In this paper, the finite element simplification of a standard bolted joint configuration is investigated. Static and modal analyses of a 3D model are used for benchmarking three different simplified finite element models using Siemens NX software. More specifically, the three simplified finite element models utilize beam elements, spring elements and a coupled shell-beamspring elements model. Four margin of safety criteria with respect to slipping, gapping, yield strength and ultimate strength were evaluated. Results show comparable values in the yield and ultimate margins of safety of all three simplified finite element models. Additionally, a parametric analysis relative to bolt size is performed to check the validity of the different simplifications with respect to bolt slenderness ratio. Results indicate minimal errors for larger slenderness ratio bolts. This is attributed to the minimal contribution of shear and out of plane stresses. For optimal results, it is recommended for the slenderness ratio to be at least 1.5 for an accurate 1D representation of the overall join behavior. Moreover, all three simplifies models are observed to accurately capture modal frequencies, with the exception of the torsional modes due to restricted degrees of freedom. Finally, effects of beam discretization and computational time is highlighted in the work presented in this manuscript.

Publication Date


Document Type

Master's Project

Student Type


Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering (ME)

Department, Program, or Center

Engineering (KGCOE)


Wael Abdel Samad


RIT Dubai