Loughborough University
Thesis-2007-Bulkai.pdf (46.49 MB)

Advanced finite element analysis for strain measurement in a threaded connection

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posted on 2011-02-01, 16:29 authored by Andras Bulkai
There is no established method of measuring load accurately in a threaded connection at working temperatures exceeding 500°C. At these conditions conventional methods can not be used due to the sensitivity of the instruments and it is suggested that a non contact method should be used. The laser strain gauge was developed by the Loughborough University Optical Research Group and it is a non contact way of measuring surface strain. With the help of finite element analysis (FEA) a special nut was developed that can be used to measure the load on the connection by relating the surface strain of the nut to the load. Experimental work later revealed that due to the threads sticking in the connection there is hysteresis present between the load and surface strain relationship. To eliminate the hysteresis a new part was added to the connection which could be used to relate the surface strain on it to the load without any hysteresis. This new part was a specially designed washer with three grooves to allow easy access for the user to measure the surface strain using the laser strain gauge. Part of the design specification was that the load has to be determined to an accuracy of 0.5%. Using sensitivity analysis the washer was analysed in terms of how manufacturing imperfections affect the accuracy of the load measuring device. The results revealed that to achieve the required 0.5% accuracy the washer would have to be manufactured to very tight tolerances. To achieve these tight tolerances the manufacturing process would not be cost effective so it was proposed that individual calibration is required for each load measuring washer. Tests showed that with sufficient calibration the specially designed washer and the laser strain gauge can be combined and used as an accurate non contact load measuring device. As it is a non contact method it can be used in extreme environments including high temperatures. This thesis describes how background research, finite element analysis and experimental testing were used to develop the load measuring washer. Also it is shown, how in-depth sensitivity analysis was used to determine the accuracy of the prototype and that how manufacturing imperfections influence the working life of a threaded connection.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


© Andras Bulkai

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

EThOS Persistent ID



  • en