Tensile Stress Area


Bolted joints are one of the most common elements in construction and machine design. They consist of fasteners that capture and join other parts, and are secured with the mating of screw threads.

There are two main types of bolted joint designs: tension joints and shear joints.

In the tension joint, the bolt and clamped components of the joint are designed to transfer the external tension load through the joint by way of the clamped components through the design of a proper balance of joint and bolt stiffness. The joint should be designed such that the clamp load is never overcome by the external tension forces acting to separate the joint (and therefore the joined parts see no relative motion).

The second type of bolted joint transfers the applied load in shear on the bolt shank and relies on the shear strength of the bolt. Tension loads on such a joint are only incidental. A preload is still applied but is not as critical as in the case where loads are transmitted through the joint in tension. Other such shear joints do not employ a preload on the bolt as they allow rotation of the joint about the bolt, but use other methods of maintaining bolt/joint integrity. This may include clevis linkages, joints that can move, and joints that rely on a locking mechanism (like lock washers, thread adhesives, and lock nuts).

Thread engagement is the length or number of threads that are engaged between the screw and the female threads. Screws are designed so that the bolt shank fails before the threads, but for this to hold true, a minimum thread engagement must be used.

Related formulas


Attensile stress area (mm2)
Dscrew major diameter (mm)
pscrew thread pitch (mm)