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Stresses in Beam

xial stress, shear stress and bending stress.

1. Normal Stress
The simplest form of stress is normal stress/direct stress,, which is the stress perpendicular to
the surface on which it acts.

= force/area = P/A

where = the normal stress

P = the centric axial load
A = the area of the section

The normal stress is usually expressed in pascals (Pa), where one pascal is equal to one
newton per square metre, that is, 1 Pa = 1 N/m2. A pascal is a very small unit of stress, so
one can usually expect to see stresses expressed in kPa or MPa. In engineering applications,
MPa is usually used.

Figure 1 Axial Stress

Example 1
A steel bar of rectangular cross-section, 3 cm by 2 cm, carries an axial load of 30 kN.
Estimate the average tensile stress over a normal cross-section of the bar.

The area of a normal cross-section of the bar is
A = 30*20
= 600 mm2

The average tensile stress over this cross-section;

= P/A
= 30 x 103 / 600
= 50 N/mm2
= 50 MPa

1.1 Hookes Law

For many materials, the lower end of the stress-strain curve is a straight line. This behaviour
was recognised by Robert Hooke and stated as Hookes Law.

Hookes Law = For an elastic body, stress is proportional to strain


The constant E is called the elastic modulus, modulus of elasticity, or Youngs modulus. E
is equal to the slope of the stress-strain curve.

E = stress/strain = /

Figure 2 Relationship between Stress and Strain of an Elastic Material

Since strain is dimensionless, E has the same unit as stress, e.g. Pa, MPa. The value of E for
a given material is a constant.
constant Materials with a high modulus of elasticity have a high
resistance to elastic deformation, and are said to be stiff.

1.2 Normal Strain

A member carrying a tensile load will stretch. The stretch is usually called deformation, and
the symbol for deformation is . The strain is dimensionless.


where = the normal strain

= the normal deformation
L = the original length of the member before deformation

From Hookes law,


When the stress and strain are caused by axial loads, we have
P/A = E* ( / L )

Figure 3 Axial Deformation

Figure 4 Deformations of Axially Loaded Bars

1.3 Tensile Test

The mechanical properties of materials used in engineering are determined by tests performed
on small specimens of the material. The tests are conducted in materials-testing laboratories
equipped with testing machines.A tensile test machine is shown as below:-

Figure 5 Tensile Test Machine

A stress-strain diagram for a structural steel in tension is shown in the following figure.

Figure 6 A Typical Stress-Strain Curve of Structural Steel

There are several points of interest, which can be identified on the curves as follows:

1. Proportional limit
The maximum stress for which stress is proportional to strain. That is, stress at point A.

2. Elastic limit
Maximum stress that can be applied to a material without producing a permanent plastic
deformation or permanent set when the load is removed. That is, stress at point B.

3. Yield point
Stress for which the strain increases without an increase in stress. That is, the horizontal
portion of the curve BC.

4. Ultimate strength
Maximum stress material can support up to failure. That is, the stress at point D. At
this point the test piece begins, visibly, to neck. The material in the test piece in the
region of the neck as almost perfectly plastic at this stage and from thence, onwards to
fracture, there is a reduction in nominal stress.

5. Breaking strength
Stress in the material based on original cross-sectional area at the time it breaks. It is
also called fracture or rupture strength. That is, the stress at point E.

1.4 Stress-strain curves for other materials

Different materials have different stress-strain curves.The followings are the stress-strain
curves for aluminum alloy and concrete.

Figure 7 Stress-Strain Curves of Different Types of Materials

1.4.1 Aluminum alloy

It is a ductile material, which does not have a yield point. A line drawn parallel to the linear
portion of the stress-strain curve from a strain of 0.002 (i.e. 0.2%) intersects the stress-strain
curve. The intersection point is defined as a yield point.

1.4.2 Concrete
It is a brittle material.

1.5 Poissons Ratio

When a load is applied along the axis of a bar, axial strain is produced. At the same time, a
lateral (perpendicular to the axis) strain is also produced. If the axial force is in tension, the
length of the bar increases and the cross-section contracts or decreases. That is, a positive
axial stress produces a positive axial strain and a negative lateral strain. For a negative axial
stress, the axial strain is negative and the lateral strain is positive.

Figure 8 Deformation of Element Subjected to Tension or Compression

The ratio of lateral strain to axial strain is called Poissons ratio. It is constant for a given
material provided that the material is not stressed above the proportional limit, is
homogeneous, and has the same physical properties in all directions.
= |lateral strain / axial strain||
= - lateral strain / axial strain

The negative sign ensures that Poissons ratio is a positive number.The value of Poissons
ratio, , varies from 0.25 to 0.35 for different metals. For concrete, it may be as low as =
0.1 and for rubber as high as = 0.5.

Figure 9 Typical Values of Poissons Ratio

Example 2
An aluminum alloy sample is tested in tension. When the stress is 150 MPa the normal
strain is 2.1 x 10-3 m/m. Calculate the modulus of elasticity for this alloy.
The modulus of elasticity:
E =/
= 150 x 106/2.1 x 10-3
= 71.429 x 109 Pa
= 71.429 GPa

Example 3
A 2m long round bar of polystyrene plastic with a diameter of 25 mm carries a 5 kN tensile
load. If the modulus of elasticity of the polystyrene is 3.1 GPa, calculate the longitudinal
deformation in the bar.

The deformation,
= L
= L/E
= 5000*2/[(*252 /4) x 10-6 *3.0 x 109)
= 6.79 x 10-3 m
= 6.79 mm

Example 4
Accurate experimental measurements in a compression test of a 200 mm long square sample
with a 50 by 50 mm cross section give a longitudinal deformation of 0.1 mm and a
transverse deformation of 0.008 mm. Determine Poissons ratio for the material.

To calculate Poissons ratio, it is necessary to first determine both the longitudinal and
transverse strains:

l = l/ L
= -0.1/200
= -0.0005 m/m

t = t / L
= 0.008/50
= 0.00016 m/m

Now Poissons ratio may be calculated:

= t /l

Example 5
A steel bar has the dimensions shown in the following figure. If an axial force of P = 80 kN is
applied to the bar, determine the change in its length and the change in the dimensions of its
cross section after applying the load. Take Est = 200 GPa and st = 0.3. The material behaves

The normal stress in the bar is, Z = 80 x 103 / (0.1*0.05)
= 16 x 106 Pa
= 16 MPa

Thusthe strain in the z direction is, Z =Z / Est

= 16 / 200 x 103
= 80 x 10-6

The axial elongation of the bar is therefore,

= 80 x 10-6*1500
= 120 x 10-6 m
= 120 m
The contraction strains in both x and y directions are,
x = y = -st Z
= -0.3* 80 x 10-6
= -24 m/m

Thus the changes in the dimensions of the cross section are,

Lx = x Lx= -24 x 10-6 *0.1
= -2.4 m

LY = Y LY= -24 x 10-6 * 0.05

=-1.2 m

Example 6
A steel rod is loaded as shown in the following figure. Determine the deformation of the
steel rod.

We divide the rod into the three-component parts as indicated in the following figures.

To find the internal forces P1, P2and P3, we must cut sections through each of the component
parts, drawing each time the free-body diagram of the portion of rod located to the right of the
section. Expressing that each of the free bodies is en equilibrium, we obtain successively.
P1 = 400 kN
P2= -100 kN
P3 = 200 kN

= Pi Li A E
i i i

= 400 x 103*0.3 /(600 x 10-6* 200 x 109)

+ (-100 x 103*0.3 /(600 x 10-6* 200 x 109)
+200 x 103*0.4 /(200 x 10-6* 200 x 109)
= 2.75x 10-3 m
= 2.75 mm


The allowable stress is the maximum stress that is considered safe for a material to support
under certain loading conditions. The stress may be used to design load-supporting
members of structures and machines. Allowable stress values are determined by tests and
from experience gained from the performance of previous designs under service conditions.
Allowable stress is also sometimes called the working or design stress.


The factor of safety is defined as the ratio of some load that represents the strength for the
member to the allowable load for the member. That is,

Factor of safety,

ultimate load for the member

F .S . =
allowable load for the member
For tension member, where the load is equal to stress multiplied by area, the ratio of the loads
is identical to the ratio of stresses. Accordingly, for a tension member a factor of safety that
is based on the ultimate stress is equal to the ratio of the ultimate stress to the allowable stress.

F.S. = u / a

Values of the factor of safety used to design members depend on many factors. Among
these are the nature of the loads, variation in material properties, types of failures, uncertainly
in analysis and the environment to which the member is exposed. Factors of safety range in
value from over 1 to 20 with values between 3 and 15 common.

Example 7
A hollow cylinder is to be designed to support a compressive load of 650 kN. The allowable
compressive stress a = 69.2 MPa. Compute the outer diameter of the cylinder if the wall
thickness is 50 mm.

Solving for the required area, we have

Areq = P/a
= 650 x 103/69.2
= 9393 mm2

Considering a hollow cylinder, the area is equal to

Areq = * (do2 di2) /4

where do = outer diameter of the hollow cylinder
di = inner diameter of the hollow cylinder


Areq = * (do2 di2) /4 = 9339 mm2 (1)

Given that the wall thickness is 50 mm,

do di = 100 mm (2)

By solving the above equations 1 and 2,

do = 109.5 mm

2. Bending Stress
The effect of a bending moment applied to a cross-section of a beam is to induce a state of
stress across that section. These stresses are known as bending stresses and they act
normally to the plane of the cross-section.

2.1 Pure Bending

If a simply supported beam carries two point loads of 10 kN as shown in the following figure,
pure bending occurs at segment BC.

10 kN 10 kN



Shear force

10 kN

Bending 10 kN

Figure 10 Pure Bending

The above beam segment BC is subject to a pure sagging moment. The beam
segment will bend into the shape shown in the following figures in which the
upper surface is concave and the lower convex. It can be seen that the upper
longitudinal fibres of the beam are compressed while the lower fibres are
stretched. It follows that between these two extremes there is a fibre that
remains unchanged in length. Thus the direct stress varies through the depth of
the beam from compression in the upper fibres to tension in the lower. Clearly
the direct stress is zero at the fibre which does not change in length. The
surface, which contains this fibre and runs through the length of the beam, is
known as the NEUTRAL SURFACEor NEUTRAL PLANE; the line of
intersection of the neutral surface and any cross-section of the beam is termed
the NEUTRAL AXIS. (It is the axis of the cross-section of a beam at which
both bending strain and bending stress are zero. The neutral axis passes
through the centroid of the cross-section).

Figure 11 - Deformation Geometry for a symmetrical beam in pure bending

2.2 Simple Theory of Bending

1. Beams are initially straight.
2. The material is homogenous and isotropic (i.e. its mechanical properties are the same in
all directions.)
3. Stress-strain relationship is linear and elastic.
4. Youngs modulus is the same in tension as in compression.
5. Sections are symmetrical about the plane of bending.
6. Sections which are plane before bending remain plane after bending.

Implications of the last assumption:

1. Each section rotates during bending about a neutral axis.
2. The distribution of strain across the section is linear, with zero strain at the neutral axis.
3. The section is divided into tensile and compressive zones separated by a neutral surface.
The theory gives very accurate results for stresses and deformations for most practical beams
provided that deformations are small.

2.3 Bending Stresses in Beams

Basic Assumption:
Plane sections through a beam taken normal to its axis remain plane after the beam is
subject to bending.

Figure 12 Plane Sections Remain Plane before and after Bending

Figure 13 Deformation of Beam in Bending

Result 1: The normal strain varies along the beam depth linearly with the distance y
(measured from the centroidal axis).

Result 2: (Assuming Linear Elasticity, by using Hookes Law)

The normal stress varies along the beam depth linearly with the distance
y(measured from the centroidal axis).

Result 3 : For the top and bottom edges of the section, one would be in tension while the
other would be in compression. A plane of zero deformation and zero
bending stresses (Neutral Axis plane) exists between the two.

Figure 14 Distribution of Bending Stress

Result 4 : From considerations of equilibrium, it can be shown that: The Neutral Axis
passes through the Centroid of the section.

Result 5 : The stress and strain varies linearly from zero at the Neutral Axis to their
absolute maximum values at the largest value of y.

Figure 15 Distribution of Bending Strain

Consider the moment induced by a small element of area dA as shown in Figure 15.

M = y dA
My = y ydA
My = y2dA
My = y2dA
My = I
= My / I

Result 6: The elastic Flexure formula for beam bending is as follows:

The bending stress x at a distance y from the Neutral Axis is given by:
x = -My/I

where M = Bending Moment

I = Moment of inertia of the section (about its centroidal axis)
and the Maximum normal stress maxis given by:

max = -Mc/I

where c = |y|max

Use of the flexure formula

The method of solving any beam stress problem involves the following steps:

1. Determine the maximum bending moment on the beam by drawing the shear and bending
moment diagrams.
2. Locate the centroid of the cross section of the beam.
3. Compute the moment of inertia of the cross section with respect to its centroidal axis.
4. Compute the distance c from the centroid axis to the top or bottom of the beam, whichever
is greater.
5. Compute stress from the flexural formula,
max = -Mc/I

Example 8
A simply supported beam is subject a point load of 1500 N at the mid-span of the beam as
shown in the following figure. The cross section of the beam is a rectangular 100 mm high and
25 mm wide. Calculate the maximum stresses due to bending.

1500 N

1.7 m 1.7 m

Step 1 The maximum bending moment occurs at the mid-span of the beam.

M = 750 * 1.7
= 1275 Nm

Step 2 The centroid of the rectangular section is at the intersection of its two axes of

Step 3 For the rectangular section,

I = 25(100)3/12
= 2.08 x 106 mm4

Step 4 c = 50 mm

Step 5 The maximum tensile and compressive stresses due to bending are:

max, = -Mc/I
= 1275 x 103 (50)/ 2.08 x 106
= 30.6 N/mm2 or 30.6 MPa

Example 9
A simply supported I-beam carries a uniformly distributed load of 5 kN/m over the entire span
of 6 m. The cross section of the beam is shown in the following figure. Determine the
bending stresses that act at points B and D, located at the mid-span of the beam.

115 mm 115 mm

20 mm
20 mm
300 mm

20 mm
Step 1 The supported reaction = 5 * 6 / 2 = 15 kN

Consider the following free body diagram.

5 kN/m H
15 kN V
3m X

The bending moment occurs at the mid-span of the beam.

M = 15 * 3 5 * 3 * 1.5
= 22.5 kNm

Step 2 The centroid of the I-section is at the intersection of its two axes of symmetry.

Step 3 For the I-section,

Moment of inertia, I
= 250(340)3/12 2*115(300)3/12
= 3.01 x 108 mm4

Step 4 At point B, yb = 150 mm
At point D, yd = 170 mm

Step 5 The compressive stress due to bending at point B is:

b, = -Myb /I
= 22.5 x 106 * 150 / 3.01 x 108
= 11.2 N/mm2 or 11.2 MPa

The tensile stress due to bending at point D is:

d, = -Myd /I
= 22.5 x 106 * 170 / 3.01 x 108
= 12.7 N/mm2 or 12.7 MPa

2.4 Non-Symmetrical Sections under Bending

The critical difference between the non-symmetrical section and symmetrical section under
bending is that in a non-symmetrical section, such as a T beam or triangular shape beam, the
location of the centroid is no longer obvious and is usually never at the mid-height of the

In the T beam, the centroid is located near the top flange of the member. Deformations and
bending stresses in the member still vary linearly in the member and are proportional to the
distance from the neutral axis of the member. This implies that the stress levels at the top
and bottom of the beam are no longer equal as they typically are in symmetrical sections.
The stresses are greater at the bottom of the beam than they are at the top because of the larger
y distance.The two and three dimensional views of bending stress distribution in a T beam are
shown in the following figures.

Figure 16 Non-symmetrical Bending

Section Modulus
The maximum tensile and compressive stresses in the beam occur at points located farthest
from the neutral axis. Let us denote by c1 and c2 the distances from the neutral axis to the
extreme elements in the positive and negative y directions, respectively. Then the maximum
normal stresses:

1 = M c1/I = M/ Z1
2 = -M c2 /I = M/ Z2

in which,

Z1 = I / c1
Z2 = I / c2

The quantities Z1andZ2are known as the section moduli of the cross sectional area. We see
that a section modulus has dimensions of length to the third power.

Figure 17 Stress Distribution of a Non-Symmetrical Section

If the cross section is symmetric with respect to the z axis, then c1 = c2 = c, and
the maximum tensile and compressive stresses are equal numerically:
1 = -
2 = M c /I = M/ Z

in which
is the section modulus.

For a beam of rectangular cross section with width b and height h, the moment of inertia and
section modulus are

I = bh3/12 Z = bh2/6

Figure 18 Stress Distribution of a Symmetrical Section

Example 10
A simply supported beam of span length of 8 m is subject to a uniformly distributed load of 2
kN/m over the entire span and a point load of 8 kN at 5m from the left support of the beam as
shown in the following figure. Determine the maximum tensile and compressive stresses in
the beam due to bending
8 kN

2 kN/m
5m 3m

700 mm

220 mm

Cross section of the beam

The shear force and bending moment diagrams for the beam are shown in the following figures.

Method 1 : use section modulus for calculations

Section modulus of the cross-sectional area,
Z = bh2/6
= 220*7002/6
=1.8 x 107 mm3

Method 2 : use moment of inertia for calculations

Moment inertia of the cross-sectional area,
I = bh3/12
= 220*7003/12
=6.29 x 109 mm4
Maximum bending tensile and compressive stresses,
= Mmax c/ I
= 30 x 106* 350/6.29 x 109
= 1.67 N/mm2

Maximum bending tensile and compressive stresses,

= Mmax / Z
= 30 x 106/1.8 x 107
= 1.67 N/mm2

8 kN

2 kN/m
11 kN 13 kN
5m 3m

9 7 5 Shear Force (kN)

0 0
10 12
+ve 18
24 22
28 30
Bending Moment (kNm)

Example 11
A simply supported T-beam shown in the following figure carries a uniformly distributed load
of 1 kN/m over the entire span of 6 m. Calculate the maximum bending stresses induced in
the beam.

The maximum bending moment,
Mmax = 1*62/8
= 4.5 kNm

The moment inertia of beam,

I = 120(40)3/12 + 120*40*(140-100)2 + 40(120)3/12
+ 40*120*(100-60)2
= 2.18 x 107 mm4

The maximum tensile stress in the bottom fibre,

120 mm

40 mm
Centroidal Axis

120 mm
100 mm

= M c2 /I
= 4.5 x 106*100/2.18 x 107
= 20.64 N/mm2

The maximum compressive stress in the top fibre,

= M c1 /I
= 4.5 x 106*60/2.18 x 107
= 12.4 N/mm2

10 kN 20 kN
4 kN/m
2m 2m 4m 2m

Example 12
A T-beam is loaded as shown in the following figure. Calculate the maximum bending
stresses induced in the beam

120 mm

40 mm
Centroidal Axis

120 mm
100 mm

The shear force and bending moment diagrams for the beam are shown in the following

3. Shear Stress
Shear stress is stress parallel to the surface on which it acts.

= shear force/area = V/A

where = the shear stress acting on the surface

V = is the shear force acting parallel to the surface
A = the area on which the shear stress acts
It is assumed that the shear stress is uniformly distributed over the surface.

Figure 19a Shear Stress

Figure 19b Shear Stress

Example 13
Two pieces of plastic are jointed by gluing overlapping areas of 50 by 70 mm as shown in the
following figure. If a tensile force of 780 N applied parallel to the glued surfaces causes the
glue to fail, at what shear stress did the glue fail.

The shear stress acting on the glued surface:
= force/area = V/A
= 222860 Pa
= 222.86 kPa

Example 14
A boiler plate steel has an ultimate shear strength of 290 MPa. Compute the force required
to punch a 25 mm in diameter hole if the steel plate thickness is 13 mm. Assume the shear
stress is uniformly distributed.

The resisting shear area is the circumference of the punch multiplied by the thickness of the

A = dt
= *25*13
= 1021 mm2

We solve for P, the required applied force that will induce an ultimate shear stress of 290 MPa,
by substituting the ultimate shear stress:

P = Ault
= 1021 x10-6 * 290 x 106
= 296090 N = 296 kN

3.1 Shear Stress in Beam
Consider a simply supported beam with a concentrated load at mid-span. If we cut the beam
at any transverse cross-section, a shear force V exists at the section to maintain equilibrium.
The shear force V is distributed in the form of vertical shear stresses acting over the face of
the section.

Figure 20 Shear Stress in Beam

An important feature of the vertical shear stresses is that they give rise to complementary
horizontal shear stresses. At any point in a beam, the horizontal and vertical shear stresses
are always numerically equal in magnitude.

Figure 21 Complementary Shear Stresses

Figure 22 Distribution of Horizontal Shear Stress and hence the Vertical Shear

3.2 Shear Stress Formula for Beams
The general formula for calculating the shear stress in a beam section which is subject to a
shear force if given by

S Ap y S Q VQ
= = =
It It It

Where = Shear stress

Sor V = Shear force acting at the section
Ap =The cross-sectional area above the imaginary cut (the shaded area
fghi in the diagram)
y = Distance from N.A axis to centroid of the shaded area Ap
I = Moment of inertia of the entire cross-section
t = Width of the section (at the imaginary cut)
Q = Statical moment (Ap* y )

Figure 23 Calculation of Shear Stress

1. The vertical shear stress at a point is equal to the horizontal shear stress.
2. Using the area below the imaginary cut for Ap should give the same result.

3.3 Shear Stress Distribution across a Beam Section
The vertical shear stresses are not uniform in magnitude over the face of the section. It can
be shown that the shear stresses:

are highest at the neutral axis of the beam,

are zero at the free surface (i.e. the top and bottom surfaces of the beam), and
varies with the distance from the neutral axis.

The maximum shear stress in a section calculated by the use of the above formula occurs at
the level of the neutral axis. In rectangular, T-shaped and I-shaped beams and other
commonly occurring sections the shear stress varies parabolically throughout the depth of the
section, with abrupt changes of stress where the geometry of the section changes suddenly,
such as where the web and flanges of an I section meet.

Figure 24 Distribution of Shear Stress of a Rectangular Section

Example 15
A rectangular beam 400 mm by 800 mm supports a shear force of 5 kN. Draw the shear
stress distribution across the depth of the beam section.

The moment of inertia of the section with respect to the neutral axis is given by the formula.

I = bh3/12
= 400(800)3/12
= 17.07 x 109 mm4

S = 5 x 103 N
t = 400 mm

Level Ap y S/I t
(106 mm2) (mm) (10-9 N/mm5) (10-3 N/mm2)
1 0.16 200 0.7323 23.43
2 0.12 250 0.7323 21.97
3 0.08 300 0.7323 17.58
4 0.04 350 0.7323 10.25
5 0 - 0.7323 0

3.4 Methods for Calculating the Statical Moment Q
3.4.1 For a rectangular beam section,

1. Locate the neutral axis for the entire cross section by computing the location
of the centroid.
2. Draw in the axis where the shear stress is to be calculated.
3. Identify the partial area Ap away from the axis of interest the shade it for
4. Compute the magnitude of Ap.
5. Locate the centroid of the partial area.
6. Compute Q = Ap y .

3.4.2 For T-shaped and I-shaped beam sections

y A1 y
Ap 1
Centroidal y
axis of Ap



y A1 y
Ap 1
Centroidal y
axis of Ap


1. Locate the neutral axis for the entire cross section by computing the location of the
2. Draw in the axis where the shear stress is to be calculated.
3. Divided Ap into component parts, which are simple areas and label them A1, A2, and so on.
Compute their values.
4. Locate the centroid of each component area.
5. Determine the distances from the neutral axis to the centroid of each component area,
calling them y1, y2, and so on.
6. Note that, by the definition of the centroid.

Ap y = A1y1 + A2y2 +

Now, because Q = Ap y , the most convenient way to calculate Q is

Q = A1y1 + A2y2 +

Example 16
Find the maximum shear stress induced in the following beam.

4.5 kN 9.0 kN


5.625 kN 7.875 kN

1.5m 3m 1.5m

25 mm

200 mm

y A1 y
Ap 1
Centroidal y
axis of Ap
25 mm
150 mm

Determine the shear force diagram

Example 17
A simply supported beam AB is subject to a uniformly distributed load of 28 kN/m as shown
in the following figure. The cross section of the beam is rectangular with width 25 mm and
height 100 mm. Calculate the shear stress acting at the point C (200 mm from the support B)
in the beam AB.

28 kN/m 25 mm

100 mm
200 mm
25 mm

Shear force at point C, V = -28*1/2 + 28*0.2
= -8.4 kN

Moment inertia of the section, I = 25*1003/12

= 2083*103 mm4

Q = 25*25*37.5= 23440 mm3

Shear stress at point C, = 8400*23440/(2083*103*25)
= 3.8 N/mm2
= 3.8 MPa

Example 18
An I-shaped beam is subject to a shear force of 100 kN. Plot a curve to show the variation of
shear stress across the section of the beam and hence determine the ratio of the maximum shear
stress to the mean shear stress.
44 mm

12 mm
12 mm

126 mm

12 mm

100 mm

Moment of inertia of the section,

I = 100*1503/12 2*44*1263/12
= 13.46*106 mm4

The distribution of shear stress across the section is

= 100*103 *A y /(13.46*106 * t)
= 7.43*10-3 A y /tN/mm2

Section A y t
(mm2) (mm) (mm) (N/mm2)
0 0 - - -
1 100*6=600 72 100 3.2
2 100*12=1200 69 100 6.2
2 1200 69 12 51.3
3 1320 68 12 55.6
4 1440 66.3 12 59.1
5 1680 61.6 12 64.1
6 1956 54.5 12 66.0

It should be noted that two values of shear stresses are required at section 2 to take account of
the change in breadth at this section. The values of A and Y for sections 3,4,5 and 6 are
those of an I-section beam.

44 mm
12 mm 1
43 mm53 mm 5

126 mm 6
23 mm

12 mm

100 mm Shear stress distribution

The mean shear stress across the section is:

mean = shear force / total area

= 100*103 /3.912*103
= 25.6 N/mm2

Maximum shear stress/mean shear stress = 66/25.6 = 2.58

1. R.C. Hibbeler (2005), Mechanics of Materials, SI 2nd edition, Prentice Hall
2. R.C. Hibbeler (2005), Structural Analysis, SI edition, Prentice Hall