In this paper, the effect of bolt clamping force on the fatigue behavior of bolted single lap joints of aluminum alloy 2024- T3 have been studied using numerical finite element method. To do so, a three dimensional model according to the bolted single lap joint has been created and numerical analysis has been carried out using finite element based package. Then the stress distribution and also the slip amplitudes have been calculated in the critical regions and the outcome have been compared with the available experimental fatigue tests results. The numerical results show that in low applied clamping force, the fatigue failure of the specimens occur around the stress concentration location (the bolted hole edge) due to the tensile stresses and thus fatigue crack propagation, but with increase of the clamping force, the fatigue life increases and the cracks nucleate and propagate far from the hole edge because of fretting fatigue. In other words, with the further increase of clamping force value of the joint, the fatigue life reduces due to occurrence of the fretting fatigue in the critical location where the slip amplitude is within its critical occurs earlier.
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