how to calculate fastener torque


Fasteners such as nuts and bolts are essential components in the construction of many mechanical devices. They provide a secure way to join two or more components together. Torque is a crucial factor in determining the safety and performance of fastened joints. It is, therefore, important to have the right amount of torque to ensure that the joint remains secure while not being over-tightened, which could cause damage to the components or the joint itself. This article will discuss how to calculate fastener torque.

What is Torque?

Torque refers to the force required to rotate an object around an axis. In fastener applications, torque is used to tighten the fastener to a specific tension. The aim is to achieve a balance between tension and compression on the joint. The compression and tension forces work together to ensure that the joint remains secure over time. A common unit of torque is the Newton-meter (N-m).

Why is Torque Important?

Torque is crucial in maintaining the safety and reliability of mechanical devices since it prevents fasteners from becoming too loose or too tight. If fasteners are not torqued appropriately, they can fail, causing damage or injury. Moreover, over-tightening fasteners can cause threads to strip, crush materials, or even fracture bolts in the joint.

Factors that Affect Torque

Several factors influence the torque needed to achieve optimal joint performance. These include:

1. Lubrication: Lubrication can help reduce the amount of torque needed to achieve the same level of tension. For instance, a greased bolt may require less torque than a dry bolt to achieve the same tension.

2. Material Properties: Material properties such as hardness, density, and elasticity can influence the amount of torque required to achieve proper joint pressure.

3. Surface Condition: The surface of the fastener and the joint can affect the accuracy of torque readings. A dirty or rusty surface can interfere with torque readings, leading to over-tightening or under-tightening of the fastener.

4. Thread Condition: Thread condition can also affect the amount of torque required. Damaged or worn threads can affect the accuracy of torque readings and require additional torque to achieve the desired tension.

5. Environmental Factors: Environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and vibration can also affect torque readings. In high-vibration environments, fasteners typically need higher torque ratings to maintain joint integrity.

Calculating Fastener Torque

Calculating fastener torque initially involves determining the bolt size and the tightening technique that will be used.

Step 1: Determine the Bolt Size

The first step in calculating fastener torque is to ascertain the bolt size. Bolt size is typically determined based on the diameter of the bolt thread. A common method is to use a thread gauge, which measures bolt diameter and thread pitch.

Step 2: Decide on the Tightening Technique

The next step is to choose a tightening technique. There are two primary techniques: torque-to-yield and torque-to-angle.

Torque-to-Yield is a method that measures a bolt's elasticity to determine the appropriate amount of tension. This involves using a torque wrench to tighten the bolt to a specified torque level while monitoring bolt elongation with a micrometer. Once bolting has elongated to the necessary threshold, the bolt is held there to achieve the desired tension.

The torque-to-angle method uses a specified torque value and angle of rotation to determine the appropriate amount of tension. This involves using a torque wrench to tighten a bolt to a specified torque value and subsequently advancing the bolt by a specified angle.

Step 3: Calculate Torque

Once the bolt size is determined and the tightening technique chosen, the next step is to calculate the required torque. This is achieved using a formula that relates the bolt diameter, tightening technique, and the desired level of torque.

The formula for calculating fastener torque is:

T = K x F x D


T = Torque

K = Coefficient of Friction

F = Load

D = Bolt Diameter

The Load (F) is determined based on the desired tension and the cross-sectional area of the bolt. The coefficient of friction (K) is determined based on the surface conditions of the bolt and its surroundings. The bolt diameter (D) is the diameter of the bolt's thread.

A torque chart may also be used to determine the recommended torque ratings for different bolt sizes and material classes.


Calculating fastener torque is an important aspect of maintaining a secure and reliable mechanical device. Improper torque can lead to premature wear, damage, or even catastrophic failure. By considering the factors that influence torque and following the appropriate torque calculation procedure, it is possible to ensure that fasteners are tightened correctly within the required tolerance levels.


Just tell us your requirements, we can do more than you can imagine.
Send your inquiry
Chat with Us

Send your inquiry

Choose a different language
Tiếng Việt
bahasa Indonesia
Current language:English