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Activity 3.2.

4 Beam Analysis Short Cuts


Introduction
As you performed calculations during Activity 3.2.3 Beam Analysis, you may have
noticed a pattern to the calculation of end reactions and the resulting shear and
moment diagrams. In fact, mathematical formulas can be developed to represent the
magnitude of the end reactions, shear, and bending moments based on the type of
loading imposed on the beam. Engineers typically use these time-saving formulas in
lieu of creating shear and moment diagrams.

Equipment
Engineering notebook
Computer with MD Solids software
Pencil

Procedure
Use the following beam formulas to complete the activities below. All beams are 16
feet in length. All uniform loads are w = 100 lb/ft and all concentrated loads are P =
500 lb. Assume the distance a = 4 ft.

1. Use the beam formulas given for each beam diagram to calculate the end
reactions and maximum moment for each loading case. Then compare your
answers to the end reactions and maximum moment you found in Activity 3.2.3
Beam Analysis. Note that, for this activity, the deflection formulas are provided
for reference only.
2. Use MD Solids to create the shear and bending moment diagrams. Remember to
reset between problems. Print out the diagrams and attach them to this activity.
Compare the shear and bending moment diagrams with the diagrams you
created in Activity 3.2.3 Beam Analysis.

Note: For all formulas


L= Length of beam (ft)
P = Concentrated load in pounds (lb)
lb
= Uniform load ( )
ft
R = End reaction (lb)
M = Bending moment ( ft lb )
a = Distance from left support to point of load application (ft)
b = Distance from the support to point of load application as shown in diagram (ft)

2010 Project Lead The Way, Inc.


Civil Engineering and Architecture Activity 3.2.4 Beam Analysis Short Cuts Page 1
1. Simple Beam Concentrated Load at Center

L Reaction
2 P
R A =RB =
2

Moment
PL
M max=
4
(at point of load)

Deflection
P L3
max=
48 EI
(at point of load)

Reaction- 250 lb
Moment- 2000 ft/lb

2. Simple Beam Uniformly Distributed Load

L Reaction
L
R A =RB =
2

Moment
L2
M max=
8
(at center)

Deflection
4
5 L
max=
384 EI
(at center)

Reaction- 800 lb
Moment- 3200 ft/lb

3. Simple Beam Uniformly Distributed Load and Concentrated Load at Mid-Span

2010 Project Lead The Way, Inc.


Civil Engineering and Architecture Activity 3.2.4 Beam Analysis Short Cuts Page 2
L P L
Reaction R A =RB = +
2 2

PL L2
Moment M max= +
4 8
(at point of load)

Deflection

4
PL 5 L
max= +
4 384 EI
(at point of load)

Reaction- 1050 lb
Moment- 5200 ft/lb

4. Simple Beam Two Equal Concentrated Loads Symmetrically Placed

L Reaction R A =RB =P

Moment M max=Pa
(between loads)

2
2
3 L 4 a
Deflection
Pa
max=
24 EI
(at center)

Reaction- 500 lb
Moment- 2000 ft/lb

5. Simple Beam Two Equal Concentrated Loads Symmetrically Placed and


Uniformly Distributed Load

2010 Project Lead The Way, Inc.


Civil Engineering and Architecture Activity 3.2.4 Beam Analysis Short Cuts Page 3
L L
Reaction R A =RB =P+
2

L2
Moment M max=Pa+
8
(between loads)

5 L4 +
Deflection max=
384 EI
2
2
3 L 4 a
Pa

24 EI
(at center)
Reaction- 1300 lb
Moment- 53200 ft/lb

Simple Beam Concentrated Loads


L Pb
Asymmetrically Placed Reaction RA=
L
Pa
RB =
L

Pab
Moment M max=
L
(at Point of Load)

Deflection
Pab(a+ 2b) 3 a(a+2 b)
max=
27 EI

Reaction-
(at x=
a(a+2 b)
3,
whena> b )

A- 375 lb
B- 125 lb
Moment- 1500 ft/lb

2010 Project Lead The Way, Inc.


Civil Engineering and Architecture Activity 3.2.4 Beam Analysis Short Cuts Page 4