Fracture simulation of partially threaded bolts under tensile loading

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Failure of bolts exposed to tension is generally avoided in the design of bolted connections due to the smaller deformation capacity of bolts than the connected plates. This is one of the reasons why few studies focus on the tensile failure behaviour of bolts. However, failure behaviour of bolts is essential for the advanced finite element analysis especially relevant to the deformation capacity and failure mode of bolted connections. This paper presents a numerical study on the fracture of partially threaded bolts under tension incorporating damage models, with which the failure mechanism of bolts can be better understood. The post-necking stress–strain relation is firstly calibrated to describe the behaviour of bolt threaded parts at large deformation. Then, direct tension tests on partially threaded bolts with different threaded lengths within the grip are modelled using ABAQUS with the explicit solver. Two criteria for fracture are investigated: the void growth model (VGM) and a model proposed by Bao and Wierzbicki (BW). The former is adopted to simulate the tensile fracture of bolts and the latter is used to predict the thread stripping failure. Results indicate that bolt failure modes of tensile fracture and thread stripping can be well predicted by combining the calibrated post-necking stress–strain relation and a suitable fracture criterion in the analysis. It is revealed that the large plastic strain in the threads introduced by thread rolling process is a major reason for the thread stripping failure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111373
Number of pages13
JournalEngineering Structures
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Bolted connection
  • Partially threaded bolt
  • Post-necking stress–strain
  • Thread rolling
  • Thread stripping
  • Void grow model (VGM)


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