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# Chapter 72: Automated Bolt Modeling

## 72 Automated Bolt Modeling

Summary 1290

Introduction 1291

Modeling Details 1291

Results 1296

Input File(s) 1299

Video 1300
1290 MD Demonstration Problems
CHAPTER 72

Summary
Title Chapter 72: Automated Bolt Modeling
Features Automated Bolt Modeling and Segment to Segment Contact
Geometry & Boundary
Fixed End Control Grid Points
Conditions

Bolt 1

Bolt 2

## • Linear elastic material for flanges and bolts

Material properties
• Flanges: E = 1e+007 psi,  = 0.3, Bolts: E = 3e+007 psi,  = 0.3
Analysis characteristics Nonlinear static analysis
Both bolts are glued and touching to the left flange and right flange respectively. Both
Contact Properties
plates are touching together.
Element type 3-D 4-noded tetrahedron (CTETRA) elements and RBE2 element
FE results

CHAPTER 72 1291
Automated Bolt Modeling

Introduction
Bolt modeling is important in analyses of engine assemblies. Gasket joints, which are used in such assemblies to
prevent steam or gas from escaping, are often fastened by a number of bolts. In a typical loading sequence of an engine
assembly, the bolts are first fastened until a certain pre-tension force is present in the bolts. This can be achieved by
shortening the bolts until the desired force is reached. Next, the bolts are “locked”, that is, the amount of shortening
remains fixed, while the assembly is subject to other (thermo-) mechanical loads. Finally, the bolts are loosened again,
either by decreasing the shortening or by releasing the bolt forces.

Modeling Details
The geometry of the model, shown in Figure 72-1, is a structure having two flanges connected through two bolts. The
materials of bolts and the flanges are different. The left end of the left side flange is clamped and force of 3000 lbf is
applied via RBE2 element. In order to apply pre-tensioning on the bolts, automatic bolt creation and assisted bolt
creation option is used for Bolt-1 and Bolt-2 respectively, where the pre-tension force (2000 lbf) has been applied at
each bolt location via control nodes.

Bolt 1

Bolt 2

## Figure 72-1 Model of the Flange

Element Modeling
Four-noded tetrahedron elements (CTETRA) have been used for flanges and bolts. Properties of the elements are
defined trough PSOLID entry. Additional nonlinear properties for the solid elements corresponding are specified using
the PSLDN1 entry.
PSOLID 1 1 PSOLID_b
PSLDN1 1 1 +
+ C4 SOLID L PSOLID_b
1292 MD Demonstration Problems
CHAPTER 72

Material Modeling
Linear isotropic material properties are defined using MAT1 entry. Elastic modulus and Poisson’s ratio are the material
constant input for this analysis.
MAT1 1 3.E+7 0.3 Iso_bolt
MAT1 2 1.E+7 0.3 Iso_flan

Bolt Modeling
In various engineering applications, it is necessary to define a pre-stress in, for example, bolt or rivets before applying
any other structural loading. A convenient way do this is via the BOLT entry. The key idea is to split the element mesh
of the bolt across the shank in two disjoint parts, such that duplicate grid points appear at the cut, and to create an
overlap or gap between the two parts via multi-point constraints, which is done internally using the BOLT entry. If the
motion of these parts is somehow constrained in the direction in which the gap or overlap is created, then an overlap
(shortening) will introduce a tensile stress in each of the parts and a gap (elongation) will result in a compressive stress.
In this exercise, one coordinated systems (LCS4) is created automatically when automatic bolt creation option is used
for Bolt-1 and other local coordinated systems is created manually (LCS6) using 3 points when assisted bolt creation
option is used for Bolt-2.The local C/S is described through CORD2R entry.
CORD2R 6 0 1.625 0.75 3.04E-8 1.625 0.750.189808+
+ 1.542650.921013 3.04E-8 BOLT_2
The BOLT entry is described below:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
BOLT ID GRIDC +
+ TOP GT1 GT2 GT3 GT4 GT5 GT6 GT7 +
+ GT8 GT9 etc. +
BOTTOM GB1 GB2 GB3 GB4 GB5 GB6 GB7 +
GB8 GB9 etc.

• New bulk data entry creates MPCs internally to all six degrees of freedom
• (GTi,GBi) are pairs of (usually are coincident) grids on top and bottom
• Same number of grid points should be in TOP and BOTTOM
• GRIDC is the control grid point (usually not connected to any element)
• Bolt loads prescribed on GRIDC
• Global Coordinate System has to be defined at the Control Node if the bolt direction is not a Basic Coordinate
direction
• Loads in directions other than the bolt direction are possible
• The BOLT force can be output by MPCFORCE request output at each Control Node (GC)
• The new bulk data option, BOLT, supports only small rotations in this release. Since it is targeted to analyses
of engine gasket joints, this is not considered a severe limitation
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Automated Bolt Modeling

• Sufficient boundary conditions must be applied on the control grid to suppress any rigid body modes if the
two parts of the structure are not constrained
• In a contact analysis, the amount of shortening is limited to the sum of the sizes of the elements in the
direction in which the shortening is prescribed. If the shortening exceeds this limit, the contact surface patches
will start to overlap each other, leading to problems with sliding.
BOLT 24910 6129
TOP 6130 6131 6132 6133 6134 6135 6136+
+ 6137 6138 6139 6140 6141
BOTTOM 5705 5706 5708 5764 5765 5767 5790+
+ 5792 5793 5861 5798 5795

Figure 72-1 shows the loading and boundary conditions applied on the finite element model of the solid structure.
Analysis is done in 5 load steps explained below.
Load step-1: Pre-tension force of 2000 lbf applied to Bolt-1
Load step-2: Pre-tension force of 2000 lbf applied to Bolt-2 and locking of the Bolt-1 using the SPC1 entry.
Load step-3: Locking of the Bolt-1 and Bolt-2 using SPC1 entry.
Load step-4: Load step-3 + point load of 3000 lbf applied to right face of the right flange via RBE2.
SPCADD and LOAD cards define the single point constraint set and load set respectively. Displacement constraints and
concentrated nodal forces are specified using SPC1 and FORCE cards, respectively.
Step-1
SPCADD 49 6 8 11 12

Step-4
SPCADD 52 6 8 11 12 13 14

\$Force (2000lbf) applied on ‘control grid point’ of the Bolt-1 in automatically created coordinate
system.
FORCE 7 6129 4 1999.999 0.0 0.0 1

\$Force (2000lbf) applied on ‘control grid point’ of the Bolt-2 in manually created coordinate
system.
FORCE 9 6142 6 1999.999 0.0 0.0 1.

## \$Force (3000lbf) applied on master node of the RBE2 element

FORCE 10 6156 3000. 0.0 0.0 1.
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## \$ Fix left end

SPC1 12 123456 265 266 323 324 325 427+

\$ X and Y translation d.o.f for bolt-1 is fixed (would be generated automatically if automatic
bolt creation is used in SimXpert)
SPC1 6 12 6129

\$ X and Y translation d.o.f for bolt-2 is fixed (would be generated automatically even if assisted
bolt creation is used in SimXpert)
SPC1 8 12 6142

\$ X, Y translation and all rotation is fixed for master node of RBE2 element
SPC1 11 12456 6156

\$ To lock the bolt-1 for the coming load step, Z translation of first bolt is fixed in the coming
SPC1 13 3 6129

\$ To lock the bolt-2 for the coming load step, Z translation of first bolt is fixed in the coming
SPC1 14 3 6142

Contact
In total, six deformable contact bodies are used. The first and second deformable body consists of all elements of left
and right flange respectively. Third and fourth contact bodies consist of elements of Bolt-1 head and nut respectively.
Fifth and sixth contact bodies consist of elements of Bolt-2 head and nut respectively
\$ Contact Body: Deform_left_flange
BCBODY 1 3D DEFORM 28 0
\$ Contact Body: Deform_right_flange
BCBODY 2 3D DEFORM 29 0

The BCTABLE entries shown below identify the admissible contact combinations, select the slave and master body for
each combination, and set associated parameters. It is important to note that:
• The shaft part of the BOLT-1 and BOLT-2 have not been defined as a contact body to avoid the touching
condition between shaft part of the BOLT-1 and BOLT-2 with holes of the left and right flange. If this
touching condition will arises then correct magnitude of bolt pretension force will not be applied on the
flanges and we will not get proper response of the bolt tightening/loosening.
• The ISEARCH entry is set to 0 (Double orders search, Default) the search order is from lower BCBODOY ID’s to
higher ones first. If no contact is detected, then it searches the opposite order to force search order from the
slave body to the master.
• Both bolts can touch the right flange and the both flanges can touch each other.
• The IGLUE entry is set to 1 for contact between both bolts and left flange to activate glued contact conditions
(that is, no sliding and no separation) between these two contact bodies.
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Automated Bolt Modeling

BCTABLE 1 5 +
+ SLAVE 3 1 +
+ MASTERS 1 +
\$ Pair: Deform_bolt1_nut / Deform_right_flange
+ SLAVE 4 +
+ MASTERS 2 +

• Segment-to-segment contact algorithm is used for this analysis, as compared to node-to-segment algorithm,
the segment-to-segment algorithm will provide more accurate results in the contact area (specifically focusing
on continuous contact stresses) and to make the results effectively independent of the numbering of the
contact bodies and the contact detection order.
BCPARA 0METHOD SEGSMALL

Contact Body 1 2 3 4 5 6
2-Def-Deform_bolt1_nut T
4-Def-Deform_bolt2_nut T
5-Def-Deform_left_flange G G T
6-Def-Deform_right_flange T T

3 4

5 1 2 6

## Figure 72-2 Contact Table

Solution Procedure
The problem is analyzed in MD-Nastran using the SOL 400 routine which is an implicit nonlinear solution
procedure. Control parameters for the nonlinear solution scheme are described through the NLSTEP entry. Total five
NLSTEP have been used corresponding to each load-step.
NLSTEP 2 +
+ FIXED
1296 MD Demonstration Problems
CHAPTER 72

Results
Radius of the shaft (r) = 0.125 in; Pretension= 2000 lbf: Stress=2000/ (pi*r*r) = 40743.66 lbf/in2

## Stress ZZ at nodes marked

45,841
46,997
45,214
44,140
44,801
45,130

Figure 72-3 Stress Component ZZ Load Steps 2 and 4
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Automated Bolt Modeling

## Figure 72-4 Stress Component ZZ Load Steps 2 and 4

1298 MD Demonstration Problems
CHAPTER 72

Figure 72-5 Stress Component ZZ Load Steps 2 and 4
CHAPTER 72 1299
Automated Bolt Modeling

Figure 72-6 Stress Component ZZ Load Steps 2 and 4

Input File(s)
Files Description
nug72.bdf MD input file
nug72.simxpert SimXpert Model file
1300 MD Demonstration Problems
CHAPTER 72

Video
Click on the image or caption below to view a streaming video of this problem; it lasts approximately 39 minutes and
explains how the steps are performed.

Bolt 1

Bolt 2