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Uncertainty of Preloads in Closure Bolts for Transportation Casks for Hazardous and Radioactive Materials

[+] Author Affiliations
Vikram N. Shah

Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL

Paper No. PVP2008-61360, pp. 215-223; 9 pages
  • ASME 2008 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Volume 7: Operations, Applications and Components
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, July 27–31, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4830-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3828-5
  • Copyright © 2008 by UChicago Argonne LLC, Operator of Argonne National Laboratory


Maintaining closure bolting integrity under normal and accident conditions is essential for the safe transportation of shipping casks bearing hazardous and radioactive materials. Bolt preload introduces a clamping force in the joint that plays a critical role in ensuring a less-than-specified rates of leakage from such casks. Precise control over bolt preload is essential to introduce adequate clamping force in the joint. Uncertainty is introduced in the closure bolt preloads when an individual bolt is tightened and then when the other bolts are tightened in a specified sequence. Tightening an individual bolt can introduce uncertainty as high as ±35% mainly because of the variation in the coefficient of friction. Tightening the subsequent bolts in a specified sequence introduces uncertainty because the elastic interactions between bolts reduce the preloads already installed. This paper reviews the literature related to the methods employed for installing the preloads, factors introducing uncertainty in the preloads, methods for reducing the uncertainty, and the techniques available for measuring the preloads. It is concluded that the use of an elastic interaction matrix has a potential for providing the specified preload in the bolted joint and that ultrasonic measurements can be used to monitor the preload with ±10% or less uncertainty.

Copyright © 2008 by UChicago Argonne LLC, Operator of Argonne National Laboratory



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