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What Causes Bolt Shear?

Bolt shear is a common source of failure prevalent in bolted joints that can significantly impact the structural integrity of various applications. It occurs when the bolt “shears” or breaks due to an excessive load or stress. Understanding the causes of bolt shear is essential for ensuring the reliability and safety of bolted connections. With this in mind, we will explore the factors that contribute to bolt shear and its implications on numerous assembled structures.

Bolt shear typically occurs in joints where a high level of clamping force is required to hold two or more components together securely. This clamping force is generated by applying a level of torque or tension to the bolt, which creates a pre-load in the bolt. The pre-load is crucial for maintaining the joint's integrity, as it helps prevent loosening, minimize relative motion between components, and distribute external loads with ease.

As stated before, one of the primary causes of bolt shear is excessive loading or stress. When the applied load exceeds the strength of the bolt, it can lead to shear failure. Apart from excessive external forces or loads, bolt shear can also occur due to factors such as the over-tightening of the bolt or inadequate bolt strength for the application. As such, it is essential to consider the load requirements to select bolts with appropriate strength and specifications to prevent shear failure.

Another factor that contributes to bolt shear is inadequate thread engagement. Thread engagement refers to the number of threads that are in contact with the bolt and the nut or threaded hole. If the thread engagement is insufficient, the load distribution across the threads becomes uneven, increasing the likelihood of shear failure. Ensuring an adequate thread engagement is critical for distributing the load evenly and reducing stress concentrations.

Improper installation practices can also lead to bolt shear. For example, over-tightening the bolt beyond its recommended torque can exceed the bolt's yield strength, causing it to shear. Under-tightening, on the other hand, can result in insufficient clamping force, leading to joint failure under external loads. For this reason, it is important to follow proper torque specifications and installation procedures provided by the manufacturer to avoid bolt shear.

The choice of bolt material is another crucial consideration. Bolts are typically made from materials with high tensile strength, such as steel alloys, to withstand the forces and stresses they will experience. However, using bolts made from low-quality or substandard materials can compromise their strength and increase the risk of shear failure. With this in mind, it is essential to select bolts with these standards and specifications.

In some cases, environmental factors can contribute to bolt shear as well. Corrosion and rust can weaken the bolt material, reducing its strength and making it more susceptible to shear failure. Exposure to harsh chemicals or extreme temperatures can also degrade the bolt's material properties, compromising its overall integrity. However, implementing corrosion prevention measures, such as using corrosion-resistant coatings or materials, can help mitigate the risk of shear failure.

Wrapping Up

Based on our overview of bolt shear, it can be easily prevented when the specific requirements of the application are taken into account and proper design metrics are followed. In addition to such considerations, material selection, installation practices, and maintenance are also incredibly important factors to keep in mind. Moreover, conducting regular inspections and monitoring the condition of bolted joints can help identify potential issues before they escalate into catastrophic failures. If, during inspection, you pinpoint an area that is showing signs of bolt shear, we invite you to explore the inventory of bolts and other high-quality fasteners we have available on Integrated Purchasing.

Integrated Purchasing is a leading distributor recognized for its commitment to offering exceptional cost savings on thousands of items by trusted global manufacturers. To get started on the procurement process for any featured listing, we invite you to fill out and submit an RFQ form through our website, or contact a team member via phone or email at your earliest convenience. The experts at Integrated Purchasing are here to assist you however they can!



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