Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 744–747 | Cite as

Effect of Fastener Preload on Structural Damping

  • Weiwei Xu
  • Daniel P. Hess
Technical Article---Peer-Reviewed


This paper presents results from an extensive set of frequency response measurements from a simple plate structure with a single bolt lap joint. The frequency response measurements are obtained from modal impact tests. Both damping ratios and natural frequencies are found to remain fairly constant for medium to high levels of bolt preload. At low levels of preload, damping ratios increase significantly by 25–75%, whereas natural frequencies decrease by only 1–2%. These results identify the monitoring of vibration damping as a means for detecting low preload and fastener loosening. Comparative tests with monolithic plate structures show the introduction of a single bolt lap joint results in an increase in damping and a decrease in frequency for the first three modes of vibration. Similar results are found for steel and aluminum plate materials with grade 5 and 8 fasteners.


Fastener Bolts Joints Structures Damping Friction 


  1. 1.
    Y. Ito, M. Masuko, Study on the damping capacity of bolted joints. Bull. JSME 18, 319–326 (1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    C.J. Hartwigsen, Y. Song, D.M. McFarland, L.A. Bergman, A.F. Vakakis, Experimental study of nonlinear effects in a typical shear lap joint configuration. J. Sound Vib. 277, 327–351 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    L. Gaul, J. Becker, Damping prediction of structures with bolted joints. Shock Vib. 17, 359–371 (2010)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    S. Vitelleschi, L.C. Schmidt, Damping in friction-grip bolted joints. ASCE J. Struct. Div. 103, 1447–1460 (1977)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    B.K. Nanda, Study of the effect of bolt diameter and washer on damping in layered and jointed structures. J. Sound Vib. 290, 1290–1314 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    C. Butner, D. Adams, J. Foley, Understanding the effect of preload on the measurement of forces transmitted across a bolted interface, in Modal Analysis Topics, vol 3. Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series 2011 (Springer, New York, 2011), pp. 567–578Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    G. Kulak, J. Fisher, J. Struik, Guide to Design Criteria for Bolted and Riveted Joints (American Institute of Steel Construction, Chicago, 2001)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    NASA-STD-5020, Requirements for threaded fastening systems in spaceflight hardware, NASA Technical Standard, 2011Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    VDI-2230, Systematic calculation of high duty bolted joints—joints with one cylindrical bolt, Verein Deutscher Ingenieure, 2003Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    W. Xu, Effect of bolted joint preload on structural damping, M.S. Thesis, University of South Florida, FL, 2013Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ASM International 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

Personalised recommendations