It is important to determine and control the clamping force of a bolted joint. Due to its simple setup, the torque control method is typically used to control the clamping force when tightening bolts. After tightening, hammer tests, ultrasonic techniques and methods employing sheet materials as sensors are often used. Many methods have been proposed, but using them to determine and control the clamping force during or after tightening bolts is labor intensive or expensive. Here we conduct impact tests with an impulse hammer combined with experimental modal analysis to determine the clamping force by interpreting the change in the local mode frequency of a bolt head in the high frequency region as a function of the clamping force. To demonstrate the applicability of our method, we also investigate its limits with regard to bolt sizes.
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