Previous experimental studies reported that bolt pretensioning greatly increases the initial stiffness and load-carrying capacity of bolted joints. It is also a matter of great importance to structural designers to understand the effect of pretension on the load-carrying capacities of bolted joints, and this study presents an extended yield model that considers the fastener’s pretension force. In the extended yield model, the load-carrying capacity was defined as the load at a slip of 15 mm. The ultimate fastener bending angle at the yielded cross section equivalent to this joint slip, which was affected by the fastener’s axial force, was iteratively evaluated in numerical analyses. The introduction of bolt pretensioning largely increased the joint slip resistance at initial loading, but it decreased the ultimate fastener bending angle. This decrease of fastener bending angle resulted in a relatively low stiffness hardening (or secondary stiffness), which is caused by secondary axial forces associated with embedment of steel plates into the wood member. Prediction was verified by the tests of 36 steel-to-timber joints under three different pretension forces and two loading directions relative to the grain. Some of the observed load-carrying capacities of the joints, particularly in loading perpendicular to the grain, however, were not as high as those expected by the numerical analyses considering the given pretension forces.
Load-carrying capacity Pretensioned bolt Timber joint Yield model