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Metric Bolt Strength

6. General Fasteners.

a. USA industry is now using metric fasteners extensively. The remainder of the world uses ISO metric
fasteners almost exclusively, due to their superiority in proportions, fatigue strength, pitch, size and
specification designations, and international availability.

b. The Thomas Register lists hundreds of firms under Metric Fasteners, Metric Screws, and Metric Bolts.
The Industrial Fasteners Institute (IFI) has guides for fastener types and producers.

c. Metric fasteners for all aerospace applications are made readily and easily available at "rock" bottom
price to all NASA and contractor employees via NASA GSFC Fastener Inventory.

d. Metric fastener size designation.

i. Metric fastener size designation nomenclature. As fully explained in ISO 965-1, Sect. 5,
metric fastener size designations always begin with capital M or MJ followed by fastener nominal
diameter and thread pitch, both in units of millimeters (mm), separated by the symbol "x", as
follows. M10 x 1.5-6g-S means metric fastener thread profile M, fastener nominal size (nominal
major diameter) 10 mm, thread pitch 1.5 mm, external thread tolerance class 6g, and thread
engagement length group S ("short"). If referring to internal thread tolerance, "g" would be
capitalized. A fit between threaded parts is indicated by internal thread tolerance class followed
by external thread tolerance class separated by a slash; e.g., M10 x 1.5-6H/6g.

ii. Default metric fastener thread pitch and engagement length. If metric thread pitch
designation (e.g., " x 1.5") is omitted, it specifies coarse pitch threads. For example, M10 or
M10-6g, by default, specifies M10 x 1.5. The standard metric fastener thread series for general
purpose threaded components is the M thread profile and the coarse pitch thread series. If thread
engagement length group designation (e.g., "-S") is omitted, it specifies thread engagement length
group N meaning "normal."

iii. Default metric fastener thread tolerance class. If thread tolerance class designation (e.g., "-
6g") is omitted (e.g., M10 x 1.5), it specifies "medium" thread tolerance, which is 6H/6g. The
6H/6g fit is the standard ISO tolerance class for general use.

iv. Equivalent imperial thread tolerance classes. Imperial internal and external thread tolerance
class 2B/2A is essentially equivalent to ISO thread tolerance class and fit 6H/6g. Imperial
tolerance class 3A is approximately equivalent to ISO tolerance class 4g6g, though class fit 3B/3A
is approximately equivalent to ISO class fit 4H5H/4h6h. For full details, see ISO 965-1,
Sects. 5.2, 7, and 12.

v. Metric fastener thread profile compatibility. Metric fastener thread profile M is the normal,
commercially-available thread profile. Thread profile MJ designates the external thread has an
increased root radius (shallower root relative to external M thread profile), thereby having higher
fatigue strength (due to reduced stress concentrations), but requires the truncated crest height of
the MJ internal thread to prevent interference at the external MJ thread root (just as the UNJ
external thread profile requires the UNJ internal thread). However, M external threads are
compatible with M and MJ internal threads (just as UN and UNR external threads are compatible
with UN and UNJ internal threads).

e. ISO metric fastener material strength property classes (grades). As given in ISO 898-1, ISO metric
fastener material property classes (grades) should be used. For example, fastener material ISO property
class 5.8 means nominal (minimum) tensile ultimate strength 500 MPa and nominal (minimum) tensile
yield strength 0.8 times tensile ultimate strength or 0.8(500) = 400 MPa. (In a few cases, the actual
tensile ultimate strength may be approximately 20 MPa higher than nominal tensile ultimate strength
indicated via the nominal property class code. Consult Table 10, below, for exact values.) Many anchor
bolts (L, J, and U bolts, and threaded rod) are made from low carbon steel grades, such as ISO classes
4.6, 4.8, and 5.8.

f. Preferred diameters. Preferred nominal diameters for bolts and threaded rod are as listed below. The
fourth series listed below should be limited to unusual requirements when none of the preceding series
can be used. Reference individual standards prior to specification. Sizes M5 to M45 are commonly used
in construction.

First choice: M2 2.5 3 4 5 6 8 10 12 16 20 24 30 36 42


Second choice: M3.5 14 18 22 27 33 39 45
Third choice: M15 17 25 40
Avoid: M7 9 11 26 28 32 35 38

g. Bolt versus screw definition. The correct definition of bolt and screw is as follows. Bolts are headed
fasteners having external threads that meet an exacting, uniform bolt thread specification (such as M, MJ,
UN, UNR, and UNJ) such that they can accept a nontapered nut. Screws are headed, externally-threaded
fasteners that do not meet the above definition of bolts. For full discussion of misdefinitions and
corresponding confusion regarding these two words, see details.

h. Handy conversion factors. Imperial conversion factors, verified accurate to the decimal places shown
via multiple, independent, credible sources, are 25.4 mm/inch (exact), 4.4482216152605 N/lbf,
6.89475729318 MPa/ksi, 47.880259 Pa/psf, 112.98483 (N mm)/(in lbf), 157.08746 (N/m^3)/pcf,
16.0184634 (kg/m^3)/(lbm/ft^3), 27679.9047 (kg/m^3)/(lbm/in^3), 9.80665 (m/s^2)/gravity (exact).
Rounding these conversion factors to a few less decimal places, we have 4.448222 N/lbf,
6.89476 MPa/ksi, 47.8803 Pa/psf, 113.0 (N mm)/(in lbf), 157.087 (N/m^3)/pcf, 16.01846 (kg/m^3)/
(lbm/ft^3), 27679.9 (kg/m^3)/(lbm/in^3).

i. Metric system (SI). The abbreviation for the metric system is SI, the International System of Units
(from the French, Systeme International d'Unites). It evolved from the original French metric system and
is currently being used virtually worldwide. Long the language universally used in science and among
technically adept individuals, SI has also become the dominant language of international commerce and
trade. All new USA standards (ASTM, ANSI, SAE, IEEE, ASME, etc.) are now written in metric, as the
lead engineers in these organizations recognize the importance of trying to get the USA on track with
technically advanced countries, in an effort to regain lost USA competitiveness in a global economy, as
there is essentially no global market for the archaic, oddball, incompatible product dimensions USA
arbitrarily comes up with, while they forfeit industries and jobs to third-world countries who have no
problem understanding something so simple and fulfilling the need efficiently. IEEE was intelligent
enough to recognize this decades ago. Japan also was intelligent enough to recognize simple matters
such as this long ago. This small country, defeated in WWII only 60 years ago, has since captured a large
portion of the global economy due to their intelligent progress, and consequently has become a major
global financier, while USA has become a world-class debtor to the tune of trillions due to inefficient
business practices, low educational level, slackerism, and inability to solve or understand even simple
problems such as metric conversion.

8. Fastener Data. Tables 9 and 10 provide much of the data available for different metric fasteners. Table 9
comes verbatim from Ref. 1, including what appear to be a few typos, marked "[sic]," below. Table 10, on the
other hand, has been verified accurate per ISO 898-1 and ASTM F 568M.

Table 9
FASTENER DATA

Basic Product Product Type and Available Size For thread and For mechanical property
Head Style Range dimension details refer details refer to Table 10 or:
to:
Metric Bolts hex M5-M100 ANSI/ASME
B18.2.3.5M
heavy hex M12-M36 ANSI/ASME
B18.2.3.6M
ASTM F568M
round head short M8-M20 ANSI/ASME ASTM F486M
square neck (carriage) B18.5.2.1M ASTM F738M
round head square M5-M24 ANSI/ASME
neck (carriage) B18.5.2.2M
bent M5 and larger IFI 528 [sic]
heavy hex structural M12-M36 ANSI/ASME ASTM A325M
B18.2.3.7M ASTM A490M
hex transmission tower M16-M24 IFI 541 [sic] IFI 541 [sic]
Metric Screws hex cap M5-M100 ANSI/ASME
B18.2.3.1M
formed hex M5-M24 ANSI/ASME
B18.2.3.2M
ASTM F568M
heavy hex M12-M36 ANSI/ASME
ASTM F468M
B18.2.3.3M
ASTM F738M
hex flange M5-M16 ANSI/ASME
B18.2.3.4M
heavy hex flange M10-M20 ANSI/ASME
B18.2.3.9M
hex lag M5-M24 ANSI/ASME see note 3 [sic]
B18.2.3.8M
Metric Studs double end M5-M100 IFI 528 [sic] ASTM F568M
continuous thread M5-M100 ASTM F468M
ASTM F736M
Metric Locking prevailing torque, non- M1.6-M36 see note 3 [sic] IFI 524
Screws metallic insert
chemical coated M6-M20 see note 3 [sic] IFI 525
Metric Socket socket head cap M1.6-M48 ANSI/ASME B18.3.1M ASTM A574M
Screws ASTM F837M
socket head shoulder M6.5-M25 ANSI/ASME B18.3.3M
ASTM F835M
socket button head cap M3-M16 ANSI/ASME B18.3.4M
ASTM A574M
socket countersunk M3-M20 ANSI/ASME B18.3.5M ASTM F879M
head cap
socket set M1.6-M24 ANSI/ASME B18.3.6M ANSI/ASME B18.3.6M
ASTM F912M
ASTM F880M
Metric Nuts hex, style 1 M1.6-M36 ANSI/ASME
B18.2.4.1M
hex, style 2 M3-M36 ANSI/ASME
B18.2.4.2M
slotted hex M5-M36 ANSI/ASME ASTM A563M
B18.2.4.3M ASTM F467M
hex flange M5-M20 ANSI/ASME ASTM F836M
B18.2.4.4M ASTM A194M
hex jam M5-M36 ANSI/ASME
B18.2.4.5M
heavy hex M12-M100 ANSI/ASME
B18.2.4.6M
Metric hex, steel M3-M36
ANSI/ASME ANSI/ASME B18.16.1M
Prevailing-
hex flange, steel M6-M20 B18.16.3M ANSI/ASME B18.16.2M
Torque Nuts

Notes for Table 10.

a. When only the ISO property class number is shown in Table 10, below, the class is standard in both ISO
898-1 and ASTM documents. Properties specified in each are identical except for minor exceptions.
Where differences exist, the ASTM F 568M values are given.

b. To compute the tensile proof load, tensile yield strength, or tensile ultimate strength in kilonewtons (kN)
for a bolt, screw, or stud, multiply the stress value (MPa) in Table 10 by the tensile stress area (mm^2) of
the product's screw thread as given in Table 9 or Standard Metric Bolt Shank Dimensions, then divide
this result by 1000.

c. In general, identification markings are located on the top of the head and preferably are raised.
d. Class 5.8 products are available in lengths 150 mm and less.

e. Caution is advised when considering the use of property class 12.9 products. The capabilities of the
fastener manufacturer, as well as the anticipated service environment, should be carefully considered.
Some environments may cause stress corrosion cracking of nonplated, as well as electroplated, products.

Table 10
MECHANICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR CARBON STEEL
EXTERNALLY-THREADED METRIC FASTENERS

Property Nominal Material and Mechanical Requirements Property


Class Size of Treatment Class
Proof Tensile Tensile Prod. Hardness,
Designation Product Ident.
Load Yield Ultimate Rockwell
Marking
Stress, Strength, Strength,
Surface, Core
MPa MPa, Min. MPa, Min.
Max. Min. Max.
4.6 M5- low or medium 225 240 400 -- B67 B95 4.6
M100 carbon steel
4.8 M1.6- low or medium 310 340 420 -- B71 B95 4.8
M16 carbon steel,
fully or partially
annealed
5.8 M5-M24 low or medium 380 420 520 -- B82 B95 5.8
carbon steel,
cold worked
8.8 M16- medium carbon 600 660 830 30N56 C23 C34 8.8
M72 steel, quenched
and tempered
A325M M16- A325M
Type 1 M36 8S
8.8 M16- low carbon 600 660 830 30N56 C23 C34 8.8
M36 boron steel,
A325M A325M
quenched and
Type 2 8S
tempered
A325M M16- atmospheric 600 660 830 30N56 C23 C34 A325M
Type 3 M36 corrosion 8S3
resistant steel,
quenched and
tempered
9.8 M1.6- medium carbon 650 720 900 30N58 C27 C36 9.8
M16 steel, quenched
and tempered
9.8 M1.6- low carbon 650 720 900 30N58 C27 C36 9.8
M16 boron steel,
quenched and
tempered
10.9 M5-M20 medium carbon 830 940 1040 30N59 C33 C39 10.9
steel, quenched
and tempered
10.9 M5- medium carbon 830 940 1040 30N59 C33 C39 10.9
M100 alloy steel,
quenched and
A490M M12- A490M
tempered
Type 1 M36 10S
10.9 M5-M36 low carbon 830 940 1040 30N59 C33 C39 10.9
boron steel,
A490M M12- A490M
quenched and
Type 2 M36 10S
tempered
A490M M12- atmospheric 830 940 1040 30N59 C33 C39 A490M
Type 3 M36 corrosion 10S3
resistant steel,
quenched and
tempered
12.9 M1.6- alloy steel, 970 1100 1220 30N63 C38 C44 12.9
M100 quenched and
tempered

Return to Structural Analysis Reference Library. © 2003 Garrett D. Euler


Tensile and Proof Stress Of Metric Bolts and Screws. (Carbon Steel )

Indicated stresses in Newton/mm2

8.8
Strength 8.8
3.6 4.6 4.8 5.6 5.8 6.8 =< 9.8 10.9 12.9
Designation > 16
16mm
Nom. Tensile
300 400 400 500 500 600 800 800 900 1000 1200
Strength
Min Tensile Strength 330 400 420 500 520 600 800 830 900 1000 1200
180/19 320/34 400/42
Lower Yield Stress 240 300 480 - - - - -
0 0 0
640/66 900/94 1080/10
Stress at Perm. Set - - - - - - 640 720
0 0 0

In accordance with BS 3692:2001 and BS EN IOS 898-1 : 1999

Tensile Strength Of Metric Nuts

Indicated stresses in Newton/mm2

Strength Designation 4 5 6 8 10 12
Tensile Strength 400 500 600 800 1000 1200

In accordance with BS 3692:2001

The designation system allows the determination of the ultimate and yield/proof strength of the bolt. The
designation system is based on two numbers e.g 8.8 . The first number is the tensile strength of the bolt material
(N2 )/100. The second number is = 1/100.(the ratio of the Proof (or Yield ) stress and the Tensile strength
expressed as a percentage = 100.[Yield (Proof stress) /Tensile strength] /100

The tensile and proof strength of the steel for a 4.6 bolt is therefore calculated as follows
Tensile strength (Rm) = 4.100 N/mm2 = 400 N/mm2 .... Proof strength (R0,2) = 0,6*400 * 100 /100 = 240 N/mm2

Tensile and Proof Stress Of Metric Bolts and Screws. (Stainless Steel )

Stainless steels include Austenitic, Martensitic and Ferritic..

Austenitic stainless steels..


Chromium nickel steels which can be cold worked. Non magnetic.
Associated grades ( Steel Number according to BS EN 10088 pt 1) = A1 (1.4305) , A2 (1.4301) ,A3 (1.4541) ,
A4 (1.4401) and A5 (1.4571).

Martensitic stainless steels ..


Limited corrosion resistance but can be heat treated for superior strength properties. Magnetic Properties.
Associated grades ( Steel Number according to BS EN 10088 pt 1) = C1 (1.4006 etc) , C3 (1.4057), C4(1.4104)

Ferritic stainless steels ..


Plain chromium stainless steels with a chromium content varying between 10.5 and 18% and a low carbon
content. They not hardenable by heat treatment. Ferritic alloys have good ductility and formability but a
relatively poor high temperature strength compared austenitic grades. Magnetic..
Associated grades = F1

Tensile and Proof Stress Of Metric Bolts and Screws. (Stainless Steel )

Indicated stresses in Newton/mm2

Stainless Steel Austenitic Martensitic Ferritic


Steel Grade A1, A2, A3, A4, A5 C1,C4 C1 C3 F1
Strength class 50 70 80 100 50 70 110 80 45 60
Tensile Strength 500 700 800 1000 500 700 1100 800 450 600
0,2% proof stress 210 450 600 750 250 410 820 640 250 410
FAQ

Questions we are Frequently Asked

Some of the frequently asked questions we get asked are presented below:

What are the marks shown on the head of a bolt?


When tightening stainless steel bolts - they tend to seize - what's happening?
I can't find the shear strength of a fastener in the specification, can you help?
What is the best way to check the torque value on a bolt?
What are the benefits of fine threaded fasteners over coarse threaded fasteners?
What methods are available for calculating the appropriate tightening torque for a bolt.
Does it matter whether you tighten the bolt head or the nut?
How do you select a fastener size for a particular application?
Does using an extension on a torque wrench change the abliity to achieve the desired torque value?
Is it okay to use a mild steel nut with a high tensile bolt?
Should I always use a washer under the bolt head and nut face?
What is the torque to yield tightening method?
How do metric strength grades correspond to the inch strength grades?
What is the difference between a bolt and a screw?
Are the use of a thin nut and a thick nut effective in preventing loosening?
Is there some standard that states how much the thread should protrude past the nut?

What are the marks shown on the head of a bolt?

Usually fastener standards specify two types of marks to be on the head of a bolt. The
manufacturer's mark is a symbol identifying the manufacturer (or importer). This is the
organisation that accepts the responsibility that the fastener meets specified requirements.
The grade mark is a standardised mark that identifies the material properties that the fastener
meets. For example 307A on a bolt head indicates that the fastener properties conform to the
ASTM A307 Grade A standard. The bolt head shown at the side indicates that it is of
property class 8.8 and ML is the manufacturer's mark.

Both marks are usually located on the top of the bolt head, most standards indicating that the marks can be raised
or depressed. Raised marks are usually preferred by manufacturers because these can only be added during the
forging process whereas depressed marks can subsequently added (possibly with illegitimate marks).

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We have a problem when tightening stainless steel bolts - they tend to seize - whats happening?

Stainless steel can unpredictably sustain galling (cold welding). Stainless steel self-generates an oxide surface
film for corrosion protection. During fastener tightening, as pressure builds between the contacting and sliding,
thread surfaces, protective oxides are broken, possibly wiped off, and interface metal high points shear or lock
together. This cumulative clogging-shearing-locking action causes increasing adhesion. In the extreme, galling
leads to seizing - the actual freezing together of the threads. If tightening is continued, the fastener can be twisted
off or its threads ripped out.

If galling is occurring than because of high friction the torque will not be converted into bolt preload. This may
be the cause of the problems that you are experiencing. The change may be due to the surface roughness
changing on the threads or other similar minor change. To overcome the problem - suggestions are:

1. Slowing down the installation RPM speed may possibly solve or reduce the frequency of the problem. As the
installation RPM increases, the heat generated during tightening increases. As the heat increases, so does the
tendency for the occurrence of thread galling.

2. Lubricating the internal and/or external threads frequently can eliminate thread galling. The lubricants usually
contain substantial amounts of molybdenum disulfide (moly). Some extreme pressure waxes can also be
effective. Be careful however, if you use the stainless steel fasteners in food related applications some lubricants
may be unacceptable. Lubricants can be applied at the point of assembly or pre-applied as a batch process similar
to plating. Several chemical companies, such as Moly-Kote, offer anti-galling lubricants.

3. Different combinations of nut and bolt materials can assist in reducing or even eliminating galling. Some
organisations specify a different material, such as aluminium bronze nuts. However this can introduce a
corrosion problem since aluminium bronze is anodic to stainless steel.

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I can't find the shear strength of a fastener in the specification, can you help?

Bolted shear joints can be designed as friction grip or direct shear. With friction grip joints you must ensure that
the friction force developed by the bolts is sufficient to prevent slip between the plates comprising the joint.
Friction grip joints are preferred if the load is dynamic since it prevents fretting.
With direct shear joints the shank of the bolts sustain the shear force directly giving rise to a shear stress in the
bolt. The shear strength of a steel fastener is about 0.6 times the tensile strength. This ratio is largely independent
of the tensile strength. The shear plane should go through the unthreaded shank of a bolt if not than the root area
of the thread must be used in the calculation.

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What is the best way to check the torque value on a bolt?

There are three basic methods for the checking of torques applied to bolts after their installation; namely, taking
the reading on a torque gauge when:

1. The socket begins to move away from the tightened position in the tightening direction. This method is
frequently referred to as the "crack-on" method.

2. The socket begins to move away from the tightened position in the un- tightening direction. This method is
frequently referred to as the "crack-off" method.

3. The fastener is re-tightened up to a marked position. With the "marked fastener" method the socket approaches
a marked position in the tightening direction. Clear marks are first scribed on the socket and onto the joint
surface which will remain stationary when the nut is rotated. (Avoid scribing on washers since these can turn
with the nut.) The nut is backed off by about 30 degrees, followed by re-tightening so that the scribed lines
coincide.

For methods 1. and 2. the breakloose torque is normally slightly higher than the installation torque since static
friction is usually greater than dynamic friction. In my opinion, the most accurate method is method 3 - however
what this will not address is the permanent deformation caused by gasket creep. An alternative is to measure the
bolt elongation (if the fastener is not tapped into the gearbox). This can be achieved by machining the head of the
bolt and the end of the bolt so that it can be accurately measured using a micrometer. Checking the change in
length will determine if you are losing preload.

The torque in all three methods should be applied in a slow and deliberate manner in order that dynamic effects
on the gauge reading are minimised. It must always be ensured that the non- rotating member, usually the bolt, is
held secure when checking torques. The torque reading should be checked as soon after the tightening operation
as possible and before any subsequent process such as painting, heating etc. The torque readings are dependent
upon the coefficients of friction present under the nut face and in the threads. If the fasteners are left to long, or
subjected to different environmental conditions before checking, friction and consequently the torque values, can
vary. Variation can also be caused by embedding (plastic deformation) of the threads and nut face/joint surface
which does occur. This embedding results in bolt tension reduction and affects the tightening torque. The torque
values can vary by as much as 20% if the bolts are left standing for two days.

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What are the benefits of fine threaded fasteners over coarse threaded fasteners?

The potential benefits of fine threads are:

1. Size for size a fine thread is stronger than a coarse thread . This is both in tension (because of the larger stress
area) and shear (because of their larger minor diameter).

2. Fine threads have also less tendency to loosen since the thread incline is smaller and hence so is the off torque.

3. Because of the smaller pitch they allow finer adjustments in applications that need such a feature.

4. Fine threads can be more easily tapped into hard materials and thin walled tubes.

5. Fine threads require less torque to develop equivalent bolt preloads.

On the negative side:

1. Fine threads are more susceptible to galling than coarse threads.

2. They need longer thread engagements and are more prone to damage and thread fouling.

3. They are also less suitable for high speed assembly since they are more likely to seize when being tightened.

Normally a coarse thread is specified unless there is an over-riding reason to specify a fine thread, certainly for
metric fasteners, fine threads are more difficult to obtain.

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What methods are available for calculating the appropriate tightening torque for a bolt?

A high bolt preload ensures that the joint is resistant to vibration loosening and to fatigue. In most applications,
the higher the preload - the better (assuming that the surface pressure under the nut face is not exceeded that is).

The preload is related to the applied torque by friction that is present under the nut face and in the threads. The
torque value depends primarily on the values of the underhead and thread friction values and so a single figure
cannot be quoted for a given thread size.

The stress that is often quoted is often taken as the direct stress in the bolt as a result of the preload. It is
normally calculated as preload divided by the stress area of the thread. Typical values vary between 50% to 80%
of the yield strength of the bolt material, in many applications a figure of 75% of yield is used. Our TORKSense
program uses this approach and further details on this is presented in the help file that comes with the demo
program that is available for download from our web site. (This program also provides large databases on thread,
bolting materials and nut factors.)

It is important to note that it does not take into account the torsional stress as a result of the tightening torque.
High friction values can push the actual combined stress over yield if high percentages are used. (The tensile
stress from the preload coupled with a high torsional shear stress from the torque due to thread frictional drag
results in a high combined stress.) The percentage yield approach works well in most practical circumstances but
if you are using percentage of yield values over 75% then you could be exceeding yield if high friction values are
being used.

One way to over come this limitation is to use the percentage of yield based upon the combined effects of the
direct stress (from the bolt preload) and the torsional stress (from the applied torque). Using this approach to
specify torque values is more logically consistent and can reduce the risk of the yield strength of the bolt being
exceeded - especially under high thread friction conditions. A figure of 90% of yield is typically used here when
the combined stress (usually calculated as the Von-Mises stress) from the direct and torsional stresses is
calculated. Our Torque and BOLTCALC programs uses this approach and a copy of the demo program can be
downloaded from our web site. The help file provided with the demo program does provide additional
information on this topic.

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Does it matter whether you tighten the bolt head or the nut?

Normally it will not matter whether the bolt head or the nut is torqued. This assumes that the bolt head and nut
face are of the same diameter. If they are not then it does matter.

Say the nut was flanged and the bolt head was not. If the tightening torque was determined assuming that the nut
was to be tightened then if the bolt head was subsequently tightened instead then the bolt could be overloaded.
Typically 50% of the torque is used to overcome friction under the tightening surface. Hence a smaller friction
radius will result in more torque going into the thread of the bolt and hence being over tightened.

If the reverse was true - the torque determined assuming that the bolt head was to be tightened then if the nut was
subsequently tightened - the bolt would be under tightened.

There is also an effect due to nut dilation that can, on occasion, be important. Nut dilation is the effect of the
external threads being pushed out due to the wedge action of the threads. This reduces the thread stripping area
and is more prone to happen when the nut is tightened since the tightening action facilitates the effect. Hence if
thread stripping is a potential problem, and for normal standard nuts and bolts it is not, then tightening the bolt
can be beneficial.

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How do you select a fastener size for a particular application?

When selecting a suitable fastener for a particular application there are several factors that must be taken into
account. Principally these are:
1. How many and what size/strength do the fasteners need to be? Other than rely upon past experience of a
similar application an analysis must be completed to determine the size/number/strength requirements. A
program like BOLTCALC can assist you with resolving this issue.

2. The bolt material to resist the environmental conditions prevailing. This could mean using a standard steel
fastener with surface protection or may mean using a material more naturally corrosion resistant such as stainless
steel.

The general underlying principle is to minimise the cost of the fastener whilst meeting the specification/life
requirements of the application. Each situation must be considered on its merit and obviously some detailed
work is necessary to arrive at a detailed recommendation.

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Does using an extension on a torque wrench change the abliity to achieve the desired torque value?

If you use an extension spanner on the end of a torque wrench, the torque applied to the nut is greater than that
shown on the torque wrench dial.

If the torque wrench has a length L, and the extension spanner a length E (overall length of L+E) than:

TRUE TORQUE= DIAL READING X (L+E)/L

i.e the torque will be increased.

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Is it okay to use a mild steel nut with a high tensile bolt?

Nut thickness standards have been drawn up on the basis that the bolt will always sustain tensile fracture before
the nut will strip. If the bolt breaks on tightening, it is obvious that a replacement is required. Thread stripping
tends to be gradual in nature. If the thread stripping mode can occur, assemblies may enter into service which are
partially failed, this may have disastrous consequences. Hence, the potential of thread stripping of both the
internal and external threads must be avoided if a reliable design is to be achieved. When specifying nuts and
bolts it must always be ensured that the appropriate grade of nut is matched to the bolt grade.
The standard strength grade (or Property Class as it is known in the standards) for many industries is 8.8. On the
head of the bolt, 8.8 should be marked together with a mark to indicate the manufacturer. The Property Class of
the nut matched to a 8.8 bolt is a grade 8. The nut should be marked with a 8, a manufacturer's identification
symbol shall be at the manufacturer's discretion.

Higher tensile bolts such as property class 10.9 and 12.9 have matching nuts 10 and 12 respectively. In general,
nuts of a higher property class can replace nuts of lower property class (because as explained above, the 'weakest
link' is required to be the tensile fracture of the bolt).

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Should I always use a washer under the bolt head and nut face?

Our opinion is that plain washers are best avoided if possible and certainly, a plain washer should not be used
with a 'lock' washer. It would partly negate the effect of the locking action and secondly could lead to other
problems (see below). Many 'lock' washers have been shown to be ineffective in resisting loosening.

The main purpose of a washer is to distribute the load under the bolt head and nut face. Instead of using washers
however the trend as been to the use of flanged fasteners. If you compute the bearing stress under the nut face it
often exceeds the bearing strength of the joint material and can lead to creep and bolt preload loss. Traditionally
a plain washer (that should be hardened) is used in this application. However they can move during the
tightening process (see below) causing problems.

Research indicates that the reason why fasteners come loose is usually caused by transverse loadings causing
slippage of the joint. The fastener self loosens by this method. When using impact tightening tools there is a
large variability in the preload achieved by the fastener. The tightening factor is between 2.5 and 4 for this
method. (The tightening factor is the ratio of max preload to min. preload.) Software such as our BOLTCALC
program allow for this by basing the design on the lowest anticipated preload that will be achieved in the
assembly. Because of changes in the thread condition itself - different operators etc. it could be that lower values
of preload are being achieved even though the assemblies may appear to be identical.

One problem that can occur with washers is that they can move when being tightened so that the washer can
rotate with the nut or bolt head rather than remaining fixed. This can affect the torque tension relationship.

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What is the torque to yield tightening method?

Torque to yield is the method of tightening a fastener so that a high preload is achieved by tightening up the yield
point of the fastener material. To do this consistently requires special equipment that monitors the tightening
process. Basically, as the tightening is being completed the equipment monitors the torque verses angle of
rotation of the fastener. When it deviates from a specified gradient by a certain amount the tool stops the
tightening process. The deviation from a specified gradient indicates that the fastener material as yielded.
The torque to yield method is sometimes called yield controlled tightening or joint controlled tightening.

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How do metric strength grades correspond to the inch strength grades?

Some details on conversion guidance between metric and inch based strength grades is given in section 3.4 of the
standard SAE J1199 (Mechanical and Material Requirements for Metric Externally Threaded Steel Fasteners).

Metric fastener strength is denoted by a property class which is equivalent to a strength grade. Briefly:

Class 4.6 is approximately equivalent to SAE J429 Grade 1 and ASTM A307 Grade A

Class 5.8 is approximately equivalent to SAE J429 Grade 2

Class 8.8 is approximately equivalent to SAE J429 Grade 5 and ASTM A449

Class 9.8 is approximately 9% stronger than equivalent to SAE J429 Grade 5 and ASTM A449

Class 10.9 is approximately equivalent to SAE J429 Grade 8 and ASTM A354 Grade BD

For information there is no direct inch equivalent to the metric 12.9 property class.

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What is the difference between a bolt and a screw?

Historically the difference between a bolt and a screw was that the screw was threaded to the head whereas the
bolt had a plain shank. However I would say that now this could cause you a problem if you made this
assumption when specifying a fastener. The definition used by the Industrial Fastener Institute (IFI) is that
screws are used with tapped holes and bolts are used with nuts.

Obviously a standard 'bolt' can be used in a tapped hole or with a nut. The IFI maintain that since this type of
fastener is normally used with a nut then it is a bolt. Certain short length bolts are threaded to the head - they are
still bolts if the main usage is with nuts. Screws are fastener products such as wood screws, lag screws and the
various types of tapping screws. The IFI terminology and definition has been adopted by ASME and ANSI.

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Are the use of a thin nut and a thick nut effective in preventing loosening?

I had been of the opinion that when two nuts were being used to lock a thread, the thicker of the two nuts should
go next to the joint. I had this as one of the 'tips for the day' on some software and a couple of years ago was
taken to task that this was wrong. The thin nut he said should go next to the joint.

My reasoning was that nut heights had been decided by establishing the least height that would ensure that the
bolt would break before the threads started to shear. So if you wanted to get the maximum preload into the
fastener then the thick nut should go first so that thread stripping was prevented. If you put the thin nut first, the
preload would be limited by the thread stripping (whose failure may not be obvious at the time of the nuts were
tightened). Putting the thin nut on top of the thick nut, I thought, would assist in preventing the thick nut self-
loosening. I had also seen that
using two nuts was a popular method on old machinery - and the ones that I had seen all had the thin nut on top
of the thick nut.

The correct procedure, I was told, was to put the thin nut on first, tighten it to 30% or so of the full torque and
then tighten the thick nut on top of it to the full torque value. You have to take care that the thin nut does not
rotate when you are tightening the thick nut. The tightening of the thick nut would impose a preload on the joint
equivalent to that which would be obtained from 100 - 30 = 70% of the tightening torque (approximately
anyway). The idea is that the bolt threads engaging on the thin nut disengage so that the thick nut takes the
preload by taking up the backlash on the threads of the thin nut. The thin nut being jammed (hence the
alternative name - jam nut) against the thick
nut. This helps to prevent self-loosening and improves the fastener's fatigue performance by modifying the load
distribution within the threads. Doing it the other way, thin nut on top of the thick nut, does not jam the parts
together sufficiently.

Two years on and I am still unconvinced. I am still asked the two nut question but I always tend to recommend
other more modern ways of locking the threads. I think that the reasons that I am not easy with the method is that
it is too reliant upon the skill of the person tightening the joint. There is also the amount of backlash in the
threads (you could strip the threads of the small nut if it was a tight fit) and the preload will be down on what it
could be as well.

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Is there some standard that states how much the thread should protrude past the nut?

There are some building codes that stipulates that there must be at least one thread protruding through the nut.
However it is common practice to specify that at least one thread pitch must protrude across a range of
industries. Typically the first few pitches of the thread can be only partially formed because of a chamfer etc.
Nut thickness standards have been drawn up on the basis that the
bolt will always sustain tensile fracture before the nut will strip.
If the bolt breaks on tightening, it is obvious that a replacement
is required. Thread stripping tends to be gradual in nature. If the
thread stripping mode can occur, assemblies may enter into
service which are partially failed, this may have disastrous
consequences. Hence, the potential of thread stripping of both
the internal and external threads must be avoided if a reliable
design is to be achieved. When specifying nuts and bolts it must
always be ensured that the appropriate grade of nut is matched to
the bolt grade.

In cases of when a threaded fastener is tapped into a plate or a


block it is usually the case that the fastener and block materials
will be of different strengths. If the criteria is adopted that the
bolt must sustain tensile fracture before the female thread strips,
the length of thread engagement required can be excessive and can become unrealistic for low strength
plate/block materials. Tolerances and pitch errors between the threads can make the engagement of long threads
problematical.

In summary the full height of the nut is to be used if you are to avoid thread stripping. Have a look at
information on the website on the BOLTCALC program and thread stripping - there is a tutorial/presentation
available from the website.

In terms of maximum protrusion I have not come across any guidelines on this point other then minimise to
avoid wasting material.