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Does anyone know how the recommended torque value is originally established?

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Ed: "hey Peet, what was the clamping requirement on that gasket?"

Peet: "the spec says 50lb/in^2, since the cover is thin, make sure you don't space out the bolts too much or it won't sit flat"

Ed picks a bolt diameter / length / threads / material that meets a bunch of design requirements (how long can it be? What material will it be in contact with? Will it get hot? Will it be exposed to chemicals?), uses a little equation and finds out how much torque must be applied to get the desired clamping force.

Then he needs to make sure the bolt he picked and the material its threaded in can take that load. If not he needs to go back and pick something else.
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