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Re: RE: Washers for A490 Bolts

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The washers prevent galling.  Without the washers you may not achieve the required installation tension.  If you really needed a slip-critical installation, you probably needed the washers.  However, read all the fine print.  High strength bolts may be used in "bearing" connections with snug-tight installation only.  The washers really shouldn't matter much.  The character of the load is important.  t's got to be essentially static in a "bearing" connection.  The direction of the force is also important.  It's got to be normal to the slot within plus or minus x degrees.  Direct tension is not allowed.  See the specification for high-strength bolts in the back of your steel manual for details.  Use a recent edition.  They are always fiddling with this document.

For after the fact justification, you could try a Skidmore-Wilhelm test to show that the tension is achievable without washers.  Not likely with short 490s, though.

Tom Higgins

>>> Charlie Carter <carter(--nospam--at)> 04/16 5:37 AM >>>
>On one of our projects,  1-1/2" dia. A490N bolts were specified for shear
>tab beam connection.  Because of fit-up, the contractor made the connection
>using short slotted holes in the beam web.  However, the requirements for
>minimum 5/16" thick washers were overlooked.  The beam is in place now and
>because of the existing conditions, the connection can not be accessed to
>replace the bolts and the washers. What is the reason for requiring 5/16

Thicker washers are required for pretensioned applications with A490s of
diameter greater than 1 in.because of the tendency of standard F436 washers
to dish into the hole, thereby reducing the clamping force induced using an
otherwise acceptable installation procedure.

>Can one use some reduced capacity when standard thickness washers are used
>instead of 5/16 inch washers?

One possible solution is to consider whether pretension is actually required
in the first place. If the bolts are in shear, snug-tightened installation
of A490s is often acceptable (pretension is often not required). And per
RCSC Specification Section 6.1.2, for snug-tightened bolts in slotted holes
in exterior plies, a standard ASTM F436 washer is suitable.

Hope this helps.


P.S. If you don;t already have it, you can get the 2000 RCSC Specification
as a free download from

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