Beam Deflections Jun 2022

Hand calculate beam deflections
I thought I should reassess and resharpen my basic structural engineering skills.

I present a few problems

  1. Given a cantilever subject to three separate loadings:
    (a) a concentrated load P at the free end,
    (b) a moment M at the free end, and
    (c) a uniform load w over the entire beam.
    The span is L.
    For each loading, determine the beam deflection at the free end of the span.
    Answer: (a)

        \[\delta = \frac{PL^3}{3EI}\]

    Answer: (b)

        \[\delta = \frac{ML^2}{2EI}\]

    Answer: (c)

        \[\delta = \frac{wL^4}{8EI}\]

    Answer: see calculations calculate cantilever deflections

  2. Given a simple beam with a P load at midspan.
    The span is L.
    Determine the beam rotation at the right end of the span.
    Answer:

        \[\theta_{B} = \frac{PL^2}{16EI}\]

    See calculations calculate symmetric rotation

    I solved this problem using the virtual work method.
    hand calcs virtual work

  3. Given a simple beam with a P load at at a distance a from the left support.
    The span is L; therefore, b = L-a.
    Determine the beam rotation at the right end of the span.
    Determine also the deflection for all points x located left of the P loading.
    Answer:

        \[\theta_{B} = \frac{Pab(L+a)}{6EIL}\]

    See calculations calculate asymmetric rotation

    I solved this problem using the conjugate beam method (*).hand calcs conjugate beam
    Note that if

        \[a = \frac{L}{2}\]

        \[\text{and therefore}\]

        \[b = \frac{L}{2}\]

    then the third equation is equal to the second equation.


  4. Given a beam (or plate) with uniform load, w, subjected to a 2 point symmetric lift
    The center span, L, is to be determined
    The value, a, is a ratio to be determined
    The left overhang = the right overhang = aL
    lift arrangement
    Determine the span and the overhang that minimizes the absolute value of the moment along the span
    Answer: see calculations calculate lift load points
    Determine the resulting deflection at the right end of the beam, at x = L+2aL = (1+2a)L
    Answer: see calculations calculate deflection given minimized moment
    Note that my calculation of a agrees with the well-known value of a

        \[\frac{aL}{L+2aL} = \frac{a}{1+2a} = 0.2071 \approx 0.21\]


Bonus Material

For the first 2 problems, I checked some algebra using Jupyter, Plotly, Python, and Sympy.

http://khoitsmahq.firstcloudit.com/images%2Fbeam_hand_calc_check.html


Additional Bonus Material

Quite a surprise — I discovered a Sympy package named sympy.physics.continuum_mechanics.beam.Beam (**) and checked some of my results using that package too. Note Sympy’s use of singularity functions in cells 4 and 5. I use singularity functions in cells 6 through 10.

http://khoitsmahq.firstcloudit.com/images%2Fshear_and_moment.html


def f_rotation(x, E, I):
    sf = SingularityFunction
    return (-10*sf(x, 0, 2)/3 + 
            5*sf(x, 48, 2) - 
            5*sf(x, 144, 2)/3 + 
            12800)/(E*I)
    
def f_deflection(x, E, I):
    sf = SingularityFunction
    return (12800*x - 
            10*sf(x, 0, 3)/9 + 
            5*sf(x, 48, 3)/3 - 
            5*sf(x, 144, 3)/9)/(E*I)    


References

(*)   Conjugate Beam Method — Wiki

(**)  https://docs.sympy.org/… continuum_mechanics/beam.html

(***) A bonus from Dr. Myosotis


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