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Curved beams

1. Introduction
Curved beams also called arches were invented about 2000 years ago. The purpose was to form
such a structure that would transfer loads, mainly the dead weight, to the ground by the elements
working mostly or only in the state of compression. The reason for this was that the main
construction material in those times was the natural stone. It has relatively large compressive
strength and its tensile strength is about 10 times smaller. Hence, it was vital to avoid tension and
bending involving tension.
One may argue if the invention of arches was an engineering achievement or was it only a clever
imitation of nature, which uses arches and their 3D version concave shells successfully for a
much longer time. Just think of thin walled eggs, shells, turtles, etc
Hence, arches are perfect structures. Under a distributed loading they should exhibit mostly axial
forces with very little bending and shear. The presence of concentrated forces disturbs this picture,
what will be seen in the examples.
2. Statically determinate circular arches
Let us start with statically determinate circular arches. The internal forces: bending moments, axial
forces and shear forces, can be determined using equilibrium equations.
For the beginning we will consider a cantilever circular arch being one quarter of a circle with the
radius R, loaded by the concentrated force P at the tip. The arch is described in the Cartesian set
of co-ordinates x,y with the origin at the centre of the circle.
y

y
M

Ry

P
R T

x
x

However, the calculations are easier, when carried out using the polar set of co-ordinates ,R. The
relations between the co-ordinates are:
x = R cos
y = R sin
To find functions of internal forces we introduce a cross-section at the point defined by the angle
and write down the equilibrium equations for the fragment of arch to the left of the cross-section:

N : N + P sin = 0
T : T P cos = 0
M : M P (R y ) = 0
From these equations the functions of the internal forces can be found:

N = P sin
T = P cos

M = PR (1 sin )

In the third equation the relation between y and was substituted. These functions can be
represented graphically. In the graphs values of the forces are presented for points spaced by
angles /12. Note, that = 0 corresponds to the support and = /2 to the cantilever tip.
1.0

0.0

0.966
0.866

0.707

0.0

0.500
N [P]

0.034
0.134
0.293

0.258
0.500
0.707

0.500

0.866

0.258

M [PR]

T [P]

0.741

0.966
1.0

0.0

1.0

As the next example let us consider a cantilever circular arch being one quarter of the circle with
the radius R, loaded by the uniformly distributed snow-type loading of the intensity q.
y qx x/2

y
q

M
y

R T

qx

x
x

To find the function of internal forces we introduce a cross-section at the point defined by the angle
and write down the equilibrium equations for the fragment of arch to the left of the cross-section.
In this case the part of loading acting on the considered fragment of the arch can be replaced by its
resultant, which is applied at the centre of length x. Thus, the equilibrium equations take the form:

N : N + qx cos = 0
T : T + qx sin = 0
x

M : M + qx 2

=0

From these equations the functions of the internal forces can be found:

N = qR cos 2
T = qR sin cos
M=

qR 2
cos 2
2

In these equations the relation between x and was substituted. These functions can be
represented graphically. In the graphs values of the forces are presented for points spaced by
angles of /12.
0.0

0.0

0.067
0.250

0.0

0.250
0.433

0.500

0.500

0.750
N [qR]

0.933

T [qR]

0.433
0.250
0.0

1.0

0.033
0.125
0.250
0.375
M [qR2]
0.467
0.5

Now let us consider a cantilever circular arch being one quarter of the circle with the radius R,
loaded by the uniformly distributed self weight-type loading of the intensity q.
y

xa

qds
y

qds

x
x

Again, to find the function of internal forces we introduce a cross-section at the point defined by the
angle and write down the equilibrium equations for the fragment of arch to the left of the crosssection. In this case the resultant of the fragment of loading under consideration can be found only
by integration. The same concerns the bending moment, which can be obtained by the integration
of moments due to elementary loads along the considered fragment of the arch. In order to carry
out this integration an auxiliary angular co-ordinate is introduced. It will undergo integration in the
limits from to /2. The elementary load resultant is equal to qds, where s is the curvilinear coordinate measured along the arch. It can be related to the angle via
ds = Rd

and the length a is given as


a = R cos
With this in hand the equilibrium equations can be given as:
/2

N : N + qds cos = 0

/2

T : T + qds sin = 0

M : M +

/2

(x a )qds = 0

Expressing all variables under integrals in terms of angles and noting, that the angle does not
undergo integration, we express the internal forces as:
N = qR cos

/2

d = qR cos [ ]

/2

T = qR sin

/2

d = qR sin [ ]

/2

M = qR 2

= qR cos
2

= qR sin
2

/2

/2
2
(cos cos )d = qR [ cos sin ] =

= qR 2 cos 1 cos + sin


2

These functions can be represented graphically. In the graphs values of the forces are presented
for points spaced by angles of /12.

0.0

0.0

0.068
0.262

0.0

0.253

0.555

0.128
0.262

0.555

0.907
N [qR]

0.034

0.453

T [qR]

1.264

0.407

0.524
M [qR2]

0.339

0.523
0.571

0.0

1.571

The next type of loading to be considered is the uniformly distributed hydraulic pressure of the
intensity q. First, let it be applied to a cantilever circular arch being one quarter of the circle with the
radius R.
xa
qdssin
y
b
y
d

y
q

by

qds
qdscos
M

qdssin

qdscos
N

x
x

Again, to find the function of internal forces we introduce a cross-section at the point defined by the
angle and write down the equilibrium equations for the fragment of arch to the left of the crosssection. In this case the resultant of the fragment of loading under consideration can be found only
by integration. The same concerns the bending moment, which can be obtained by the integration
of the moments due to elementary loads along the considered fragment of the arch. In order to
carry out this integration an auxiliary angular co-ordinate is introduced. This will undergo
integration in the limits from to /2. The elementary load resultant is equal to qds, where s is the
co-ordinate measured along the arch. This load now has a varying direction, so it should be
projected on axes x and y. These projections are: qdscos and qdssin, respectively. The value b
is given by
b = R sin
With this in hand the equilibrium equations can be written down as:

N : N +

/2

(qds sin cos qds cos sin ) = 0

T : T +

/2

(qds sin sin + qds cos cos ) = 0

/2

M : M + [qds sin (x a ) + qds cos (b y )] = 0

Expressing all variables under integrals in terms of angles and noting, that the angle does not
undergo integration, we express the internal forces as:

N = qR cos

/2

/2

sin d ,+qR sin cos d = qR cos [ cos ]

/2

+ qR sin [sin ]

/2

= qR cos 2 + sin sin 2 = qR (sin 1)


T = qR sin

/2

/2

sind ,qR cos cos d = qR sin [ cos ]

/2

qR cos [sin ]

/2

= qR ( sin cos cos + sin cos ) = qR cos


M = qR 2

/2

(sin cos sin cos + cos sin cos sin )d =

= qR 2 cos

/2

sind + qR

/2

sin cos d = qR 2 cos [ cos ]

/2

+ qR 2 sin [sin ]

/2

= qR 2 cos2 + sin sin2 = qR 2 (sin 1)


These functions can be represented graphically. In the graphs values of the forces are presented
for points spaced by angles of /12.
0.0

0.0

0.034
0.134

0.0

0.258

0.293

0.134
0.293

0.707

0.500
N [qR]

0.034

0.500

0.500

0.866
T [qR]

0.741

M [qR2]

0.966

0.741

1.0

1.0

1.0

Now let us solve an arch consisting of one quarter circle of radius R with a clamped support and
another quarter circle attached to the former by a hinge and supported by a roller. The arch is
loaded by the uniformly distributed hydraulic pressure of the intensity q.

qdssin
qds
y
A
qdscos
b

y
q

x
a

The first thing to calculate is the reaction in the roller support V. This can be done from the
equilibrium of moments with respect to the hinge A for the right half of the arch. This equation
reads:
/2

M A : VR [aqds sin + (R b )qds cos ] = 0


0

After substitution for a and b and division by R the reaction can be calculated as:
V = qR

/2

/2

[sin cos + cos (1 sin )]d = qR cos d

qdssin

M
qdssin qds

N
y
yb

/2

= qR

T
qdscos

qdscos

= qR [sin ]0

qR

x ax a

V=qR

With the value of the reaction V the internal forces in the arch can be obtained from the equilibrium
for the fragment of arch to the right of the cross-section . The adequate equations have the form:

N : N + qR cos (qds sin cos qds cos sin ) = 0


0

T : T + qR sin (qds sin sin + qds cos cos ) = 0


0

M : M qR (R x ) + [qds sin (a x ) + qds cos (y b )] = 0


0

Note, that these equations are also valid for the angle greater than /2, i.e. within the left-hand
half of the arch. From these equations the functions of internal forces follow:

N = qR cos + qR cos sin d qR sin cos d =


0

= qR cos + qR cos [ cos ]0 qR sin [sin ]0 =

= qR cos qR cos 2 + qR cos qR sin 2 = qR

T = qR sin + qR sin sin d + qR cos cos d =


0

= qR sin + qR sin [ cos ]0 + qR cos [sin ]0 =

= qR sin qR sin cos + qR sin + qR cos sin = 0

M = qR 2 (1 cos ) qR 2 [sin cos sin cos + cos sin cos sin ]d =


0

= qR (1 cos ) + qR cos [ cos ]0 sin [sin ]0 =


2

= qR (1 cos ) + qR cos + cos sin = 0


2

The most important thing to observe in these results are the vanishing values of the bending
moment and the shear force. In this way we arrive at the notion of the optimal arch shape. It was
mentioned in the introduction, that the arch was invented to carry mostly normal forces. It comes
out, that for a given type of loading an arch shape can be found, which is characterized by the lack
of bending. For the constant hydraulic pressure the corresponding shape is the circular arch,
though the previous example with the cantilever arch might deny this statement. However, there
must be one more condition fulfilled to get the optimal arch serving in the bending-free state.

Namely, its supports at the ends must provide reactions resulting in the axial force at the arch
ends. The cantilever arch with the free end does not fulfil this condition. Hence, there was the
bending moment present.
It is also worth to note, that a circular arch with a hydraulic pressure in the bending-free state
features the constant value of the normal force N equal to qR throughout the entire arch length.

As the last example in this group let us consider a cantilever arch being a quarter circle of radius R
The arch is loaded by the hydrostatic pressure due to the liquid of the specific weight present
only on its right-hand side.
xa
qhdssin qhds
y
qhdscos
b
M
y
d
N
T

y
by
R

qhdssin

qhdscos
N

This loading acts in the same direction, normal to the arch, as the previously considered hydraulic
pressure. But the difference is in the fact, that its value is not constant but varies linearly with the
increasing depth h measured from the liquid free surface. Thus, in the equations corresponding to
the hydraulic pressure the load q must be replaced by
q h = h 1m = (R b ) = R (1 sin )
Hence, the equilibrium equations for the cut-off segment of the arch read:
/2

N : N + (q hds sin cos q hds cos sin ) = 0

/2

T : T + (q hds sin sin + qh ds cos cos ) = 0

M : M +

/2

[q hds sin (x a ) + qh ds cos (b y )] = 0

Having expressed all the variables under integrals in terms of angles, introduced the notation for qh
and noted, that the angle does not undergo integration, the internal forces can be given as:
N = R 2 cos

/2

/2

2
(1 sin ) sin d + R sin (1 sin )cos d

T = R 2 sin
M = R

/2

(1 sin ) sin d R

cos

/2

(1 sin ) cos d

/2
3

/2

(1 sin )cos (sin sin )d R (1 sin ) sin (cos cos )d


3

These calculations involve the integrals of the functions sin2 and cossin, which can be easily
found using the following trigonometric relations

1
1
sin 2 = cos 2 +
2
2
1
cos sin = sin 2
2

Now the functions of the internal forces can be determined


/2

N = R cos
2

/2

(sin sin )d + R
2

(cos cos sin )d =

sin

/2

1
1

= R cos cos + sin 2


4
2

/2

+ R sin sin + cos 2


4

1
1

= R 2 cos cos sin 2 + + R 2 sin sin cos 2


4
4
2
4
4

T = R sin
2

/2

(sin sin )d R
2

cos

/2

(cos cos sin )d =

/2

1
1

= R 2 sin cos + sin 2


4
2

/2

R 2 cos sin + cos 2


4


1
1

= R 2 sin cos sin 2 + R 2 cos sin cos 2


4
4
2
4
4

M = R 3

/2

/2

3
2
(cos cos sin )(sin sin )d + R (sin sin )(cos cos )d =

= R 3 sin
+ R

/2

/2

(cos cos sin )d R (cos sin cos sin )d

/2
3

(cos sin sin

cos d R cos
/2

= R sin sin + cos 2


4

/2

(sin sin )d =

/2

1
1

R cos cos + sin 2


4
2

1
1

3

= R 3 sin sin cos 2 R 3 cos cos sin 2 +


4
4
4 2
4

These functions can be represented graphically. In the graphs values of the forces are presented
for points spaced by angles of /12.
0.0

0.0

0.0002
0.0031

0.0

0.003
0.023

0.0152

0.1090

0.0466

0.171
T [R ]
2

N [R ]

0.0152

0.076

0.0466
2

0.0002
0.0031

0.314
0.5

0.2146

M [R ]
3

0.1090
0.2146

3. Statically indeterminate circular arches


Statically indeterminate arches can be solved using the flexibility method. The shape of the arch
determines only a technique to calculate coefficients in the canonical equations of the method.
These coefficients represent displacements in basic loading states and can be obtained from the
principle of virtual work. The adequate well known formula reads:
Mi Mk
ds
EI
s

ik =

The important issue to note is, that the integration must be carried out along the curve representing
the arch. This opens a vast field of problems and different techniques invented to calculate the
curvilinear integrals.
In the case of circular arches this integration can be performed in a quite straightforward way
introducing the polar set of co-ordinates and replacing the integral along the arch length with the
one over the polar angle, as it was done in the examples of statically determinate arches to
calculate loading resultant and its moments.
Let us consider a statically indeterminate arch in the form of the propped cantilever being one
quarter of the circle with the radius R, loaded by the horizontal concentrated force P at the tip.
y

The modified system

P
R

X1

The modified system for the flexibility method has a removed support at the point A and the
equivalent reaction at this support is considered as the redundant force X1.
The canonical equation of the flexibility method resulting from the condition of zero vertical
displacement of the point A reads

11 X 1 + 1P = 0
For a circular arch the calculation of the flexibility coefficients in this equation can be carried out
analytically after the change to the polar co-ordinates. The analytical functions of the bending
moments in the basic states: X1 = 1 and P are necessary.

State X1 = 1

State P

P
X1 = 1

Ry

x
The corresponding functions of the bending moments, with a sign convention attributing positive
values to the moments setting the internal side under tension (and the external one under
compression), have the form:

M1 = x = R cos

MP = P (R y ) = PR (1 sin )

The flexibility coefficients can now be calculated from:


M1M1
R3
ds =
cos 2 d

EI s
s EI

11 =

M1M P
PR 3
ds =
cos (1 sin )d
EI
EI s
s

1P =

The integral of the function cossin was already discussed previously and the one for the function
cos2 can be found using the trigonometric relation

cos 2 =

1
1
cos 2 +
2
2

With this in hand one gets:

11 =

R3 / 2
R3

(
cos
2
+
1
)
d
=

2EI 0
2EI

1P =

PR 3
2EI

/2

/2

1
2 sin 2 +

0
3

R 3
4EI
/2

2 sin + cos 2
2EI
2
0

PR
(2 cos sin 2 )d =

PR 3
2EI

Then the redundant force can be obtained from the canonical equation as
X1 =

1P
2P
=
11

The function of the bending moment in the statically indeterminate arch follows from the
superposition rule:
M (i ) = M1 X 1 + M P =

2PR

cos + PR (1 sin ) = PR 1 sin cos

To check the correctness of the results a kinematic check should be performed. Let us check if the
cross-section rotation at the clamped support B is zero. To this end the principle of virtual work and
the reduction theorem are used:
M (i )M (0 )
ds = 0 (? )
EI
s

1 B =

The virtual bending moment comes from an appropriate modified system, different than the one
used in the calculations above. Hence, the fixed support B is replaced with a hinge and the virtual
loading in the form of the concentrated unit bending moment is applied there.

y
A

M =1

VA
B

x
The virtual reaction at the support A results from the equilibrium of moments with respect to B

10

MB : VA R + 1 = 0

VA =

1
R

and the function of the virtual bending moment is:


M (0 ) =

1
x = 1 cos
R

The check of the cross-section rotation follows as:


M (i )M (0 )
PR 2
ds =
EI
EI
s

1B =

PR 2
=
EI

/2

cos 1 sin cos d =

/2

1
1
1

sin + 4 cos 2 2 sin 2

=0

This proves the correctness of the calculations by the flexibility method!

As the next example let us consider a statically indeterminate arch of a parabolic shape. The arch
central axis is expressed in the co-ordinates system x,y by a function

4f
x (L x )
L2

y=
what for the data given in the figure yields

y =
y

1 2 4
x + x
9
3

6 kN/m
30 kN
D
E

f=4

B
3

[m]

L = 12

The arch consists of two segments connected by a hinge. Externally there are six reactions at the
clamped supports A and B versus four equilibrium equations, the fourth is the equation of moments
with respect to the hinge C. Hence, the system has two redundant forces. The modified system
can be formed by the removal of the hinge C and then the horizontal and vertical internal forces
therein are considered as the redundant forces X1 and X2.
y
6 kN/m
30 kN
C
X1
A

D
X2

X1

X2
3

B
3

11

The kinematic compatibility conditions require, that the relative displacements of arch fragments
tips at the point C measured in the horizontal and vertical directions are zero. This leads to the
canonical equations of the flexibility method in the form
11 X 1 + 12 X 2 + 1P = 0

21 X 1 + 22 X 2 + 2P = 0
and the flexibility coefficients are calculated from the curvilinear integrals
Mi Mk
ds
EI
s

ik =

In the case of the parabolic arch the transformation to the polar co-ordinates is not efficient. The
integrals would be too complex.
Instead, first the integrals are transformed to the straight-line ones. From the figure

ds

dx
the following relation can be deduced
ds =

dx
cos

where is the slope of the tangent to the arch. Now the flexibility coefficients can be obtained from
Mi Mk
dx
EI
cos
x

ik =

It must be noted, that the angle is variable along the arch, depending on the co-ordinate x. It can
be obtained from the first derivative of the arch centre line function.

tan =

dy
dx

In our example
4
2
x+
3
9

= arctan

Substitution of this relation to the formula for the coefficients ik leads to very complex integrals,
which cannot be solved analytically. The only reasonable way to solve them is the numerical
integration. There are several methods available: rectangles, trapezium, Simpson, the family of
Gauss quadratures, etc. Some of these methods are based on a geometrical approach, where the
entire area below the function graph is approximated by a finite number of basic areas. Here we
will apply the trapezium method illustrated in the figure
y

f(x)

fn1

fn

f2
f0

f1
A1

A2

An

x
12

The function domain


x a, b
is divided into a finite number of n equal intervals x and the determinate integral is represented as
a sum of trapeziums areas
b

f (x )dx = A1 + A2 + ... + An

After a substitution of the formulae for the trapezium area the integral can be finally expressed in
terms of a finite number of function values at the ends of intervals x
b

f (x )dx =
a

x
(f0 + 2f1 + 2f2 + ... + 2fn 1 + fn )
2

The method is approximate and its accuracy depends on the density of the function domain
subdivision. The larger is the number of intervals, the more accurate results are obtained.
In the considered example the integration domain is
x 0,12 m
and it will be subdivided into 12 intervals of x = 1.0 m.
To carry out the calculations the functions of bending moments in the basic states: X1 = 1, X2 = 1
and P are necessary.

M1 = 3 y

X1=1 C
X1=1
3
A

B
3

4
x

M2 = x 3

C
X2=1
A

X2=1
3

B
3

6 kN/m
30 kN
D
E

B
3

6
2
on AD
2 (x 3 )

MP = 6 3(x 4.5 )
on DE

6 3(x 4.5 ) 30(x 9 ) on EB

225
27

13

27

81

The results of calculations for the flexibility coefficients are presented in the table.
x

tan

cos

M1

M2

MP

M 1M 1
cos

M1M 2
cos

M 2M 2
cos

M1M P
cos

m
0.0
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
10.0
11.0
12.0

m
0.0
1.2222
2.2222
3.0
3.5556
3.8889
4.0
3.8889
3.5556
3.0
2.2222
1.2222
0.0

1.3333
1.1111
0.8889
0.6667
0.4444
0.2222
0.0
0.2222
0.4444
0.6667
0.8889
1.1111
1.3333

0.6
0.6690
0.7474
0.8320
0.9138
0.9762
1.0
0.9762
0.9138
0.8320
0.7474
0.6690
0.6

m
3.0
1.7778
0.7778
0.0
0.5556
0.8889
1.0
0.8889
0.5556
0.0
0.7778
1.7778
3.0

m
3.0
2.0
1.0
0.0
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
9.0

kNm
27.0
12.0
3.0
0.0
3.0
12.0
27.0
45.0
63.0
81.0
129.0
177.0
225.0

m2
15.0
4.7243
0.8094
0.0
0.3378
0.8094
1.0
0.8094
0.3378
0.0
0.8094
4.7243
15.0

m2
15.0
5.3148
1.0407
0.0
0.6080
1.8211
3.0
3.6423
3.0401
0.0
7.2847
21.259
45.0

m2
15.0
5.9791
1.3380
0.0
1.0943
4.0975
9.0
16.390
27.358
43.269
65.561
95.665
135.0

kNm2
135.0
31.892
3.1220
0.0
1.8240
10.927
27.0
40.976
38.305
0.0
134.25
470.36
1125.0

M 2MP
cos

M(i)

kNm2
kNm
135.0
2.391
35.874
1.894
4.0139
1.097
0.0
0.0
3.2830 1.397
24.585 3.091
81.0
5.085
184.39 4.379
344.71 2.027
584.13 14.136
1208.2 1.945
2116.7 -4.546
3375.0 5.337

Applying the trapezium formula for the coefficients yields the following results

11 =

29.362
25.077
344.75
1150.6
6127.1
, 12 =
, 22 =
, 1P =
, 1P =
EI
EI
EI
EI
EI

With these coefficients found the canonical equations can be solved to get the values of the
redundant forces
X 1 = 25.598 kN ,

X 2 = 15.856 kN ,

The final values of the bending moments in the arch are obtained from the superposition rule

M (i ) = M1 X 1 + M 2 X 2 + M P
and their values are given in the last column in the table above.
The correctness of these calculations should be verified by the kinematic check. Here the crosssection rotation at the clamped support A will be calculated from the principle of virtual work and
the reduction theorem as

M (i )M (0 )
M (i )M (0 )
ds =
dx = 0 (? )
EI
s
x EI cos

1 A =

To this end another modified system is introduced with the appropriate virtual loading in the form of
the concentrated unit moment at the point A.

y
D
E

f=4
B

A
1
4

3
1
12

L = 12

[m]
1
12

x
1
4

Having calculated the reactions at the supports in the usual way the function of the virtual bending
moment in the modified system can be expressed as
M (0 ) =

1
1
x y+1
12
4

14

The calculation of the integral in the kinematic check is also carried out using the trapezium
method and the results are given in the following table
x

M(i)

M (0 )

cos

m
0.0
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
10.0
11.0
12.0

m
0.0
1.2222
2.2222
3.0
3.5556
3.8889
4.0
3.8889
3.5556
3.0
2.2222
1.2222
0.0

kNm
2.391
1.894
1.097
0.0
1.397
3.091
5.085
4.379
2.027
14.136
1.945
-4.546
5.337

1.0
0.6111
0.2778
0.0
0.2222
0.3889
0.50
0.5556
0.5556
0.50
0.3889
0.2222
0.0

0.6
0.6690
0.7474
0.8320
0.9138
0.9762
1.0
0.9762
0.9138
0.8320
0.7474
0.6690
0.6

M ( i ) M (0 )
cos
kNm
3.985
1.730
0.408
0.0
0.340
1.231
2.543
2.492
1.232
8.495
1.012
1.510
0.0

0.016
EI
This result related to the maximum absolute value component in the integral calculation, i.e.
8.495/EI is only 0.19%, what allows to conclude, that the angle A is indeed zero and that the
calculated bending moments in the statically indeterminate arch are correct.
To complete the calculations let us also find the functions of shear and axial forces in the arch.

The final result of the kinematic check is A =

y
6 kN/m
30 kN
C
25.65
15.86

25.65 A

D
25.65
15.86

4
B

25.65

2.4
32.14

33.86

5.3

The values of reactions in supports A and B can be obtained from the equilibrium equations for the
parts AC and CB of the arch. With these values in hand one can write down the appropriate
equations of equilibrium to get the functions of internal forces. For the left half of the arch AD

y
6 kN/m

M
T

25.65 A
2.4

33.86

the equilibrium equations of forces in the direction N and T yield

15

N = 25.65 cos (33.86 6 x ) sin


T = 25.65 sin + (33.86 6 x ) cos

For the right half of the arch DB two cross-sections must be considered with the separation point E.
M

30 kN

N
E

x
25.65

3
5.3

32.14

M
N

x
25.65

3
32.14

5.3

The equilibrium equations yield:


for ED section:
N = (30 32.14 ) sin 25.65 cos
T = (30 32.14 ) cos + 25.65 sin

for EB section:
N = 32.14 sin 25.65 cos
T = 32.14 cos + 25.65 sin
It must be noted, that in all the analyzed cases the angle is an angle from the first quarter and is
always positive. So it is related to the oriented angle as =
The values of shear and normal forces are given in the following table
x
m
0.0
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
10.0
11.0
12.0

y
m
0.0
1.2222
2.2222
3.0
3.5556
3.8889
4.0
3.8889
3.5556
3.0
2.2222
1.2222
0.0

cos

0.6
0.6690
0.7474
0.8320
0.9138
0.9762
1.0
0.9762
0.9138
0.8320
0.7474
0.6690
0.6

sin

0.8
0.743
0.664
0.556
0.406
0.217
0.0
0.217
0.406
0.556
0.664
0.743
0.8

N
kN
42.5
37.9
33.7
30.1
27.4
25.9
25.7
25.5
24.3
22.5 / 39.2
40.5
41.0
41.1

T
kN
0.20
0.42
0.69
1.04
1.40
-1.79
2.14
3.47
8.46
12.50 / 12.5
6.99
2.44
1.24

16

Note, that for x = 9.0 m, i.e. at the point E, where the point load is applied, the shear and axial
forces are discontinuous. The respective jumps in the functions are equal to the respective
components of the concentrated force along tangent and normal to the tangent.
The values of the internal forces can now be presented graphically.
5.1
+

M
[kNm]

T
[kN]

5.3

12.5

0.2

14.1

2.4

2.14

25.7

N
[kN]

12.5

1.24

22.5
39.2

41.1

42.5

It is worth to observe, that the differential relation between the bending moment and the shear
force is also valid for curved beams. So, the zero value of the shear force corresponds to the local
extreme value of the bending moment.
It is also interesting to observe the disturbing influence of the point load. The left half of the arch
loaded by the distributed force is characterized by a very small bending (and shear), while the right
half with the point load is subjected to a relatively larger bending (and shear).
Now let us consider the same arch subjected to the uniformly distributed load of the snow-type
along the entire length.
y

6 kN/m

f=4

B
9

x
[m]

L = 12

For the convenience of the calculations the same modified system is adopted
y
6 kN/m
C
X2 X1

X1
A

X2

17

with the system of canonical equations of the similar form as previously:


11 X 1 + 12 X 2 + 1P = 0

21 X 1 + 22 X 2 + 2P = 0
The states X1 = 1, X2 = 1 are identical and the flexibility coefficients are

11 =

29.362
25.077
344.75
, 12 =
, 22 =
EI
EI
EI

The difference is only in the state P


y
6 kN/m

MP =
C

6
(x 3 )2
2

4
A

B
3

243
27

27

108

Calculation of the coefficients related to this state is given in the table


x

cos

M1

M2

MP

M1M P
cos

M 2MP
cos

M(i)

m
0.0
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
10.0
11.0
12.0

m
0.0
1.2222
2.2222
3.0
3.5556
3.8889
4.0
3.8889
3.5556
3.0
2.2222
1.2222
0.0

0.6
0.6690
0.7474
0.8320
0.9138
0.9762
1.0
0.9762
0.9138
0.8320
0.7474
0.6690
0.6

m
3.0
1.7778
0.7778
0.0
0.5556
0.8889
1.0
0.8889
0.5556
0.0
0.7778
1.7778
3.0

m
3.0
2.0
1.0
0.0
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
9.0

kNm
27.0
12.0
3.0
0.0
3.0
12.0
27.0
48.0
75.0
108.0
147.0
192.0
243.0

kNm2
135.0
31.89
3.122
0.0
1.824
10.93
27.0
43.71
45.60
0.0
153.0
510.2
1215

kNm2
135.0
35.87
4.014
0.0
3.283
24.59
-81.0
196.7
410.4
778.8
1377
2296
3645

kNm
0.030
0.017
0.007
0.0
0.004
0.009
0.010
0.009
0.004
0.000
0.007
0.017
0.030

Using the trapezium formula the remaining flexibility coefficients are found:

1P =

1244
6883
, 2P =
EI
EI

Now the canonical equations can be solved to get the values of the redundant forces
X 1 = 26.99kN ,

X 2 = 18.00kN ,

The final values of the bending moments in the arch are obtained from the superposition rule

M (i ) = M1 X 1 + M 2 X 2 + M P
and their values are given in the last column in the table above. These values are very close to
zero. Indeed, they should be exactly zero, because the parabolic arch is the optimal one for the
snow-type loading and it is in the bending-free state provided the supports allow for the reactions
transmitting the axial force. This conditions are fulfilled in the considered example. Hence, the

18

small non-zero values of the final bending moments are due to the round-up errors and have to be
neglected.
In this situation every kinematic check is fulfilled.
Finally let us find the functions of the shear forces (which should be zero, too) and the non-zero
axial forces.
Having found the reactions
y
6 kN/m
C

D
26.99
18.00

26.99
26.99 A

18.00

26.99

0.0

0.0

36.00

36.00

y
6 kN/m

M
T

26.99 A

36.00

0.0

6 kN/m

M
N

x
26.99

12 x
0.0
36.00

the following equilibrium equations can be written for the left (from A to D)
N = 26.99 cos (36.00 6 x ) sin
T = 26.99 sin + (36.00 6 x ) cos
and the right half (from B to D) of the arch
N = 26.99 cos [36.00 6(12 x )]sin
T = 26.99 sin [36.00 6(12 x )]cos
It must be noted again, that in these cases the angle is an angle from the first quarter and is
always positive. So it is related to the oriented angle as =

19

The values of shear and normal forces are given in the following table
x
m
0.0
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
10.0
11.0
12.0

y
m
0.0
1.2222
2.2222
3.0
3.5556
3.8889
4.0
3.8889
3.5556
3.0
2.2222
1.2222
0.0

cos

0.6
0.6690
0.7474
0.8320
0.9138
0.9762
1.0
0.9762
0.9138
0.8320
0.7474
0.6690
0.6

sin

0.8
0.743
0.664
0.556
0.406
0.217
0.0
0.217
0.406
0.556
0.664
0.743
0.8

N
kN
45.0
40.4
36.1
32.4
29.5
27.6
27.0
27.6
29.5
32.4
36.1
40.4
45.0

T
kN
0.008
0.007
0.007
0.006
0.004
0.002
0.000
0.002
0.004
0.006
0.007
0.007
0.008

The shear force values are indeed zero, the results in the last column are only due to round-up
errors.
The graphical representation of the axial forces concludes the example
27.0

N
[kN]

45.0

45.0

20