatonovic
Pappelweg 11
D-85244 Roehrmoos
Germany
Tel.: ++8138-8160
Email: P.Agatonovic@t-online.de

Annexe:
AN EXAMPLE OF THE CALCULATION OF THE ECCENTRICALLY LOADED SINGLE
BOLT CONNECTION (USING MATHCAD)

Input Data for calculation:

Axial loading



Material data: Bolts Plates


Geometry:



Bolt:










Calculation of stiffness:





















F 5000 N
.
F
V
11344.21 N
.
E
s
2.010
5
.
N
mm
2
.
E
p
2.010
5
.
N
mm
2
.
v 0.3
H
F
16 mm
.
S
R
18 mm
.
B 30 mm
.
a 40mm
.
W 13 mm
.
d
N
8 mm
.
i 1 2 ..
L
i
5 mm
.
13 mm
.
D
i
8.5 mm
.
8 mm
.
H
K
6 mm
.
P 1 mm
.
L
K
16 mm
.
A
S
40.5 mm
2
.
a 40 mm
.
o
sg
P
E
s
A
S
.
0.9
d
N
P
.
0.14
d
N
P
2
. .
o
sg
4.96310
7 mm
N
=
o
sk
0.15
H
K
E
s
.
o
sk
1.25 10
7 mm
N
=
o
s
1
E
s
1
2
i
L
i
t
4
D
i
2
.
=
.
o
sg
o
sk
o
s
2.35510
6 mm
N
=
o
p
1
E
p
t
.
d
N
.
Keg
.
ln W d
N
W L
K
Keg
.
d
N
W d
N
W L
K
Keg
.
d
N
.
. .
Keg .5
o
p
2.51810
7 mm
N
=
o
ps
0.6o
p
.
o
pf
0.4o
p
.
o o
s
o
p
o 2.60710
6 mm
N
=
o
SE
o
s
o
ps
For the calculation the connection loading is scaled by the factor



Reduction of preload force






Using the plate thickness




the equation of the connection can be defined




and solved using MATHCAD procedure





with the edge correction


Based on the relationship

The forces in the connection can be determined




Or using so called "lever principle":
K 0.05 0.1 , 1. ..
F
Bmax
F AF K ( ) K F
Bmax
.
A F
V
K ( )
f
z
tanh
A F K ( )
F
V
.
o
f
z
0.005mm
.
u K ( )
F
V
A F
V
K ( )
A F K ( )
o
SE
o
I
1
12
B
.
H
F
3
.
I 1.024 10
4
mm
4
= I
m
I
C
1
a
3
3 E
p
.
I
m
.
o ( )
.
C
2
K ( ) 0 C
3
K ( ) u K ( ) C
4
K ( ) 1
x 1 t K ( ) wurzel C
1
x
3
.
C
2
K ( ) x
2
.
C
3
K ( ) x
.
C
4
K ( ) x ,
S
s
K ( ) t K ( ) a
.
S
ef
K ( ) wenn t K ( ) a
.
S
RE
t K ( ) a
.
, S
RE
,
S
s
K ( )
mm
S
ef
K ( )
mm
AF K ( )
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000
0
5
10
15
20
25
o
B
K ( )
S
s
K ( )
3
6 E
p
.
I
m
.
F
K
K ( )
u K ( ) A F K ( )
.
1
2 o
B
K ( )
.
o
F
S
K ( ) F
K
K ( ) A F K ( ) F
Z
K ( ) F
S
K ( ) F
V
A F
V
K ( )


The results are shown in the following diagram:


The comparison of the above calculation with FEM Results confirms the achieved results:

F
ZH
K ( ) A F K ( ) 1
a
S
RE
.
F
V
A F
V
K ( )
F
Z
K ( )
F
ZH
K ( )
AF
V
K ( )
AF K ( )
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
8000
THE CALCULATION OF THE COMPLEX MBC USING MATHCAD

Numerous experimental investigations have shown recently, that the eccentrically loaded bolt
connections are essentially higher stressed in comparison to the centrically loaded. These stresses,
due to the non-linear relationships, cannot be determined using traditional calculation methods for
centrically loaded bolt connections.

Using the developed method with the help of MATHCAD, one can come to a simple and very
flexible solution.

Input data for the calculation

All data for the calculation are summarized according to the Fig. 1.

Fig. 1: Flange parameters

Bolt: Nom. Diameter

Number of screws
Bolt shaft




Thread pitch: Thread section Head diameter Head height

d
N
10 mm
.
Z 72
i 1 3 ..
L
i
3.5 mm
.
12.5 mm
.
4 mm
.
D
i
10 mm
.
8 mm
.
7.181 mm
.
L
3
R
a
h
sh
D
1
D
2
D
3
D
o
L
1
L
2 L
K
h
F
H
W





Preload force
Flange height

Shell diameter

Shall thickens

Bolt position diameter

Edge distance of the bolts
Main Connection data:
Clamping length

Bolt eccentricity
Material data:
Bolt Flange




Max. loading:
Axial force
Flange Moment

Complaisance of the components:

The total complaisance of the bolt is determined through the addition of the complaisance of its
individual elements. The complaisance of the screwed thread part



and of the bolt head



increase particularly the complaisance of short screws and should be considered. Accordingly, it
follows for the complaisance of the screw under installation conditions (cold):



For the calculation of the complaisance of the clamped parts the solution according to I. A. Birger
with an assumed cone can be used (Keg = tan )


P 2 mm
.
A
S
40.5 mm
2
.
W 16 mm
.
H
K
5 mm
.
F
P
25000 N
.
H
F
10 mm
.
R 295 mm
.
H
sh
5 mm
.
D
o
610 mm
.
S
R
15 mm
.
L
K
20 mm
.
a 10 mm
.
E
s
2.0510
5
.
N
mm
2
.
E
p
2.1510
5
.
N
mm
2
.
Poissonscoeff v 0.3
F 1000000N
.
M 55000N
.
m
.
o
sg
P
E
sk
A
S
.
0.9
d
N
P
.
0.14
d
N
P
2
. .
o
sk
0.15
H
K
E
sk
.
o
so
1
E
sk
1
3
i
L
i
t
4
D
i
2
.
=
.
o
sg
o
sk
Keg .5


Under the influence the working loading a part of the flange facing the screw is pressed against
the screw and its loading arises, whereas the parts near to the separation surface are relieved. In
the first approach we assume, that the complaisance of the clamped parts is distributed according
to the.




so that follows







Entire complaisance of the connection equals the sum of all complaisance:







Attention: All values relate to the complete connection, i.e. two beams of equal thickness presses
to each other. For further calculation it is necessary to divide the values with 2.

Preload of the connection
The installation preload of one connection is exposed to the different negative influences.

Due to the scatter of the values between individual screws the nominal preloading force should be
valued at the level of the minimum expected preload force value.



Furthermore, under the operational conditions additional displacements appear due to the

Shear displacements (rotation, tension)
Embedding
so that the remaining working preload force only


is.

Clamping complaisance of the connection segment

The twisting of the segment at the fixation of the connection with the remaining structure (in this
case a shell) is proportional to the section loading, clamping moment and the working force, i.e.:
O= |
M
*M
B
+ |
F
.F
B


o
Co
2
E
Ck
t
.
d
N
.
Keg
.
ln W d
N
W L
K
Keg
.
d
N
W d
N
W L
K
Keg
.
d
N
.
. .
o
ps
0.6o
p
.
o
pf
0.4o
p
.
o
s
2.74 10
6 mm
N
= o
p
3.88110
7 mm
N
= o
pf
1.55310
7 mm
N
= o
ps
2.32910
7 mm
N
=
o o
s
o
p
o
SE
o
s
o
ps
o 3.12810
6 mm
N
=
F
Vm
F
V
1
0.4
Z
.
F
Vm
2.38210
4
N =
Af
Q
0 mm
.
Af
s
0.007mm
.
F
VR
F
Vm
A f
s
o
F
VR
2.15810
4
N =
It follows for the shell and flange geometry








whereby for two equal flanges




From it, the factors necessary for the calculation of the complaisance of the clamping emerge






Connection forces

Assuming a linear load distribution the load conditions for the maximally loaded segments can be
determined




This force is calculated using 100 steps:




Influence of the bolt preload is considered through the factor



It follows for so called preload factor:




For the calculation of the clamping force eccentricity in the dependence on the working load the
characteristic equation of the connection with the constants




has to be solved (Mathcad procedure):



D
E
p
H
sh
3
.
12 1 v
2
.

4
3 1 v
2
.
R
2
H
sh
2
.
I
1
12
t D
o
.
Z
.
H
F
3
.
|
M
Z
4
.
D
.
R
.
t
.
|
F
0 I 2.21810
3
mm
4
=
I
m
I
b
M
2 E
p
.
I
.
|
M
.
b
F
2
E
p
I
.
|
F
.
a
b
M
224.887mm = b
F
0 mm
.
F
Bmax
1
Z
2 M
.
R
F
.
F
Bmax
1.90710
4
N =
K 0.01 0.02 , 1. ..
AF K ( ) K F
Bmax
.
f
z
0.005mm
.
A F
V
K ( )
f
z
tanh
A F K ( )
F
V
.
o
u K ( )
F
VR
A F
V
K ( )
A F K ( )
o
SE
o
C
1
a
3
3 E
p
.
I
.
o
.
C
2
K ( )
u K ( ) a
.
a b
M
b
F
C
3
K ( )
2 a
.
b
M
a b
M
b
F
u K ( )
.
C
4
1
x 1



It follows for



or after correction for edge (flange overhang) effect






Fig.2: Clamping force eccentricity

On the basis of this solution for the bending complaisance of the segment beam of the connection
we become:



The forces in the connection could be calculated based on the equilibrium relationships (with and
without edge correction)

Clamping force


Bolt force



Additional bolt force


If the position of the clamping force to the edge is so close that the pressure distribution in the
joint is not symmetric, the beam tilts on at the edge and the conditions o
o
= 0 become
increasingly inaccurate. However, the so-called lever principle must not be valid for this case,
because the clamping is not free and when turning around the edge, it cannot happen without the
t K ( ) wurzel C
1
x
3
.
C
2
K ( ) x
2
.
C
3
K ( ) x
.
C
4
x ,
S
s
K ( ) t K ( ) a
.
S
RE
0.85S
R
.
S
ef
K ( ) wenn t K ( ) a
.
S
RE
t K ( ) a
.
, S
RE
,
S
s
K ( )
mm
S
ef
K ( )
mm
AF K ( )
0 5000 1 10
4
1.5 10
4
2 10
4
0
4
8
12
16
20
o
B
K ( )
S
s
K ( )
3
6 E
p
.
I
.
F
K
K ( ) u K ( )
A F K ( )
1
2 o
B
K ( )
.
o
.
F
KR
K ( )
a b
M
b
F
a
.
A F K ( )
.
S
ef
K ( ) 2 a
.
S
ef
K ( ) b
M
.
F
S
K ( ) F
K
K ( ) A F K ( ) F
SR
K ( ) F
KR
K ( ) A F K ( )
F
Z
K ( ) F
S
K ( ) F
VR
A F
V
K ( ) F
ZR
K ( ) F
SR
K ( ) F
VR
A F
V
K ( )
influence of the restraint of the remaining structure. In this case we have first to calculate the
angle o
o:













Based on this calculation
Clamping force



Bolt force

Additional bolt force


The results comparison is shown in Fig. 3 and 4.


Fig. 3: Additional bolt force in the dependence on the segment loading
B a b
M
b
F
D 1
o
pf
o
2 S
RE
.
3
6 E
p
.
I
m
.
o
.
B1 b
M
S
RE
2 a
.
IME K ( )
u K ( )
D
B a
.
S
RE
B1
.
NEN
2 S
RE
.
o
D
2 E
p
.
I
m
.
S
RE
B1
.
o
O
K ( )
IME K ( ) A F K ( )
.
NEN
F
KA
K ( )
B a
.
A F K ( )
.
2 E
p
.
I
m
.
o
O
K ( )
.
S
RE
B1
.
F
SA
K ( ) F
KA
K ( ) A F K ( )
F
ZA
K ( ) F
SA
K ( ) F
VR
A F
V
K ( )
F
Z
K ( )
F
ZR
K ( )
F
ZA
K ( )
AF K ( )
0 5000 1 10
4
1.5 10
4
2 10
4
0
2000
4000
6000
8000
1 10
4

Fig. 4:

Clamping force calculation

Knowing the forces the stress condition in the screw can also be calculated. The bending stresses
of the screw could be determined with the help of



For bending diameter of the bolt:





so that the total stresses are (Fig. 5):



Fig. 6: Stresses in the bolt
F
K
K ( )
AF K ( )
0 5000 1 10
4
1.5 10
4
2 10
4
1 10
4
1.2 10
4
1.4 10
4
1.6 10
4
1.8 10
4
2 10
4
2.2 10
4
q K ( )
1
E
p
I
.
F
KR
K ( )
S
ef
K ( )
2
2
. .
D
b
8 mm
.
I
s
t D
b
4
.
64
o
B
K ( ) q K ( ) E
s
.
D
b
L
K
.
M
S
K ( )
F
KR
K ( ) S
ef
K ( )
2
.
I
s
.
I
m
L
K
.
o K ( )
F
S
K ( )
A
S
o
B
K ( )
o K ( )
mm
2
N
.
AF K ( )
0 5000 1 10
4
1.5 10
4
2 10
4
500
600
700
800
900
1000

Stresses at full load

with bending
Stresses in the flange

Two cross-sections at the flange become critical:





at the clamping to the remain structure



at the bolt holes


Fig. 7: Flange stresses

As can be seen, the tensile stresses at the flange transition are prevailing bending stresses.
However, an essentially higher stress concentration is expected in the bolt.

After arrangement of these basic subroutines, through the variation of parameters, sensitivity
analysis of the different influences can be easily performed.

November 2010
Dr. Ing. Petar Agatonovic


o 1 ( ) 941.058
N
mm
2
= o
B
1 ( ) 190.564
N
mm
2
=
o
T1
K ( ) Z
A F K ( )
2 t
.
R
.
H
sh
.
.
6 Z
.
F
KR
K ( )
.
S
ef
K ( )
.
6 Z
.
a
.
A F K ( )
.
2 t
.
R
.
H
sh
2
.
o
T2
K ( ) Z
A F K ( )
2 t
.
R
.
H
sh
.
.
6 Z
.
F
KR
K ( )
.
S
ef
K ( )
.
6 Z
.
a
.
A F K ( )
.
2 t
.
R
.
H
sh
2
.
o
SB
K ( )
6 Z
.
F
KR
K ( )
.
S
ef
K ( )
.
2 t
.
R
.
Z d
N
.
H
F
2
.
o
T1
K ( )
mm
2
N
.
o
T2
K ( )
mm
2
N
.
o
SB
K ( )
mm
2
N
.
AF K ( )
0 5000 1 10
4
1.5 10
4
2 10
4
200
0
200
400
600
800