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Analytical solutions in elasto-plastic bending of beams with

rectangular cross section


Boris tok
*
, Miroslav Halilovic
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ljubljana; Akerceva 6, Ljubljana, Slovenia
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 31 August 2007
Received in revised form 14 March 2008
Accepted 25 March 2008
Available online 4 April 2008
Keywords:
Beams
Bending
Elasticplastic material
Finite deections
Analytic functions
Plastic collapse
a b s t r a c t
Deection analysis of beams with rectangular cross section is considered under specic
loading conditions, resulting in at most quadratic bending moment distribution, and
assuming elasto-plastic behaviour with no hardening. Within the framework of small
strain and small displacement approach analytical solutions are derived, which enable
elasto-plastic analyses of beams to be performed in a closed analytical form. In conse-
quence, clear tracing of the elasto-plastic response evolution with a propagation of the
plastic zone through the volume, i.e. its spreading along the beams longitudinal axis as
well as its penetration through the cross section, is enabled as loads increase, from the
appearance of a rst plastic yielding in a structure till its collapse. With the derivation of
the general solution, listed explicitly by Eqs. (21)(23), which was never presented in
any article or book before, the presented article lls the gap in the analytical non-linear
mechanics of beams.
2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Bending of beam-like structures, being rather frequently addressed in technical practice, has been adequately and thor-
oughly analysed, considering even more rigorous approaches, especially for elastic problems [1,2]. Elastic bending of beams
is nowadays still studied theoretically [3], mainly in purpose of dynamic behaviour [4,5] and in studying new materials, like
composites [5], laminates [6], etc. Elasto-plastic analyses of beam-like structures, where by assumed formation of plastic
hinges limit fully plastic loads are evaluated, causing a structure to collapse, are treated within a framework of the limit anal-
ysis theory [79]. Plastic hinge occurence can be predicted also using rened plastic-hinge theory, where evolution of plastic
zone is replaced with gradual stiffness degradation up to zero at fully plastic section [10,11], or with introduction of singu-
larities in stiffness at the location of plastic hinge [12]. Based on that, numerical applications for prediction of collapse of
beams and frames are developed. However, considering a statement from [13] . . .in the presented elasticplastic hinge meth-
od, the material is assumed to be either perfectly elastic or fully plastic. . ., evolution of elasto-plastic behaviour cannot be
appropriately modelled using variations of limit analysis.
Since in general the governing equation of the elasto-plastic beam bending problem is not solvable analytically, there are
above all numerical solutions and experimental results that are met in literature [1416]. In [17] deection of elasto-plastic
beams is related to moment-curvature relationship. Elasto-plastic deection is investigated with the development and test-
ing of new materials: polymers, composites, laminates, reinforced materials, etc. Commonly, researches are focused into par-
ticular technical problems, what from a theoretical point of view means that they are dealing with a particular boundary
problem: simply supported beam [16,1821], pure bending of beam [22,23], bending of thread [24]. In classical books
S0307-904X/$ - see front matter 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.apm.2008.03.011
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +386 41 694 534; fax: +386 1 2518 567.
E-mail address: boris.stok@fs.uni-lj.si (B. tok).
Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 17491760
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Applied Mathematical Modelling
j our nal homepage: www. el sevi er . com/ l ocat e/ apm
describing plasticity of beams [7,2528] major attention is paid to stress state evolution in a particular cross section, but very
little is usually written about deection line of plastically deformed beams. Analytical solution is described at most for a con-
stant bending moment distribution, while for a quadratic bending moment distribution it is derived for a particular problem
only [9,26]. In [29] authors among others calculate deection line of a beam with rectangular cross section for a particular
case, in which two plastic zones occur at the same time. But the solution is found considering At the corresponding value of
the load. . ., the presence of two fully plastic sections. . . causes an indenitely large deection of the beam. . . Since this is an extre-
mely difcult problem, it is circumvented by the assumption that the beam is made of an idealized I section. . .. Still recently, no
general solution of this problem can be found. Namely, in Ref. [9] deection lines for several cases with rectangular cross
sectional beams were computed: cantilever beam with point load and with uniform load, simply supported beam with uni-
form load, propped cantilever. . . and in all cases only one plastic zone occurs. All those cases are calculated one-by-one from
the beginning, considering respective specics of the analysed case, and no general equations applicable to all boundary
problems are presented.
In this paper we concentrate, by assuming elasto-plastic material with no hardening, on the investigation of elasto-plastic
bending of beams with rectangular cross section area. The functional solutions derived under the assumption of at most qua-
dratic bending moment distribution enable fully analytical tracing of the elasto-plastic state evolution in structural compo-
nents by monotonic and proportional application of loads to a beam structure. After presentation of the derived general
equations for elasto-plastic deection lines the elaborated example will show, that determination of a deection in the case,
where two plastic zones coexist, is simple. Furthermore, because the solution method is general, there is no limitation
regarding either the number of plastic zones or possible static indeterminacy.
2. Formulation of elasto-plastic beam bending problem
2.1. Basic assumptions, governing equations in general
Let us consider a straight beam of a cross sectional area A(x), (Fig. 1a), subject to elasto-plastic bending in the (x, z) plane,
where x and z are respectively, the longitudinal axis of the beam and a corresponding principal axis of the cross section. For
brevity, let the area moment of inertia with respect to the principal axis y be denoted by I(x). While the material behaviour is
assumed to obey Hookes law in the elastic region, no restrictions on the nature of irreversible inelastic response are posed
for the moment. Also, the BernoulliNavier assumptions on the cross section planarity and respective perpendicularity to the
neutral axis are respected. The established stress state r
ij
(x, y, z) is characterized, in accordance with the nature of the con-
sidered problem, by the following resultants being zero:
_
Ax
r
xy
dA Tx 0;
_
Ax
r
xz
y r
xy
z
_ _
dA M
x
x 0;
_
Ax
r
xx
ydA M
z
x 0: 1
Furthermore, it is assumed, that external loads are in accordance with
_
Ax
r
xx
dA Nx 0; 2
while the remaining two stress resultants
_
Ax
r
xx
zdA M
y
x;
_
Ax
r
xz
dA T
z
x
dM
y
x
dx
3
are non-zero, in general. By considering the zero stress components (r
yy
(x, y, z) = r
zz
(x, y, z) = r
yz
(x, y, z) = 0) the Bernoulli
Navier assumptions lead to a linear distribution of the axial strain e
xx
across the cross section height, and consequently, in
Fig. 1. Elastic and elasto-plastic stress distribution in a beam bending problem.
1750 B. tok, M. Halilovic / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 17491760
case of elastic response (Fig. 1a) to a linear stress r
xx
(x, y, z) distribution, too. By introducing simplied notations r
xx
= r and
M
y
= M this relationship can be written, in accordance with Eq. (3), as
rx; z
Mx
Ix
z: 4
In case of elasto-plastic response (Fig. 1b), which manifests when stresses exceed the yield stress r
0
(r
xx
Pr
0
(x)), the
respective stress distribution is governed by the nature of the actual response
rx; z sign Mx
z a
p
x
q
p
x
r
0
x . . . jz a
p
xj 6 q
p
x;
sign z a
p
xr
p
e
p
x; z . . . jz a
p
xj > q
p
x:
_

_
5
Here, the equivalent plastic strain e
p
is taken as absolute value of the axial plastic strain e
xx
= e, while r
p
(e
p
) denotes a
stress-plastic strain relationship, as determined from uniaxial tensile test. The range of the z coordinate in Eqs. (4) and
(5), z 2 [h
1
(x), + h
2
(x)], is dened by the shape of the cross section A(x). While the x axis performs actually as a neutral axis
experiencing r(x, z = 0) = 0 within the elastic response, Eqs. (2) and (4), the neutral axis is subject, in general, to a displace-
ment from the elastic position in case of elasto-plastic response. The magnitude ja
p
(x)j of the respective displacement in the z
direction is such that Eq. (2) is fullled. A part of the cross sectional area, z 2 [a
p
(x) q
p
(x), a
p
(x) + q
p
(x)] \ [ h
1
(x), + h
2
(x)],
spreading centrally around the actual neutral axis is the area of pure elastic response. Provided that bending moment M(x) is
greater than M
e
(x), i.e. jM(x)j > M
e
(x) > 0, where M
e
(x) denotes the limit value of bending moment still causing only elastic
deformation in the cross section at a longitudinal position x, the two parameters, q
p
(x) and a
p
(x), that describe the degree
of plastication and its impact on the displacement of the neutral axis, are obtained as a solution of the system of Eqs.
(2) and (3), when considering the non-linear stress distribution (5). The respective equations take the following form
_
Apx
sign z a
p
xr
p
e
p
x; zdA
_
Aex
r
0
z a
p
x
q
p
x
_ _
dA 0;
_
Apx
signz a
p
xr
p
e
p
x; zzdA
_
Aex
r
0
z a
p
x
q
p
x
_ _
zdA jMxj;
6
where the division of the cross section area A(x) into elastic and plastic region, A
e
(x) and A
p
(x), respectively is made in accor-
dance with
A
e
x fx; z : jrx; zj 6 r
0
xg;
A
p
x fx; z : jrx; zj > r
0
xg:
7
From the structure of the above system, Eq. (6), it follows that at a certain level of the externally applied loads both
parameters, the displacement of the neutral axis a
p
(x) as well as the degree of the plastication of the cross section q
p
(x),
are directly related to the actual intensity of the stress resultant M(x) and to the geometry of the considered cross section
A(x).
When considering a beam structure that occupies a domain X, x 2 X, the stress distribution through a cross section A(x) is
subject, specic cases excepted, to a variation along the structure. The reason is either a variation of the stress resultant M(x)
or a variation of the cross section A(x), or even a variation of both of them at a time. The onset of the rst plastic yielding in
the structure, as well as subsequent spreading of the plastic zone, both through the cross section and along the structure, are
primarily dealing with the increasing of external loads, of course. In this context there will be, after a certain level of the
applied load is exceeded, a split of the initially elastic domain X X
e
into two parts, X
e
and X
p
, respectively. The subdomain
containing those cross sections A(x) where the yield stress is not exceeded will be called elastic domain and denoted as X
e
,
while the remaining part of the domain X, called elasto-plastic domain and denoted as X
p
, will comprise cross sections that
are characterized by the presence of plastic deformations (Fig. 2). In accordance with the given physical interpretation the
Fig. 2. Elastic and elasto-plastic domain decomposition.
B. tok, M. Halilovic / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 17491760 1751
domain decomposition X X
e
[ X
p
will depend denitely on the actual load level, and will be performed on the basis of the
established stress distribution r(x, y, z) in the structure, fullling the following relations:
X
e
fx : jrx; y; zj < r
0
x . . . y; z 2 Ax ^ x 2 Xg;
X
p
fx : jrx; y; zj Pr
0
x . . . y; z 2 Ax ^ x 2 Xg:
8
With regard to the limit elastic moment M
e
(x), which is actually only a function of the cross section A(x), the above rela-
tions can be set, considering the established bending moment distribution M(x) in the structure, also as
X
e
fx : jMxj 6 M
e
x . . . x 2 Xg;
X
p
fx : jMxj > M
e
x . . . x 2 Xg:
9
Finally, considering the BernoulliNavier assumptions and the existing relationship between curvature of the neutral axis,
given by the respective radius R(x) (Fig. 3), and its deection w(x) = w(x, z = a
p
(x)) in the z direction
ex; z
z a
p
x
Rx
z a
p
x
d
2
wx
dx
2
1
dwx
dx
_ _
2
_ _

3
2
z a
p
x
d
2
wx
dx
2
10
differential equations governing the two possible cases, i.e. that of pure elastic response and that of evolved plastic strains in
the cross section A(x), can be deduced
d
2
wx
dx
2

Mx
ExIx
. . . x 2 X
e
sign Mx
r
0
x
Exq
p
x
. . . x 2 X
p
:
_

_
11
2.2. Governing equations in case of rectangular cross section and material with no hardening
In order to escape froma stack of difculties, which no doubt arise in solving of differential equation (11) in case of elasto-
plastic response and arbitrary cross sectional area A(x), we will limit ourselves in the sequel on the consideration of beams of
rectangular cross section, dened by width b and height 2h, constant along the x axis (A(x) = 2bh, I(x) = 2/3bh
3
). The material
properties will be likewise assumed constant (E(x) = E, r
0
(x) = r
0
) and isotropic, also regarding hardening in tension and com-
pression. In consequence, considering the y axis is also a symmetry axis (h
1
(x) = h
2
(x) = h), the neutral axis will remain iden-
tical to the center of gravity line, i.e. the x axis, regardless of the undergone plastic deformation (a
p
(x) = 0).
Further simplication, obtained by assuming no plastic hardening (r
p
(e
p
) = r
0
), yields stresses in a partially plastically de-
formed cross section distributed in accordance with
rx; z sign Mx
z
q
p
x
r
0
. . . jzj 6 q
p
x;
sign zr
0
. . . q
p
x < jzj 6 h;
_
_
_
12
where depth of the plastic zone is determined upon the bending moment M(x) magnitude and respective degree of exceed-
ing the limit elastic moment M
e
(jM(x)j > M
e
)
q
p
x h

3 1
jMxj
bh
2
r
0
_ _

_
: 13
Fig. 3. Bending deformation of a beam.
1752 B. tok, M. Halilovic / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 17491760
Considering respectively q
p
= h and q
p
= 0 the limit values M
e
and M
p
of the bending moment, as shown in Fig. 4, are ob-
tained from this equation. Thus, with jM(x)j = M
e
the conditions for initiation of plastic deformation are established, whereas
fullment of jM(x)j = M
p
, the latter being termed the fully plastic moment, causes the plastic zone to spread over the whole
cross section
M
e

2
3
bh
2
r
0
; M
p
bh
2
r
0
)
M
e
M
p

2
3
: 14
With the assumptions specied in this subsection the governing equation (11) of the bending problem, which is dened
over a domain X (X = X
e
[ X
p
, X
e
\ X
p
= 0), transforms to
d
2
wx
dx
2

3Mx
2Ebh
3
. . . x 2 X
e
;
K

MpjMxj
p . . . x 2 X
p
;
_
_
_
15
where constant K is dened as
K sign Mx

br
3
0
3E
2

: 16
3. Derivation of elasto-plastic solution for specic loadings
In its general form the beam deection function w(x), which should obey the differential equation (15), can be obtained as
a sum of the corresponding particular and homogeneous part solutions
wx w
H
x w
P
x; w
H
x C
1
x C
2
; 17
where constants C
1
and C
2
are to be chosen so that the associated problem boundary and/or continuity conditions are ful-
lled. While a closed form explicit solution is rather trivial in case of elastic response (x 2 X
e
), the particular part being easily
integrable
w
P
x
3
2Ebh
3
_ _
Mxdxdx; 18
this is not true for the elasto-plastic case (x 2 X
p
). However, for the most common loading cases that result in bending mo-
ment distributions M(x) of a polynomial form, M(x) = P
n
(x), such analytical solutions can be readily deduced. Namely, appli-
cation of concentrated loads, moments and uniformly distributed loads to a beam structure yields moment functions M(x) of
at the most second order polynomial
Mx m
2
x
2
m
1
x m
0
: 19
This functional relationship denitely allows for quite satisfactory analysis of a majority of real loading cases.
In fact, following Eq. (18) and considering the assumed functional form (19), the corresponding particular solution w
P
(x)
in case of elastic response (x 2 X
e
) results explicitly in the form of
w
P
x
x
2
8Ebh
3
m
2
x
2
2m
1
x 6m
0
; x 2 X
e
; 20
while in case of elasto-plastic response (x 2 X
p
) the respective particular solutions w
P
(x) are deduced separately for each of
the possible degrees n = 0, 1, 2 of the assumed polynomial function M(x) = P
n
(x). The explicit results of these deductions are
as follows:
n = 0:
w
P
x
K
2

M
p
jm
0
j
_ x
2
; x 2 X
p
: 21
Fig. 4. Elastic and elasto-plastic stress distributions with elastic and plastic limit moment denitions.
B. tok, M. Halilovic / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 17491760 1753
n = 1:
w
P
x
4K
3m
2
1

M
p
jMxj
3
_
; x 2 X
p
: 22
n = 2:
w
P
x
K
2

jm
2
j
3
p Txarcsin
Tx
jDj

D
2
T
2
x
_
_ _
; sign Mxm
2
> 0 x 2 X
p
; 23a
K
2

jm
2
j
3
p Txarsh
Tx
jDj

D
2
T
2
x
_
_ _
; sign Mxm
2
< 0 x 2 X
p
: 23b
_

_
23
Above, T(x) is the shear force distribution which is evaluated from Eq. (3) considering (19), and D is a constant obtained
from the second order polynomial coefcients as
D
2
B
2
4AC; 24
the considered polynomial being dened by the relation f(x) = M
p
jM(x)j = Ax
2
+ Bx + C.
Regarding the correct selection of the deection line solution w
P
(x) in case of parabolic moment distribution M(x), Eq.
(23a,b), attention is to be paid to the established functional behaviour of the function f(x) in the elasto-plastic domain X
p
.
This behaviour is characterized, as seen in Fig. 5, by two physically different situations which appear alternatively, and lead,
in consequence, to duality of the solution w
P
(x). Mathematically, the moment distribution M(x) given, these situations are
uniquely dened by the product of the leading polynomial coefcient m
2
and the sign of the moment M(x). From the dis-
played graphs of all possible moment distributions M(x) it follows that the distributions (a) and (b), which are otherwise
characterized by sign (M(x)) m
2
> 0, are equivalent with respect to the functional behaviour of the function f(x), represented
by curvature d
2
w(x)/dx
2
< 0. Similar equivalence, yielding however curvature d
2
w(x)/dx
2
> 0, can be attributed to the distri-
butions (c) and (d) that are characterized by sign(M(x)) m
2
< 0.
4. On mechanical response properties by elasto-plastic loading
In terms of the given assumptions a closed form analytical solution for any boundary problem can be obtained by con-
sidering the derived differential equations of the deection curve, i.e. Eq. (15a) and (15b), respectively for elastic and elasto-
Fig. 5. Possible parabolic moment distributions causing plastic yielding.
1754 B. tok, M. Halilovic / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 17491760
plastic response. It should be emphasized that with the stress resultants, i.e. internal forces, known the plastic domain X
p
as
well as spreading of the plastic zone through the beam height (13) are uniquely dened. It is also characteristic for statically
determinate beam structures (Fig. 6a) that neither distribution nor magnitude of the internal forces along the structure are
inuenced by the presence of plastic strains in the structure. Regardless of the material behaviour and non-linear stress dis-
tribution across a cross section the internal forces are increased proportionally by a proportional increase of the applied
loads. On the contrary, the described property is not valid for statically indeterminate structures (Fig. 6b). With ongoing
of the plastic deformation the bending stiffness is actually subject to a continuous variation, affecting thus reaction forces
to vary in a non-proportional way in spite of a proportional application of the external loads. In consequence, the internal
forces are changed non-proportionally as well. Regarding application of the derived differential equation of the deection
curve in case of demonstrated elasto-plastic response (15b) in a solution of the bending problem it should be noted that
its use in the analysis of statically determinate structures is needed only if deections are investigated, whereas in statically
indeterminate problems the solution cannot be achieved at all without its use.
Let give parameter k (0 < k 6 1) the role of loading parameter which denes the level of the applied loading measured
with respect to the limit loading (k = 1), by which loss of structural functionality with transition to a mechanism occurs. Fur-
ther, let k
e
denote the loading level corresponding to elastic limit loading, which is still characterized by absence of plastic
strain in the structure. Application of the loads that result in a linear elastic response (k 6 k
e
) is characterised by proportion-
ality, regardless of the static (in)determinacy. Therefore
M
k
x
k
k
e
M
e
x; 0 < k 6 k
e
; 25
where M
e
(x) denotes functional dependence of the bending moment at the load level k = k
e
, and M
k
(x) is the respective mo-
ment dependence corresponding to a load level k. On the other side, respecting the properties stated above, loading beyond
elastic limit (k > k
e
) is characterised by
M
k
x
k
k
e
M
e
x kM
p
x; k
e
< k < 1 . . . statically determinate
M
k
xkM
p
x; k
e
< k < 1 . . . statically indeterminate
26
with M
p
(x) representing the functional dependence of the bending moment at the limit load level k = 1.
Since analysis of statically determinate problems seems, in view of the presented properties, to be computationally some-
what easier, and from the standpoint of traceability of the elasto-plastic state evolution by monotonous increasing of the
loads also more transparent, we will limit our discussion to that kind of problems in the sequel.
5. Elasto-plastic solution of statically determinate problems
5.1. Description of the solution procedure
After determination of the bending moment distribution M(x) over the whole beam-like structure, which is, as pointed
out in Section 4, for statically determinate problems dependent only on external loads, and not on the plastic state evolution,
the structure domain X should be partitioned, in accordance with the actual mechanical state, into N
D
= N
ED
+ N
PD
subdo-
mains: N
ED
elastic subdomains X
i
e
, (i = 1, . . . , N
ED
) and N
PD
elasto-plastic subdomains X
j
p
(j = 1, . . . , N
PD
). The number of sub-
domains the structure is divided into is rst dictated by the number of different functions dening the moment distribution
M(x). This partitioning, which completely covers the solution of the problem under presumed elastic response, needs how-
ever further subdivision if in any of these subdomains plastic yielding occurs. The latter subdivision yields nally N
PD
sub-
domains X
j
p
, i.e. regions, where absolute value of the bending moment M(x) exceeds the elastic limit moment M
e
, and N
ED
subdomains X
i
e
, where the elastic limit moment is not exceeded. In each of thus obtained subdomains the deection w(x) is
governed by a corresponding function of the type (17), which results, considering that the respective particular solutions
w
P
(x), Eqs. (20)(23), are completely determined upon knowledge of external loads and load level k actually attained, in a
problem of nding the respective values to a set of unknown integration constants {C
1
, C
2
}
j
; (j = 1, . . . , N
D
) that appear,
two per subdomain, in the respective homogeneous solutions w
H
(x). The system of equations needed to solve for the un-
known constants, their number being 2 N
D
in total, is obtained upon implementation of the corresponding boundary and
continuity conditions. Here, let us emphasize that for arbitrary statically determinate structure this system is always linear
and rather small, as the number of subdomains is relatively low even in case of complex structures. The described method,
Fig. 6. Statically determinate (a) and statically indeterminate (b) structure.
B. tok, M. Halilovic / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 17491760 1755
where the obtained solution is explicitly derived and exact, is highly efcient and simple to use, what will be demonstrated
by considering a numerical example.
5.2. Numerical example
Mechanical response of a simply supported overhanging beam, subject to a concentrated force F (F P0) at its free end and
to a uniformly distributed load q (q P0) between the supports (Fig. 6a), will be considered in the sequel. Of importance for
the evolution of plastic strains there is, along with increase of the loading parameter k, also the ratio established between the
two loads. It is actually this ratio that denes, by xing a location of the maximum bending moment, the position of the rst
plastic yielding. Let denote the considered load ratio by a coefcient w
w
F
qL
1
: 27
Since by assumed proportional loading the ratio between the loads q and F remains xed for any load level k, the load
notations may be enlarged in order to complete the information by adding index w, i.e. q ?q
w
and F ?F
w
. Application of
the loads (dk > 0) is thus characterised by
F
w
kF
p
w
^ q
w
kq
p
w
; 0 < k 6 1; 28
where q
p
w
and F
p
w
denote magnitudes of the loads causing collapse of the structure, which actually happens at the occurrence
of a plastic hinge.
Considering the bending moment function M(x) (0 6 x = x
1
6 L
1
^ 0 6 x = x
2
6 L
2
) expressed in terms of non-dimensional
coordinates n (nL
1
= x
1
) and g (gL
2
= x
2
), where obviously 0 6 n, g 6 1
M
1
n F
w
L
2
m
2w
1 n 1
_ _
n q
w
L
2
1
1
2
1 n
w
m
_ _
n;
M
2
g F
w
L
2
g 1 q
w
L
2
1
w
m
g 1; m
L
1
L
2
;
29
three possible cases (Fig. 7) can be exposed in relation to the load ratio w, regarding the elasto-plastic state evolution. While
prevailing of the load q (0 6 w 6 w
1
) results in plastication of the beam between the supports (Fig. 7a), prevailing of the load
F (w
3
6 w < 1) leads to the beam plastication at the right support (Fig. 7d), both regardless of the load level (k
e
< k 6 1). Load
cases corresponding to a load ratio w
1
< w < w
3
are characterized at the moment of collapse by existence of two separate plas-
tic regions (Figs. 7b and c). Typical for the elasto-plastic evolution in the latter cases, except for w = w
2
, i.e. the load ratio
which leads to appearance of two plastic hinges at a same time, is that rst one plastic region is created (k
e
< k 6 k
*
< 1),
and only afterwards (k
*
< k 6 1) it is followed by appearance of the second one. Considering the described properties of stat-
ically determinate problems, having w = w
2
means also k
*
= k
e
with a simultaneous appearance of two plastic regions. The
characteristic values of the load ratio w for the considered problem are
Fig. 7. Typical dispositions of plastically deformed domains with regard to the load ratio w and load level k = 1.
1756 B. tok, M. Halilovic / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 17491760
w
1
2

15
p
2
_ _
m; w
2

3
2

2
p
_ _
m; w
3

7 2

10
p
6
_ _
m: 30
It is worth mentioning here, that magnitudes of the collapse loads q
p
w
and F
p
w
are dependent on the load ratio w and geom-
etry aspect ratio m = L
1
/L
2
, the respective variation of the load capacity of the structure being depicted in Fig. 8. Because of
the established relation F
p
w
wq
p
w
L
1
the two diagrams, expressed in either of the two loads, q
p
w
or F
p
w
, are actually equivalent
and showing the collapse of the structure at a given load ratio and geometry parameters. The impact of each of the two
parameters, w and m, respectively, on the load capacity of the structure can be retrieved from the displayed graphs. Perform-
ing an in-depth study it can be demonstrated, that it is mostly due to repositioning of the internal loads within the structure
that the load capacity is affected. In fact the maximal load carrying capacity, evidenced as a peak in the diagram, is obtained
at specic load ratio w = w
2
, which is characterized by occurrence of two plastic hinges theoretically at a same time, thus
resulting in equivalence of the bending moment distributions of Figs. 7b and c. At lower values of the load ratio w, w < w
2
,
the collapse represents the occurence of a plastic hinge between the supports, Figs. 7a and b, while at higher values of
the load ratio w, w
2
< w, a plastic hinge appears at the right support, Figs. 7c and d. The presence of only one plastic sub-do-
main with other regions of the structure remained elastic and underloaded, as it is the case in Figs. 7a and d, is evidently
unfavorable regarding the load capacity of the structure.
Solution of the problem, when deection of the structure w(x) is to be evaluated as well, is obtained from differential
equations (15) by considering the respective general solutions (17), (20)(23) according to the proven deformation response
behaviour at a given load ratio w and load level k applied, and fullling the associated boundary conditions and continuity
conditions at the interfaces between elastic and elasto-plastic sub-domains, as described in Section 5.1. Observing functional
dependence of the elasto-plastic part of the solution (k
e
< k 6 1) only, we nd that in case of 0 6 w 6 w
1
it consists of four
distinct functions which describe the respective response behaviour in three elastic sub-domains and one elasto-plastic
sub-domain (Fig. 7a). Considering the evidenced nature of the material response in those sub-domains, Eq. (20) is applied
as the corresponding particular solution three times, and Eq. (23a) once, the latter being chosen with respect to the shown
bending moment distribution. The problem solution consists of four distinct functions also in case of w
3
6 w < 1, but there
are two elastic and two elasto-plastic sub-domains (Fig. 7d). For the determination of the respective particular solutions Eq.
(20), which is applied twice, is combined with Eqs. (22) and (23b), accordingly to the proved bending moment variation.
Analysis of the problem in case of w
1
< w < w
3
requires however, regarding the just discussed cases, some additional com-
ment. The evolution of the elasto-plastic regions within the structure is namely characterized, with the exception of
w = w
2
case, distinctly by the actual load level. The bending moment distribution associated with the loads within the load
range k
e
< k 6 k
*
is similar to the both just considered cases (Figs. 7a and d), therefore the corresponding functional solution
is structured in the same way as before. But further increase of the loads, fullling relation k
*
< k 6 1, is accompanied by plas-
tication of new sub-domains which demands six distinct functions for the corresponding solution description, three cov-
ering the elastic response and three covering the elasto-plastic response in the respective sub-domains (Figs. 7b and c).
Again, along with the Eq. (20), which is applied three times in the procedure of determination of the respective particular
solutions, Eqs. (22) and (23a) and (23b) are used as proper with regard to the shown bending moment distribution.
With the particular solutions w
P
(x) being determined explicitly as described above, there remains, in order to determine
the solution of the deection line functions w(x) entirely, a derivation of a corresponding system of 8 (or 12) linear equations
with 8 (or 12) constants C
i
as unknowns. By solving this system, which is obtained by imposition of the corresponding
boundary and continuity conditions, the homogeneous solution w
H
(x) is nally determined, and along with it, considering
(17), also the explicit expression for the solution w(x). As the resulting functional expressions are rather lengthy, whereas
the space of the article is limited, we think there will be no great harm by omitting them.
Propagation of the plastic domain along the beam structure is uniquely dened by equation M
k
(x) = M
e
as the applied
loads are increased (dk > 0 ^ 0 < k 6 1), while penetration of the plastic region inside the beam is given by Eq. (13). Also,
as proportionality of the internal forces is preserved through the whole loading, the magnitude of the elastic limit load level
is always, irrespective of the load ratio w and according to (14), equal to k
e
= 2/3. The results were calculated using the fol-
lowing geometric and material data, according to Fig. 6a: lengths of the beam L
1
= 2 m and L
2
= 1 m, cross sectional width
b = 20 mm and half-height h = 20 mm, the modulus of elasticity E = 210,000 MPa and the yield stress r
0
= 300 MPa. For this
Fig. 8. Limit values of the loads at the structures collapse with regard to the load ratio w.
B. tok, M. Halilovic / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 17491760 1757
particular geometry of the structure, L
1
= 2L
2
, and three characteristic values of the load ratio w there are plotted in Fig. 9a the
respective plastic strain evolutions, as the load level is increased within the interval k
e
< k 6 1. Characteristic for the consid-
ered propagations is their xed position of the maximum penetration point during gradual load application, which is other-
wise a direct consequence of the discussed properties regarding internal forces distribution in statically determinate
problems. From the graphical representation of the respective deection curves in Fig. 9b, considered for the same charac-
teristic values w and limit elastic and fully plastic load levels k = k
e
and k ?1, degradation of the structures functionality can
be qualitatively visualized, with asymptotic approaching to the state of a plastic hinge occurrence clearly indicated.
The impact of considering material non-linearity in the mechanical response is certainly appropriate to be analysed quan-
titatively, thus estimating reasonableness of using Eq. (15b) in comparison to Eq. (15a), where inelasticity of the response is
neglected. With the static quantities, i.e. stress resultants and support reaction forces, independent on the nature of the
material response in a statically determinate problem, such an estimation analysis reduces to the evaluation of deformation
quantities, such as displacement w(x), relative rotation u
e
(x) in the e-neighbourhood of x and the location of the maximum
displacement x
w
between the supports. As a measure for the deviation from the linear response, denoted by a sufx e, the
following quantities can be used: r
w
(x) for the displacement deviations, r
/
(x) for the relative rotation deviations around the
point, where plastic hinge occurs, and r
d
for deviations of the maximum displacement location between the supports. The
inspected quantities denitions are as follows:
Fig. 9. Elasto-plastic state evolution for the characteristic values of load ratio w (a) plastic zone propagation with regard to the increasing load level k
(k
e
< k 6 1); (b) deection curves at limit elastic (k = k
e
) and fully plastic load levels (k ?1).
1758 B. tok, M. Halilovic / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 17491760
r
w
x
wx
w
e
x
1
_ _
100%;
r
u
x
ux e ux e
u
e
x e u
e
x e
1
_ _
100%;
r
d

x
w
x
e
w
1
_ _
100%:
31
For a given ratio w it is reasonable in the investigated example to observe, beside the r
d
quantity, the following quantities:
r
w
(x
M
) at the position of the maximum bending moment between the supports and r
w
(x
C
) at the free end, r
/
(x
M
) at the posi-
tion of the maximum bending moment between the supports and r
/
(x
B
) at the right support, while taking e = 10 mm. The
observed quantities, obtained by the analysis of load cases with the characteristic values of the load ratio w, are presented
in Table 1.
The tabulated quantities show that proportional increase of the considered loading from k = k
e
to k ?1, the tabulation
being made for greater evidence on the basis of equidistant load step incrementation (Dk = const.), leads to growing inuence
of the non-linearity. As a matter of fact this is quite expected. Namely, with intensication of the plastic propagation and
consecutive weakening of the structural elastic resistance the departure from linearity becomes more and more apparent
as loads approach k ?1. Near the singularity point, where the ultimate load level k = 1 is reached, all the observed quantities,
except the r
d
quantity, exhibit rapid increase, with their values asymptotically approaching innity. At k = 1 the most
stressed cross section becomes fully plastied, and the structure, the problem being a statically determinate one, transforms
into a mechanism due to the occurrence of a plastic hinge. This happening the originally designed functionality and load car-
rying capacity of the structure are lost, which is equivalent to a collapse.
6. Conclusion
In the article we considered bending of a straight beam with rectangular cross section, exhibiting elasto-plastic behaviour
with no hardening. In the respective deection curve analysis following the classical beam bending formulation the explicit
deection line functions for partially plastied domains of the beam under characteristic loading cases, including application
of concentrated forces and moments as well as application of uniformly distributed loads, were derived. With respect to the
evidenced bending moment distribution constant, linear or quadratic, three distinct functions were obtained for the
respective particular solutions. They are listed in the Eqs. (21)(23), thus forming a rm mathematical framework for elas-
to-plastic analyses of the considered kind of beam structures.
From a computational point of view it can be concluded, that the derivation of general form elasto-plastic solutions is
quite an achievement, which is clearly demonstrated and fully exploited in the investigation of the considered numerical
Table 1
Deviations from the linear response; L
1
= 2 m, L
2
= 1 m, h = 20 mm, Dk = 1/12
w k
i
r
u
(x
M
) [%] r
u
(x
B
) [%] r
w
(x
M
) [%] r
w
(x
C
) [%] r
d
[%]
0 8/12 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.00
9/12 2.6 0.0 1.0 0.7 0.00
10/12 13.1 0.0 6.0 4.3 0.00
11/12 45.4 0.0 21.2 15.4 0.00
110
9
24163.6 0.0 827.3 529.6 0.00
w
1
8/12 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.00
9/12 2.6 0.0 0.9 1.6 0.13
10/12 13.1 0.0 5.7 10.4 0.56
11/12 45.4 0.0 20.4 37.6 1.48
110
9
21580.4 0.0 783.0 1292.8 7.49
w
2
8/12 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.00
9/12 2.6 2.1 0.9 6.8 0.16
10/12 13.1 11.4 5.7 36.0 0.67
11/12 45.4 39.3 20.4 121.5 1.78
110
9
17144.8 995.0 679.2 6743.0 9.39
w
3
8/12 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.00
9/12 0.0 2.2 0.0 0.5 0.00
10/12 0.0 11.7 0.0 3.8 0.00
11/12 0.0 40.1 0.04 14.6 0.02
110
9
0.0 524.1 0.16 85.5 0.08
1 8/12 / 0.0 / 0.0 0.00
9/12 / 2.5 / 0.3 0.01
10/12 / 12.5 / 2.1 0.10
11/12 / 43.0 / 8.1 0.49
110
9
/ 826.8 / 48.1 1.83
B. tok, M. Halilovic / Applied Mathematical Modelling 33 (2009) 17491760 1759
example. Namely, by taking the derived explicit solutions into account the procedure needed to solve an elasto-plastic bend-
ing beam problem becomes very simple, irrespectively of the exhibited non-linear material behaviour. Considering the com-
plete problem solution is obtained by solving a relatively small system of linear equations, this procedure is also efcient. In
the article this was demonstrated by considering a statically determinate problem due to simplicity and clearness of the pre-
sentation, but the use of the derived equations is similar (simple and efcient) also for statically indeterminate problems.
Though explicitly derived for a rectangular cross section the contribution presented in this article may be considered, pri-
marily due to its explicit solvability and, in consequence, by given ability of very clear tracing of the elasto-plastic response
evolution, as relevant.
Considering the derived general elasto-plastic solutions, listed explicitly by the Eqs. (21)(23), were never presented in
any article or book before, we can state in conclusion that the presented article lls the gap in the analytical non-linear
mechanics.
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