Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Daniel P. Hess, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Craig Lusk, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nathan Crane, Ph.D.


Preload loss, Loosening, Population predictions, Threaded insert, Bolt


This thesis presents methods to statistically quantify data from fastener vibration life tests. Data from fastener vibration life tests with secondary locking features of threaded inserts is used. Threaded inserts in three different configurations are examined: no locking feature, prevailing torque locking feature, and adhesive locking feature. Useful composite plots were developed by extracting minimum preloads versus cycles from test data. Minimum preloads were extracted due to the overlapping of varying test data and because the minimum preload is of most interest in such tests.

In addition to composite plots, descriptive statistics of the samples were determined including mean, median, quartiles, and extents. These descriptive statistics were plotted to illustrate variability within a sample as well as variability between samples. These plots also reveal that characteristics of loosening for a sample, such as preload loss and rates of preload loss, are preserved when summarizing such tests. Usually fastener vibration life tests are presented and compared with one test sample, which is why statistically quantifying them is needed and important.

Methods to predict the sample population have been created as well. To predict populations, tests to determine the distribution of the sample, such as probability plots and probability plot correlation coefficient, have been conducted. Once samples were determined to be normal, confidence intervals were created for test samples, which provides a range of where the population mean should lie. It has been shown that characteristics of loosening are preserved in the confidence intervals. Populations of fastener vibration life tests have never before been presented or created.

The evaluation of loosening has been conducted for fastener vibration life tests in the past with plots of one test sample; however, in this work statistically quantified results of multiple tests were used. This is important because evaluating loosening with more than one test sample can determine variation between tests. It has been found that secondary locking features do help reduce the loss of preload. The prevailing torque secondary locking feature is found to be more effective as preload is lost. The best secondary locking feature has been found to be the adhesive.