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Use of

HSFG Bolts
Railway Bridges

R. N. Gupta
Professor/Track Machine
HSFG Bolts - Introduction
 High Strength Friction Grip Bolts

 HSFG (High Strength Friction Grip) Bolts are the Substitute

for rivets .
 These are High strength Structural Bolts with High Tensile
and High Yield Strength.
 These bolts are different and act differently than normal
 Bolts are tightened to induce predefined tension in bolt
shank to have Friction Grip Mechanism
 Can be used in friction type joints for bridges covered by
IRS Steel Bridge Code -Rail Bridges. ROB, FOB
Types of Joints

• Bearing Type Joints - A joint

connected with bolts where
joint slip may occur so that
the applied force is transferred
by shear in the bolts and
bearing on the connected

• Friction Type Joints - A joint

connected with high-strength
bolts tensioned to such a bolt
tension that the resultant
clamping action transfers all
the applied forces acting in
the pIane of the common
contact surfaces by the friction
Why HSFG Bolts ?

 Rivets are no longer a practical option for field connections

 Riveting is a dying art - Few skilled persons available who
can do riveting
 Riveting gangs not available especially for small quantum of
 Quality of rivets done at difficult locations not so good

 Field Welding has quality concerns

 HSFG Bolts can be installed much quickly as compared to rivets.
 Bolt installation does not require much skilled staff.
 HSFG bolts have much better fatigue performance compared to rivets.
Governing Codes and Specification

• RDSO’s Report no BS-111 (Revision 5)-“Guidelines for

use of High Strength Friction Grip (HSFG) bolts on
bridges on Indian Railways”

• IS 4000 : 1992 Code for Practice for High Strength Bolts

in Steel Structures

• Steel Bridge Code-1962

• Bridge manual – 1998 (ACS No 27)

• Indian Railways standard Specifications for Fabrication

and Erection of Steel Girder Bridges and Locomotive
Turn Tables (Fabrication Specification) IRS B1-2001
HSFG Bolts-Action

• Bolts are tightened to stress level beyond yield point

• Pre-defined load induced in the shank of the bolt
• The plates/members are pressed together
• Friction developed at the interface of members resists the
external forces
• Coefficient of friction decides the load capacity of joint
HSFG Bolts-Assembly

• Bolt
• Nut Bolt
• Washers
DTI Washer

Normal Washer

HSFG Bolts-Identification

 Property Class: x.y

 Like Property Class 8.8, 10.9, 12.9
 x: Tensile strength
 y: Ratio of lower yield strength to normal tensile strength
 8.8 Tensile strength of 800 N/mm2 and lower yield strength 80% of
the same i.e. 640 N/mm2

 Identification in field:
 Identification mark is embossed or indented on head
 8.8 or 8.8 S or 8S for property class 8.8

 Nuts shall also be of same property class. Nuts shall be

hardened and then tempered at 4250C
HSFG Bolts-Identification

Property Class

Manufacturer’s Initials
Holes for HSFG Bolts

• Holes shall be made by drilling only

• The actual diameter of hole shall be
• 1.5 mm more than the bolt diameter
(for bolts less than 25mm dia)

• 2 mm more than the bolt diameter

(for bolts dia 25mm or more)

• Oversize holes may be permitted for existing

• Max 1.25d or d+4 mm, whichever is less
• Hardened washer to be used for oversize holes to prevent
Punching Action.
Size of HSFG Bolts

 Size/Dia
 Sizes M16, M20, M24, M30 and M36 as per IS:4000 and M18,
M22 and M27 as per IS:1367 can be used
 Generally M20 and M22 are used in Railways

 Property Class
 Property class 8.8 and 10.9 are used as per the size of joint
 8.8 bolts have lower strength but more reserve strength than
10.9 class bolt, hence preferred

• Rules for spacing of holes shall be same as for rivets.

• Nut Height should not be less than 0.8 times of Bolt Dia.
Length of HSFG Bolts
• Length of Bolt (As per IS:4000-1992)
“The distance from the underside of the bolt head to the extreme
end of the shank including any camber or radius.”
• Grip Length (As per IS:4000-1992)
“Total thickness of steel sections to be held together, including
packing but excluding washers”.

• Length of bolt shall be Grip Length plus Additional allowance as

per IS:4000 table-1 for nut and projection.
Size Allowances for Grip
M20 31 mm
M24 36 mm
• The maximum grip length including the plies, packing and packing
washers shall not exceed 10 times the nominal bolt diameter.
Washers for HSFG Bolts

 Provided to prevent abrasion of steel members during bolt

tightening and for packing
 Three types
 Type A: Plain hole circular washers.
 Type B: Square taper washers for use with channels (60 taper)
 Type C: Square taper washers for use with I-beams (80 taper)
 Tapered Washers
 Used where the angle between the axis of bolt and the joint
surface is more than 3 degree off normal. Non rotating surface
shall preferably be placed against tapered washer.
 Identification
 Plain washers identified by two ‘nibs’
 Square washers have type indented
Washers for HSFG Bolts

Type - A

Type - B
DTI Washers

 Direct Tension Indicator (DTI)

 Have projections which act as an indicator
for level of tension in bolt
 When bolts are tightened, projections in
DTI washers are compressed and Gap is
reduced which can be checked
 Washers are Calibrated to induce the
desired level of tension in bolt when
projections are compressed.
 The DTIs used shall be compatible and
metallurgically suitable for the bolts of
property class 8.8 and 10.9.
Action of DTI Washers
Provision of Washers

 No of washers:
• For HSFG bolts, minimum two washers shall be provided, one
against head and one against the nut.
• The two washers are required because of very high tension is
imparted to the bolt, which can damage the steel members.
• DTI is also counted as washer
 DTI shall preferable be provided under non-rotating head of
 If DTI washer is provided under rotating head, one additional
normal washer should be provided under rotating head to
protect the projections from damage due to the abrasion
during bolt tightening.
 Maximum Three packing washers are allowed with combined
thickness not exceeding 12 mm
Coating and surface Preparation

 Coating
 HSFG bolt, Nuts and Washers shall be coated with Zinc
Phosphate coating.
 DTI shall be coated with Zinc Phosphate or any other coating as
per manufacturing.

 Surface preparation
 New structures - The interface between the plies which are
connected together by the HSFG bolts shall be “Aluminium
metallised (150 micron) without any over coating”.
 Existing structures: Removal of existing paint by wire
brushing/flame cleaning etc equivalent to ‘scraping’. The
surfaces shall be cleaned to remove all loose rust and paint
Procedure for Bolt Fixing

 Bring holes in alignment using

ordinary bolts and drifts
 Insert bolts and tighten by hand
 Drift shall not distort the metal
or enlarge the holes
 Threads of bolts should not be
damaged while inserting

Tightening of HSFG bolts is done in

two stages so that the bolts
already tightened do not get loose
when the subsequent bolts are
Procedure for Bolt Tightening

First stage Tightening

 This stage is required to bring the plies in close contact.
 Using manual wrench, all bolts shall be tightened to ‘snug tight’
 Snug tight condition means the nut is tightened using an ordinary
wrench by an average worker, applying maximum force on the
 Tightening done starting from more stiff to less stiff side i.e. central
part towards edge.

• There shall be no Gap in centre and Gap at edges should

not be more than 2 mm. If so, then open the assembly
and repeat the procedure after straightening of
Procedure for Bolt Fixing

Second Stage Tightening

 Done by Torque Wrench (Manual or Mechanical)
 Torque Wrench shall be calibrated once in a year
 Pre calibrated torque is applied for tightening

 The tightening of HSFG bolts is to be done at

stress level which is beyond the yield point, i.e.
the plastic flow of material shall take place.

 Compression in projections of DTI washer

indicate tension in bolt.

 Compression of DTI washer is checked by

Feeler gauges
Feeler Gauge

 Two Combinations-
1) 0.4/0.1 mm
When DTI is on Non-rotating Side of Bolt/Nut

2) 0.25/0.1 mm
When DTI is on Rotating Side of Bolt/Nut

 0.4/0.25 mm Feeler gauge can not be inserted-

Called Refusal

 0.1 mm Feeler gauge can not be inserted-

Called “Full Compression” of indicator
Tightening Check by Feeler
Number of Minimum number
indicator positions of feeler gauge *No more than 10% of
in DTI washer refusals* the indicators in a
connection bolt group
4 3 shall exhibit full
compression of the
5 3 indicator.
6 4
It indicates either
7 4 overtightening or poor
8 5 quality material in DTI

9 5
Calibration of DTI

• DTIs shall be tested before bringing to site in the

presence of engineer.
• Three nos. of bolts of similar diameter and similar
property class as to be used in the work shall be
installed with DTI for testing.
• On full tightening, the projections on DTI washers shall
meet the requirements of checks specified after second
stage tightening
• Only the DTIs which satisfy the calibration shall be
brought to site for the work.
Personnel for Tightening

• Only trained personnel who understand the procedure shall

carry out the tightening of HSFG bolts

• Before any person is deployed for installation, his knowledge

of the procedure for tightening shall be checked and a
competency certificate shall be issued by an engineer not
below the rank of ADEN or equivalent.

• The competency certificate once issued shall be valid for six

Anti Theft/Anti sabotage
 To ensure that the nut is not easily accessible for opening out
by anti-social elements, the same shall be provided preferably
as follows-
 In girder web: Towards outside of the girder.
 In flanges: Towards bottom.
 In composite construction: Towards inside of concrete.

 Bolt threads projecting beyond the nut can be destroyed by

welding tack after final tightening and inspection.
 The tack shall not be more than 5 mm long and not more than 3
mm in size.
 There shall be no overheating of bolt during welding tack

 Use of proven bonding agent may be applied to the threads

projecting beyond the nut.
Design of Joints with HSFG Bolts

• For Joints subject to pure shear, Shear Force on Bolt

shall not exceed:
Slip Factor X Number of Effective Interfaces X Minimum Bolt Tension
Factor of safety

• The minimum bolt tension is as specified in table 3 of IS 4000

• Factor of safety shall be 1.4 under normal loads.
• Where the effect of wind load has to be considered on the
structure, this factor of safety may be reduced to 1.2
• Most of the bolts in girders such as those that connect the bracing,
cross frames, flange angles with web etc are subject to pure shear
loading only.
Design of Joints with HSFG Bolts

• In HSFG bolts, friction developed at the interface of members

which resists the external forces.
• Friction between members is represented by Slip Factor
• Slip factor depends upon the Surface preparation method as

S No Surface Preparation of the interface between Slip factor

plies in a HSFG bolted joint
1 Surface blast cleaned and spray metallized with 0.40
aluminium (thickness > 150μm), with no over
2 Surfaces cleaned by wire brushing or flame 0.25
cleaning, with loose rust and paint layers
3 Any other surface preparation As per Annexure
B of IS:4000.
Table 3 of IS:4000

Nominal Minimum Bolt Tension in kN for

Size of Bolt Bolts of property class
8.8 10.9
M 16 94.5 130
M 20 147 203
M 22 182 251
M 24 212 293
M 30 337 466
M 36 490 678
Design of Joints with HSFG Bolts

• Design of joints subject to shear as well as tension:

Calculated Shear Proof Load-Calculated tension X F

Slip Factor X Number of Effective Interfaces Factor of safety
• The value of factor F shall be taken as 2.0 if external force is repetitive
and 1.7 if non repetitive.
• Some joints such as the connection of the bracket sideways on a
column are of the nature of partial fixity. The bolts might be subject to
some axial loads along with shear.
• Normally the bolts in railway application are not subject to pure
tension. However, if such joints are to be designed, the tension in the
bolts shall be limited to the values given in table 2 of IS 4000. (Which
are equal to 0.6 times the minimum bolt tension specified in table 3.
Table 3 of IS:4000

Nominal Minimum Bolt Tension in kN for

Size of Bolt Bolts of property class
8.8 10.9
M 16 56.7 78
M 20 88.2 122
M 22 109.2 150.6
M 24 127 176
M 30 202 280
M 36 294 407
Inspection of HSFG Bolts

• Shall be considered as Defective if-

• Visually broken or Loose

• Rust appears beneath the Bolt
• Marks left by water or apparent relative
movement of steel parts joined by HSFG bolts

• Defective bolts should be marked by paint and

replaced expeditiously.
• HSFG bolts shall be painted as per the schedule of
Precautions in use of HSFG Bolts

• Surface preparation is most important and it must be ensured that

the metalised surface shall not be painted.
• All packing shall be of steel with a surface condition similar to that
of the adjacent plies.
• No joint shall be assembled for bolting until the contact surfaces
have been inspected and approved by the competent authority.
• Bolts once tightened to second stage go in plastic stage. These
cannot be reused in same or other holes.
• Due to different actions, HSFG bolts cannot be used in conjunction
with rivets/ welds in same joint
• Calibration of DTI washers or torque wrench is very important and
adequate care shall be taken for the same .
• The nut should be placed so that the mark to identify a high
strength nut is visible after tightening.