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Virtual Work

342

Contents

1. Introduction.

2. Concept of Virtual Work.

3. Principle of Virtual Work.

4. Sign Conventions.

5. Applications of the

Principle of Virtual Work.

6. Application of Principle of

Virtual Work on Beams

Carrying Point Load.

7. Application of Principle of

Virtual Work on Beams

Carrying Uniformly

Distributed Load.

8. Application of Principle of

Virtual Work on Ladders.

9. Application of Principle of

Virtual Work on Lifting

Machines.

10. Application of Principle of

Virtual Work on Framed

Structures.

16.1. INTRODUCTION

It has been observed that whenever a force acts

on a body, and the body undergoes some displacement,

some work is said to be done. Mathematically, if a

force (P) acting on a body displaces it through a

distance (s), then

Workdone = Force Distance = P s

But, sometimes, the body does not move in the

direction of force (or in other words, the force does

not act in the direction of motion of the body). In such

a case,

Workdone = Component of the force in the

direction of motion Distance

= P cos s

where is the inclination between the line of action of

the force and the direction of the motion of the body.

16

C H A P T E R C H A P T E R C H A P T E R C H A P T E R C H A P T E R

Contents

Chapter 16 : Virtual Work 343

A little consideration will show that

1. If the value of is between 0 and 90, some work is done.

2. If the value of is 90, then no work is done (because cos 90 = 0).

3. If the value of is between 90 and 180, the body will move in the opposite direction and

work is called as negative.

16.2. CONCEPT OF VIRTUAL WORK

In the previous article, we have discussed that the work done by a force is equal to the force

multiplied by the distance through which the body has moved in the direction of the force. But if the

body is in equilibrium, under the action of a system of forces, the work done is zero. If we assume that

the body, in equilibrium, undergoes an infinite small imaginary displacement (known as virtual

displacement) some work will be imagined to be done. Such an imaginary work is called virtual

work. This concept, of virtual work, is very useful in finding out the unknown forces in structures.

Note. The term virtual is used to stress its purely hypothetical nature, as we do not actually

displace the system. We only imagine, as to what would happen, if the system is displaced.

16.3. PRINCIPLE OF VIRTUAL WORK

It states, If a system of forces acting on a body or a system of bodies be in equilibrium, and

the system be imagined to undergo a small displacement consistent with the geometrical conditions,

then the algebraic sum of the virtual works done by all the forces of the system is zero.

Proof. Consider a body at O, subjected to a force P inclined at angle with X-X axis as shown

in Fig. 16.1.

Let P

X

= Component of the force

along X-X axis, and

P

Y

= Component of the

force along Y-Y axis.

From the geometry of the figure, we find that

P

X

= P cos and

P

Y

= P sin

Now consider the body to move from O to some other

point C, under the action of the force P, such that the line OC

makes an angle with the direction of the force. Now draw

CA and CB perpendiculars to OX and OY respectively as shown

in Fig. 16.1.

From the geometry of the triangle OCA, we find that

cos ( )

OA

OC

+ =

OA = OC cos ( + )

Similarly, OB = AC = OC sin ( + )

We know that the sum of the works done by the components P

X

and P

Y

of the force P

= P

X

OA + P

Y

OB

= [P cos OC cos ( + )] + [P sin OC sin ( + )]

= P OC [cos cos ( + ) + sin sin ( + )]

= P OC cos ( ) ... (Q cos A B = cos A cos B + sin A sin B)

= P OC cos ( )

= P OC cos ... (Q cos ( A) = cos A) ...(i)

Fig. 16.1. Principle of virtual work.

Contents

344 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

We also know that the work done by the force P in moving the body from O to C.

= P OC cos ...(ii)

Since the equations (i) and (ii) are the same, therefore, work done by a force is equal to the sum

of the works done by its resolved parts.

Note. For the sake of simplicity, we have considered only one force and its resolved parts. But

it can be extended to any number of forces.

16.4. SIGN CONVENTIONS

Though there are different sign conventions for finding out the virtual works done in different

books, yet we shall use the following sign conventions, which are internationally recognised.

1. Upward forces are considered as positive, whereas the downwards as negative.

2. Forces acting towards right are considered as positive, whereas those towards left as

negative.

3. Forces acting in the clockwise direction are considered as positive, whereas the

anticlockswise as negative.

4. Tensile forces are considered as positive whereas the compressive as negative.

16.5. APPLICATIONS OF THE PRINCIPLE OF VIRTUAL WORK

The principle of virtual work has very wide applications. But the following are important from

the subject point of view;

1. Beams 2. Lifting machine. 3. Framed structures.

16.6. APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF VIRTUAL WORK ON BEAMS

CARRYING POINT LOAD

Fig. 16.2. Beam carrying point load.

Consider a beam AB, simply supported at its supports, and subjected to a point load W at C

as shown in Fig. 16.2 (a)

Let R

A

= Reaction at A, and

R

B

= Reaction at B.

First of all, let us assume the beam to be hinged at A. Now consider an upward virtual

displacement (y) of the beam at B. This is due to the reaction at B acting upwards as shown in Fig.

16.2 (b). Let x be the upward virtual displacement of the beam at C due to the point load.

Contents

Chapter 16 : Virtual Work 345

Now in two similar triangles ABD and ACE,

x a

y l

= or

a y

x

l

=

Total virtual work done by the two reactions R

A

and R

B

= + [(R

A

0) + (R

B

y)] = + R

B

y ...(i)

... (Plus sign due to the reactions acting upwards)

and virtual work done by the point load*

= W x ...(ii)

... (Minus sign due to the load acting downwards)

We know that from the principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the virtual works done

is zero. Therefore

R

B

y W x = 0

or B

W x W a y W a

R

y y l l

= = =

Similarly, it can be proved that the vertical reaction at A,

A

W b

R

l

=

Notes : 1. For the sake of simplicity, we have taken only one point load W at C. But this principle

may be extended for any number of loads.

2. The value of reaction at A (i.e., R

A

) may also be obtained by subtracting the value of R

B

from the downward load W. Mathematically,

1

A

Wa a l a Wb

R W W W

l l l l

= = = =

Example 16.1. A beam AB of span 5 metres is carrying a point load of 2 kN at a distance

2 metres from A. Determine the beam reactions, by using the principle of the virtual work.

Solution. Given: Span (l) = 5 m; Point load (W) = 2 kN and distance between the point load

and support A = 2 m.

Fig. 16.3.

Let R

A

= Reaction at A,

R

B

= Reaction at B, and

y = Virtual upward displacement of the beam at B.

* This may also be analysed by considering the downward vertical displacement of the beam at C (due to

load W). In this case, the beam also undergoes a downward virtual displacement at B.

Contents

346 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

From the geometry of the figure, we find that when the virtual upward displacement of the

beam at B is y, the virtual upward displacement of the beam at C is

2

5

y

= 0.4 y as shown in Fig. 16.3.

Total virtual work done by the two reactions R

A

and R

B

= +[(R

A

0) + (R

B

y)] = + R

B

y ...(i)

... (Plus sign due to the reactions acting upwards)

and virtual work done by the point load

2 0.4 0.8 Px y = = = ...(ii)

... (Minus sign due to the load acting downwards)

We know that from the principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the total virtual

works done is zero. Therefore

R

B

y 0.8 y = 0

or R

B

= 0.8 y/y = 0.8 kN Ans.

and R

A

= 2 0.8 = 1.2 kN Ans.

Example 16.2. Two beams AC and CD of length 9 m and 10 m respectively are hinged at C.

These are supported on rollers at the left and right ends (A and D). A hinged support is provided at

B, 7m from A as shown in Fig. 16.4.

Fig. 16.4.

Using the principle of virtual work, determine the force transmitted by the hinge C and the

reaction at the support B, when a load of 700 N acts at a point 6 m from D.

Solution. Given : Length of beam AC = 9 m; Length of beam CD = 10 m and load at E = 700 N.

Fig. 16.5.

Let R

A

= Reaction at A,

R

B

= Reaction at B,

R

D

= Reaction at D, and

y = Virtual upward displacement of the beam at the hinge (i.e. C).

Contents

Chapter 16 : Virtual Work 347

From the geometry of the figure, we find that when the virtual upward displacement of the

beam at the hinge (i.e. C) is y, then virtual displacement of B and E is

7

9

y

and

6

10

y

=

3

5

y

respectively

as shown in Fig. 16.5.

Total work done by the three reactions (R

A

, R

B

and R

D

)

7

[( 0) ( 0)]

9

A B D

y

R R R

= + + +

7

9

B

y

R = +

...(i)

...(Plus sign due to reactions acting upwards)

and virtual work done by the load

3

700 420

5

y

y = =

...(ii)

...(Minus sign due to load acting downwards)

We know that from the principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the total virtual

works done is zero. Therefore

7

420 0

9

B

y

R y =

or

9

420 540 N

7

B

R y

y

= = Ans.

Example 16.3. Two beams AE and BD are supported on rollers at B and C as shown in

Fig. 16.6.

Fig. 16.6.

Determine the reactions at the rollers B and C, using the method of virtual work.

Solution. Given : Length of beam AE = 6 m; Length of beam BD = 8 m; Distance AC = 5 m;

Load at E = 500 N; and load at F = 1000 N

Fig. 16.7.

Let R

C

=Reaction at the roller C, and

R

B

= Reaction at the roller B.

First of all, let us consider the beam AE with roller support at C as shown in Fig. 16.7 (a).

Contents

348 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

Let y = Virtual upward displacement of the beam at C.

From the geometry of the figure, we find that when virtual upward displacement of the beam at

C is y, then the virtual upward displacement of beam at E is

6

1.2

5

y

y = as shown in Fig. 16.7 (a)

Therefore total virtual work done by the two reactions R

A

and R

C

= + [(R

A

0) + (R

C

y)] = + R

C

y ...(i)

...(Plus sign due to reaction at C acting upwards)

and virtual work done by the point load at E

= (500 1.2y) = 600y ...(ii)

...(Minus sign due to load acting downwards)

We know that from principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the total virtual work

done is zero. Therefore

R

C

y 600 y = 0

or R

C

= 600 N Ans.

Now consider the beam BD with loads at C and F as shown in Fig. 16.7 (b)

Let x = Virtual upward displacement of the beam at B.

From the geometry of the figure, we find that when virtual upward displacement of the beam at

B is x, then the virtual upward displacement of the beam at C and F is

6

0.75

8

x

x =

and

3

0.375

8

x

x =

respectively as shown in Fig. 16.7 (b).

Therefore total virtual work done by the two reactions R

B

and R

D

= + (R

B

x) + (R

D

0) = + R

B

x ... (iii)

...(Plus sign due to reactions acting upwards)

and virtual work done by the point loads at C and F

= [(600 0.75 x) + (1000 0.375 x)] = 825 x

...(Minus sign due to loads acting downwards)

We know that from principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the total virtual works done

is zero. Therefore

R

B

x 825x = 0

or R

B

= 825 N Ans.

Note. In this case, we have assumed the virtual upward displacement of the beam at B, because

it is hinged at D. However, if we assume the virtual upward displacement at D, it is not wrong. In this

case, we shall obtain the value of reaction at D.

16.7. APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF VIRTUAL WORK FOR BEAMS

CARRYING UNIFORMLY DISTRIBUTED LOAD

Consider a beam AB of length l simply supported at its both ends, and carrying a uniformly

distributed load of w per unit length for the whole span from A to B as shown in Fig. 16.8 (a).

Let R

A

= Reaction at A, and

R

B

= Reaction at B.

Contents

Chapter 16 : Virtual Work 349

First of all, let us assume the beam to be hinged at A. Now consider an upward virtual

displacement (y) of the beam at B. This is due to the reaction at B acting upwards as shown in Fig.

16.8 (b)

Fig. 16.8. Beam carrying uniformly distributed load.

Total virtual work done by the two reactions R

A

and R

B

= + [(R

A

0) + (R

B

y)] = + R

B

y ...(i)

...(Plus sign due to reaction acting upwards)

and virtual work done by the uniformly distributed load

0

0.5

2

y

w l wyl

+

= =

...(Minus sign due to load acting downwards)

We know that from the principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the virtual

works done is zero. Therefore

R

B

y 0.5wl y = 0

R

B

y = 0.5 wl y

R

B

= 0.5 wl

Note. For the sake of simplicity, we have taken the uniformly distributed load for the entire

span from A to B. But this principle may be extended for any type of load on beam (i.e. simply

supported or overhanging beam etc.)

Example 16.4. A simply supported beam AB of span 5 m is loaded as shown in Fig. 16.9.

Fig. 16.9. Using the principle of virtual work, find the reactions at A and B.

Solution. Given : Length of beam AB = 5 m; Point Load at C = 5 kN and uniformly distributed

load between D and B = 2 kN/m

Let R

A

= Reaction at A,

R

B

= Reaction at B, and

y = Virtual upward displacement of the beam at B.

Contents

350 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

From the geometry of the figure, we find that when the virtual upward displacement of the

beam at B is y, then the virtual upward displacement of the beam at C and D is 0.2 y and 0.4 y

respectively as shown in Fig. 16.10.

Fig. 16.10.

Total virtual work done by the two reactions R

A

and R

B

= + [(R

A

0) + (R

B

y)] = + R

B

y ...(i)

...(Plus sign due to reactions acting upwards)

and total virtual work done by the point load at C and uniformly distributed load between D and B.

0.4

(5 0.2 ) 2 3

2

y y

y

+

= +

= 5.2 y ...(ii)

...(Minus sign due to loads acting downwards)

We know that from the principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the total virtual

works done is zero. Therefore

R

B

y 5.2 y = 0

or R

B

= 5.2 kN Ans.

and R

A

= 5 + (2 3) 5.2 = 5.8 kN Ans.

Example 16.5. An overhanging beam ABC of span 3 m is loaded as shown in Fig. 16.11.

Fig. 16.11.

Using the principle of virtual work, find the reactions at A and B.

Solution. Given : Span AB = 2 m and span BC = 1 m

Let R

A

= Reaction at A,

R

B

= Reaction at B, and

y = Virtual upward displacement of beam at B.

Contents

Chapter 16 : Virtual Work 351

From the geometry of the figure, we find that when the virtual upward displacement of the

beam at B is y, then the virtual upward displacement of the beam at C is 1.5 y as shown in Fig. 16.12.

Fig. 16.12.

Total virtual work done by the two reactions R

A

and R

B

= +[(R

A

0) + (R

B

y)] = + R

B

y

...(Plus sign due to reactions acting upwards)

and total virtual work done by the point load at C and uniformly distributed load between A and C.

0 1.5

(1 1.5 ) 2 3

2

y

y

+

= +

= (1.5y + 4.5 y) = 6y

...(Minus sign due to loads acting downwards)

We know that from the principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the total virtual

works done is zero. Therefore

R

B

y 6y = 0

or R

B

= 6 kN Ans.

and R

A

= (2 3) + 1 6 = 1 kN Ans.

EXERCISE 16.1

1. A simply supported beam AB of span 4 m is subjected to a point load of 10 kN at a

distance of 1.5 m from A. Using the principle of virtual work, determine the reactions at

the two supports.

(Ans. 3.75 kN ; 6.25 kN)

2. Two beams AD and DF of spans 6m and 4m respectively are hinged at C and supported at

A, D and F. The beams are loaded as shown in Fig. 16.13.

Fig. 16.13.

Using the principle of virtual work, find the reaction at D. (Ans. 22.9 kN)

Contents

352 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

3. A simply supported beam of span 4 m is carrying a uniformly distributed load of 5 kN/m

as shown in Fig. 16.14.

Fig. 16.14.

Using the principle of virtual work, find the reactions at A and B.

(Ans. 2.5 kN; 7.5 kN)

4. A beam of span 5 m is supported at A and B. It is subjected to a load system as shown

in Fig. 16.15.

Fig. 16.15.

With the help of principle of virtual work, find the reactions at A and B.

(Ans. 4.4 kN; 5.6 kN)

16.8. APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF VIRTUAL WORK ON LADDERS

We have already discussed in Art.

9.16 that in case of a ladder, its foot moves

on the floor towards or away from the wall.

It is thus obvious, that no work is done by

the normal reaction (R

f

) at the foot of the

ladder. However, some work is done by the

frictional force (F

f

) at the foot of the ladder.

Similarly, top of the ladder moves up or down

along the wall. Thus no work is done by the

normal reaction (R

w

) at the top of the ladder.

However, some work is done by the frictional

force at the top of the ladder. This happens

when the wall is not smooth, or in other

words, the wall has some coefficient of

friction.

Now the virtual works done by the frictional forces at the foot and top of the ladder are found

out, and the principle of virtual work is applied as usual.

Note. If the vertical wall is smooth, then there is no frictional force at the top of the ladder.

Thus no work is done at the top of the ladder.

Example 16.6. A uniform ladder of weight 250 N rests against a smooth vertical wall and a

rough horizontal floor making an angle of 45 with the horizontal. Find the force of friction at he

floor using the method of virtual work.

Contents

Chapter 16 : Virtual Work 353

Solution. Given : Weight of the ladder (W) = 250 N and inclination of the ladder with the

horizontal () = 45

The ladder AB weighing 250 N and making an angle of

45 with the horizontal as shown in Fig. 16.16.

Let x =Virtual displacement of the foot

of the ladder, and

y =Virtual displacement of the

mid of the ladder at D.

From the geometry of the figure, we find that when mid

point D of the ladder moves downwards (due to its weight)

then bottom A of the ladder moves towards left, which is

prevented by the force of friction. Or in other words, the virtual

displacement of the foot of the ladder A, due to force of friction

(F

f

) will be towards right.

Moreover, when the virtual displacement of the ladder

at A due to frictional force towards right is x. Then the virtual displacement of the mid of the ladder,

0.5

2tan 45 2

x x

y x = = =

= + F

f

x = F

f

.x

...(Plus sign due to movement of force towards right)

and virtual work done by the 250 N weight of the ladder

= (250 y) = (250 0.5 x) = 125 x

...(Minus sign due to downward movement of the weight)

We know that from the principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the total virtual works

done is zero. Therefore

F

f

.x 125 x = 0

or F

f

= 125 N Ans.

Example 16.7. A uniform ladder, 5 metres long and weighing 200 N, rests on a smooth

floor at A and against a smooth wall at B as shown in Fig. 16.17.

Fig. 16.17.

A horizontal rope PQ prevents the ladder from slipping. Using the method of virtual work,

determine the tension in the rope.

Fig. 16.16.

Contents

354 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

Solution. Given: Length of the ladder (l) = 5 m and weight of the ladder (W) = 200 N

Let T = Tension in the rope PQ,

= Angle, which the ladder makes with the horizontal.

x = Virtual vertical displacement of the mid of the ladder Q (or in

other words, weight of the ladder), and

y = Virtual horizontal displacement of the rope PQ due to tension.

From the geometry of the figure, we find that

4

tan

3

=

We also find that when the mid point P of the ladder moves downwards (due to weight), it

causes top of the ladder B to move downwards and bottom of the ladder A to move towards left. It

causes tension (T) in the rope PQ. Moreover, when the virtual vertical displacement of the mid of the

ladder P (or weight of the ladder) is x, then the virtual horizontal displacement of the ladder,

3

0.75

tan 4 3 4

x x x

y x = = = =

= + Tx ...(i)

...(Plus sign due to tension)

and virtual work done by the 200 N weight of the ladder

= 200 y ...(ii)

...(Minus sign due to downward movement of the weight)

We know that from the principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the total virtual works

done is zero. Therefore

Tx 200 y = 0

or

200 200 0.75

150 N

y x

T

x x

= = = Ans.

16.9. APPLICATION OF PRINCIPLE OF VIRTUAL WORK ON LIFTING

MACHINES

We know that in the case of lifting machines, the effort moves downwards, whereas the load

moves upwards. In such cases, the virtual works done by the effort and that by the load are found out.

Now apply the principle of virtual work as usual.

Example 16.8. A weight (W) of 5 kN is raised by a system of pulleys as shown in Fig. 16.18

Fig. 16.18.

Using the method of virtual work, find the force P, which can hold the weight in equilibrium.

Contents

Chapter 16 : Virtual Work 355

Solution. Given : Weight (W) = 5 kN

Let P = Force which can hold the weight in equilibrium, and

y = Virtual upward displacement of the weight.

From the geometry of the system of pulleys, we find that when the virtual upward displacement

of the weight is y, the virtual downward displacement of the force is 2y.

Virtual work done by the load

= + Wy = 5y ...(i)

...(Plus sign due to upward movement of the load)

and virtual work done by the effort

= P 2y = 2 Py ...(ii)

... (Minus sign due to downward movement of the effort)

We know that from the principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the virtual works

done is zero. Therefore

5y 2Py = 0

or

5

2.5 kN

2

y

P

y

= = Ans.

Example 16.9. A weight of 1000 N resting over a smooth surface inclined at 30 with the

horizontal, is supported by an effort (P) resting on a smooth surface inclined at 45 with the horizontal

as shown in Fig. 16.19.

Fig. 16.19.

By using the principle of virtual work, calculate the value of effort (P).

Solution. Given: Weight (W) = 1000 N; Inclination of weight surface (

1

) = 30 and inclination

of effort surface (

2

) = 45

Let x = Virtual vertical displacement of 1000 N weight, and

y = Virtual vertical displacement of the effort (P).

From the geometry of the system, we find that when the weight (1000 N) moves downwards,

the effort (P) will move upwards. We also find that the distance through which the 1000 N weight

will move downwards on the inclined surface will be equal to the distance through which the load P

will move upwards on the inclined surface.

Distance through which the 1000 N weight moves on the inclined surface AC.

2

sin30 0.5

x x

x = = =

...(i)

and distance through which the load P will move on the inclined surface BC

1.414

sin 45 0.707

y y

y = = =

...(ii)

Equating equations (i) and (ii),

2x = 1.414 y or x = 0.707 y

Contents

356 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

Virtual work done by the effort (P)

= + P y ...(i)

...(Plus sign due to upward movement of the effort)

and virtual work done by the 1000 N weight

= 1000 x = 1000 0.707 y

= 707 y ...(Q x = 0.707 y) ...(ii)

...(Minus sign due to downward movement of the weight)

We know that from the principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the virtual works

done is zero. Therefore

Py 707 y = 0

or P = 707 N Ans.

Example 16.10. A beam AB of 2 m length is held in equilibrium by the application of a

force P as shown in Fig. 16.20.

Fig. 16.20.

Using the principle of virtual work, find the magnitude of the force P when a weight of 2 kN is

hung from the beam AB at its midpoint.

Solution. Given: Length of beam AB = 2 m; Span AC = 1m; Span CB = 1m and

weight (W ) = 2 kN

Let P = force required to keep the body in equilibrium, and

y = Virtual downward displacement of the effort.

From the geometry of the figure, we find that when the virtual downward displacement of

the force (P) is y, then virtual upward displacement of the beam at B (or length of chord released)

= y

and virtual upward displacement of the load

= 0.5 y

Virtual work done by the load

= + (2 0.5 y) = + y ...(i)

...(Plus sign due to upward movement of load)

and virtual work done by the effort

= Py ...(ii)

...(Minus sign due to downward movement of the effort)

We know that from the principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the virtual works

done is zero. Therefore

y Py = 0

or P = y/y = 1 kN Ans.

Contents

Chapter 16 : Virtual Work 357

16.10. APPLICATION OF PRINCIPLE OF VIRTUAL WORK ON FRAMED

STRUCTURES

In a framed structure, first of all assume the member (in which force is required to be found

out) to be removed. Now find out the virtual works done by all the remaining members of the frame

and the force in the member, assumed to be removed. Now apply the principle of virtual work as

usual.

Example 16.11. A hexagonal frame is made up of six bars of equal length and cross-

section as shown in Fig. 16.21. The bar ED is fixed in a horizontal position.

Fig. 16.21.

A rod GH is fixed at the mid-points of the bars ED and AB. Using the principle of virtual

work, find the tension in the rod GH due to the weight of the bars.

Solution. Let W = Weight of each bar, and

T = Tension in the rod GH.

First of all, let us assume the rod GH to be removed.

Now let y = Virtual vertical upward displacement of the centre of gravity

of the bars CD and EF.

From the geometry of the figure, we find that when the virtual vertical downward displacement

of centre of gravity of the bars CD and EF is y (due to weight W), then the vertical downward virtual

displacement of the bars BC and AF is 3y; that of member AB is 4y and that of member ED is zero

(because it is fixed in horizontal position). The vertical virtual displacement of member GH is 4y.

Virtual work done by the tension in rod GH

= + T 4y = + 4 Ty ...(i)

...(Plus sign due to tension)

and virtual work done by the bars = [(2 W y) + (2 W 3y) + (W 4y)]

= 12 Wy ...(ii)

...(Minus sign due to downward movement of the bars)

We know that from the principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the virtual works

done is zero. Therefore

4 Ty 12Wy = 0

or

12

3

4

Wy

T W

y

= =

Ans.

Contents

358 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

Example 16.12. A square pin-jointed frame ABCD with 500 mm side is subjected to a

force of 100 N at D and 50 N at C as shown in Fig. 16.22. All the pins are smooth and the bar

weights are neglected.

Fig. 16.22.

The force in the bar BD can be adjusted by means of a turnbuckle. Using the method of virtual

work, determine the force in the turnbuckle, when the bar AC carries no load.

Solution. Given : Side of frame = 500 mm; force at D = 100 N and force at C = 50 N

Since the bar AC carries no load, therefore it may

be assumed to be removed. Now let us assume the member

BD (in which the force is required to be found out) to be

removed as shown in Fig. 16.23.

Let T = Magnitude of force in the turnbuckle

(i.e. in bar BD)

y = Virtual vertical displacement of the 100

N load, and

x = Virtual shortening of bar BD.

From the geometry of the figure, we find that

2 x y =

We know that virtual work done by the force in the turbuckle

2 T x T y = + = + ...(i)

...(Plus sign due to tension)

and virtual work done by the 100 N load at D

= 100 y = 100 y ...(ii)

...(Minus sign due to downward movement of the load)

We know that from the principle of virtual work, that algebraic sum of the virtual works

done is zero. Therefore

2 100 0 Ty y =

or

100

50 2 70.7 N

2

y

T

y

= = = Ans.

Note. During the displacement of the members, the forces at A and B do no work. Similarly,

the horizontal force at C does not work in the vertical direction.

Fig. 16.23.

Contents

Chapter 16 : Virtual Work 359

EXERCISE 16.2

1. The diameter of the pulleys in a differential pulley block are 300 mm and 250 mm

respectively. Using the principle of virtual work and neglecting friction, find the value of

the effort required to lift a load of 3 kN. (Ans. 250 N)

2. A block of weight (W) rests on the smooth surface inclined at 20 with the horizontal.

The block is supported by an effort (P) hung from a pulley as shown in Fig. 16.24.

Fig. 16.24.

Using the principle of virtual work, obtain expression for (P) in terms of (W), when the

system is at rest. (Ans. P = 0.685 W)

[ Hint.

Let x = Virtual vertical upward displacement of the load W, and

y = Virtual vertical downward displacement of the effort (P)

Distance through which the load (W) moves along the inclined plane

2.92

sin 20 0.3420

x x

x = = =

...(i)

and distance through which the effort (P) will move

2.92

1.46

2

x

x = =

..(ii)

Virtual work done by the weight (W)

= + W x

and virtual work done by the effort (P)

= P 1.46 x = 1.46 Px

Wx 1.46 Px = 0 or P =

1.46

W

= 0.685 W Ans.

3. Two weights W

1

and W

2

are resting on two smooth planes AB and BC at angles of

1

and

2

as shown in Fig. 16.25.

Fig. 16.25.

With the help of principle of virtual work, find the ratio of W

1

and W

2

.

1 2

2 1

Sin

sin

W

W

=

Ans.

Contents

360 A Textbook of Engineering Mechanics

4. A structure, with pin-jointed member is shown in Fig. 16.26.

Fig. 16.26.

Determine the value of for equilibrium, using the principle of virtual work. Neglect

friction and weight of the members. (Ans. 26.6)

5. Five rods AB, BC, CD, DA and DB each of equal length and cross-section are pin-jointed

together, so as to form a plane frame ABCD. The frame is suspended from the top most

joint A.

A weight (W) is attached at the lower most joint C. Neglecting selfweight of the frame and

using the method of virtual work, find magnitudes of the thrust in the member BD.

(Ans. 0.577 W)

QUESTIONS

1. Explain the principle of virtual work.

2. State the principle of virtual work, and explain how it can be used for solving problems in

statics.

3. Explain the application of the principle of virtual work in case of lifting machines.

4. How will you apply the principle of virtual work in finding out the forces in a framed

structure?

OBJECTIVE TYPE QUESTIONS

1. The term virtual work refers to

(a) actual work done by virtual forces

(b) virtual work done by actual forces

(c) virtual work done by virtual forces

2. The principle of virtual work can not be applied for finding out the reactions of a beam

carrying simultaneously point loads and uniformly distributed loads.

(a) Yes (b) No

3. The principle of virtual work is applicable for the bodies in equilibrium

(a) Agree (b) Disagree

4. The principle of virtual work can be applied for all types of

(a) possible displacements (b) impossible displacement (c) none of the two

ANSWERS

1. (b) 2. (b) 3. (a) 4. (a).

Contents

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