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# Source: CIVIL ENGINEERING FORMULAS

CHAPTER 2

BEAM
FORMULAS

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CHAPTER TWO

In analyzing beams of various types, the geometric properties of a variety of cross-sectional areas are used. Figure 2.1
gives equations for computing area A, moment of inertia I,
section modulus or the ratio S  I/c, where c  distance
from the neutral axis to the outermost ber of the beam or
other member. Units used are inches and millimeters and
their powers. The formulas in Fig. 2.1 are valid for both
USCS and SI units.
Handy formulas for some dozen different types of
beams are given in Fig. 2.2. In Fig. 2.2, both USCS and SI
units can be used in any of the formulas that are applicable
to both steel and wooden beams. Note that W  load, lb
(kN); L  length, ft (m); R  reaction, lb (kN); V  shear,
lb (kN); M  bending moment, lb  ft (N  m); D  deection, ft (m); a  spacing, ft (m); b  spacing, ft (m); E 
modulus of elasticity, lb/in2 (kPa); I  moment of inertia,
in4 (dm4);   less than;   greater than.
Figure 2.3 gives the elastic-curve equations for a variety
of prismatic beams. In these equations the load is given as
P, lb (kN). Spacing is given as k, ft (m) and c, ft (m).

CONTINUOUS BEAMS
Continuous beams and frames are statically indeterminate.
Bending moments in these beams are functions of the
geometry, moments of inertia, loads, spans, and modulus of
elasticity of individual members. Figure 2.4 shows how any
span of a continuous beam can be treated as a single beam,
with the moment diagram decomposed into basic components. Formulas for analysis are given in the diagram.
Reactions of a continuous beam can be found by using the
formulas in Fig. 2.5. Fixed-end moment formulas for
beams of constant moment of inertia (prismatic beams) for

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## Geometric properties of sections.

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Curves (Fig. 2.7) can be used to speed computation of
xed-end moments in prismatic beams. Before the curves
must be computed by using the formulas in Fig. 2.8. These
include xL, the location of the center of gravity of the loading with respect to one of the loads; G2  b 2n Pn/W, where
bnL is the distance from each load Pn to the center of
gravity of the loading (taken positive to the right); and S 3 
b 3n Pn/W. These values are given in Fig. 2.8 for some common types of loading.
Formulas for moments due to deection of a xed-end
beam are given in Fig. 2.9. To use the modied moment
distribution method for a xed-end beam such as that in
Fig. 2.9, we must rst know the xed-end moments for a
beam with supports at different levels. In Fig. 2.9, the right
end of a beam with span L is at a height d above the left
end. To nd the xed-end moments, we rst deect the
beam with both ends hinged; and then x the right end,
leaving the left end hinged, as in Fig. 2.9b. By noting that a
line connecting the two supports makes an angle approximately equal to d/L (its tangent) with the original position
of the beam, we apply a moment at the hinged end to produce an end rotation there equal to d/L. By the denition of
stiffness, this moment equals that shown at the left end of
Fig. 2.9b. The carryover to the right end is shown as the top
formula on the right-hand side of Fig. 2.9b. By using the
law of reciprocal deections, we obtain the end moments of
the deected beam in Fig. 2.9 as
M FL  K FL (1  C FR)

d
L

(2.1)

M FR  K FR (1  C FL )

d
L

(2.2)

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FIGURE 2.2 Beam formulas. (From J. Callender, Time-Saver Standards for Architectural Design Data,
6th ed., McGraw-Hill, N.Y.)

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Beam formulas.

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Beam formulas.

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Beam formulas.

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## FIGURE 2.2 (Continued)

Beam formulas.

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FIGURE 2.3 Elastic-curve equations for prismatic beams. (a) Shears, moments, deections for full uniform load on a simply supported prismatic beam. (b) Shears and moments for uniform load over part of
a simply supported prismatic beam. (c) Shears, moments, deections for a concentrated load at any point
of a simply supported prismatic beam.

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FIGURE 2.3 (Continued) Elastic-curve equations for prismatic beams. (d) Shears, moments, deections for a concentrated load at midspan of a simply supported prismatic beam. (e) Shears, moments, deections for two equal concentrated loads on a simply supported prismatic beam. ( f ) Shears, moments,
deections for several equal loads equally spaced on a simply supported prismatic beam.

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FIGURE 2.3 (Continued) Elastic-curve equations for prismatic beams. (g) Shears, moments, deections for a concentrated load on a beam overhang. (h) Shears, moments, deections for a concentrated load
on the end of a prismatic cantilever. (i) Shears, moments, deections for a uniform load over the full length
of a beam with overhang.

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FIGURE 2.3 (Continued) Elastic-curve equations for prismatic beams. (j) Shears, moments, deections
for uniform load over the full length of a cantilever. (k) Shears, moments, deections for uniform load on a
beam overhang. (l) Shears, moments, deections for triangular loading on a prismatic cantilever.

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## FIGURE 2.3 (Continued)

ing uniformly to one end.

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## FIGURE 2.3 (Continued)

ing uniformly to center.

## Elastic-curve equations for prismatic beams. (n) Simple beamload increas-

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FIGURE 2.3 (Continued) Elastic-curve equations for prismatic beams. (o) Simple beamuniform load
partially distributed at one end.

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## FIGURE 2.3 (Continued)

Elastic-curve equations for prismatic beams. (q) Beam xed at both ends

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FIGURE 2.4 Any span of a continuous beam (a) can be treated as a simple beam, as shown in (b) and (c).
In (c), the moment diagram is decomposed into basic components.

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CHAPTER TWO

## FIGURE 2.5 Reactions of continuous beam (a) found by making

the beam statically determinate. (b) Deections computed with
interior supports removed. (c), (d), and (e) Deections calculated
for unit load over each removed support, to obtain equations for
each redundant.

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## In a similar manner the xed-end moment for a beam with

one end hinged and the supports at different levels can be
found from
MF  K

d
L

(2.3)

where K is the actual stiffness for the end of the beam that
is xed; for beams of variable moment of inertia K equals
the xed-end stiffness times (1  C FL C FR).

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FIGURE 2.7

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## FIGURE 2.8 (Continued)

53

ULTIMATE STRENGTH OF
CONTINUOUS BEAMS
Methods for computing the ultimate strength of continuous
beams and frames may be based on two theorems that x
upper and lower limits for load-carrying capacity:
1. Upper-bound theorem. A load computed on the basis of
an assumed link mechanism is always greater than, or at
best equal to, the ultimate load.

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CHAPTER TWO

## 2. Lower-bound theorem. The load corresponding to an

equilibrium condition with arbitrarily assumed values
for the redundants is smaller than, or at best equal to, the
do not exceed MP. The equilibrium method, based on
the lower bound theorem, is usually easier for simple
cases.

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## For the continuous beam in Fig. 2.10, the ratio of the

plastic moment for the end spans is k times that for the center span (k  1).
Figure 2.10b shows the moment diagram for the beam
made determinate by ignoring the moments at B and C and
the moment diagram for end moments MB and MC applied
to the determinate beam. Then, by using Fig. 2.10c, equilibrium is maintained when
MP 

wL2
1
1

M 
M
4
2 B
2 C

wL2
4  kM P

wL2
4(1  k)

(2.4)

## The mechanism method can be used to analyze rigid

frames of constant section with xed bases, as in Fig. 2.11.
Using this method with the vertical load at midspan equal
to 1.5 times the lateral load, the ultimate load for the frame
is 4.8MP /L laterally and 7.2M P /L vertically at midspan.
Maximum moment occurs in the interior spans AB and
CD when
x

M
L

2
wL

(2.5)

or if
M  kM P

when

x

L
kM P

2
wL

(2.6)

## A plastic hinge forms at this point when the moment equals

kMP. For equilibrium,

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## FIGURE 2.10 Continuous beam shown in (a) carries twice as

much uniform load in the center span as in the side span. In (b) are
shown the moment diagrams for this loading condition with redundants removed and for the redundants. The two moment diagrams
are combined in (c), producing peaks at which plastic hinges are
assumed to form.

FIGURE 2.11 Ultimate-load possibilities for a rigid frame of constant section with xed bases.

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CHAPTER TWO

kM P 


w
x
x (L  x) 
kM P
2
L
w
2

1
kM

kM

L2  kMwL L2  KM
wL 2
wL
P

P
2

k 2M 2P
wL2
 3kM P 
0
2
wL
4

(2.7)

7k 2  4k  4

or

k (k  47)  47

wL 

M
4M P (1  k)
 6.1 P
L
L

(2.8)

## In any continuous beam, the bending moment at any

section is equal to the bending moment at any other section,
plus the shear at that section times its arm, plus the product
of all the intervening external forces times their respective
arms. Thus, in Fig. 2.12,
Vx  R 1  R 2  R 3  P1  P2  P3
M x  R 1 (l 1  l 2  x)  R 2 (l 2  x)  R 3x
 P1 (l 2  c  x)  P2 (b  x)  P3a
M x  M 3  V3x  P3a
Table 2.1 gives the value of the moment at the various
supports of a uniformly loaded continuous beam over equal

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## FIGURE 2.12 Continuous beam.

spans, and it also gives the values of the shears on each side
of the supports. Note that the shear is of the opposite sign
on either side of the supports and that the sum of the two
shears is equal to the reaction.
Figure 2.13 shows the relation between the moment and
shear diagrams for a uniformly loaded continuous beam of
four equal spans. (See Table 2.1.) Table 2.1 also gives the
maximum bending moment that occurs between supports,
in addition to the position of this moment and the points of

## FIGURE 2.13 Relation between moment and shear diagrams for

a uniformly loaded continuous beam of four equal spans.

Notation
of
support
of span

1 or 2

1
2

1
2
1

2
3
1

Number
of
supports

0
10
0

10
10
11
28
28
28
15
38

0
10
0

28
28
0

13

17

13

15

28
28
0
2

0
1
8

0
5
8

0
8
5
8

Moment
over each
support

## Shear on each side

of support. L  left,
R  right. Reaction at
any support is L  R
L
R

0.0364
0.0364
0.0779

0.080
0.025
0.0772

0.0703
0.0703

0.125

0.536
0.464
0.395

0.400
0.500
0.393

0.375
0.625

0.500

Distance to
point of
max moment,
measured to
Max
right from
moment in
from
each span
support

## TABLE 2.1 Uniformly Loaded Continuous Beams over Equal Spans

0.266, 0.806
0.194, 0.734
0.789

0.800
0.276, 0.724
0.786

0.750
0.250

None

Distance to
point of
inection,
measured to
right from
support

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3
4
1

2
3
4

104
104
56
142
142
142
71
142

142
142
72
142

wl

67

86

53

49

wl

70

75

53

51

19

104
104
0

20

38
38
41
104
55
104

18

38
38
0
63
104

23

38
38
0
11
104
104
104
0

142
142
12
142
wl 2

11

15

wl 2

0.0338
0.0440
0.0405

0.0433
0.0433
0.0778

0.0332
0.0461
0.0777
0.0340

The numerical values given are coefcients of the expressions at the foot of each column.

Values apply to

2
3
1
2

0.528
0.493
0.500

0.490
0.510
0.394

0.526
0.500
0.394
0.533

0.268, 0.788
0.196, 0.790
0.215, 0.785

0.196, 0.785
0.215, 0.804
0.789

0.268, 0.783
0.196, 0.804
0.788
0.268, 0.790

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## FIGURE 2.14 Values of the functions for a uniformly loaded

continuous beam resting on three equal spans with four supports.

## inection. Figure 2.14 shows the values of the functions for

a uniformly loaded continuous beam resting on three equal
spans with four supports.
Maxwells Theorem
When a number of loads rest upon a beam, the deection at
any point is equal to the sum of the deections at this point
due to each of the loads taken separately. Maxwells theorem states that if unit loads rest upon a beam at two points,
A and B, the deection at A due to the unit load at B equals
the deection at B due to the unit load at A.
Castiglianos Theorem
This theorem states that the deection of the point of
application of an external force acting on a beam is equal

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## to the partial derivative of the work of deformation with

respect to this force. Thus, if P is the force, f is the deection, and U is the work of deformation, which equals the
resilience:
dU
f
dP
According to the principle of least work, the deformation of any structure takes place in such a manner that the
work of deformation is a minimum.

## BEAMS OF UNIFORM STRENGTH

Beams of uniform strength so vary in section that the unit
stress S remains constant, and I/c varies as M. For rectangular beams of breadth b and depth d, I/c  I/c  bd 2/6 and
M  Sbd2/6. For a cantilever beam of rectangular cross section, under a load P, Px  Sbd 2/6. If b is constant, d 2 varies
with x, and the prole of the shape of the beam is a parabola,
as in Fig. 2.15. If d is constant, b varies as x, and the beam
is triangular in plan (Fig. 2.16).
Shear at the end of a beam necessitates modication of
the forms determined earlier. The area required to resist
shear is P/Sv in a cantilever and R/Sv in a simple beam. Dotted extensions in Figs. 2.15 and 2.16 show the changes necessary to enable these cantilevers to resist shear. The waste
in material and extra cost in fabricating, however, make
many of the forms impractical, except for cast iron. Figure
2.17 shows some of the simple sections of uniform
strength. In none of these, however, is shear taken into
account.

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## FIGURE 2.15 Parabolic beam of uniform strength.

OF VARIOUS TYPES
Table 2.2 gives 32 formulas for computing the approximate
safe loads on steel beams of various cross sections for an
allowable stress of 16,000 lb/in2 (110.3 MPa). Use these
formulas for quick estimation of the safe load for any steel
beam you are using in a design.

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## Table 2.3 gives coefcients for correcting values in

When combined with Table 2.2, the two sets of formulas
provide useful time-saving means of making quick safeload computations in both the ofce and the eld.

wL3

wL3

L
L

L

L

Solid cylinder

Hollow cylinder

wL3

wL3

wL3

wL3

L

L

Hollow rectangle

wL3
wL

L

L

Solid rectangle

Deection, in

Shape of section

(Beams supported at both ends; allowable ber stress for steel, 16,000 lb/in2 (1.127 kgf/cm2) (basis of table)
for iron, reduce values given in table by one-eighth)

## TABLE 2.2 Approximate Safe Loads in Pounds (kgf) on Steel Beams*

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wL3
wL3
wL3

wL3
wL3
wL3

L
L
L

L

L

L

Channel or Z bar

Deck beam

I beam

*
L  distance between supports, ft (m); A  sectional area of beam, in2 (cm2); D  depth of beam, in (cm);
a  interior area, in2 (cm2); d  interior depth, in (cm); w  total working load, net tons (kgf).

wL3

wL3

L

L

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## Beam supported at ends

Load concentrated at center of span
Load increasing uniformly to one end

1.0
1
2
l/4c
0.974
3
4
3
2

Max relative

TABLE 2.3 Coefcients for Correcting Values in Table 2.2 for Various Methods

0.976
0.96
1.08

1.0
0.80

Max relative
deection under
max relative safe

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4
8
3
8

l2/4a2
l/(l 4a)
5.83
l/4a

2.40
3.20
1.92

l  length of beam; c  distance from support to nearest concentrated load; a  distance from support to end
of beam.

## Beam continuous over two supports equidistant from ends

1. If distance a  0.2071l
2. If distance a  0.2071l
3. If distance a  0.2071l
Two equal loads concentrated at ends

## Beam xed at one end, cantilever

Load increasing uniformly to xed end

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## Beams of uniform strength (in bending).

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position on a beam or beams. Figure 2.18 shows a beam
with two equal concentrated moving loads, such as two
wheels on a crane girder, or the wheels of a truck on a
bridge. Because the maximum moment occurs where the
shear is zero, the shear diagram shows that the maximum
moment occurs under a wheel. Thus, with x  a/2:

R1  P 1 
M2 

Pl
a
2x a
4x 2
1

 2
2
l
l l
l

R2  P 1 

M1 

2x
a

l
l

Pl
2

2x
a

l
l

1  al  2al

2x 3a
4x 2
 2
l l
l

## M2 max when x  14a

M1 max when x  34a
M max 

Pl
2

1

a
2l

P
2l

l

a
2

## Figure 2.19 shows the condition when two equal loads

are equally distant on opposite sides of the center of the
beam. The moment is then equal under the two loads.

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## FIGURE 2.18 Two equal concentrated moving loads.

FIGURE 2.19 Two equal moving loads equally distant on opposite sides of the center.
80

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If two moving loads are of unequal weight, the condition for maximum moment is the maximum moment occurring under the heavier wheel when the center of the beam
bisects the distance between the resultant of the loads and
the heavier wheel. Figure 2.20 shows this position and the
shear and moment diagrams.
When several wheel loads constituting a system are on a
beam or beams, the several wheels must be examined in
turn to determine which causes the greatest moment. The
position for the greatest moment that can occur under a given

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CHAPTER TWO

## wheel is, as stated earlier, when the center of the span

bisects the distance between the wheel in question and the
resultant of all loads then on the span. The position for maximum shear at the support is when one wheel is passing off
the span.

CURVED BEAMS
The application of the flexure formula for a straight beam
to the case of a curved beam results in error. When all
fibers of a member have the same center of curvature,
the concentric or common type of curved beam exists
(Fig. 2.21). Such a beam is defined by the WinklerBach
theory. The stress at a point y units from the centroidal
axis is
S

M
AR

1  Z (Ry y)

M is the bending moment, positive when it increases curvature; y is positive when measured toward the convex side; A
is the cross-sectional area; R is the radius of the centroidal
axis; Z is a cross-section property dened by
Z 

1
A

y
dA
Ry

## Analytical expressions for Z of certain sections are given

in Table 2.4. Z can also be found by graphical integration
methods (see any advanced strength book). The neutral
surface shifts toward the center of curvature, or inside ber,
an amount equal to e  ZR/(Z  1). The WinklerBach

Section

ln RR  CC
2

Expression

Z  1 

R  C2
R
b ln
A
R  C2
A  2 [(t  b)C1  bC2]

Z  1 

 (t  b) ln RR  CC

R
t ln (R  C1)  (b  t) ln (R  C0)  b ln (R  C2)
A
and A  tC1  (b  t) C3  bC2

Rr Rr  Rr  1

R
h

Z  1  2

Z  1 

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## theory, though practically satisfactory, disregards radial

stresses as well as lateral deformations and assumes pure
bending. The maximum stress occurring on the inside ber
is S  Mhi /AeRi, whereas that on the outside ber is S 
Mh0 /AeR0.
The deection in curved beams can be computed by
means of the moment-area theory.
The resultant deection is then equal to 0  2x  2y
in the direction dened by tan   y / x. Deections can
also be found conveniently by use of Castiglianos theorem.
It states that in an elastic system the displacement in the
direction of a force (or couple) and due to that force (or couple) is the partial derivative of the strain energy with respect
to the force (or couple).
A quadrant of radius R is xed at one end as shown in
Fig. 2.22. The force F is applied in the radial direction at
free-end B. Then, the deection of B is

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By moment area,
y  R sin  x  R(1  cos )
ds  Rd M  FR sin 
B x

FR 3
4EI

and B 

FR3
2EI

B y

1

x  tan 1 

at

 tan 1



FR 3
2EI

2
4

FR 3
4EI

2EI

FR 3

 32.5
By Castigliano,
B x

FR3
4EI

B y



FR3
2EI

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## Eccentrically Curved Beams

These beams (Fig. 2.23) are bounded by arcs having different centers of curvature. In addition, it is possible for either
radius to be the larger one. The one in which the section
depth shortens as the central section is approached may be
called the arch beam. When the central section is the
largest, the beam is of the crescent type.
Crescent I denotes the beam of larger outside radius and
crescent II of larger inside radius. The stress at the central
section of such beams may be found from S  KMC/I.
In the case of rectangular cross section, the equation
becomes S  6KM/bh2, where M is the bending moment, b
is the width of the beam section, and h its height. The stress
factors, K for the inner boundary, established from photoelastic data, are given in Table 2.5. The outside radius

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## TABLE 2.5 Stress Factors for Inner Boundary at Central Section

(see Fig. 2.23)
1. For the arch-type beams
h
Ro  Ri

## (a) K  0.834  1.504

if

Ro  Ri
5
h

Ro  Ri
h
 10
if
5
Ro  Ri
h
(c) In the case of larger section ratios use the equivalent beam
solution
(b) K  0.899  1.181

## 2. For the crescent I-type beams

(a) K  0.570  1.536

h
Ro  Ri

if

Ro  Ri
2
h

h
Ro  Ri

if

2

(c) K  1.092

R h R

Ro  Ri
 20
h

0.0298

Ro  Ri
 20
h

if

h
Ro  Ri

(b) K  1.119

Ro  Ri
8
h

R h R

if

8

R h R

if

Ro  Ri
 20
h

0.0378

(c) K  1.081

if

0.0270

Ro  Ri
 20
h

## is denoted by Ro and the inside by Ri. The geometry of

crescent beams is such that the stress can be larger in offcenter sections. The stress at the central section determined
above must then be multiplied by the position factor k,

BEAM FORMULAS
88

CHAPTER TWO

## given in Table 2.6. As in the concentric beam, the neutral

surface shifts slightly toward the inner boundary. (See
Vidosic, Curved Beams with Eccentric Boundaries,
Transactions of the ASME, 79, pp. 13171321.)

## ELASTIC LATERAL BUCKLING OF BEAMS

When lateral buckling of a beam occurs, the beam undergoes a combination of twist and out-of-plane bending
(Fig. 2.24). For a simply supported beam of rectangular
cross section subjected to uniform bending, buckling occurs
at the critical bending moment, given by
Mcr 
where

EIyGJ

## L  unbraced length of the member

E  modulus of elasticity
Iy  moment of inertial about minor axis
G  shear modulus of elasticity
J  torsional constant

## The critical moment is proportional to both the lateral

bending stiffness EIy /L and the torsional stiffness of the
member GJ/L.
For the case of an open section, such as a wide-ange or
I-beam section, warping rigidity can provide additional torsional stiffness. Buckling of a simply supported beam of open
cross section subjected to uniform bending occurs at the
critical bending moment, given by

BEAM FORMULAS
89

BEAM FORMULAS

Mcr 

EIy GJ  ECw

2
L2

where Cw is the warping constant, a function of crosssectional shape and dimensions (Fig. 2.25).
In the preceding equations, the distribution of bending
moment is assumed to be uniform. For the case of a nonuniform bending-moment gradient, buckling often occurs at

## TABLE 2.6 Crescent-Beam Position Stress Factors

(see Fig. 2.23)
Angle ,
degree
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90

k
Inner
1  0.055 H/h
1  0.164 H/h
1  0.365 H / h
1  0.567 H / h
(0.5171  1.382 H/h)1/2
1.521 
1.382
(0.2416  0.6506 H/h)1/2
1.756 
0.6506
(0.4817  1.298 H/h)1/2
2.070 
0.6492
(0.2939  0.7084 H/h)1/2
2.531 
0.3542

Outer
1  0.03 H/h
1  0.10 H/h
1  0.25 H/h
1  0.467 H/h
1  0.733 H/h
1  1.123 H/h
1  1.70 H/h
1  2.383 H/h
1  3.933 H/h

Note: All formulas are valid for 0  H/h 0.325. Formulas for the inner
boundary, except for 40 degrees, may be used to H/h 0.36. H  distance
between centers.

BEAM FORMULAS
90

CHAPTER TWO

## FIGURE 2.24 (a) Simple beam subjected to equal end moments.

(b) Elastic lateral buckling of the beam.

## a larger critical moment. Approximation of this critical

bending moment, Mcr may be obtained by multiplying Mcr
given by the previous equations by an amplication factor
M cr  Cb Mcr
where Cb 

12.5Mmax
2.5Mmax  3MA  4MB  3MC

BEAM FORMULAS
BEAM FORMULAS

91

## FIGURE 2.25 Torsion-bending constants for torsional buckling.

A  cross-sectional area; Ix  moment of inertia about xx axis;
Iy  moment of inertia about yy axis. (After McGraw-Hill, New
York). Bleich, F., Buckling Strength of Metal Structures.

## and Mmax  absolute value of maximum moment in the

unbraced beam segment
MA  absolute value of moment at quarter point of
the unbraced beam segment
MB  absolute value of moment at centerline of the
unbraced beam segment
MC  absolute value of moment at three-quarter
point of the unbraced beam segment

BEAM FORMULAS
92

CHAPTER TWO

## Cb equals 1.0 for unbraced cantilevers and for members

where the moment within a signicant portion of the
unbraced segment is greater than, or equal to, the larger of
the segment end moments.

## COMBINED AXIAL AND BENDING LOADS

For short beams, subjected to both transverse and axial
loads, the stresses are given by the principle of superposition
if the deection due to bending may be neglected without
serious error. That is, the total stress is given with sufcient
accuracy at any section by the sum of the axial stress and
the bending stresses. The maximum stress, lb/in2 (MPa),
equals
f
where

P
Mc

A
I

P  axial load, lb (N )
A  cross-sectional area, in2 (mm2)
M  maximum bending moment, in lb (Nm)
c  distance from neutral axis to outermost ber at
the section where maximum moment occurs,
in (mm)
I  moment of inertia about neutral axis at that
section, in4 (mm4)

## When the deection due to bending is large and the

axial load produces bending stresses that cannot be neglected, the maximum stress is given by

BEAM FORMULAS
BEAM FORMULAS

f

93

P
c
 (M  Pd)
A
I

where d is the deection of the beam. For axial compression, the moment Pd should be given the same sign as M;
and for tension, the opposite sign, but the minimum value
of M  Pd is zero. The deection d for axial compression
and bending can be closely approximated by
d

do
1  (P/Pc)

(mm); and Pc  critical buckling load
2EI / L2, lb (N).

UNSYMMETRICAL BENDING
When a beam is subjected to loads that do not lie in a plane
containing a principal axis of each cross section, unsymmetrical bending occurs. Assuming that the bending axis of
the beam lies in the plane of the loads, to preclude torsion,
and that the loads are perpendicular to the bending axis, to
preclude axial components, the stress, lb/in2 (MPa), at any
point in a cross section is
f
where

Mx y
M x
 y
Ix
Iy

## Mx  bending moment about principal axis XX,

in lb (Nm)
My  bending moment about principal axis YY,
in lb (Nm)

BEAM FORMULAS
94

CHAPTER TWO

## x  distance from point where stress is to be

computed to YY axis, in (mm)
y  distance from point to XX axis, in (mm)
Ix  moment of inertia of cross section about XX,
in (mm4)
Iy  moment of inertia about YY, in (mm4)
If the plane of the loads makes an angle  with a principal
plane, the neutral surface forms an angle  with the other
principal plane such that
tan  

Ix
tan 
Iy

If an eccentric longitudinal load is applied to a bar in the
plane of symmetry, it produces a bending moment Pe,
where e is the distance, in (mm), of the load P from the
centroidal axis. The total unit stress is the sum of this
moment and the stress due to P applied as an axial load:
f

P
Pec
P


A
I
A

1  ecr
2

## where A  cross-sectional area, in2 (mm2)

c  distance from neutral axis to outermost ber, in
(mm)

BEAM FORMULAS
BEAM FORMULAS

95

## I  moment of inertia of cross section about neutral

axis, in4 (mm4)
r  radius of gyration  I/A, in (mm)
Figure 2.1 gives values of the radius of gyration for several
cross sections.
If there is to be no tension on the cross section under
a compressive load, e should not exceed r 2/c. For a rectangular
section with width b, and depth d, the eccentricity, therefore, should be less than b/6 and d/6 (i.e., the load should
not be applied outside the middle third). For a circular cross
section with diameter D, the eccentricity should not exceed
D/8.
When the eccentric longitudinal load produces a deection too large to be neglected in computing the bending
stress, account must be taken of the additional bending
moment Pd, where d is the deection, in (mm). This deection may be closely approximated by
d

4eP/Pc

(1  P/Pc)

## Pc is the critical buckling load

2EI/L2, lb (N).
If the load P, does not lie in a plane containing an axis
of symmetry, it produces bending about the two principal
axes through the centroid of the section. The stresses, lb/in2
(MPa), are given by
f

P
Pexcx
Peycy


A
Iy
Ix

## where A  cross-sectional area, in2 (mm2)

ex  eccentricity with respect to principal axis YY,
in (mm)

BEAM FORMULAS
96

CHAPTER TWO

## ey  eccentricity with respect to principal axis XX,

in (mm)
cx  distance from YY to outermost ber, in (mm)
cy  distance from XX to outermost ber, in (mm)
Ix  moment of inertia about XX, in4 (mm4)
Iy  moment of inertia about YY, in4 (mm4)
The principal axes are the two perpendicular axes through
the centroid for which the moments of inertia are a maximum or a minimum and for which the products of inertia
are zero.

## NATURAL CIRCULAR FREQUENCIES

AND NATURAL PERIODS OF VIBRATION
OF PRISMATIC BEAMS
Figure 2.26 shows the characteristic shape and gives constants for determination of natural circular frequency  and
natural period T, for the rst four modes of cantilever,
simply supported, xed-end, and xed-hinged beams. To
obtain , select the appropriate constant from Fig. 2.26 and
multiply it by EI/wL4. To get T, divide the appropriate
constant by EI/wL4.
In these equations,
W  beam weight, lb per linear ft (kg per linear m)
L  beam length, ft (m)

FIGURE 2.26 Coefcients for computing natural circular frequencies and natural periods of vibration of
prismatic beams.

BEAM FORMULAS

97

BEAM FORMULAS
98

CHAPTER TWO

## E  modulus of elasticity, lb/in2 (MPa)

I  moment of inertia of beam cross section, in4 (mm4)
T  natural period, s
To determine the characteristic shapes and natural periods for beams with variable cross section and mass, use the
Rayleigh method. Convert the beam into a lumped-mass
system by dividing the span into elements and assuming the
mass of each element to be concentrated at its center. Also,
compute all quantities, such as deection and bending moment,
at the center of each element. Start with an assumed characteristic shape.
]

## -25Equations of equilibrium at H are:

tHA (xA xH) + tHB (xB xH) + tHO (xO xH) = 0 _____ (1)
tHA (yA yH) + tHB (yB yH) + tHO (yO yH) = 0 _____ (2)
tHA (zA zH) + tHB (zB zH) + tHO (zO zH) + PHY = 0 ____ (3)
- 2 tHA + 2 tHB = 0 ______ (1)
- 2.143 tHA 2.143 tHB 9.143 tHO = 0 ______ (2)
- 4.051 (tHA + tHB + tHO) 100 = 0 ______ (3)
From eqn (1): tHA = tHB
From eqn (2): -2 x 2.143 tHA = 9.143 tHO, ? tHA = -2.1332 tHO
From Eqn (3): - 4.051 (-2.1332 2.1332 1) tHO = 100, tHO = 7.5573
tHA = tHB = - 2.1332 x 7.5573 = 16.1213
THO = tHO LHO = 7.5573 x 10 = 75.57 kN
CHA, CHB = thrust in shear legs HA and HB
CHA = CHB = 16.1213 x 5 = 80.61 kN
10 CABLES AND ARCHES
10.1 Cables

Cable is a very efficient structural form as it is almost perfectly flexible. Cable has no
flexural and shear strength. It has also no resistance to thrust, hence, it carries loads by
it is subjected. A cable has a shape of catenary under its own weight. If a large point load
W compared to its own weight is applied to the cable its shape changes to two straight
segments. If W is small compared to its own weight the change in shape is insignificant
as shown in figure 10.1. From equilibrium point of view a small segment of horizontal
length dx shown in Fig.10.2 should satisfy two equations of equilibrium Fx = 0 and Fy
= 0. The cable maintains its equilibrium by changing its tension and slope that is shape.
One unknown cable tension T can not satisfy two equilibrium equations, hence, one
additional unknown of slope T is required. The cables are used in suspension and cable
stayed bridges, cable car systems, radio towers and guys in derricks and chimneys. By
assuming the shape of cable as parabolic, analysis is greatly simplified.

-26-

## A cable subjected to point loads W1 to Wn is suspended from supports A and B over a

horizontal span L. Line joining supports makes angle v with horizontal. Therefore
elevation difference between supports is represented by L tan v as shown in Fig 10.3.
W =

W = W1 + W2 + ---- + Wi + ----- + Wn
i 1

a=

6Wi a i
, b
6W

6Wi b i
6W

## M = Counter clockwise moment of vertical downward loads W1 to Wn about support

B

B.

M = bW
B

M
B

RA = Vertical reaction at A =

RB = (W + H tan v -

- H tan v

M
B

Consider a point X on cable at horizontal coordinate x from A and vertical dip y from
chord.
X1 X2 = x tan v, XX2 = y, XX1 = (x tan v - y)

## M = Counter clockwise moment of all downward loads left of X,

X

Since cable is assumed to be perfectly flexible the bending moment at any point of cable
is zero. Considering moment equilibrium of segment of cable on left of X the relation
between H, x and y is obtained which defines general cable theorem.

-27H (XX1) =

M - RA x
X

H (x tan v - y) =

M - (

M
B

- H tan v) x

Hy = M - M
X
L B

## Consider a horizontal beam of span L subjected to same vertical loading as cable as

shown in Fig.10.3. Let VA be reaction at A and MX bending moment at section X at
coordinate x.
b
VA = W
L

MX = VAx -

M
B

M =
X

M
B

x-

M
X

Thus: Hy = MX
The general cable theorem therefore states that at any point on the cable subjected to
vertical loads, Hy the product of horizontal component of tension in cable and the vertical
dip of that point from cable chord is equal to the bending moment MX at the same
horizontal coordinate in a simply supported beam of same span as cable and subjected to
TA, TB = Tensions in cable at the supports

## TA, TB = Slopes of cable at supports

TA =

H 2  R 2A , TA = tan-1

RA
H

TB =

H 2  R 2B , TB = tan-1

RB
H

## If cable is subjected to vertical downward uniformly distributed load of intensity Z as

shown in Fig.10.4, then:
Hy = MX =

ZL
2

x-Z

x2
2

## -28At mid span x =

ZL2

Hh =

H=

L
and y = h the dip of cable.
2

ZL2

ZL2

ZL2
8h

## 10.3 Shape of cable

Hy = MX

ZL2
8h
y=

y=

ZL
2

x-Z

x2
2

4h
x (L x)
L2

This is the equation of cable curve with respect to cable chord. The cable thus takes the
shape of parabola under the action of udl. The same equation is valid when chord is
horizontal as shown in Fig.10.5.
10.4 Length of cable with both ends at same level

S=

ds

1  dy
O dx

dx

dy
4h
= 2 (L 2x)
dx
L
1

2
16h 2
2
S = 1  2 L - 2x dx
O
L

8
S = L 1 
3

h2
32

2
5
L

h4
L4

256 h 6
7 L6

 ......

-29-

## For flat parabolic curves

8
S = L 1 
3

h
1
d , only two terms are retained.
L 10

h2

L2

10.5 Example
A flexible cable weighing 1 N/m horizontally is suspended over a span of 40 m as shown
in Fig.10.6. It carries a concentrated load of 300 N at point P at horizontal coordinate 10
m from left hand support. Find dip at P so that tension in cable does not exceed 1000 N.
RA =

300 x 30  1 x 40 x 20
40

= 245 N

RB = (300 + 40 x 1) 245 = 95 N
RA + RB = 340 N = Total vertical load (ok)
Since RB  RA, maximum tension will occur at A.
H 2  245 2 = 1000

## H2 = 106 2452 = 939975, H = 969.523 (Rounded to 970)

H = 970 N
Considering segment left of P, the clockwise moment at P is computed and set to zero
since cable is flexible.
MP = RA x 10 Hh 10 x 5 = 2450 970 h 50 = 2400 970 h = 0
h=

2400
= 2.474 m.
970

10.6. Arches
An arch is a curved beam circular or parabolic in form supported at its ends and is
subjected to inplane loading. The internal forces developed in the arch are axial force,
shear force and bending moment. Depending upon number of hinges the arches are

-30-

classified as (1) three hinged arch (2) two hinged arch (3) single hinged arch and (4) fixed
arch as shown in figures 10.7 to 10.10. A three hinged arch is statically determinate. The
remaining three are statically indeterminate to first, second and third degree respectively.
Here only determinate three hinged arch will be considered.
Arch under vertical point loads shown in figure 10.11 is a three hinged arch subjected to
vertical loads W1 to Wn. The reactions developed at the supports are shown. It may be
noted that moment at the hinge at C in the arch is zero, hence, horizontal component of
reaction can be computed from this condition.
RA =

b6W
a6W
, RB =
, W = W1 + .. + Wn
L
L

M = RA
C

b6W

L
H=

L
- Hh
2


M
C

M = Counter clockwise moment about C of all applied vertical loads acting left of C
C

## W = Resultant of all applied vertical loads acting downwards

At any point P on the arch as shown in Fig.10.12, the internal forces Fx,Fy and Mz can
easily be computed as explained previously. From Fx and Fy shear force and thrust in the
arch can be computed.
T = Slope of arch axis at P.
V = Shear at P
C = Thrust at P
M = Bending moment at P
M = Mz
V = Fy cos T - Fx Sin T
C = - Fy Sin T - Fx cos T

## -3110.7. Three hinged parabolic arch under udl

The three hinged arch under udl is shown in Fig.10.13.
The equation of axis of arch is:
4h
x (L x)
L2

y=

RA = RB =

ZL
2

RA

ZL L
L
- Hh =0
2
2 4

H=

1 ZL2 ZL2


h 8
4

ZL2
8h

Mx =

ZL
2

ZL
2

ZL

ZL2
x -
2
8h

x-

x-

Zx 2
2

Zx 2
2

Zx 2
y 2

ZL2 4h

x (L - x)
2

8h L

ZLx
2

Zx 2
2

=0

## The bending moment in parabolic arch under vertical udl is zero.

10.8. Example
A three hinged parabolic arch of 20 m span and 4 m central rise as shown in Fig.10.14
carries a point load of 40 kN at 4 m horizontally from left support. Compute BM, SF and
AF at load point. Also determine maximum positive and negative bending moments in
the arch and plot the bending moment diagram.

-32y=

4h
4x4
x (L x) =
x (20 x)
2
400
L

y=

x
(20 x)
25

RB =

4
16
x 40 = 8 kN, RA =
x 40 = 32 kN
20
20

MC = 0, 4H = 32 x 10 40 x 6 = 80, H = 20 kN
0 dxd 4m
Mx = 32 x 20

x
4 2
(20 x) = 16 x +
x
25
5

x = 4, Mx = 16 x 4 +

4 x 16
= 76.8 kNm
5

4 m d x d 20 m
Mx = 32 x 20

x
4 2
(20 x) 40 (x 4) = 160 24 x +
x
25
5

## x = 4, Mx = 76.8 kNm (check)

x = 10, Mx = 160 240 + 80 = 0
x = 15, Mx = 160 24 x 15 +

4
x 225 = - 20 kNm
5

x = 20, Mx = 0 (ok)
The bending moment diagram is parabolic as shown in Fig.10.15.
11. INFLUENCE LINES FOR DETERMINATE STRUCTURES

An influence line is a graph or curve showing the variation of any function such as
reaction, bending moment, shearing farce, axial force, torsion moment, stress or stress
resultant and displacement at a given section or point of structure, as a unit load acting
parallel to a given direction crosses the structure. The influence line gives the value of the
function at only one point or section of the structure and at no other point. A separate
influence line is to be drawn for the function at any other point.