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# UNIT 5 STRESSES IN BEAMS

Stresses in Beams

Structure
5.1

Introduction
Objectives

5.2

5.2.1

Assumptions

5.2.2

5.2.3

## Neutral Axis and Neutral Plane

5.3

Moment of Resistance

5.4

## Bending Stress Distribution

5.5

Practical Applications
5.5.1

5.5.2

5.5.3

## Evaluation of Load Bearing Capacity

5.6

Summary

5.7

5.1 INTRODUCTION
When a beam is loaded with external loads, bending moments and shear forces are set up
at all sections of the beam. The values of bending moments and shear forces at various
sections of the beam can be found. These have been discussed in the previous unit.
In this unit, we are going to study about bending and the bending stress distribution,
moment of resistance, section modulus and shear stress distribution in beams of various
cross-section.
Objectives
After studying this unit, you should be able to

## 5.2 SIMPLE BENDING OR PURE BENDING

Consider a cantilever subjected to a moment at the free end. The shear force is zero and
the bending moment is constant at all sections. This cantilever is under pure bending or
simple bending. So a beam or cantilever is said to be subjected to simple bending or pure
bending when it bends under the action of uniform bending moment, without any shear
force.
In practice, when a beam is subjected to transverse loads, the bending moment at a
section is accompanied by shear force. But it is generally observed that the shear force is
zero where the bending moment is maximum. Therefore, the condition of pure bending
or simple bending is deemed to be satisfied at that section.

5.2.1 Assumptions
The assumptions made in the theory of simple bending are as follows :
(a)

The material of the beam is perfectly homogeneous (i.e. of the same kind
throughout) and isotropic (i.e. of same elastic properties in all directions).

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## Forces and Stresses

in Beams

(b)

The material is stressed within elastic limit and obeys Hookes law.

(c)

The value of modulus of elasticity for the material is same in tension and
compression.

(d)

The beam is subjected to pure bending and therefore bends in the form of an
arc of a circle.

(e)

The radius of curvature of the bent axis of the beam is large compared to the
dimensions of the section of beam.

(f)

The transverse sections, which are plane and normal to the longitudinal axis
before bending remain plane and normal to the longitudinal axis of the beam
after bending.

(g)

The stresses are purely longitudinal and local effects of concentrated loads
are neglected.

## 5.2.2 Theory of Simple Bending

Consider a cantilever subjected to a clockwise moment M at the free end. The cantilever
is subjected to a constant bending moment M at all sections of the beam. Let AB and CD
be two sections at a distance dx apart, as shown in Figure 5.1.
As the cantilever is subjected to a constant bending moment M, the beam bends into a
circular arc. The top fibres of the beam are subjected to tension.
The topmost layer AC has elongated to AC. The lower layers, below the topmost layer
of the beam have also elongated, but to a lesser degree. Now, we come to the layer GH.
This layer has not suffered any change in its length. This layer is called the neutral layer
or neutral plane.
M

M
C
Q

A
P
G
B

C
Q

A
P
G

H
D

H
D

dx

## (b) After Bending

Figure 5.1

All the layers below GH have compressed to variable amounts. Thus, all the bottom
fibres of the beam are subjected to compression. The bottommost layer BD has
compressed to BD.
Let the projections of AB and CD meet at O, as shown in Figure 5.2.
C
Q
H

A
P
G

B
d

Figure 5.2

Let d be the angle between the planes AB and CD and R be the radius of the neutral
layer. Consider a fibre PQ at a distance y from the neutral layer.
66

## Original length of this fibre = PQ

Stresses in Beams

= dx
= R d
after deformation, this fibre occupies the position PQ.
Now, the length of the fibre

PQ= (R + y) d.

PQ = PQ PQ
= (R + y) d R d
= y d

## Strain in fibre PQ,

Increase in length
Original length

yd y
=
Rd R

Then,

## , where E is the Modulus of Elasticity of the material.

E

y
=
E R

E
y
R

Hence, the stress intensity in any fibre is proportional to the distance of the fibre from the
neutral layer.

## 5.2.3 Neutral Axis and Neutral Plane

We have seen in the previous section that almost all fibres have changed their lengths,
due to bending of the beam. Some layers have elongated and some layers have
compressed. In between the top and bottom layers of the beam, there is a layer of fibres
which are neither elongated nor compressed. Fibres in this layer are not stressed at all.
This layer is called the neutral layer or neutral plane. The line of intersection of the
neutral plane on the cross-section is called the neutral axis.
Position of Neutral Axis
Let us look at Figure 5.3, which shows the cross section of a beam.

da
y
A

Figure 5.3

Consider an elementary area da at a distance y from the neutral axis. Let the
bending stress on the element be .
The force on the elementary area = da

67

## Forces and Stresses

in Beams

From equilibrium considerations, the total compressive forces and tensile forces on
the section should add to zero.
Thus, mathematically,

( da) 0

## We have already seen that =

E
y. Thus, on substituting the value of , we get,
R

E
y da = 0
R
E
y da = 0
R

i.e.

## As E/R is a constant for a particular section, we have y da = 0. This means that

the moment of the whole area about the neutral axis is zero.
Here, y da is the moment of area da about the neutral axis and (y da) is the
moment of entire area of cross section about the neutral axis. Thus, the neutral axis
of the section is located in such a way that the moment of entire area about it is
zero. We know that the moment of an area about the centroidal axis is zero. Hence,
the neutral axis of a section always passes through its centroid.
Thus, to locate the neutral axis of a section, find the centroid of the section. Then,
draw a line passing through this centroid and normal to the plane of bending. This
line is the neutral axis of the beam section.

## 5.3 MOMENT OF RESISTANCE

Consider a cantilever subjected to a clockwise moment M at the free end. Let us take a
section XX at a distance x from the free end, as shown in Figure 5.4.
X

X
M

T
C

a
X

X
X

Figure 5.4

As seen earlier, top fibres are subjected to elongation and bottom fibres are subjected to
contraction. The resultant of tensile stresses T, will be equal to the resultant of
compressive stresses, C. Let the distance between the lines of action of T and C be a.

Ta=Ca

This couple is called the moment of resistance. For equilibrium of the portion of the
beam upto XX, the moment of resistance offered by the section shall be equal to the
bending moment M.

68

Ta=Ca=M

Stresses in Beams

## 5.4 BENDING STRESS DISTRIBUTION

Bending Stress
The bending moment at a section tends to bend or deflect the beam. The internal
stresses resist the bending. The resistance offered by way of internal stresses to the
bending is called bending stress. The theory, relating bending with bending
moments and bending stresses, is called the theory of bending. Now, in this
section, you will also see the pattern of bending stress distribution across the cross
section of the beam.
Let us consider an elemental area da at a distance y from the neutral axis as shown
in Figure 5.5.
The stress on the elemental area, =

E
y
R

= da

E
y da
R

= y da y
R

y
N

## Maximum Compressive Stress

Cross-section of Beam

Figure 5.5

## Total moment of resistance, M, offered by the beam =

=

E
y2 da
R

E
y2 da
R

But y2 da is the moment of inertia I of the beam section about the neutral axis.

M=

E
I
R

M E
=
I
R
Earlier, we have seen that, =
or

E
=
y R

. . . (5.1)

E
y,
R
. . . (5.2)
69

in Beams

## From Eqs. (5.1) and (5.2), we get

M E
= =
I
y R
Let us consider the equation

M
= ,
I
y

where,
M = bending moment at a section,
I = moment of inertia of the beam section,
= stress on any layer of beam, and
y = distance of the layer from neutral axis.
M and I are constants for a particular beam section. Hence, it may be concluded
that the stress varies proportion to the distance y. This is a linear variation. So,
maximum stress occurs at extreme fibres. The stress distribution diagram will be a
triangle as shown in Figure 5.5. For the cantilever subjected to a clockwise
moment M, maximum tensile stress will occur at the topmost fibre and maximum
compressive stress will occur at the bottom-most fibre.

## 5.4.1 Computation of Bending Stress

In the previous section, we have already derived the expression

M
= . It can be
I
y

rewritten as follows :
=

M
y
I

Here, by knowing the bending moment M, the moment of inertia I and the distance y of
the point from the neutral axis, we can calculate the bending stress at that point. The
bending stress at any point is directly proportional to its distance from the neutral axis.

## 5.5 PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

5.5.1 Evaluation of Extreme Stresses
We have already seen that the bending stress at a point is directly proportional to its
distance from the neutral axis. If the stresses are plotted for various distances, we get a
stress distribution diagram as shown in Figure 5.5. The maximum tensile or compressive
stress occurs at the outermost layer.
If we give the maximum value for y in the bending stress expression given in Eq. (5.3).
=

M
y
I

. . . (5.3)

We get the maximum stress. This can easily be understood from the following examples.
Example 5.1
A rectangular beam of breadth 100 mm and depth 200 mm is simply supported
over a span of 4 m. The beam is loaded with an uniformly distributed load of
5 kN/m over the entire span. Find the maximum bending stresses.
Solution
Breadth of beam, b = 100 mm
70

## Depth of beam, d = 200 mm

Moment of inertia, I =

1
1
bd3 =
100 (200)3 = 66.67 106 mm4
12
12

Stresses in Beams

Span of beam, I = 4 m
Uniformly distributed load, w = 5 kN/m
Maximum bending moment at centre of beam,

wl 2 5 4 2
=
= 10 kN m = 107 N mm
M=
8
8
15 N/mm

100 mm

200 mm
N

A
100 mm

15 N/mm

100 mm

Cross-section of Beam

Figure 5.6

## Neutral axis passes through the centre of section.

The distance of top and bottom layer from neutral axis, y = 100 mm
Thus, Bending stress, =

M
y
I
107
66.67 106

100

= 15 N/mm2
So the extreme bending stresses are 15 N/mm2. Figure 5.6 shows the bending
stress distribution for this rectangular section.
Example 5.2
A beam of I-section shown in Figure 5.7 is simply supported over a span of 10 m.
It carries an uniform load of 4 kN/m over the entire span. Evaluate the maximum
bending stresses.
2
7.68 N/mm

30 mm

20 mm

330 mm
660 mm
A

A
300 mm

30 mm
300 mm

7.68 N/mm

Cross-section of Beam

Figure 5.7

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## Forces and Stresses

in Beams

Solution
Moment of inertia, I =
=

1
(BD3 bd3)
12

1
(300 6603 280 6003)
12

## = 21.474 108 mm4

Span of beam, l = 10 m
Uniformly distributed load, w = 4 kN/m
Maximum bending moment at the centre of beam, M =
Thus,

M=

wl 2
8

4 10 2
8

= 50 kN m
= 5 107 N mm
Neutral axis passes through the centroid of I-section.
The distance of top and bottom layer from neutral axis, y = 330 mm
Thus, Bending stress, =
=

M
y
I

5 10 7
330 = 7.68 N/mm2
21.474 10 8

## So the bending stress at top and bottom layers = 7.68 N/mm2.

Example 5.3
A timber beam 150 mm wide and 300 mm deep is simply supported over a span of
4 m. Find the maximum uniformly distributed load that the beam can carry, if the
stress is not to exceed 8 N/mm2.
Solution
Breadth of beam, b = 150 mm
Depth of beam, d = 300 mm
Moment of inertia, I =
=

1
bd3
12
1
(150) (300)3
12

## = 3.375 108 mm4

Maximum bending stress, = 8 N/mm2
Span of beam, l = 4 m
Extreme fibre distance, y = 150 mm
Bending stress, =

M
y
I

8=

or,
72

3.375 108

150

## Maximum bending moment, M =

8 3.375 108
150

Stresses in Beams

= 18 106 N mm = 18kN m
But

M=

wl 2
8

i.e.

18 =

w ( 4) 2
8

w=

18 8
= 9 kN/m
16

The maximum uniformly distributed load the beam can carry = 9 kN/m.

SAQ 1
(a)

## A rectangular beam 200 mm 300 mm is 8 m long and is simply supported

at the ends. It carries a point load of 45 kN at mid-span. Find the maximum
bending stresses in the beam.

(b)

## A beam of an I-section shown in Figure 5.8 is simply supported over a span

of 4 m. Find the uniformly distributed load the beam can carry if the
bending stress is not to exceed 100 N/mm2.
20 mm

20 mm
300 mm

20 mm
200 mm

Figure 5.8

(c)

## A rectangular beam 300 mm deep is simply supported over a span of 6 m.

What is the maximum value of concentrated load that can be placed at
mid-span, if the bending stress is limited to 120 N/mm2. Moment of inertia
may be taken as 9 107 mm4.

## 5.5.2 Design for Bending

In many practical cases, the cross-section of a beam is to be designed for the loads
carried by the beam. Using the bending stress expression, we can find the moment of
inertia of beam section. Once the moment of inertia is known, we can arrive at the
breadth and depth of the beam. This design method is explained in the example that
follows.
Example 5.4

73

in Beams

## A timber beam of rectangular section is simply supported over a span of

5 m. It carries an uniformly distributed load of 15 kN/m over the entire span. Find
the width and depth of the beam, if the bending stress is limited to 8 N/mm2. The
depth to width ratio may be taken as 1.5.
Solution

Span of beam, l = 5 m
Uniformly distributed load, w = 15 kN/m
Maximum bending moment at centre, M =
Thus,

M=

wl 2
8

15 (5) 2
8

= 46.875 kN m
= 46.875 106 N mm
From the relationship,
i.e.

M
My
= , we get, I =
I
y

1
46.875 10 6 d
bd3 =

8
2
12
bd2 =

46.875 10 6 12
16

= 35.15625 106
Depth to width ratio,

d
= 1.5 or d = 1.5 b,
b

## On substituting, b (1.5b)2 = 35.15625 106

35.15625 10 6
b =
2.25
3

= 15.625 106
Thus, we get

b = 250 mm
d = 1.5 250 = 375 mm.

## Therefore, width of beam = 250 mm, and

Depth of beam = 375 mm

## 5.5.3 Evaluation of Load Bearing Capacity

In this section, we are going to find the load bearing capacity of a beam of given crosssection. The allowable stress of the material of beam will be given. Using the bending
stress expression, we can find the maximum bending moment acting on the beam and
from that the load carried by the beam can be found.
The above steps can be easily understood by the following example.
Example 5.5

A rectangular beam of width 200 mm and depth 300 mm is simply supported over
a span of 5 m. Find the load that the beam can carry per metre length, if the
allowable bending stress in the beam is 100 N/mm2.
Solution

74

## Width of beam, b = 200 mm

Stresses in Beams

## Depth of beam, d = 300 mm

1
bd3
12

Moment of inertia, I =
=

1
200 (300)3 = 450 106 mm4
12

## Allowable bending stress, = 100 N/mm2

The distance of top or bottom layer, y =
We have, =

300
= 150 mm
2

M
y
I
100 =

M=

M
450 10 6

150

450 10 6 100
150

## = 300 106 N mm = 300 kN m

Span of beam, l = 5 m
Maximum bending moment at centre for uniformly distributed load,
M=

300 =

w=

wl 2
8
w (5) 2
8
300 8
= 96 kN/m
25

SAQ 2
(a)

## A timber beam of rectangular section carries a load of 2 kN at

mid-span. The beam is simply supported over a span of 3.6 m. If the depth
of section is to be twice the breadth, and the bending stress is not to exceed
9 N/mm2, determine the cross-sectional dimensions.

(b)

## A rectangular beam 240 mm 400 mm is simply supported over a span of

4 m. Find the safe concentrated load at mid-span if the allowable bending
stress is 120 N/mm2.

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## Forces and Stresses

in Beams

5.6 SUMMARY
We conclude this unit by summarizing what we have covered in it. We have
(i)

(ii)

(iii)

(iv)

(v)

(vi)

SAQ 1

(a)

30 N/mm2.

(b)

62.12 kN m.

(c)

48 kN.

SAQ 2

76

(a)

(b)

768 kN.