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TRUSSES

A truss is a structure that consists of three or

more members attached together at points called
"joints" to from a rigid body. The joints are
assumed to be frictionless pin joints that can't
exert torques on the members.
Thus only compressive or tensile forces act along
members of the truss.
Members, loads, and reactions lie in the same
plane. The weight of each member is negligible
compared to the loads. The width of a member is
ignored. Load act only at the joints.
Simple Trusses
A simple truss is that, which is composed of
members just sufficient to keep it in equilibrium,
when loaded, without any change in its shape.
The simplest simple truss is a triangle, which
contains three members and three joints as
shown in figure.

Simple trusses are generated from the basic

triangular truss by successively adding a pair of
new members to existing joints and also, by
connecting the two new members at a new joint.
Thus a simple truss will always have an odd
number of members.
The number of members, in a simple truss
expressed by the following relation :
m=2 j3

Where m is the number of members and j is the

number of joints.
Stresses
When a body is acted upon by a force, the
internal force which is transmitted through the
body is known as stress.
There are two types of stresses. The simplest
case to consider a metal bar of constant crosssection, loaded at its ends by a pair of oppositely
directed collinear forces coinciding with the
longitudinal axis of the bar and acting through
the centroid of each cross-section. For static
equilibrium the magnitudes of the forces must be
equal. If the forces are directed away from the
bar, the bar is said to be in tension; if they are
directed toward the bar, a state of compression
exists as shown in figure.

The following assumptions are made, while

finding out the forces in the members of a simple
truss :
1. All the members are pin-jointed.
2. The truss is loaded only at the joints.
3. The weight of member is regarded as
negligible in comparison with the other
external forces or loads acting on the truss.
Bow's Notation
Each region or field inside and outside the truss
is assigned an upper case letter. The joints are
designated by numbers.
Each joint is designated by naming clockwise the
fields surrounding it.
Methods of solving the trusses
The following are the methods for finding out the
forces, in the members of a simple truss :
1.Analytical method :
a) Method of joints.
b)Method of sections.
2.Graphical method.
Analytical method
a)

Method of joints:

In this method, each and every joint is treated

separately as a free body in equilibrium. The
unknown forces are then determined by
equilibrium equations i.e.,

F x=0, F y =0
i.e., the sum of all the vertical forces as well as
the horizontal forces is equated to zero.
In this method the joint should not contain more
than two members, in which the forces are
unknown.
We can assume that the direction of all the forces
is upwards from every joint, then resolving the
forces vertically and horizontally. If the result give
a minus sign for any number means that the
direction assumed is wrong and it should have
been downwards instead of upwards.
The result are tabulated showing the members,
the magnitudes of forces and their nature.
Sometimes, tensile forces is represented with a
+ve sign and compressive force with a ve sign.
Example :
The truss shown in Fig. has a span of 5 meters. It
carrying a load of 10 tones at its apex. Find the
forces un the members AB, AC and BC.

- Solution

From the geometry of the truss, we find that the

load of tones is acting at a distance 1.25 m from
the left hand support B. Taking moments about
B,
R2 5=10 1.25=12.5
R 2=2.5 T
R1=102.5=7.5 T

For the joint B, let the direction of the forces FAB

and FBC assumed as shown in Fig.

Resolving the forces vertically ( F y =0 ),

F AB sin 60=7.5
F AB=8.66 T =8.66 T ( compression )

Resolving the forces horizontally ( F x =0 ),

F BC =F AB cos 60=4.33 T (tension)

For joint C, let the directions of FAB and FBC be

assumed as in Fig.

F x =0 ,i . e . , F AC sin 30=2.5
F AC =5 T=5T ( comp. )

Memb
er
Force

AB

AC

BC
a)

8.6
6

-5

4.3
3

Method of section :

This method is particularly convenient, when the

forces in a few members of a truss are required
to be determined.
The force in selected members of a truss is
determined by cutting through the member
whose force is sought and through no more than
three other members required to section the
truss. The resulting section is in equilibrium and,
therefore is treated as a free body. The unknown
forces are then determined by the application of
equilibrium conditions of statics.
Example:
A truss of span 10 meters is loaded as shown in
fig. Find the reactions and forces in the members
of the truss.

- Solution
From the geometry of the figure, we find that the
load of 5KN is acting at a distance of 2.5 meters
and the load of 6KN at a distance of 6.25 meters
from the left hand side.
R1 + R2=5+6=11

Taking moments about the left hand end, (

M =0 )
R2 10=5 2.5+6 6.25=50
R 2=5 KN , then R1=115=6 KN

Now pass section (I-I) cutting the members AE

and ED.
Consider the equilibrium for the left part of the
truss and assume the direction as shown in fig.

Taking moments about joint 2 (of the left part

only),
F AE 10 sin 606 10=0
F AE=6.928 KN =6.928 KN (comp .)

Taking moments about joint 2 (also of the left

part only),
F ED 2.5 tan 60=6 2.5
F ED =3.464 KN (tension)

Pass section (II-II) cutting the members BF, FE

and ED.
Consider the equilibrium for the left part of the
truss and assume the direction of FBF and FEF as
shown in fig.

Taking moments about joint 4,

F BF 2.56 5+ 5 2.5=0
F BF =7 KN =7 KN (comp .)

Taking moments about joint 2,

F EF 8.66 sin 306 10+5 7.5=0
F EF =5.196 KN (tension)

Pass section (III-III) cutting the members BF, FG

and GD.
Consider the equilibrium of the right part of the
truss and assume the directions of FFG and FGD as
shown in fig.

Taking moments about joint 3,

F GD 4.33sin 30+5 3.75=0
F GD=8.66 KN ( tension )

Taking moments about joint 2,

F FG 4.33+ 6 3.75=0
F GD=5.169 KN =5.169 KN ( comp . )

Pass section (IV-IV) cutting the members GC and

DG.
Consider the equilibrium of the right part of the
truss and assume the direction of FGC as shown in
fig.

Taking the moments about joint 4,

FGC 5 sin 30+5 5=0
F GD=10 KN =10 KN ( comp . )

Memb
er
Force

AE

ED

-6.928

3.46
4

B
F
-7

EF

GD

FG

GC

5.16
9

8.6
8

5.196

10

Cantilever Trusses
A truss, which is connected to a wall or a column
at one end, and free at the other is known as a
cantilever truss.
For the other kinds of trusses, the determinations
of supported reactions is very important to start
the solution. But for the cantilever trusses
determination of supported reactions is not

important to start the solution. So the solution

will begin from the free end of the cantilever.
Example :
A braced support of 3 meters span is loaded as
shown in fig. Find the forces in the various
members of the framed truss using the method
of joints.

- Solution
For the joint A, let the directions of FAB and FAD as
shown in fig.

Resolving the forces vertically ( F Y =0 ),

F AB sin 60=500
F AB=577 kg (tension)

Resolving the forces horizontally ( F X =0 ),

F ADF AB cos 6 o=0
F AD=288.5 kg=288.5 kg( comp.)

shown in fig.

Resolving the forces vertically ( F Y =0 ),

F BD sin 60F AB sin 6 o=0
F BD =577 kg=577 kg( comp.)

Resolving the forces horizontally ( F X =0 ),

F BC =F AB cos 6 o+ F BD cos 60=577 kg(tension)

Memb
er
Force

AB

BD

BC

577

-288.5

-577

577

Graphical Method

The graphical method for determining the forces

in the members of trusses is very simple. To
apply this method, consider the following steps.
1. Find all support reactions for the truss.
2. Draw the space diagram for the truss along
with loads and reactions.
3. Name the various members and forces
according to Bow's notation.
4. Draw the forces polygon, and for a joint, care
should be taken that the joint doesn't
contain more than two members whose
forces are unknown. If the joint contain more
than two members forces are unknown, then
some other joint which doesn't contain more
than two unknown force members should be
considered for drawing the forces polygon.
If we can't draw at a joint, then we must
determine the forces at such a joint by other
method of section.
5. Tabulate the forces in the members of the
truss.
If in the forces polygon, any two points
coincide, then the force in the member
represented by the two letters will be zero.

Example:
A truss of 32 meters span is loaded as shown in
fig. Find the magnitude and the nature of forces
in all the members of the truss by graphical
method.

- Solution
1. Taking the moments about the left end
support,
R2 32=1 8+ 4 16 +2 24+3 8+144
R 2=4.5 KN , R1 =5.5 KN

2. Draw the space diagram and name all the

members according to Bow's notation as
shown in Fig.

4. Measuring the various sides of the forces

polygon.
5. Tabulate all results as shown in the following
tableau.
Member
AG
BI
CJ
DL
EL

Magintude of force
in KN
5.5
7
7
4.5
6.3

Nature of
foce
Comp.
Comp.
Comp.
Comp.
Tension

EK
HE
FG
HG
HI
IJ
JK
KL

4.5
5.5
7.6
2.5
0
4
3.5
4.5

Tension
Tension
Tension
Comp.
Tension
Comp.
Tension
Comp.