Half Bolt Connectors in SolidWorks Simulation

File: PVE-6438, Last Updated: Aug. 20, 2012, By: BTV

Design and analysis of flanges in SolidWorks simulation often requires the use of a half bolt connector. This feature is available from the “Connections” group in the simulation tree.

1. Start by creating a standard bolt connector, selecting the inside edges where the bolt will terminate.

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2. Specified the bolt head diameter, shank diameter and the material.

3. Select the axial preload and enter the total bolt pre-load for a full bolt ignoring the fact that this is a 1/2 bolt.

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4. Open the advance option and check the 1/2 symmetry option. Select a plane that indicates where symmetry is taken about. Do not select a face or bolt connector loads will not report for this connector. Certain geometry may require a plane to be created.

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5. Export the bolt loads to a .csv file by right clicking the “Results” folder and selecting “List Pin/ Bolt/ Bearing Force”.

6. Open the .csv file and locate the 1/2 connectors (connector 1 for this example). The total applied preload is 100 lb. Note that the .csv export will show -50 lb axial force. Multiply all of these forces (Axial, Bending and Shear) by 2 before calculating bolt stresses. The von Mises bolt stress for this example should be equal for all bolts.

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7. The deflections around the outside of the flange show that the bolt preloads applied create a uniform load. The full bolt connectors create the same deflection as the half bolt connectors.

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The verification for 1/2 connector application can be seen in the deflection plot. The image below shows an incorrect method of applying a half connector. Note that the deflection is not radial around the outside of the flange. This indicates that the 1/2 connectors are not setup correctly.

HalfBolt_Image7When possible half connector should be avoided due to the affect they have on the global reaction forces. Half connectors often apply forces against the symmetry plane that cannot be accounted for. This prevents a user from checking that the applied loads equal the simulation resulting forces. These force do not have any adverse affects on the displacement or stress.