What is the shear strength of carbon steel bolts?

First, unlike tensile and yield strengths, there are no published shear strength values or requirements for ASTM specifications. The Industrial Fastener Institute (Inch Fastener Standards, 7th ed. 2003. B-8) states that shear strength is approximately 60% of the minimum tensile strength.

“As an empirical guide, shear strengths of carbon steel fasteners may be assumed to be approximately 60 percent of their specified minimum tensile strengths. For example, an SAE grade 5 hex cap screw has a specified minimum tensile strength of 120,000 psi. Therefore, for design purposes, its shear strength could be reasonably assumed to be 70,000 psi.”

Quick Tip: For instructions on how to calculate the strength for your bolt, see Calculating Yield and Tensile Strength.

It is important to understand that some imported fasteners, like lag screws, are typically ungraded. Since they are not manufactured to any specific grade, it is impossible to determine any strength characteristics associated with them unless you have them strength tested at a laboratory. For applications where shear will occur in the unthreaded portion the nominal diameter should be used to calculate the value. Whereas, if the shear area is in the threaded section the minor diameter should be used.

AISC provides published values for ASTM A325 and A490 structural bolts listed in Specifications for Structural Steel Buildings under Table J3.2 (16.1-104, 13th Ed.) (16.1-120, 14th Ed.).

Although, the Strength by Grade Chart has no shear strength information, it shows the strength requirements of common ASTM and SAE grade construction fastener specifications.

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    ASTM is material standards. It is the process that defines the test for grading materials. The code which defines if a member fails or not is what you are referring to. For example AISC provides a formula for the ASTM A572 Steel member. The formula will wait her give you the design strength/limit state or the allowable/actual stress of the member. ASTM defines that the member is minimum 50ksi. The formula defines the actual stress or limit state loading.

    There are a lot of considerations on bolts. thread form J type have a rounded radius root that lowers stress Concentrations. Stress Concentrations draw free Hydrogen and oxygen causing stress cracking.
    In salt water I would use a 316 stainless bolt with a J thread.

    I found a sheared FS93C SS bolt that was holding a mild steel blade onto the bronze rudder shaft of a 30′ sailboat. I have found in the past that 18-8 bolts are more prone to thread galling and stripping than carbon steel bolts or 316SS, and wonder if that might indicate a lower shear strength, tho’ these may have been cheap imported bolts. I am obviously looking to maximize the shear strength of the replacement bolts in this application, especially as these parts are all molded inside the fiberglass fin of the rudder, making their replacement nearly impossible. I wonder if using a carbon steel grade 8 might help more than a 316, as there is already mild steel in contact with the bronze shaft. Hoping this isn’t a completely dead thread.

    @Nedson- Both 18-8 and 316 have the same minimum mechanical properties, meaning that their shear values should theoretically be the same. You will get variations from lot to lot and form different manufacturers, but the published minimums are the same. As for the galling, we don’t have the hands-on experience to comment one way or the other, other than to say that stainless in general does gall quite easily. Carbon and alloy steel bolts like grade 8 will have much higher mechanical properties and be less likely to gall, but the trade off is the lack of corrosion resistance.

    I am opening a bungee fitness facility. I have 10 inch x half inch galvanized eyebolts attached to the metal beams in the ceiling. I know the load says it can pull 2200 pounds. My weight loads will not surpass 240 pounds. My only concern is the torque (or sheer) weight capacity to bend or even break the bolt. Help please if you can answer that questfor me. I definitely do not want anyone getting hurt if an eyebolt breaks!

    @Michelle- Eye bolts ratings are for straight-pull loads, and typically have a 5:1 safety factor built in, meaning that eye bolt shouldn’t fracture until you exceed the working load by a factor of 5, in this case 11,000lbs. However, when angled forces are in play, the rated values are lowered; to 30% of straight-pull for 45 degree forces and 25% for 90 degree forces, 660lbs and 550lbs respectively. The shear value of steel is typically 60% of straight pull tensile, so with the safety factor built in, 2200 x 60% = 1320lbs. If the maximum load on your eye bolts is to be 240lbs, we think these will be more than sufficient. That said, having an engineer look at all the factors at play and having them sign off on your design is probably not a bad idea.

    I’ve read all 30 comments but I’d like to ask this anyway. I’d also like to apologize for causing your eyes to roll into the back of your head.

    For a small wood clamp project I’m working on I have the option of putting machine bolts under shear force or tensile force/stretching force/pulling them out of the bolt hole force. LOL! Given that shear strength is +/- 60% of tensile strength, and if given the choice, one should almost always choose tensile force, yes?

    Again, sorry about your eyes. ;-)

    @Keith- No eye roll here, it is better to ask than guess. Yes, we’d say that all things being equal, you will get more strength from the bolt if it is in tensile than in shear.

    The moment arm of the force will determine which limit state is met. There is no way to just generally categorize stresses. You should check each limit state by structural analysis and determine if your member fails or passes. Sometime by experience you can determine a limit state by inspection. But you should have experience and intuitition with these concepts

    Help – Im building a treehouse and attaching a 3/4″ x 10″ galvanized lag screw through a 2×8 beam and 7″ into a tree.
    The weight of the finished tree house is approx. 1500 lbs. in materials which is shared by two trees. Is this ok?

    @David- The shear strength of the lag bolt is in excess of 11,000lbs, so whereas it will hold the weight of the tree house, what we can’t calculate is the pull out strength of the wood or tree. You would need to contact an engineer familiar with wood construction to determine that.

    Bonjour ;

    Comment calculer la contrainte équivalente ( cisaillement par effort + cisaillement par couple )
    des filets de l’écrou ( Non normalisée )

    @Anis- Le cisaillement du fil d’écrou peut être calculé, mais nous n’avons pas cette équation. Vous devriez consulter un ingénieur pour l’obtenir.

    Does the 60% shear trick work with stainless steel bolts also? I haven’t been able to find any sheer capacities for a 1/2″ SS bolt.

    @Steve- SAE J429 gr.8 bolts are not ‘rated’ for shear, however their approximate shear strength is 60% of tensile. Grade 8 tensile is 150,000psi, therefore shear is 90,000psi.

    I’m not the best at your equation for sheering force so maybe you can do it. I would like to know what the sheering force of a m6x1.0 bolt. I have 4 of them holding a pully to a drive snout and sheered all 4 off. They were rated at 12.9, is there any other bolt I can use? Thanks

    @Harry- I am sorry, but we do not have the shear information for those bolts. As far as I know, 12.9 is the strongest metric grade, so there would be nothing above that.

    Dear Manager,
    I am looking the anchor bolt or pin, that can stands up to 5000 lb. force or break away force 5000 lb. Do you have any kind of material to match specification ?
    I need this on one of project.

    @Raman- If you are using low carbon, A36 material for the pins, you would need a 1/2″ or larger pin in order to withstand 5,000lbs of shear. If you want to go with a smaller pin, that can be done as well, but I’d need to know your size constraints in order to recommend a grade of material.

    I’m looking for what size bolt to give minimum shear of 5000 lbs. Required to be installed in highly corrosive area thus the need for stainless steel.

    @Gene – We previously determined that the min shear value for stainless is 45,000psi. If you want a min shear value of 5,000lbf, we look at this equation: 45,000 x pi x r^2=5,000. I get r=0.187, so your min diameter to achieve 5,000 lbs of shear is 0.374″=3/8″. That doesn’t include any safety factors, so that diameter should be padded by whatever safety factor you feel safe with. I hope that helps.

    @Gene – Shear strength is typically about 60% of tensile, so since stainless steel (both 304 and 316) has a minimum tensile of 75,000psi, the minimum shear should be about 45,000psi.

    Dear Manager,
    Bolt A193-B8M Class 1 have Tensile Strength is 75.000 psi, yield strength is 30.000 psi. So if we take Shear strength is 60% of Tensile strength, we have 45.000 psi.
    So Shear strength > Yield strength —> Bolt is damage

    @Hai- Yes, I would assume that if your bolt was loaded to 45,000psi shear that it would in fact show signs of damage,

    Hi Dane,

    I’m trying to find a comparison between shear strength of 316-SS bolts and 1019-steel bolts. Thank you.

    @Yuriy- The shear strength of SS316 will be approximately 45,000ksi. However, I do not have any information on the mechanical properties of 1019 bolts, so I cannot compare. Apologies.

    Please advise, where can I get a chart for bolt Shear/tinsel strength for stainless steel bolts.

    @MarkSeavey – We do have tensile and yield mechanicals for stainless steels made per ASTM A193 on our website. We do not list shear, but it is typically 60% of tensile. For other grades of stainless I’d be happy to give you what I have if you let me know what grade/specification you are working with.

    if you are using a bolt in a high movement/lateral stress area and it keeps breaking

    you might try using either lots of washers or thick spacers. so you end up with a longer bolt.

    examples of this can be found on exhaust manifolds on cars.

    the longer bolt means when the items flexs the angle is less than that of a shorter bolt. sometimes a super tight bolt hole can cause you more problems than benefits. but obviously this is job specific.

    It is true that grade 8 bolts are more brittle than grade 5. In general (although not always the case), steels that have a higher strength are less ductile. Grade 8 bolts have a higher strength and, therefore, would require fewer bolts in a joint than grade 5. This may be of benefit in joints that are tight for space. However, depending on the application, it may be preferable to use the weaker and more ductile grade grade 5 bolts. The statement that grade 8 bolts are better than grade 5 cannot be generalized. Consult with an engineer (structural or mechanical) about your particular application.

    The shear strength of bolts is taken as approximately 60% of the tensile strength. This is not a rule of thumb. A large number of tests on high strength bolts tested in shear has indicated that the shear strength is about 62% of the tensile strength. A purely theoretical relationship between shear strength and tensile strength indicates that the shear strength is 58% of the tensile strength. In practice we use 60% as a good approximation of test results and theory.

    There is a UK company called Bolt Science who have computer programs on bolt tensile strengths (there used to be a free time limited demo as well!) There is also a rule of thumb that puts shear strength as 60% of tensile strength. Put the two together and voila! Note however that antique solid mounted diesel engines can wreak havoc on their mounting frames and won’t be the least impressed with ones clever calculations! Salt can also give unexpected results as tests done a great many years ago on chains showed that they were weaker when immersed in seawater. Ideally the bolts should only be loaded to about 10% of their failure load, possibly 20% on a rough job.

    Thanks for adding the helpful link, Eric. Even though this is from an automotive standpoint, it looks like there is some good information for industrial and construction applications.

    @Herb: Due to liability issues and given the fact that Portland Bolt does not have any engineers on staff, we are not in a position to answer questions regarding the use of specific quantities, sizes and grades of fasteners for a specific application. Please consider consulting a structural engineer for assistance with this question. Sorry we couldn’t be of more assistance.

    When a bolt is used in a sheer load is it better to use grade 5 or grade 8? I’ve heard that grade 8 bolts are harder and therfore more brittle. Assuming a good fit with no slop in the assembly or a slightly loose fit – say 25-30 thousandths.

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