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While a variety of loading profiles can cause fastener loosening, it is understood that forces which lead to slipping of the clamped parts in the joint relative to one another will cause the most dramatic loosening. The force that resists loosening is generated by friction between the mating threads and between the bolt or nut and the mating part. In the standard bolted joint this resisting force is directly proportional to bolt tension – the greater the elongation of the bolt, the greater the friction force available to resist loosening. Because resistance to loosening similarly decreases with decreased bolt elongation, the common occurrence of joint relaxation due to embedment within the joint stack will leave the joint more susceptible to loosening.
The following flowchart identifies thee three primary means of preventing threaded fastener loosening and lists specific remedies for each.
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