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Rice University

1. Balaji, Nidish Narayanaa. Multi-Scale Modeling in Bolted Interfaces.

Degree: MS, Mechanical Engineering, 2019, Rice University

The thesis develops a framework for modeling the dynamics of bolted structures in a multi-scale manner. Understanding that most of the challenges faced by the joints community is around the reconciliation of contact response with physical parameters of the system, the current work is an attempt for this reconciliation using properties identified from interfacial scans of the structure. The basic idea of statistical averaging as conducted in rough contact studies is used here for achieving this in a segment-by-segment fashion. Thus, the response characterization may be done in a manner that represents the micro-level asperity distributions while also preserving a meso-level understanding of possible local variations. Since all of these are used, through the framework, for macro-level simulations of the dynamics, the approach links the micro-, meso-, and the macro-length scales (in that order). For the dynamical simulations, a modified modal quasi-static approach is proposed, which is capable of representing amplitude-dependent nonlinear modal characteristics of nonlinear dynamical systems with linear limit cases. Since the fully stuck and the fully slipped cases may be taken as the limit cases, this is well applicable for the cases with frictional contacts. The results for the modified approach are compared with the responses characterized from other time- and frequency-domain approaches for a simple example in order to validate its efficacy. Finally, the approach is applied for a three bolt lap-joint benchmark (the so-called ``Brake-Reu{\ss}-Beam''). Since the characterization of the interface is conducted in a full-field manner on top of a finite element mesh, the framework is also demonstrated to be applicable for conducting full-field micro-scale interface evolution studies. Validating this would enable models with backward-evolutionary dependence (macro- influencing meso- influencing micro-scale attributes). To this end, preliminary statistical studies are conducted to establish and/or understand correlations of local changes in relevant roughness parameters with predicted local tractions and dissipation fluxes. Advisors/Committee Members: Brake, Matthew R. W. (advisor).

Subjects/Keywords: Frictional systems; Rough contact; Zero Thickness Elements; Surface Characterization; Bolted Joints

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APA (6th Edition):

Balaji, N. N. (2019). Multi-Scale Modeling in Bolted Interfaces. (Masters Thesis). Rice University. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Balaji, Nidish Narayanaa. “Multi-Scale Modeling in Bolted Interfaces.” 2019. Masters Thesis, Rice University. Accessed August 24, 2019.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Balaji, Nidish Narayanaa. “Multi-Scale Modeling in Bolted Interfaces.” 2019. Web. 24 Aug 2019.


Balaji NN. Multi-Scale Modeling in Bolted Interfaces. [Internet] [Masters thesis]. Rice University; 2019. [cited 2019 Aug 24]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Balaji NN. Multi-Scale Modeling in Bolted Interfaces. [Masters Thesis]. Rice University; 2019. Available from: