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C.1.

Centroid
This appendix is concerned with the geometric properties of cross sections of a
member. These plane area characteristics have special significance in various
relationships governing stress and deflection of beams, columns, and shafts.
Geometric properties for most areas encountered in practice are listed in
numerous reference works [Ref. C.1]. Table C.1 presents several typical cases.

Table C.1. Properties of Some Plane Areas


1. Rectangle

2. Right triangle

3. Ellipse

4. Isosceles triangle

5. Circle

6. Semicircle

7. Thin tube

8. Half of thin tube

The first step in evaluating the characteristics of a plane area is to locate


the centroid of the area. The centroid is the point in the plane about which the
area is equally distributed. For area A shown in Fig. C.1, the first moments about
the x and y axes, respectively, are given by

Equation C.1

Figure C.1. Plane area A with centroid C.

These properties are expressed in cubic meters or cubic millimeters in SI units


and in cubic feet or cubic inches in U.S. Customary Units. The centroid of
area A is denoted by point C, whose coordinates and satisfy the relations

Equation C.2

When an axis possesses an axis of symmetry, the centroid is located on that


axis, as the first moment about an axis of symmetry equals zero. When there
are two axes of symmetry, the centroid lies at the intersection of the two axes.
If an area possesses no axes of symmetry but does have a center of
symmetry, the centroid coincides with the center of symmetry.

Example C.1. Centroid of Triangular Area

Determine the ordinate


in Fig. C.2.

of the centroid of the triangular area shown

Figure C.2. Example C.1. Triangular area.

Solution
A horizontal element with area of length x and height dy is selected
(Fig. C.2). Considering similar triangles, x = (h y)b/h, and

The first moment of the area with respect to the x axis is

The second of Eqs. (C.2), with A = bh/2, then yields

Equation a

Therefore, the centroidal axis of the triangular area is located a


distance of one-third the altitude from the base of the triangle.
Similarly, choosing the element of area dA as a vertical strip, it can be
shown that the abscissa of the centroid is = b/3. The location of the
centroid C is shown in the figure.
Frequently, an area can be divided into simple geometric shapes (for example,
rectangles, circles, and triangles) whose areas and centroidal coordinates are
known or easily determined. When a composite area is considered as an
assemblage of n elementary shapes, the resultant or total area is the algebraic
sum of the separate areas, and the resultant moment about any axis is the
algebraic sum of the moments of the component areas. Thus, the centroid of a
composite area has the coordinates

Equation C.3

in which
and
represent the coordinates of the centroids of the component
areas Ai(i = 1, 2, ..., n).
In applying formulas (C.3), it is important to sketch the simple geometric forms
into which the composite area is resolved, as shown next.

Example C.2. Centroid of an Angle

Locate the centroid of the angle section depicted in Fig. C.3. The
dimensions are given in millimeters.

Figure C.3. Example C.2. Area consisting of two parts.

Solution
The composite area is divided into two rectangles, A1 and A2, for which
the centroids are known (Fig. C.3). Taking the X,Y axes as reference,
Eqs. (C.3) are applied to calculate the coordinates of the centroid. The
computation is conveniently carried out in the following tabular form.
Note that when an area is divided into only two parts, the centroid C of
the entire area always lies on the line connecting the
centroids C1 and C2 of the components, as indicated in Fig. C.3.
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