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A screw is an inclined plane wrapped around a nail. Some screw threads are designed to mate with
a complementary thread, known as a female thread (internal thread), often in the form of a nut or an
object that has the internal thread formed into it. Other screw threads are designed to cut a helical
groove in a softer material as the screw is inserted. The most common uses of screws are to hold
objects together and to position objects.

A wood screw : a : head ; b : not threaded shank ; c : threaded shank ; d : tip.

A screw will usually have a head on one end that contains a specially formed shape that allows it to
be turned, or driven, with a tool. Common tools for driving screws
include screwdrivers and wrenches. The head is usually larger than the body of the screw, which
keeps the screw from being driven deeper than the length of the screw and to provide a bearing
surface. There are exceptions; for instance, carriage bolts have a domed head that is not designed
to be driven; set screws often have a head smaller than the outer diameter of the screw; J-bolts have
a J-shaped head which is not designed to be driven, but rather is usually sunk into concrete allowing
it to be used as an anchor bolt. The cylindrical portion of the screw from the underside of the head to
the tip is known as the shank; it may be fully threaded or partially threaded.[1] The distance between
each thread is called the "pitch".
The majority of screws are tightened by clockwise rotation, which is termed a right-hand thread; a
common mnemonic device for remembering this when working with screws or bolts is "righty-tighty,
lefty-loosey." If the fingers of the right hand are curled around a right-hand thread, it will move in the
direction of the thumb when turned in the same direction as the fingers are curled. Screws with left-
hand threads are used in exceptional cases, where loads would tend to loosen a right handed
fastener, or when non-interchangeability with right-hand fasteners is required. For example, when
the screw will be subject to counterclockwise torque (which would work to undo a right-hand thread),
a left-hand-threaded screw would be an appropriate choice. The left side pedal of a bicycle has a
left-hand thread.
More generally, screw may mean any helical device, such as a clamp, a micrometer, a
ship's propeller or an Archimedes' screw water pump.

The fundamental operation in manufacture is the creation of shape - this includes
assembly, where a number of components are fastened or joined together either
permanently by welding for example or detachably by screws, nuts and bolts and so on.
Since there is such a variety of shapes in engineering to be assembled, it is hardly
surprising that there is more variety in demountable fasteners than in any other
machine element. Fasteners based upon screw threads are the most common, so it is
important that their performance is understood, and the limitations of the fastened
assemblies appreciated.

There are two distinct uses for screw threads and they usually demand different
behaviour from the threads :

 a power screw such as a lathe leadscrew or the screw in a car lifting jack
which transforms rotary motion into substantial linear motion (or vice versa in
certain applications), and
 a threaded fastener similar to a nut and bolt which joins a number of
components together again by transforming rotary motion into linear motion,
though in this case the translation is small.

A typical hexagon headed bolt and nut are shown at ( i). The
diameter of the bolt shank is usually the same as the outside
diameter - the major diameter or briefly size - of the
thread. The radiused fillet at the
junction of shank and head reduces
stress concentration.
The shank diameter of a 'waisted' bolt ( ii) is less than the
thread diameter thus allowing a radiused thread runout which
reduces stress concentration - beneficial in fatigue applications.
The assembly illustrated incorporates a washer under the nut
which promotes uniformity of contact - minimising damage to the
underlying parts and again lessening stress concentration. The bolt
head may be equipped with an optional washer face. A bolt's 'grip' is
the combined thickness of the fastened parts.

A screw ( iii) is similar to a bolt - the names are often loosely

interchanged - though strictly a bolt is equipped with a nut which is
rotated to tighten the assembly, whereas a screw is itself rotated and
engages with a threaded ( or 'tapped' ) hole in a stationary component such as an engine
block casting. The screw illustrated has no shank, being threaded right up to the head.
There is a great variety of screw head forms available.

The ubiquitous socket headed setscrew shown here is tightened by a

hexagon wrench rather than by a spanner.
A stud ( iv) has no head and is threaded at both ends. The ends
are not necessarily the same. One end is screwed into one of the
components usually before the second component is assembled. The
sketch illustrates also :

o a clearance hole through a component, typically 15-20%

larger than the bolt/stud size to facilitate assembly and to clear any shank/ head
o a tapped hole which is drilled smaller than the root or minor diameter of
the thread - see the enlargement ( v) below;
o the illustrated tapped hole is blind, extends deeper than the stud and ends in a
conical point of 120o approximately;
o a stud's depth of engagement is typically 11/4 to 11/2 times its size;
o a threaded length sufficient for the nut to be tightened whilst leaving a couple of
threads 'exposed' ( ie. not engaged ) to cater for variations in thickness of the
assembled components - though too much exposed thread should be avoided;

o a thin 'locknut' may be

jammed against the
ordinary nut to assist
assembly or to prevent
loosening under severe
vibration, though resistance
to inadvertent loosening is
usually effected by a thread
locking fluid, a lock washer or a lock nut such as shown here :
Screws may be supplied complete with captive lock washer to ease assembly -
they are then known as 'sems' and they come in many forms, including self-
tapping screws for joining sheet metal.

Salient geometric features of the thread are

illustrated in ( v). The distance between
similar points on adjacent threads is the
thread's pitch.
The load on the bolt Fb passes from the nut
gradually through the engaged threads into the
bolt, however the whole load must pass
through transverse cross-sections X-X at the exposed threads outside the nut.
Neglecting stress concentration, the tensile stress in way of the exposed threads is
therefore :

( 1) σ = Fb / As where As is the stress area - a function of thread size and

Since the stress area is less than the cross- sectional area of a normal (non-reduced)
shank, the exposed threads are
usually the most critically
loaded part of the assembly -
this is why failure of threaded
joints occurs most commonly
close to the nut face.

A thread can be likened to a

piece of string wound in a tight
helix around a cylinder - or
around a conical frustum in the
case of pipe thread designed to eliminate leakage.
When a nut on a screw is rotated by one turn, it travels along the screw a distance
known as the lead L. Developing one turn of the thread at the mean diameter dm (
the average of major and minor diameters ) gives the lead angle ( or helix angle
) λ as tanλ = L /π dm .

Power screws may employ multiple threads, or starts, so L = p ∗ number of

starts as illustrated. Fasteners on the other hand are almost invariably single start ( L =
p ). They are also right handed to avoid confusion in tightening, though LH screws
appear in turnbuckles and in certain bicycle parts where the prevailing torque would
tend to loosen RH fasteners.

Thread geometry
A thread 'system' is a set of basic thread
proportions which is scaled to different
screw sizes to define the thread geometry.
Whitworth, Sellers,British Standard Pipe
(BSP) are just three of the many systems
which proliferated before the adoption of
the ISO Metric thread system. Since this
last is now universal, it alone is examined

The basic profile of ISO Metric threads is built up from contiguous equiangular triangles
of height h disposed symmetrically about a pitch line which becomes the pitch
cylinder of diameter d2 when the profile is rotated about the axis to form the thread.
The distance between adjacent triangles - the pitch - is p = 2 h /√3. The tips of the
triangles are truncated by h/8 to form the major diameter ( size ) d of the thread, and
the bases are truncated by h/4 to form the minor diameter d1 . It follows that d1 = d
- 5 h/4 = d - 1.08 p. This leads to the rule of thumb for suitable tapping size drills in
normal materials : dtapping = d - p.

The basic profile becomes a maximum material profile for external threads ( on
screws ) and internal threads ( in nuts ) through the use of suitable radii and tolerances,
so that there is

adequate clearance when internal and external threads engage. The relatively large
radius at the minor diameter of external threads tends to equalise the strengths of
external and internal threads. AS 1721 sets out comprehensive geometric data including
fits and tolerances, however knowledge of these many details is not required here.

At its most basic, a thread definition comprises a combination of size and

corresponding pitch. Thus M14x1.25refers to a Metric thread whose major
diameter d is 14 mm and whose pitch p is 1.25 mm. The stress area of an external
thread corresponds to a diameter ds = d - 13/12 h, that is As = π/4 ( d - 0.9382 p )2 . Other
salient features follow from the underlying geometry.
Most threaded fasteners in general engineering are manufactured to the ISO Metric
Coarse Pitch ( First Preference ) Series outlined in Table 1. Fine pitch and constant
pitch series are used for special purposes such as IC engine spark plugs and externally
threaded thin-walled pipes.

Common Fastener Related Terminology

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Term Definition

Acorn Nut A nut with a slightly pointed domed top that covers the end of a bolt. Acorn nu
sometimes confused with cap nuts which are domed but lack a point.

Used in reference to countersunk fasteners. This is the angle from one side of
Angle of Head cone to the other (A in the illustration). Standard US screws have a head angle of 8
Special 100° heads are also made. Standard metric countersunk screws have a head
of 90°.

Backing Off Loosening of a nut over time by spinning back up the thread.

The area of a fastener that carries a load. Washers are commonly used to increase
Bearing Surface
bearing surface.

Body The smooth part of a fastener above the threads. Also called the shank. This
measured from the bottom of the head to the start of the transition to threads.

Body Diameter The diameter of the body or smooth part of the bolt/screw above the threads.
called shank diameter (S in the illustration).

A special tap for finishing the threads to the very bottom of a hole that does not p
Bottom Tap
through the material. A regular tap must be used first.

Cap Nut A nut with a domed top that covers the end of the bolt. Cap nuts are sometim
confused with acorn nuts which are also domed but come up to a point.

Refers to a hex head cap screw. This is a hex bolt with a circular washer face u
the head. This does not extend past the edge of the hex as a flange bolt would.
Cap Screw
In most cases there is no operational difference between a hex head cap screw (left)
hex bolt (right).
Hex caps should not be confused with socket caps.
When a driver bit slips out of the drive of a fastener during installation once proper t
Cam Out has been met. Repeated cam out can lead to stripping of the drive. Most common
occurs on Phillips drive fasteners.

A bolt with a smooth rounded head. The vast majority of carriage bolts have
Carriage Bolt
square neck. This is a small square section under the head that prevents spinning du
assembly. Carriage bolts are primarily used in wood.

Castle Nut A hex nut with a slightly reduced slotted cylindrical section on one end. Used w
cotter pin and drilled fastener to prevent loosening.

Used in metric, class is a material designation equivalent to the US term Grade (ex. C
Class In US fasteners this refers to how closely the threads fit on machine threaded faste
(ex. Class 2A threads). This usage is rare as few applications call for non-standard th

Clevis Pin A pin with a head on one end and one or more drilled holes for a cotter pin.

A fastener with a full cone shaped point on the end. Often used in automated assem
Cone Point
guide the fastener into the hole.

Cotter Pin A folded pin with a loop at one end designed to have the other end bent to hol

Countersunk A fastener head that sits at or below the surface of the material, such as
or oval head.

A cone shaped end with a circular depression in the center. The contact area is thu
Cup Point
circular ridge. This is the most common point for set screws.

Cut Thread Threads formed by cutting into a piece of stock. See also Roll Thread.

Die A tool for cutting external threads into a rod.

An abbreviation for Deutsches Institut für Normung, the German standards body.
DIN reference to fasteners DIN indicates fasteners that conform to a specific metric stan
(will be followed by the standard number for example DIN 933).

An unthreaded cylindrical tip that is smaller than the fastener diameter. This helps s
alignment during automated assembly. Also called a Pilot Point
Dog / Dog Point
When replacing a screw, the dog point is usually not important (with the exception o

Dowel Screw A double ended screw with wood threads and points on both ends.

Drilled Head A fastener head with a hole drilled through it for a safety wire.

Drilled Shank A fastener shank with a hole drilled through it for a pin or safety wire.

Elevator Bolt A bolt with a large flat disk on the top and a square section underneath, resulti
a flush finish.

A measurement of how much of the fastener is in the material being fastened. See L
of Engagement and Thread Engagement.

External thread Thread on the outside of a cylindrical piece of stock.

Eye Bolt
A bolt with a circular ring on the head end. Used for attaching rope or chain

Similar to a pan head but with a smaller head diameter and a taller head, with high
Fillister Head
vertical sides.

Finishing Washer A washer designed for use with countersunk screws. Used to enhance appearan
some applications.

Flange Bolt
A bolt with a built in washer-like flange just below the head.
Flat Head A head with flat top and a conical bearing surface (bottom). Designed to be

A type of lock nut where the top of the nut has been slotted and bent inward. Wh
Flex Lock
assembled the pressure on the threads prevents the nut from backing off.

Hanger Bolt A double ended bolt with machine threads on one end (takes a nut) and wo
threads on the other end.

A fastener that has been heat treated to increase strength. Grade 5, Grade 8 and a
steel bolts are hardened.

Head Style The type of head or top that is on the fastener. Such as a Round head or Hex hea

A system for re-threading stripped internal threads. A proprietary tap is used to re-th
Heli-Coil the hole and a spring like insert is placed inside to make up the difference in widt
allowing the original size bolt to be used.

Hex Bolt
A bolt with a six sided head.

Hex Head A head with six vertical sides and a flat bearing surface.

Internal Thread Thread on the inside of a cylindrical hole.

Jam Nut A thinner pattern of nut, sometimes used as a second nut to 'jam' another nu
place preventing loosening.

Knurl A pattern of ridges on the surface to provide grip, such as on the head of ma
socket cap screws (see illustration).

Thread that is formed opposite to normal thread so it tightens counter clockwise. L

Left Hand Thread hand thread is used on spinning equipment to prevent loosening. Left hand thread
extremely uncommon.
The length of the part of the fastener where the threads are engaged (in) the mate
Length of Engagement
being fastened.

Lock Nut Any nut with a special design to help prevent backing off (loosening).

Major Diameter The diameter from the top of the thread on one side, to the top of the thread o
other side (T in the illustration).

Nylock Nut
A nut with a nylon insert to help prevent backing off. Short for Nylon Insert Loc

One way screw A fastener designed so it can be installed with a slotted screw driver but can no
removed. Used to resist tampering.

Oval Head
A countersunk screw with a slightly rounded top surface, used for their look

Pan Head
A head with a slightly rounded top surface and short vertical sides.

An unthreaded cylindrical tip that is smaller than the fastener diameter. Used to h
Pilot Point
speed alignment during automated assembly. Also called a Dog Point.

The distance from one thread to the next along the length of the fastener. Used mos
metric, where it is expressed in millimeters.

A bolt with a smooth flat countersunk head that has a small square section underne
Plow Bolt
Used on plows.

Thread that is formed opposite to normal thread so it tightens counter clockwise. Us

Reverse Thread spinning equipment to prevent loosening.
Also called left hand thread.

Threads formed by tightly pressing and rolling a piece of stock between serrated dies
Roll Thread
is the most common method of creating threaded fasteners today.
Root Diameter The diameter from the bottom of the thread on one side, to the bottom of t
thread on the other side (R in the illustration). Also known as Minor Diameter.

Set Screw
A machine screw with no head, usually used to secure parts on a shaft.

Shank The smooth part of a fastener above the threads. Also called the body.

Shank Diameter The diameter of the shank or smooth part of a fastener above the threads (S in

Slotted nut A nut with slots cut into it for the insertion of a cotter pin. Used with a drilled s
fastener. Similar to a castle nut.

Square Bolt A bolt with a four sided head

A special tap for starting the creation of internal threads in very hard metals. Must
Starter Tap
followed with a regular tap.

Stove Bolt An older term for machine screws, generally slotted, packaged with nuts.

A double ended bolt or piece of threaded rod. Often used in machine and automot
applications. Studs may have different threads on each end.

A thin nut with a flange on one end. Intended to be inserted in a hole, in wood
T nut
the flange on the surface. Used to allow a bolt to be fastened in wood without a
protruding nut.

A tool used to create internal threads in a hole, or the act of creating such threads.
also Bottom Tap, and Starter Tap.

Tap Bolt
A fully threaded bolt.

Tensile Strength The maximum load in tension (pulling apart) that a bolt can withstand before failu
The percentage of the thread height that is in the material being fastened. For full th
Thread Engagement engagement the pilot hole should be equal to or smaller than the Root Diameter of

A term used to refer to a standard set of thread pitches and diameters. For example
Thread Series
UNC thread series specifies coarse thread for US standard US bolts.

Threaded Fastener Any fastener with threads, such as a screw or bolt.

Truss Head
An extra wide low profile head with a slightly rounded top surface.

U Bolt
A bolt in the shape of a U, threaded on both ends.

A countersunk head that has been cut off at 70% of the normal height. Screws in this
Undercut Head will have a second flat surface parallel to the top just before the threads. Used in v
short countersunk screws to provide enough thread.

Unified Coarse Thread (UNC) The standard US thread pattern.

Unified Fine Thread (UNF) The standard US thread pattern for fine thread.

Whitworth / Whitworth Thread A now obsolete British thread standard, sometimes found in old cars or machiner

Wing Nut
A nut with 'wings' for easy manual assembly.

Yield Strength The maximum load at which a material exhibits a specific permanent deformatio
When researching different types of
screw threads, you will encounter some basic terms:

 Major diameter – In an external thread like the edges of a screw, major diameter refers to the
diameter of the overall shaft, including the height of the raised helix. It can be measured on the
crests with a calliper rule or slot gauge.

 Minor diameter – Minor diameter measures the diameter of the “root,” or innermost part of the
screw, not including the crests of the helix. For accuracy, this measurement requires specialized

 Effective diameter – The effective diameter is halfway between the major and minor diameters. In
other words, it measures halfway up the helix crest. For accuracy, this measurement also requires
specialized equipment.

 Pitch – The pitch is the distance between two identical threads.

 Flank – The flank is the angle at which the helix is raised to form a crest on the thread.

 Crest – The crest is the height at which an external thread is raised, or the depth at which an
internal thread is indented. For common applications, screws and bolts are measured at the crests,
while nuts are measured at the roots

SCREW THREAD: A ridge of uniform section in the form of a helix on the external or internal
surface of a cylinder. This is known as a straight or parallel thread to distinguish it
from a taper thread that is formed on a cone or frustum of a cone.

EXTERNAL THREAD: Thread on the outside of a cylindrical piece of stock.

INTERNAL THREAD: Thread on the inside of a cylindrical hole.

FASTENER: A fastener is a mechanical device for holding two or more bodies in definite
positions with respect to each other.

THREADED FASTENER: A threaded fastener is a fastener, a portion of which has some form of screw

STANDARD FASTENER: Is one which can be referenced from nationally recognized standards documents.

EXAMPLE 1: Hex bolt M12 x 1.75 x 150, class 4.6 zinc plated.
EXAMPLE 2: Hex cap screw 3/4-10 UN UNC x 4-2A SAE G Grade 5.

SCREW: A screw is the term used for a threaded fastener, with or without a head (headless
- as in set screw) so designed as to permit it to be properly assembled in a pre
formed internal threaded hole (or forming its own thread) and secured by means
of tightening the head.

CAP SCREW: A term used to describe an externally threaded fastener with a protruding head,
designed to be torqued by a spanner or wrench and always preceded by a head
style such as Hex cap screw, Socket head cap screw etc.

SET SCREW: A set screw is a headless threaded fastener that is typically used to hold a sleeve,
collar or gear on a shaft to prevent relative motion.

BOLT: It is the term used for a threaded fastener, with a head, designed to be used in
conjunction with and properly assembled by means of tightening a nut.

STUD: A stud is a headless fastener, which has threads at both ends of the shank. One
end is inserted into an internally tapped hole and tightening a nut on the other end
induces tension. If a stud is threaded its entire length and a nut is used on both
ends, it serves the function of a bolt and is then classified as a stud bolt.

NUT: A nut is a geometrically designed block(usually of metal or plastic) with an

internal thread and designed to be assembled in conjunction with a bolt or screw.

LOCK NUT: Any nut with a special design that helps to prevent the nut from loosening.

PREVAILING TORQUE NUT: A type of lock nut which has a prevailing torque to assist in preventing self
loosening. There are two main categories of prevailing torque nuts, all metal and
nylon insert. All metal torque prevailing nuts generally gain a prevailing torque
by distorting the threads at the top of the nut by some means. Nylon insert torque
prevailing nuts ultilise a nylon (or other polymer) insert to achieve a prevailing

WASHER: A washer is a part having a centrally located hole. The washer performs various
functions when assembled between the bearing surface of a fastener and the part
being attached.
WASHER FACE: A washer face is a circular boss under the head of the fastener, providing a
bearing surface. Applicable for a bolt or nut.

HEADLESS FASTENER: A headless threaded fastener is a fastener normally having a slot, recess, or socket
in one end to drive the fastener into the assembly. Commonly referred to as Set
Screw or Grub Screw.

RIGHT HAND THREAD: A thread is a right hand thread if, when viewed axially, it winds in a clockwise
and receding direction. All threads are right hand unless otherwise designated.

LEFT HAND THREAD: A thread is a left hand thread if, when viewed axially, it winds in a counter-
clockwise and receding direction. All left hand threads are designated LH.

PITCH: The distance from a point on the screw thread to a corresponding point on the
adjacent thread measured parallel to its axis in the same axial plane and on the
same side of the axis. The term pitch is mainly used in the metric system and is
specified in mm.

THREADS PER INCH (tpi): A decimal count of the number of threads in one inch of screw thread. The
term threads per inch(tpi) is used for inch fasteners.

MAJOR DIAMETER: This is the diameter of an imaginary cylinder parallel with the crests of the thread;
in other words it is the distance from crest to crest for an external thread, or root
to root for an internal thread.

MINOR DIAMETER: This is the diameter of an imaginary cylinder which just touches the roots of an
external thread, or the crests of an internal thread.

ROOT DIAMETER: Identical to Minor Diameter.

PITCH DIAMETER: It is the effective diameter of the thread which passes through the thread in such a
position that the widths of the thread ridges and thread grooves are equal and lies
approximately half way between the major and minor diameters.

EFFECTIVE DIAMETER: Identical to Pitch Diameter.

HEAD: The head of a fastener is the enlarged configuration, preformed on one end of a
headed fastener, to provide a bearing surface.

BODY: The unthreaded portion of a bolt between the head and the threaded portion.

SHANK: That portion of a headed fastener that lies between the head and the extreme end

SHOULDER: A shoulder is an enlarged portion of a threaded fastener or the shank of an

unthreaded fastener.

LENGTH: The length of a headed fastener is the distance from the intersection of the largest
diameter of the head with the bearing surface to the extreme point, measured in a
line parallel to the axis of the fastener.

GRIP LENGTH: Total distance between the underside of the nut to the bearing face of the bolt
head; includes washer, gasket thickness etc.

THREAD ENGAGEMENT: The percentage of the thread height that is in the material being fastened. For full
thread engagement, the pilot hole should be equal to or smaller than the root
diameter of the fastener.

WIDTH ACROSS CORNERS: The width across corners of a hexagon, square or rectangular geometry and used
as tightening media, are measured from corner to corner.

WIDTH ACROSS FLATS: The width across flats of hexagon or square heads of fasteners is the distance
measured perpendicular to the fastener axis across the flats of the fastener.
GRADE: Used for externally threaded INCH fasteners to designate the strength of the

CLASS: Used for METRIC fasteners to designate the fastener strength. Class is a material
designation equivalent to the US term Grade.

HIGH STRENGTH FASTENER: A high strength fastener is a fastener having high tensile and shear strengths
attained through combination of material types, work hardening and heat

TENSILE STRENGTH: Tensile strength is the maximum tension (pull or tautness) applied as a loading,
that a fastener can support prior to, or coincidental with, its fracture.

FINISH: The term finish is commonly applied to the condition of the surface of fastener
because of chemical or organic treatment, subsequent to the manufacture of the
fastener.The term finish is also applied to some types of fasteners to indicate the
condition of a materials surface texture because of mechanical operations and the
degree of precision achieved or required.
Calculating the Proper Preload for Threaded Fasteners

Stephen Mraz | Mar 28, 2016

One of the most critical factors when it comes to reliability of a threaded-fastener joint is
preload—the force the tightened fastener exerts on an assembly. Preload is a function of
many variables, including fastener material and finish, head style, and lubrication. So, in
the end, there is no simple, totally reliable way to compute the precise preload needed
for every application. However, the following equations serve as useful guides in relating
preload to three of the more important factors in threaded-joint design: total bolt load,
tensile stress, and tightening torque.

The tension on a fastener for a given preload and external load is:

Pt = Pi = Pe(Ks/(Ks + Kc))

This is a conservative expression that is accurate enough for most joint designs. But it is
intended only as a guide because it ignores factors such as bending, heating, and impact


When fasteners are torqued to increase preload, torsional stresses placed on them
reduce the tensile force they can exert before yielding. The total tensile stress felt by the
bolt is:
St= Pt/2A + ((Pt/2A)2 - (tr/J)2)0.5

The required tightening torque for the fastener can be estimated from the empirical
expression for the fastener:

T = KDPt

Constant K is normally about 0.2 for a black screw. For a lubricated fastener or one with
cadmium plaiting, K is about 0.15. Unlubricated zinc-plated screws may have a K as high
as 0.35

For rigid steel parts, the conservative practice is to tighten the fasteners to 75% of yield.
Lower torques should be considered for flexible joints, joints with gaskets, or assemblies
subject to high temperatures.

These equations may aid engineers and designers in determining the proper required
preload, which is often a major factor controlling a joint’s fatigue life. In a typical rigid
assembly, an external load below that of the preload has little effect on fastener tension.
Thus, the fastener generally does not fail in fatigue even if such a load is repeatedly
applied. However, a repeated external load higher than the preload produced cyclic
tensioning that may lead to fatigue failure.

For example, a socket screw with a rated tensile strength of 180,000 psi may have an
average endurance limit of only 15,000 psi. This means the fastener can withstand a
one-time applied stress of 180,000 psi, but a cyclic stress of more than 15,000 psi could
induce fatigue failure within a given number of cycles.
The most common way to avoid such failures is to increase the size of the fastener.
However, this usually requires changes to hole preparation, tightening methods, and
assembly fixtures. Frequently, the problem can instead be solved by merely preloading
the fastener above the external load.


A = Thread stress area (in.2)

D = Nominal screw diameter (in.)

J = Polar moment of inertia, pi*r4/2

K = Constant from 0.05 to 0.35

Kc = Assembly spring constant, lb./in.

Ks = Screw spring constant, lb./in.

Pe = External payload, lb.

Pi = Preload, lb.

Pt = Total bolt load, lb.

R = radius, (A/pi)0.5

St = Total tensile stress felt by bolt, psi

T = Tightening torque, lb.-in.

t = Torsion felt by screw, lb.-in.