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Experimental analysis of thread movement in bolted connections due to vibrationsThis is the final report of research project NAS8-39131 #33 sponsored by NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and carried out by the Civil Engineering Department of Auburn University (Auburn, Alabama) and personnel of MSFC. The objective of this study was to identify the main design parameters contributing to the loosening of bolts due to vibration and to identify their relative importance and degree of contribution to bolt loosening. Vibration testing was conducted on a shaketable with a controlled-random input in the dynamic testing laboratory of the Structural Test Division of MSFC. Test specimens which contained one test bolt were vibrated for a fixed amount of time and a percentage of pre-load loss was measured. Each specimen tested implemented some combination of eleven design parameters as dictated by the design of experiment methodology employed. The eleven design parameters were: bolt size (diameter), lubrication on bolt, hole tolerance, initial pre-load, nut locking device, grip length, thread pitch, lubrication between mating materials, class of fit, joint configuration, and mass of configuration. These parameters were chosen for this experiment because they are believed to be the design parameters having the greatest impact on bolt loosening. Two values of each design parameter were used and each combination of parameters tested was subjected to two different directions of vibration and two different g-levels of vibration. One replication was made for each test to gain some indication of experimental error and repeatability and to give some degree of statistical credibility to the data, resulting in a total of 96 tests being performed. The results of the investigation indicated that nut locking devices, joint configuration, fastener size, and mass of configuration were significant in bolt loosening due to vibration. The results of this test can be utilized to further research the complex problem of bolt loosening due to vibration.
Document ID
Document Type
Contractor Report (CR)
Ramsey, G. ED
(Auburn Univ. AL, United States)
Jenkins, Robert C.
(Auburn Univ. AL, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 1995
Subject Category
Mechanical Engineering
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.26:197705
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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