During tightening, the amount of torque given by the difference between the tightening torque, which is directly applied by the torque wrench, and the underhead torque, flows through the screw shank towards the threaded portion. This torque combines with the axial preload to bring about the overall stress state of the screw at tightening. Upon release of the torque wrench, a certain amount of the shank torque is released due to the elastic springback of the screw-plates system. In the literature [1], this phenomenon is just briefly treated by a few authors: they generally agree that approximately a half of the initial shank torque is released just a few seconds after torque wrench removal. This indication is given regardless of the frictional [2] and stiffness [3] parameters, which govern the joint. The present contribution aims at assessing, if there is any effect of the following parameters on the amount of shank torque being released after wrench removal: (i) the ratio between the torsional stiffness of the screw and of the plates, (ii) the friction coefficients in the underhead and in the thread. The experimentation has been run on a M20 8.8 class socket head screw, which has been instrumented by a double array of strain gauges, to simultaneously measure both the axial preload and the torque acting on its shank. Two different types of joined members have been examined: a cylindrical sleeve whose diameter is twice the screw diameter (compliant joint) and a rectangular plate whose transverse dimensions are more than ten times larger than the screw diameter (stiff joint). The underhead and thread friction coefficients have been controlled by properly selecting lubrication conditions. The main outcome of the work is that the torsional stiffness of the joined members does have an impact on the residual shank torque. A simple mathematical model has also been implemented, in order to predict the residual shank torque during the design phase.

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