Design Principles for Connecting Rod Bolts - Engine Builder Magazine
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Design Principles for Connecting Rod Bolts


By Dr. Kenneth Foster, PhD.

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The process for connecting rod bolts is described in the following paragraphs as an example.

Fastener Load

The first step in the process of designing a connecting rod bolt is to determine the load that it must carry. This is accomplished by calculating the dynamic force caused by the oscillating piston and connecting rod. This force is determined from the classical concept that force equals mass times acceleration. The mass includes the mass of the piston plus a portion of the mass of the rod.

This mass undergoes oscillating motion as the crankshaft rotates. The resulting acceleration, which is at its maximum value when the piston is at top dead center and bottom dead center, is proportional to the stroke and the square of the engine speed. The oscillating force is sometimes called the reciprocating weight. Its numerical value is proportional to:





It is seen that the design load, the reciprocating weight, depends on the square of the RPM speed. This means that if the speed is doubled, for example, the design load is increased by a factor of 4. This relationship is shown graphically below for one particular rod and piston.














–Tech Tip courtesy of Automotive Racing Products

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