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Reduced Torque with Lubricated Bolts

Lubrication effect on bolt tension and torque.

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When a bolt is lubricated - less torque is required to achieve bolt axial load or tension. Reduction of torques for lubricated vs. dry bolts are indicated in the table below.

Lubricated Bolts - Reduced Torque
LubricantTorque Reduction
(%)
Graphite 50 - 55
White Grease 35 - 45
SAE 30 oil 35 - 45
SAE 40 oil 30 - 40
No lube 0

Example - Reduction of Torque when Bolt is Lubricated

The maximum tightening torque for a slightly lubricated 1" Grade 5 coarse bolt is 483 lbf ft. Dry bolt torque is approximately 30% higher - or 628 lbf ft.

Tdry = (483 lbf ft) (1 + (30%) / (100%))

   = 628 lbf ft

If the bolt is lubricated with SAE 30 oil - the torque compared to a dry bolt is reduced with approximately 40%.

TSAE30 = (628 lbf ft) (1 - (40%) / (100%))

   = 377 lbf ft

Note that if torque specified for a dry or slightly oiled bolt torque is applied to a lubricated bolt  - the bolt may overload and break.

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Related Topics

  • Fasteners

    Bolts, nuts and threaded rods - torque, tension and loads.
  • Miscellaneous

    Engineering related topics like Beaufort Wind Scale, CE-marking, drawing standards and more.

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