Bolt connections are among the most important connections used in structures. The stiffnesses of the bolt and of the connected members are the primary qualities that control the lifetime of the connection. The stiffness of the bolt can be estimated rather easily, in contrast to the member stiffness, but with finite element (FE) and contact analysis, it is possible to find the stiffness of the member. In the case of many connections and for practical applications, it is not suitable to make a full FE analysis. The purpose of the present paper is to find simplified expressions for the stiffness of the member, including the case when the width of the member is limited. The calculation of the stiffness is based on the FE, including the solution to the contact problem, and we express the stiffness as a function of the elastic energy in the structure, whereby the definition of the displacements related to the stiffness is circumvented. The contact analysis is performed using a method where iterations are not necessary, and the results are compared to alternative available results. New practical formulas for the stiffnesses are suggested.
- Bolted joints
- Elastic energy