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Structural Concepts 2013Page 1

This booklet is a collection of students coursework submissions on, Understanding and Using Structural
Concepts, which is part of the module of Analysis of Structures in 2013-134at The University of
Manchester. The booklet forms a source of learning for the students themselves enabling them to learn
from each other rather than from lecturers and textbooks.

It is hoped that students learn effectively and actively and this, in part, requires appropriate activities
and/or stimulators being provided. Students were asked to study, Seeing and Touching Structural
Concepts, at the website, www.structuralconcepts.org, where structural concepts are demonstrated by
physical models and their applications are shown by practical examples. It was hoped that students could
not only quickly revise a number of concepts they studied previously but could also gain an improved
understanding of the structural concepts.

Enhancing the understanding of structural concepts was introduced to the module in 2006 when the
website was available internally and students were asked to do a piece of related individual coursework.
After reading through the coursework, we felt that the individual submissions were interesting and varied
and included some creative components. The coursework was revised and improved on the basis of the
previous submissions every year. It was hoped that the revised coursework would encourage students to
consider and explain structural concepts in a simple manner and to look for examples of structural concepts
in everyday life motivating further study and the development of a greater understanding and awareness of
structural concepts.

All the submissions were made through Blackboard. They are slightly edited for the consistence of the
format and compiled into one single PDF file. The booklet written by the students is published through
Blackboard so that they could learn from the work of each other and further improve their understanding
of structural concepts and inspire them to learn structures. The booklet can be downloaded by the students
and kept by them.

The coursework return was very good. 58 submissions were received from a class of 56, including 26 model
demonstrations and 32 examples. As a lecturer, I have enjoyed when reading through the coursework.

There was no clear distinction between some of the models and examples provided and included in this
booklet as some models can be treated as examples and vice versa. The titles in the contents page are
directly copied from the coursework.

The cover of the booklet was voluntarily designed by Mr. Valerio Stuart who is a student of the class. Mr.
Carlos Medel Vera, a PhD student, compiled all the submissions into one single word file and produced the
contents page.

We hope all students taking Analysis of Structures will enjoy reading the presentation of their own work in
this booklet and will have learned from each other.

Tianjian Ji

24 October 2013

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Models...................................................................................................................... 5
1.1 Understanding Steel Beams Failure Modes.......................................................................... 6
1.2 Demonstration of Punching Shear Failure in Slab ............................................................... 9
1.3 Global Stability Increased by Constructional Columns and Ring Beam in Masonry
Structures (Stiffnes) .................................................................................................................. 12
1.4 The Suitable State of Internal Force Distribution for Brittle Materials .............................. 15
1.5 Use of Metal Prop to Reduce the Deflection of a Study Table .......................................... 18
1.6 Reducing Dynamic Induced Displacements in Tall Buildings ........................................... 22
1.7 Tension and Compression Areas in Woolen Reinforced Ice Beam ................................... 27
1.8 Prestress in Paper Beams .................................................................................................... 29
1.9 What Happened to the Clothes Tidy Rail ........................................................................... 31
1.10 The Application of Leverage: The Steelyard ................................................................... 34
1.11 Self-equilibrium of Alamillo Bridge ................................................................................ 38
1.12 Fundamental of Composite Action ................................................................................... 41
1.13 Creation of Plastic Hinges in Arches Based on the Concept of Catenary ........................ 46
1.14 Stress Distribution ............................................................................................................ 52
1.15 A Practical Example of Complimentary Shear Stress and the Use of Glue to Show
Importance of Connections ....................................................................................................... 55
1.16 Strength and Stress Distribution in Eggs .......................................................................... 57
1.17 Concept of Reinforced Concrete ...................................................................................... 61
1.18 Stiffening Cantilever Structures ....................................................................................... 64
1.19 The Ruck-a-Chucky Bridge The Hanging Arc Structure ........................................... 68
1.20 The Used of Bracing in Resisting Wind Load .................................................................. 72
1.21 Using a Lateral Support to Prevent Buckling ................................................................... 76
1.22 Stress Distribution for Different Combinations of Loadings on Strings .......................... 79
1.23 How Can a Karate-Chop Break a Board? ......................................................................... 83
1.24 Advantage of Using Pendulum Dampers in Tall Buildings ............................................. 87
1.25 Spaghetti Skyscraper with an Oreo Pendulum ................................................................. 91
1.26 Form finding Make an Effective Use of Materials ........................................................ 94
Examples ............................................................................................................. 101
2.1 Truss Bracing .................................................................................................................... 102
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2.2 Using of Prestress of Rose Greenhouse of The Chatsworth House ................................. 106
2.3 Lateral Stability of Burj Al Arab: Exo-skeleton and Tuned Mass Damper Study ........... 109
2.4 Pursuing Structural Concepts of an Axe........................................................................... 112
2.5 The Applications of Centripetal Force in Sports .............................................................. 114
2.6 Centre of Mass: Bascule Bridge ....................................................................................... 117
2.7 Electrical Kettle ................................................................................................................ 119
2.8 Metronome and Pendulum................................................................................................ 122
2.9 Cement Clinker Warehouse .............................................................................................. 124
2.10 Simply Supported Framework ........................................................................................ 126
2.11 The General Concept of Funicular ................................................................................. 128
2.12 Structural Concepts of Wall-mounted Towel Rails (Cantilever) ................................... 131
2.13 Chengdu 339 Project Composite Columns Structures ................................................ 136
2.14 Influence of the Depth on the Shear Force ..................................................................... 138
2.15 The Prestressed Beam String Structure .......................................................................... 142
2.16 Understanding the Concept of Resonance When the Army Walk Across the Bridge 148
2.17 Equilibrium Analysis of the Structures Triangular Structure ...................................... 152
2.18 Post-Tension Slabs ......................................................................................................... 155
2.19 Fixed and Roller Support in Structures .......................................................................... 161
2.20 Ideas of Economical Design ........................................................................................... 165
2.21 Different Kinds of Door Closer Mechanism .................................................................. 169
2.22 The Dynamic Analysis on Jumping and Taking off Process of Springboard Diving .... 173
2.23 Structural Analysis of a Prestressed Concrete Beam Loaded to Failure ........................ 175
2.24 Concept of Shear Failure in Connections ....................................................................... 177
2.25 The Importance of Wide Base in Stability of Structures ................................................ 179
2.26 Hookes Law................................................................................................................... 184
2.27 The Matrix Suspension ................................................................................................... 187
2.28 Prestressed Table ......................................................................................................... 191
2.29 Diagonal-span Arch Bridge ............................................................................................ 194
2.30 Cargo Bridge Analysis of Structure in the Mini-Game ........................................... 197
2.31 Statics 3D Equilibrium ................................................................................................ 202
2.32 Curves Designs of Railroad ............................................................................................ 205

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1.1 Understanding Steel Beams Failure Modes

Jose Eduardo Chaurand Morales

Steel structures are widely used for construction all over the world, is very important to understand
their behaviour in order to design structural elements that are able to behave between the limit and
serviceability states required by construction codes.

A beam is a very simple element that supports vertical load spanning a distance, they could be
cantilevered, simple supported or continuous beams.

A beam may be submitted to different stresses along its cross- section as compression, tension and
shear. Depending on the cross section configuration, span, lateral restraints and supports the beam
can fail in many different ways.

During this experiment four different models where subjected to different load conditions to
understand the behaviour and failure mode. The experiment is divided in three stages:

The first stage consists in two models with the objective to provide a full understanding of the
lateral torsional buckling concept, presenting two beams loaded with a point load at the middle of
the span with different flexion and shear capacities but the same governing failure.

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The type of failure is lateral torsional buckling as the beam is not restrained in the lateral direction.
Buckling happened before bending or shear failure.

The tape simulates FRP strengthening. Even when more stiffness to the cross-section was provided, the
geometric properties and the restraining conditions did not change, that is the reason why the beam had
the same failure (lateral torsional buckling) at almost the same load.

The second stage consists in understanding the shear failure in a type I section, one side of the beam
was stiffened with plate elements.

Even when we did not reach a clear shear failure, we can see how the stiffeners work with shear, in the
first two images shear contribution of the web can be observed, transmitting the force to the bottom plate

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and buckling initiation. The last pictures show how the stiffener plates help to resist support failure
heading to a local buckling exactly where the load is applied.
The third stage consist in a beam that has been stiffened to prevent lateral torsional buckling, applying
the load just above one of the stiffeners to prevent local buckling of the flange and providing a bigger
capacity to bending with an additional plate at the bottom of the cross section, expecting to see a
different failure mode.

As expected this was the stiffest beam, supporting a considerable load a different failure mode took
place, the beam suffered high tension stresses in the bottom flange, the deformation can be appreciate
in the photos overpassing the service and limit states of the beam.


Steel beams are very important structural elements, the way they fail depend on the cross-section
resistance given by their geometrical shape, the grade of steel they are made of, the loads and positions
of the loads (bending, shear), span and the restraints along their length. A design should be done
according to the use, the economy and services that has to provide always considering safety factors to
guarantee a non-failing structural system.


EN 1993-1-1, Eurocode 3 Design of Steel Structures Part 1-1: General rules and rules for buildings,
CEN, May 2005.

L. Gardner and D A Nethercot, Designers guide to EN 1993-1-1 , Eurocode 3: Design of steel structures
general rules and rules for buildings, H Gulvanessian, 2005.

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1.2 Demonstration of Punching Shear Failure in Slab

Mohammad Murtaza Mohammad Ali
The Punching shear failure, as known from its name is type of failure when a column
punches out of the slab. This particular type of failure occurs when the slab is directly
resting on the column without beam and as the load on the slab increases and the slab
tends to bend, the shear stresses at the area of slab around the column increases and by
subsequent reaction from column, the column punches out of the slab as shown in fig 1.1.
Ref: Design of Concrete Structures (Thirteen edition)

Fig 1.1 Punching shear failure of slab.

In the model shown in the fig 1.2(a), the paper which represents a thin slab is rested on
a pen which represent the column supporting the paper (slab). As shown in fig 1.2(b)
when we push the paper (slab) down, the sides of paper around pen (column) rotates
down and as the rotation exceeds, the shear stress of paper near pen also increases
and after some load the pen punches out of the paper and punching shear failure takes
place as shown in figure 1.2(c)

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Fig 1.2 (a) Pen supporting paper

Fig 1.2 (b) (c)

Different measures can be taken to prevent such failure. A beam can be provided in
between slab and column or the depth of slab in contact with column can be increased
by providing a panel at the contact area between column and slab, such an
arrangement is known as Flat Slab with drop panel. In my model I have provided a
plate of same paper as shown in fig 1.3(a). Now a thicker part of paper is resting on the

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pencil which means the stiffness has increased and the model is more stable against
the punching shear. Now if we push the paper down as shown in fig 1.3(b), the paper
although shows some deflection but the pen doesnt come out of the paper.

Fig 1.3(a) A panel provided below the paper

Fig 1.3(b)


1- Arthur H. Nilson, David Darwin, Charles W. Dolan Design of Concrete Structures

(Thirteenth Edition), page 450


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1.3 Global Stability Increased by Constructional Columns

and Ring Beam in Masonry Structures (Stiffnes)
Zuhui Wu

Global stability is significantly important for structure under the earthquake; especially for
masonry structures, ensuring the global stability is the most primary problem. In this case,
constructional columns and ring beams play a principal role in increasing the global stability of
masonry structures (Fig.1 and Fig.2).

Fig. 2

Fig. 1


The main function of constructional columns and ring beams of reinforced concrete is to restrain
the brick walls and link the walls together, so that all the brick walls can work together to anti the
seism. The constructional columns and ring beams are tension members in the masonry structures;
they only bear the tension force under the seism. And the efficient elements of the constructional
columns and ring beams are the little steel bars in them. The function of the concrete of
constructional columns and ring beams is to connect the brick walls and columns and beams
together. In other words, the constructional columns and ring beams are just like the ties to tie the
masonry structure as a whole.(Fig.3)

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Model 1

Pile up some books together to imitate the masonry structure without constructional columns and
ring beams, and put these books on a board (Fig.4), then shake the board to imitate the earthquake.
Consequently, the books separate with each other. This means that the model of books looses its
global stability under the horizontal shake when there are no constructional columns and ring
beams in the model (Fig.5).

Fig.4 Fig.5

Model 2

The Model 2 is similar with Model 1, the differences between Model 2 and Model 1 is the cable
ties which are tied on the surface of the books (Fig.6), the vertical ties are used to imitate the
constructional columns and the longitudinal is used to imitate the ring beams in the masonry
structures. After shaking the board which is under the model, the books have not separated with
each other and they are still very stable after a long-term shaking (Fig.7). In this case, the vertical
ties and the longitudinal ties take effects on the model when shake is happening.

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The two models successfully shows the constructional columns and the ring beams take effect on
the global stability of masonry structures under the earthquake. The constructional columns and the
ring beams can ties the brick walls together so that all the walls in masonry structures can work
together to resist the applied load, especially the seismic load. Consequently, the constructional
columns and ring beams can increasing the capability of anti-seismic of masonry structures.

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1.4 The Suitable State of Internal Force Distribution for

Brittle Materials

Zuhui Wu


There are a host of materials being used in construction industry. In this case, using the materials
by a suitable way is very important. And in construction industry most of the materials except
metals are brittle. In other words, making the brittle materials in the suitable state of their internal
force distribution which they are good at is the principle for engineer to choose the materials, when
they design the constructions.
Brittle materials are good at being compressed, but weak in tensioned state. So that it is
significantly important for engineer to make the brittle materials in compressed state. The Figure (1)
below shows the railway arch bridge above the Altrincham Street, between Sackville Street
Building and Renold Building. This arch bridge shows the bricks which are a kind of brittle
material develop all their capability of being compressed.

Fig. 1


Brittle materials are good at being compressed, but weak in tensioned state. And the internal force
distribution of arch is compression. In short, using the bricks to construct arch can develop the
bricks whole advantage of internal force distribution.

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Model 1

In the models, ice will be used to replace the brick as a kind of brittle material, and ice is a typical
brittle material. In this model, we test the arch ice bridges capability of resisting the applied force
(Fig. 3), and the thickness of the middle of the bridge is 20mm. The cable ties and the coins which
are added to the two ends of the bridge are used to provide the horizontal counter-force (Fig.4).
And to some extent, the carpet can provide some horizontal counter-force to the restrain of the arch
ice bridge. In this condition, the ice arch bridge can bear more than one persons weight (Fig.5).


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Model 2

In the Model 2, we test the ice beam which has the same dimension and same thickness with the
arch ice bridge (Fig.6). In this case, the ice beam resist the bending moment mainly, under the
bending moment, the lower part which is under the neutral axis line of the cross section of the ice
beam is in tension. In this internal force distribution, the ice beam is broken under the load of a
persons weight (Fig.7 and Fig.8).





Brittle materials are good at being compressed, but weak in tensioned state. The advantage of being
compressed of brittle materials should be developed when the engineer choose the brittle
materials for construction members.

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1.5 Use of Metal Prop to Reduce the Deflection of a Study

Faisal Dilshad Siddiqui
Deflection in a member is as a result of loading, which must be looked with care so that it does
not become so excessive so as to cause the failure of a member.

Since it is well known that more is the span more will be the deflection and vice versa therefore
deflection and span of a member has a direct relation with each other as follows

= deflection L= span of a member

In fact, deflection () is directly proportional to some positive power of span (L).

The maximum deflection of a beam is proportional to its span to the power of four for
uniformly distributed loads or to its span to the power of three for a concentrated load. (Ji and
Bell, 2008, p.70-71)

Therefore the effect of span is very significant and must be reduced.

The most effective ways to increase the stiffnesses or reduce the deflections of a structure are
to reduce spans or to add supports ... (Ji and Bell, 2008, p.75)

Metal props can be used as an additional supports which reduces the spans and hence increases
the stiffness of a member.

Practical example (Structure)

Below is a figure of a study table whose span has been reduced with the help of a metal prop.

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Therefore the introduction of a metal prop reduced the deflection and increased the stiffness.
Metal prop is acting as an additional support of this study table.

Without the metal prop, deflection due to load of books, laptop and other things would become
excessive and eventually causes the failure of a study table.

Model demonstration
This fact of reduction in the deflection by the addition of a metal prop is demonstrated with the
help of a model below.

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This model of beam is made up of papers, which are collected, combined and then a glaze paper
is wrapped around them to make a beam with rectangular cross section (Pink colour). The
supports are made up of the same material and have circular cross section.

In this figure the deflection of beam due to load (P) is quite visible when there are two supports
showing the pronounced effect of load on span (L).

Now we introduce an additional support shown below

Note: In both cases same load (P) has been applied

With the introduction of an additional support, span is divided in two parts (L1 and L2) therefore
deflection is significantly reduced enhancing the stiffness of a member.

This additional support is performing the same function as a metal prop in study table.
The additional support actually takes some of the effect of loading developed in the member i.e.
at point A as a compressive load and transfers it to the floor. This has been shown below in
figure with the help of an arrow.

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Addition of an extra support increases the stiffness of the member and therefore reduces the

Ji, T. and Bell, A. J. (2008) Seeing and Touching Structural Concepts, Oxon: Taylor & Francis

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1.6 Reducing Dynamic Induced Displacements in Tall


Christophe Boucour
High rise buildings, because of their height and slenderness are prone to excessive horizontal
displacements when subjected to dynamic actions caused by wind or earthquake.

Methods of how to lessen dynamic induced displacements in high rise (tall) buildings shall be
explored and illustrated with a homemade model.

1. Methods to lessen dynamic response in tall buildings:

Displacements or oscillating movements are the response of the structure to dynamic loading
such as wind or earthquake loading.

Utilising the theory of vibration, engineers have identified ways to reduce displacements
induced by dynamic action by:
- increasing the stiffness of the building, and
- dissipating energy (or damping).

1.1 Making the building stiffer:

The first line of defence of a building against displacements is the stiffness (k) thereof. In a very
simple way, a structure can be modelled as mass-spring system.


The stiffer the spring the smaller are the oscillation of the mass around the equilibrium position.

By analogy we can understand that making the building stiffer will reduce its dynamic response.
Controlling the oscillation movements only by increasing tall buildings stiffness is not
economically viable and supplementary methods need to be considered.

1.2 Damping:

Damping is the physical phenomenon of the reduction of motion through energy dissipation
The ARUP Journal 3/2008 p15. Structural
Edamping Friction
Counteracting inertia

Ein (Dynamic loading) Structure EOut (Oscillations)

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The building itself has an intrinsic damping called structural damping, where energy is
dissipated within the material and the structure elements junctions. Structural damping is
considered low and difficult to quantify and will not be considered in our experiment. The
following paragraphs describe supplementary damping systems that are currently used in tall

1.2.1 Tuned mass dampers / Slosh dampers

These systems are based on the principle of a supplementary mass system that generates
counteracting inertia forces to the structures motion.

1.2.2 Viscous dampers / Friction devices

These systems are based on the principle of energy dissipating via the material, by relative
movement in the case of viscous damper and by friction in the case of friction dampers.

Figure 1 Viscous damper

Damped Outrigger Concept Figure 2 Friction devices (www.dampetch.com)
(Image from The ARUP Journal 3/2008 p17)

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The Model experiments:

The home made model was created using plastic cake sticks, tape, string, a ruler, a golf ball,
two pen springs and a polystyrene block. The dimensions of the models are approximately 8cm
(W) x 42cm (H), giving height to width ratio of 5.25.

1.3 Response of the model subject to a dynamic input (Horizontal Displacements)

Large sway of the structure was recorded with maximum displacements in the magnitude of
approximately 10 cm.

1.4 Response of the model with tie bracings

We add cross bracing in the form of a string, to make the model stiffer whilst subjecting the
model to the same oscillating horizontal displacements.

The sway of the structure is reduced with maximum displacement in the magnitude of
approximately 2cm.

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1.5 Response of the model with supplementary mass damping:

We now go back to the initial configuration and add a golf ball (46g) fixed to the top of the
model frame with a piece of string, acting as a pendulum. The same oscillating horizontal
displacements are imposed to the model.

Max displacement in the magnitude of approximately 3cm.

1.6 Response of the model with energy absorbing damper:

We will reproduce here the effect of energy absorbing damper such as viscous dampers or
friction devices. A ruler is added to the model to act as a rigid core and connected to the outer
frame using string and a spring.

Max displacement in the magnitude of approximately 5cm.

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2. Conclusion:

Despite the rudimentary of the model and the inconsistence of the dynamic input, we have been
able to demonstrate that by increasing the stiffness of the structure or by adding supplementary
damping devices, the dynamic displacements are reduced significantly.

All solutions exposed have their advantages and disadvantages; it will be the structural engineer
challenge to determine early in the design which solution is to be applied in consideration of the
client needs together with the architectural and financial constraints.

[1] Understanding and using structural concepts course notes. Tianjian Ji
[2] www.structuralconcepts.org accessed on the 13th October 2013
[3] The ARUP Journal 3/2008 p15 to p21
[4] www.damptech.com accessed on the 13th October 2013.
[5] Theory of vibration with applications Fourth edition WilliamT.Thomson
[6] Intrinsic and supplementary damping in buildings .Structures and Buildings 163, Issue
SB2. pp 111-118.

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1.7 Tension and Compression Areas in Woolen Reinforced

Ice Beam
Wenzhi Tang

Concept: A uniform rectangle cross-section beam subjected to a vertical downward load on its
upper surface is often simplified to a one-dimensional model with cross-section of tension area
below the neutral axis and compression area above.

Modeling: Two equal-dimension ice beam are made which have 1.5cm wide, 3cm high and
30cm long. One of them is made of pure ice and another have two woolen yarn fixed on the
bottom along the length. Which can be seen in Figure 1 and 2.

Figure 1 Figure 2

Reinforce material and Load: Woolen yarn is used to reinforce the ice beam.(Figure 3) Four
milk bottles filled with water are used as load. Two of them have a size of 4 pints and other two
of 2 pints, which are shown in Figure 4.

Figure 3 Figure 4

Method: (1) apply load onto the pure ice beam(beam 1) until it failed.(Figure 5)
(2) apply load onto the woolen reinforced beam(beam 2) with the woolen staying in
the bottom. It should behave much stronger than beam 1 in theoretic.(Figure 6)

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(3) turn the beam 2 up-side-down, then apply load until it failed.(Figure 7)

Figure 5 apply load on beam 1 Figure 6 apply load on beam 2 with

woolen in bottom

Figure 7 apply load on beam 2 with

woolen on the top

Result: Beam 1 failed when putting 8 pints of water onto it.

Beam 2 with woolen in bottom can hold the load from 12 pints of water.(Figure 8)
Beam 2 with woolen on the top failed when putting 8 pints of water onto it.(Figure 9)

Figure 8 Figure 9

Conclusion: When applying load on beam 2 with woolen on the top, beam 2 behaves as weak
as beam 1. It indicate that the woolen yarn do not contribute much when it is in the top side of
beam. And when woolen goes to the bottom, it strengthen the beam of more than 50% of its
capacity to bending. As we know woolen yarn can only endure tension and do nothing in
compression, ice is weak in tension and stronger in compression. From the fact above, it can be
easily revealed that when a beam works as bending component with gravity load, its upper layer
above the neutral axis suffers compression, the bottom layer suffers tension.

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1.8 Prestress in Paper Beams

Yuan Yan
The concept
Concrete is the material with enough compressive strength but limit tensile strength. Prestress is
an effective way of applying stress in the tensile side of concrete beams in advance to resist the
bending deformation and deflection.
The model: paper frames
The concept can be simply illustrated with the self-made model showed below, using paper and
rubber bands. One frame is just made of paper, while the other contains rubber bands. They are
pulled and put into the tensile side of paper beams, which means the prestress is applied.

Figure 1 materials Figure 2 Two different paper frames

The amount of water in bottles represents the magnitude of the load. When the load is small, the
difference of deflection between paper beams is slim. When the load increases, the non-
prestressed paper beams show more obvious deflection than the other one. The more
considerable deflection can be seen if the load continues increasing, while the prestressed one is
still stiffer. Even though the load does not increase any more, the deflection of non-prestressed
beams increases gradually, meaning the structure is yield.

Figure 3 Small load is applied Figure 4 Load increases

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Figure 5 Load continues increasing Figure 6 The structure is yield

The simulation
The similar simulation can be done with Abaqus. Three frames with equal dimension are
modelled. One has prestressed strand put in the bottom of beams. Another is a reinforced
concrete frame. The last is a concrete frame without reinforcement or prestress.


The load is applied

in the midspan

Figure 7 The model in Abaqus Figure 8 P-curves

The curves calculated with Abaqus show the relationship between the displacement and the load
in the midspan of beams. Which conclude the prestress can make structure stiffer and enhance
the loading capacity.

Source: All the photos and figures are produced by Yuan Yan

ontents/9.pdfcited: 20/10/2013.
[2]Wang, Y., & Fu, C. (2010). Structural engineering analysis and example explanation of ABAQUS
(pp.123-147).Beijing: China Architecture and building Press. Chinese version.

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1.9 What Happened to the Clothes Tidy Rail

Hao Wang

Everybody should ever have the experience that when the heavy clothes were hanging on the
clothes tidy rail, the whole clothes tidy rail suddenly moved horizontally. There are no horizontal
loads applied in the clothes tidy rail but only the vertical gravity load of the clothes. The situation
can be explained by a structural concept which is Vertical load can induce horizontal movements
in a symmetric frame structure. A model is designed to demonstrate this structural concept.


The aim of the models is to demonstrate of the concept of Horizontal Movements Induced By
Vertical Load.

Description of Model

Clothes Tidy Rail

H: 167cm
W: 84cm
Lint Roller
Adhesive Tape

(a) (b)
Figure 1 Model Layout

The clothes tidy rail is defined as the simple symmetric frame structure. And the suitcase that
full filled with books is defined as the vertical loading. The lint roller is tied up with the span of the
clothes tidy rail, and located at the centre of the span. The lint roller is in equilibrium under the
action of the self-weight. The combination of the lint roller and the string is defined as the plumb
bob. The lint roller can move follow by the movement of the clothes tidy rail.

A piece of paper is located beside the lint roller and fixed by the adhesive tape, but has no effect
on the lint roller. A ruler is located under the lint roller. Figure 1 (a) shows the layout of the model.

There is no crevice between the lint roller and paper. The joint of them is the start point of the
ruler. The layout is shown in figure 1 (b).

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The suitcase is tied up and located at the right side of the centre line of the span. Movements are
occurred. When the oscillation stopped, both the suitcase and the lint roller are in equilibrium under
the gravity action. The stable state is shown in figure 2 (a).

(a) (b)
Figure 2 Apply Vertical Load To The Model

Figure 2 (b) shows the horizontal movements of the lint roller. A measured 4mm crevice
occurred between the lint roller and paper. This means that the lint roller moved 4mm to the left
side. So that the clothes tidy rail moved 4mm to the left side due to the applied vertical loading.

If reduce the loads applied to the same
conditions of clothes tidy rail, after
comparison, the smaller horizontal movements

Adjust the height of the clothes tidy rail to

90cm, then apply the same loads with the first
model. The stable state is shown in figure 3.
Again the suitcase and the lint roller are in
equilibrium under the action of the self-weight.

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Figure 3 Adjusted Model Stay In Stable

Figure 4 Horizontal Movements Of The Lint Roller

The horizontal movements of the lint roller are measured and shown in figure 4. A 8mm of
crevice occurred between the lint roller and paper. So that the clothes tidy rail occurred 8mm of
horizontal movements to the left side due to the applied vertical loading.


To conclude, the structural concept Horizontal Movements Induced By Vertical Load has been
demonstrated through this Clothes Tidy Rail Model.

In a symmetric frame structure, horizontal movements can be induced by vertical loads.

The more vertical loads act on the simple symmetric structure, the more horizontal
movements occur.
The higher the simple symmetric structure, the smaller the horizontal movements.


Ji, T., and Bell A. Seeing And Touching Structural Concepts. Taylor & Francis, 2008.

Ji, T., Ellis B.R. and Bell A. Horizontal Movements Of Frame Structures Induced By Vertical
Loads. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Structures & Building, 2003, Pages
141 - 150

http://www.structuralconcepts.org/ Accessed on 15/10/2013

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1.10 The Application of Leverage: The Steelyard

Jiajun Luo

Concept: Equilibrium,Centre of Mass

Human use of steelyard to measure quality has a very long history,which is one of
the earliest application of leverage . It is a simple,exact ,and easily carried lever
device.When the steelyard is working,it will in a state of equilibrium . The main
concept discussed will be the mechanism of the steelyard and how to make a
steelyard with easily accessible materials and calibrate it .

2.The Mechanism of Steelyard

Shown in Figure 1, an uneven thickness weighbeam, hook,lift rope, can be seen as
a whole. Set the weight to Gs and the center of gravity point to B in AO . The
weight of the weight is Gw .O point is the fulcrum and the center of mass of the
(1)When nothing was hung on the hook(Figure 1), the weight ( Gw ) should be
moved to point C on the steelyard to balance the steelyard,as follows:


Gs Weight
Figure 1

(2)Shown in Figure 2,when the hook on A is loaded( Go ),move the weight to D to

balance the steelyard,as follows:
Go OB Gw (OC l )

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Understanding and Using Structural Concepts


Gs Weight
Figure 2
Simultaneous , , we obtain:
Go OA Gw l
mo g OA mw g l
mo mw / OA l
When the steelyard in a state of equilibrium,the quality of the measured object can
be measured. It can be seen from the formula : the mass of the measured
object( mo )is proportional to L, so that the scale of the quality on the weighbeam
is uniformly distributed.

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Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

3.Calibration of Homemade Steelyard

(1)By the Digital scale(Figure 3),the quality of a 20 pence coin is 4.98g.
(2)Using the easily accessible materials,I made a steelyard.When the steelyard is
unloaded,the position of the weight(made by 2 20 pence coins,20g) as shown in
the Figure 4.
(3) Put a 20-pence-coin(5g) into the cup and adjust the position of the
weight,balancing the steelyard and mark the scale(5g).Calibrate the steelyard by
this analogy(Figure 5).

Figure 3 Figure 4

Figure 5

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Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

(5)Eventually,it works accurately.

Figure 6

Figure 7

1.Seeing and Touching Structural Concepts:

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Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.11 Self-equilibrium of Alamillo Bridge

Zhikai Xu

As is known to all , there is so many types of bridge in the world . Cable-stayed bridge is one of
the most common bridges and it usually consist of one or more pylons ,with the steel cables
supporting the deck . The bridge of Alamillo designed by Santiago Calatraval which is built in
Seville shocked the world because of the imaginative appearance and asymmetrical structural
design .

Figure 1 (wikipedia , Andrew Dunn , 7 May 2006.)


The Alamillo Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge with a 200 meter long span . The most
distinguishing part of the design is the142 meter tall pylon, which is gracefully slanted at an
angle of 58 degrees. The pylon is filled with concrete and acts as a counterbalance for the 35.5
meter wide bridge deck, which is anchored by just 13 pairs of steel cables. Thanks to this
design there is no support needed at the back of the pylon, which results in a more elegant

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Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Analysis of the model design:

In order to understand the structural design of Alamillo Bridge , I made a model to demonstrate
the theory of the bridge . The model is not according to actural size ,but used the same principle
as the bridge. The model is shown in Figue 2 .

Size: The height of pylon:175 mm

The length of deck: 370 mm
The width of deck: 60 mm
The angle of pylon: 50
The length of cables:
80 mm;160 mm;
240 mm;320 mm

Figure 2

The equilibrium of the forces in the bridge bridge , shown at a single pair of cables under a
balanced equilibrium that does not develop any bending moments at the foundation of the pylon .

Cable force

Axial load
on pylon
Cable force
58 24 Weight of
Reaction in Compression in deck

Figure 3(The equilibrium of the forces in the bridge)

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Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Figure 3 shows the equilibrium of the forces in the bridge at three nodes: the connection of a
pair of cables with pylon, the connection of a pair of cables with the deck ,and the foundation of
the pylon. Due to the 58 slope of the pylon and the 24 slope of the cables, the tension force(T)
in one pair of cables should exist these two equations below.

T=WP* cot58 (3.1) WD=T*sin24 (3.2)

According to equation (3.1) and (3.2), we can easily find the relation between WP and WD.


WD is the weight of the deck. WP is the weight of the pylon.

As the weight of the pylon changes along its length because of the changing geometry of the
cross section ,the tension forces should vary from cable to cable under different loading
condition. The finite element model can help to figure out the structure under different loading
condition(dead,permanent and live loads; static and dynamic wind loads; load combinations).


Spiro N. Pollalis, The MIT Press (September 9, 2002), What Is a Bridge? The Making of
Calatrava's Bridge in Seville

Wikipedia (2013) Available at<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puente_del_Alamillo>

Structural Concepts 2013Page 40

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.12 Fundamental of Composite Action

Badrul Munir Bin Mohd Radzi

The principle of composite action is used in composite constructions to build slabs and beams
for stadiums, warehouses, skyscrapers and other structural forms. Composite action is one of the
ways to improve bending strength and stiffness of structure.

The combination of different materials in structural systems permits a significant potential to

utilise the advantages of different materials.


In order to understand the concept of composite action, let two similar rectangular sections are
combine together with one section is on top of the other to form like a beam. If these sections
are loaded, there will be a relative movement between the sections.

When these sections are fixed together or prevented from slipping, the section will act as one
unit and as a result of composite action, it will becomes stiffer and deflect lesser with the same
load. The illustrations of these examples are as the following:


Slip P

Deflect more

P Shear
Deflect less

Figure 1.0: Illustration of beams with and without composite action

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These behaviours can be proven by comparing the section modulus with and without composite

Section modulus of each rectangular section:

In the case of two rectangular sections, where one section on top of the other:

Now when the two rectangular sections are connected together (eg. by using shear connectors) it
will act as one unit, so that the height is doubled, (2h):

Hence, the strength of composite beam is two times larger than the previous action.


In order to demonstrate composite action, a very flexible ice tray was used as it is designed to
ensure the ice can be popped out easily. The conceptual application of an ice tray is shown



Figure 3.1: Compression and tension side of ice tray in bending

As the ice tray is bending over, the top of the tray expands while the base of the tray shrinks thus
we can easily push out the ice cubes from its container.

The first demonstration was conducted by pulling the middle of the ice tray contains with ice
(including the continuous thin layer of ice at the top most of the tray) by the incremental weight
of about 0.50kg, 1.00kg and 1.50kg respectively. The hand pulling force was measured by using
a luggage scale attached by string. The displacement of the ice tray from its original position
was then measured by measuring tape for each of the incremental force applied.

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Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Figure 3.2: The arrangement of equipments for demonstration

The second demonstration was conducted similarly with the previous procedures but every
container of the ice tray now is punched by a nail. The nails were assumed to act as shear
connectors to ensure the ice remain in its position when the force is applied. The super glue was
used to secure any gaps so that it will prevent water sipping between nails and ice tray.

Figure 3.3: The arrangement of nails as shear connectors

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Understanding and Using Structural Concepts


From the demonstration, the results are tabulated as follows:

Table 4.1 Load applied

Ice Tray without Ice Tray with Nails
Load 1 ( 0.50kg) 0.50 0.54
Load 2 ( 1.00kg) 1.10 1.06
Load 3 ( 1.50kg) 1.48 1.53

Table 4.2 Displacements measured on each load

Ice Tray without Ice Tray with Nails
Displacement 1 (mm) 6 2
Displacement 2 (mm) 15 6
Displacement 3 (mm) 35 16

From the result, Load vs. Displacement Graph can be plotted as below:

Displacement (mm)

Ice Tray without Nails
10 Ice Tray with Nails
0 0.5 1 1.5 2
Load (kg)

Figure 4.1 Load vs. Displacement Graph

Based on the graph, it can be seen that for the ice tray contains with ice and nails showing less
displacement for every incremental loads as compared with ice tray contains with ice but
without nails. This phenomenon might be caused by the existence of the nails which was
holding the ice cube kept in place while the load was incremented. When this happened, the ice
cube acted to resist compressive stress (at base) and tensile stress (at top most of the thin layer
of ice) together with the plastic tray to make the tray difficult to be bent as compared with the
first demonstration. These demonstrations can be improved if the base of each container is
linked together so that the ice will play its role to resist the compressive stresses more efficient.

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Understanding and Using Structural Concepts


In structural engineering, composite slabs and beams consist of steel decking and an in situ
reinforced concrete at the top. The steel decking acts as permanent formwork to the concrete.

Shear connectors are attached to the steel decking before the concrete is poured on top of it.
When the concrete has gained strength the two material acts compositely as they become a
single unit. The applications of composite action in real life are shown in the figure below:

Figure 5.1 Composite beam and slab (http://www.tatasteelconstruction.com/)


For the conclusion, eliminating the slip at the interface between different sections or materials to
form a single component may result in a great improvement of bending strength and stiffness. In
order to achieve composite action, shear connectors must be used to prevent longitudinal shear
from occurring.

The application of composite constructions has been proven for its sustainability and has
contributed in reducing the cost of constructions since many years ago.


Cosenza E. and Zandonini R., Ed. Chen Wai-Fah (1999), Composite Construction, Structural
Engineering Handbook, Boca Raton: CRC Press LLC, pp.2-5

The principle of composite action (2013) Available at <http://www.tatasteelconstruction.com/

n/the_principle_of_composite_action/> [Accessed on 18 Oct 2013]

Graham W. Owens, Peter R. Knowles, Patrick J. Dowling (1994), Steel Designers Manual,
Fifth Edition, Blackwell Science, pp.568-595

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1.13 Creation of Plastic Hinges in Arches Based on the

Concept of Catenary
Daniel Dez Gonzlez
We are going to apply a load on an arch to demonstrate that the place and order where the
hinges appear are based on the concept of catenary.

1. Concepts

If a string is hung between two points it

creates a curve which is very similar to a
parabola. Nevertheless it is not a parabola
but a catenary whose formula is
y=a cosh (x/a). One of the special
characteristics of the catenary is that the
horizontal components of the tension in
each point are equal.

A funicular arch takes the shape of an

inverted draped string when forces are
applied to it.

When an equal load is distributed per length of cable, the draped string is in pure tension. Then,
the funicular arch is in pure compression (catenary arch). If the distribution of the load is
uneven, the funicular arch works in tension and compression and, consequently, bending
moments will appear.

The difference geometrically between the parabolic arch and a catenary arch is very small and
then the bending moments in the parabolic arch can be considered insignificant

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Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

The line of thrust of a structure in pure

compression must be contained within the
middle third to avoid tension. A hinge is
created when the thrust line touches the
boundaries. For an arch to collapse 4 hinges
must be created.

Doing structural analysis we can see

how hinges are created once the load
increases on a parabolic arch whose
shape is very similar to the catenary.
Nevertheless, the process is very
tedious. From the calculations we can
see that the hinges are created on the top
of the bridge first and at the laterals

To better understand why hinges are created in this order without doing the structural analysis
we can use the concept of catenary.

To simulate a catenary arch I tied equal

weights on a stretched out string, each one
at an interval of 10cm of string. Then, I
hung the string between two fixed points on
a door. Then, I drew a line to register the
original shape of the string(arch) and 2 lines
parallel to the original string one at each
side to simulate the boundaries of the

Structural Concepts 2013Page 47

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

After hanging an extra weight in the middle
it can be seen that the string moved within
the two boundaries. Increasing the weight
again, the bottom of the string touched the
lower boundary which meant that a first
hinge was created.
Increasing the weight further, the sides of
the string touched the higher boundary and
, as a consequence, 2 extra hinges were
created simultaneously

2. Fisical model:

I then used these concepts to predict the order and place where hinges are created in a non-
catenary arch made from the cover of a hardback notebook. I restricted it at each end with a
baking tray and blue tack, and then applied a load on the top of the arch with a cardboard tube
for a better load distribution. To avoid the top part of the arch moving sideways when increasing
the load, I used two different strings which I tied from the top of the arch to the backing tray on
both sides respectively.

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Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

If the bridge had a catenary shape we would

perfectly deduce where the hinges are
created (one at the top first and two at the
sides later). In our case, bending moments
appear when fitting the cover in the baking
tray due to its stiffness.

The compression due to the weight of the

arch is insignificant in comparison with the
bending moments caused whilst fitting the
cover in the backing tray.

If our bridge was a string and we applied a

load, the inverted funicular would adopt a
polygonal shape. Due to the stiffness of the
cover , it will not adopt a polygonal shape.
Instead it will adopt a shape similar to a
funicular arch.

I measured the real coordinates of the bridge and drew its profile. Then I used the span (23cm)
and the height (8.1cm) to calculate a parabola which we know to be similar to a catenary (note
that a catenary would be the ideal shape that the real bridge should have if we want the hinges to
be produced at the top first and at the laterals later). I finally superimposed both graphs and I
saw that the coordinates of the parabola are higher than those of the arch on both sides. The self
weight should create compression and tension and, consequently, bending moments, and so it
would not act like a catenary arch (which only works in compression when no loads are

Y parabola=8.1-(8.1/11.5^2)*x^2

x 0 2 4 6 8 10 11.5
Y measured 8.1 7.7 6.6 4.8 2.8 1.1 0
Y parabola 8.1 7.9 7.1 5.9 4.1 2.0 0
Y par-Ymes 0 0.2 0.5 1.1 1.3 0.9 0

Structural Concepts 2013Page 49

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Before applying the load there should be an

initial positive bending moment at each
lateral due to its own weight
(Yparabola>Ymeasured) (in this case it is
insignificant as the weight is very small )

Once the load has been applied the catenary

turns into a funicular. There is a point when
the Y coordinates of the arch start being
bigger than the funicular. The bending
moments at the laterals change from a
positive value to a negative value and the
bending moments at the top become positive

While the load is applied at the top after the arch reaches the geometry of the parabola, the
bending moment diagram added to the previous one will be similar to that obtained by
structural analysis (bigger on the top and smaller at the sides in absolute values) .
But due to the initial bending moment caused by the fitting, the resultant bending moment
diagram will be much bigger at the sides. So it is now uncertain where the hinge will be created.
It could be at the top or the sides, as the absolute value of the bending moment at the top and at
the sides may both be close to the plastification moment.

In fact, the bridge opted to break at each side first (the bending moments at each side reached
the plastic limit before the top did) . and then through increasing the load, the centre point
reached the plastic limit.

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Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

For this case the deformed geometry is very

big compared with the original geometry
once the first 2 hinges are created. After
this, only a little increase in load creates the
third hinge

It can be seen that the hinges are produced

symmetrically and that they are caused by a
positive bending moment on the top and a
negative bending moment at the laterals.


Despite the fact that the arch does not adopt a catenary shape and that there is an initial moment
induced by the fitting we have demonstrated that through the catenary concept we can have a
rough idea about the place and the moment in which the hinges are created.


Real-time limit analysis of vaulted masonry buildings (Philippe Block , Thierry Ciblac , John
Ochsendorf) 2006 , http://web.mit.edu/masonry/papers/block_cibl_ochs_CAS.pdf





Structural Concepts 2013Page 51

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.14 Stress Distribution

Shuiqing Wei
The intensity of the force(that is,the force per unit area)is called the stress and is
denoted by the Greek letter (sigma).[1]
The magnitude of the stresses:

Figure 1 (a) Figure 1 (b)

Figure 2 (a) Figure 2 (b)

We can see that the force on the sticks is the same from Figure 1 (a) and
2 (a) .And we can observe that the contact in Figure 1 (b) is much
Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

smaller than that in Figure 2 (b).While we can see more obvious

settlement in plasticine in Figure 2 (b) than that in Figure 1 (b).

When the force on the object is constant,with the contact area increases,
the stress decreases.
The diameter of the drawing pin is
about 8mm
The stress on the wall is:
wall A wall 0 wall
A wall
The stress on the finger is:
A finger 0.042

Drawing pin
So it is easy for people to thumbtack the drawing pin into wall,and at
the same time the fingers are not hurt.
The application of making use of reducing area to increase stress:knife,

Knife Axe

The application of making use of increasing area to reduce stress:strap

of schoolbag,tank track.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Schoolbag Tank
[1] James M.Gere ,Mechanics of Materials,Fifth Edition,ISBN 0 534-
[2]Tianjian Ji and Adrian Bell,Seeing and Touching STRUCTURAL

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.15 A Practical Example of Complimentary Shear Stress and

the Use of Glue to Show Importance of Connections

Adebiyi Akinwale Sunday

Every shear stress acting on a particular plane is accompanied by an equal complementary shear
stress that acts on planes at right angle to the given plane (Megson, 2005, p.154). In this report,
this would be proven using five plastic rulers carefully arranged on top of each other then
placed on two supports and subjected to a vertical load at the mid span, also the use of glue
acting as a shear connector in the rulers would be used to show the importance of connections in
preventing relative sliding.

Practical example
Five plastic rulers were arranged carefully on each other and supported at both ends. At mid
span a vertical load was applied to the set of rulers, this applied load would cause the set of
rulers to bend as shown in figure (1) below with the upper side of the rulers in compression and
the lower side in tension (Megson, 2005, p.250).

If a closer look is taken at the ends of the rulers it would be seen that theres a variation in the
length of the ends during bending as shown in figure (2).
This variation or relative sliding is caused by the shear stress acting on the horizontal surfaces of
the rulers, and since a horizontal force was not applied it could be assumed that the relative
sliding was induced by the vertical force applied at the mid span of the set of rulers, therefore
confirming that vertical shear load applied to a particular plane produces shear forces on
horizontal (Megson, 2005, p.250)

Figure 1 Figure 2

Now lets us consider the same set of rulers but this time they glued together. The set of rulers is
supported as in the previous examples at its two ends then subjected to a vertical load at the mid
span. Like in the first example, the beams bend with the upper side in compression and the
lower side in tension (Megson, 2005, p.250)

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Again taking a closer look at the ends of the rulers, it would be seen like in figure (5) below that
theres little or no variation in the lengths of the end of the rulers in bending and since weve
established that theres always horizontal shear forces when vertical shear load is applied, it
therefore stipulates that this horizontal shear force between the various surfaces was applied to
the glue which was used to connect them together before they were subjected to the vertical
shear load (Megson, 2005, p.250)

This in turn shows the importance of connections in structures for example in the concrete slabs
and the flange of an I section steel beam where steel studs are used as shear connectors to be
subjected to horizontal shear forces induced by gravity loads thereby prevent the structure from
undergoing relative sliding like the set of unglued rulers (Megson, 2005, p.251)

Figure 3 Figure 4

Figure 5

In the above practical example the following conclusions were reached
1. Vertical shear load produces forces on the horizontal plane
2. To have a safer structure, connections used to attach structures together are subjected to
this horizontal load, caused by gravity loading, thereby preventing relative sliding
between connected structures.
T.H.G Megson. Structural and stress analysis. Second edition. Burlington; Elsevier Butterworth-
Heinemann, 2005.
Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.16 Strength and Stress Distribution in Eggs

Mfonido Emah
Concept: Stress Distribution

Arch structures are one of the oldest forms of engineering construction, and continue to find
new applications in many different fields. This experiment uses egg shells to illustrate the
strength and stress distribution in arches.

Eggs, books, a paper towel.

Fig 1: Illustration of experiment (Source: heifer.org)

The model shows 4 eggs, a towel and a pile of books.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Crack each egg in half. Place a towel on a flat surface and position the eggs on top to make a
square, with the dome side of the egg on top. Add books one by one on top of the egg shells so
that the weight is distributed evenly. Check weight of material before collapse. From the
experiment carried out above, all 4 egg shells held a total of 18 books with a weight of 12.5kg
(122.625N) before collapse.


The arched shape of the eggshell can be found in many types of architecture, including bridges
and domed buildings. Not only are they architecturally pleasing, domes and arches are very
strong, because of their composition and shape. The eggshell of a chicken is composed of layers
of calcium carbonate reinforced by a protein matrix (Heifer.org). The arched, dome shape helps
resist the pressure of heavy loads by distributing weight evenly along the structure of the egg
rather than concentrating it at any one point.

A similar experiment can be explained by applying pressure around the sides of an egg as shown

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Compression is a force applied to the outside of an object that pushes toward the objects center,
while tension is a pulling, stretching force. Eggshells are tension-weak materials, but are strong
in compression. By completely surrounding the egg with your hand, the pressure you apply by
squeezing is distributed evenly all over the egg, so it does not crack. However, eggs do not stand
up well to uneven forces. This is why they crack easily on the side of a bowl. Similarly, in real
life structures, an arch is indeed very strong, but it only takes one minor flaw to weaken it
dramatically. A clear example of this is the Paris Airport Terminal collapse (shown in figure 12

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts


Nature made egg shells both weak and strong. This is because egg shells need to be strong to
withstand the impact of falling to the ground when the egg is laid and also to withstand the
weight when the mother sits on it. However, egg shells also need to be weak so that the baby can
get out of the egg when it is ready to hatch by pecking at one single point of the shell.

Architects and engineers have used arches to support the weight of structures for centuries.
Theyre used in buildings and bridges all over the world. An arch directs pressure so that it
compresses (squeezes) the building material. By comparison, an egg really is an amazing piece
of natural engineering.


BBC news, 2005. Paris collapse due to structure [online] Available at:
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4266591.stm > [Accessed 20 October 2013]

Heifer International, 2013. An Eggs-periment to Test the Strength of a Shell [online] Available
at: <http://www.heifer.org/join-the-conversation/blog/2012/March/an-eggs-periment-to-test-the-
strength-of-a-shell.html > [Accessed 18 October 2013].

NCU Physics demonstrations lab, 2012. Egg-crusher [Online] Available at:

<http://en.demo.phy.tw/experiments/mechanics/egg-crusher/> [Accessed 20 october 2013]

Surfing scientist, Indistructible egg [online] Available at:

<http://www.abc.net.au/science/surfingscientist/indestructible_egg.htm> [Accessed 16 October

Wikihow, 2013. How to squeeze an egg without breaking it. [online] Available at:
<http://www.wikihow.com/Squeeze-an-Egg-Without-Breaking-It> [Accessed 18 October 2013]

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.17 Concept of Reinforced Concrete

Mbaziira Joseph
Plain concrete is very good in bearing compressive stresses (squeezing forces) but very weak or
cracks considerably under tensile forces. While as Steel is good in withstanding tensile forces
(bending forces) but weak under compressive forces. As a way of coming up with a much
stronger composite material with these two qualities (strong both in tension and compression), a
combination of concrete and steel or sometimes glass fibre or polymers is used so that the
resulting material is stronger than any of the individual material.

The following model shall be used to demonstrate the concept behind reinforced concrete.

Books, Steel Ruler

i. Books are arranged and spaced about 30mm from each other. These act as supports.
ii. Another book is placed on top of the supporting books.
iii. A load is applied on top of the book.
iv. The book is removed and a steel ruler if then placed between the book, and placed back
on top of the supporting books. It is first loaded with the same amount of load and then
bigger load.

Fig a: book placed on top of two supports Fig b: book deflects on application of load

Fig c: Steel ruler

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Fig d: steel ruler placed in middle of book Fig e: More load on to the composite. No noticeable

a. It could be well observed that the book was actually stable before application of the
tensile force.
b. When a force was applied, considerable amounts of deflections were observed.
c. When a steel ruler was placed in the middle of the book and composite loaded, no
noticeable deflections were noted. It could even handle more and bigger loads.

Analysis of results
The book placed on top represents a Plain concrete element (slab or beam), weak in bearing
tensile stresses as it deflected considerably under tensile loading, however when steel was
introduced it did not deflect much. Introduction of steel rods ensures that reinforced concrete
can withstand tensile forces. This makes reinforced concrete a versatile, composite material,
which can be classified as cast in place concrete or Precast concrete.
Among its advantages over plain concrete include;
It has relatively high compressive strength than plain concrete.
It has the ability to take any form of the required shape hence widely used in precast
By introduction of steel in concrete, the crossectional dimensions of the structural
members can be reduced.
Reinforced concrete has higher service life and lower maintenance costs.

In conclusion;
This model clearly explains the concept of reinforced concrete, a structural material which has
become widely used and competitive with steel if economically designed and executed.
Very many structures or components are now built with reinforced concrete, among which
include slabs, walls, beams, columns, foundations, frames. Reinforced concrete may also be
permanently stressed (in compression), so as to improve the behaviour of the final structure
under working loads. This is called pre-tensioning or post-tensioning.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Tianjian, L. (2013) Seeing and Touching Structural Concepts. available on
http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/project/teaching/civil/structuralconcepts/ [accessed on

Ryan, V. (2010) Composite Materials: Reinforced Concrete [online] available on

http://www.technologystudent.com/joints/reinforc1.html [accessed on 17/10/2013]

Haseeb J. Reinforced Concrete Design[online] available on http://aboutcivil.org/reinforced-

cement-concrete-design.html [accessed on 17/10/2013]

Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinforced_concrete#Key_characteristics
[accessed 17th Oct., 2013].

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.18 Stiffening Cantilever Structures

Ashik R Parambil

Cantilever Structures are those structures which span from a single fixed support. The single
support system is always less stiff at the non-supporting end and hence, it becomes important for
the engineer to decide upon ways to stiffen the structure for its overall efficiency. Here, I will
look upon a way of stiffening the cantilever structures that was employed on one such structure
in the Wilmslow Park student accommodation, Manchester.


Fig 2.1 clearly demonstrates the structure with the cantilever extending from the building.

Tension Cables
Cables Cantilever
Cantilever Beam

(a) (b)


Fig 2.1: Snapshots of the overhanging structure

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Fig 2.1 (c) shows the beam arrangement and it explains the load pattern. Fig 2.1 (a) and Fig 2.1
(b) illustrate that load from glass slab is finally transferred to the cantilever beam (at its non-
supporting end) and also these beams are stiffened at the load points using tension cables. In
other words, the load on the cantilever beam is directly transferred from the beam to the ground
through the tension cables ensuring that the beam does not deflect resulting in maximum
stiffness. Obviously, the concept of smaller internal force is clearly maintained in the design.


The concept can be illustrated with a model demonstration to gain a better understanding. This
demonstration shows the effect of loading on a cantilever beam for the two cases: without
tension cable and with tension cable.

3.1 Without tension cable


Fig 3.1: Ruler loaded at the end with no string provided

A 30 cm long ruler is used and loaded at its one end on the flat surface of the ruler. Other end is
fixed to ensure a cantilever structure is formed. At the loaded end, if we carefully observe,
maximum deflection could be observed which is the case if the tension cables are not provided.

3.2 With tension cable

String in

Stiff ruler
Fig 3.2: With Strings provided
Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

The same setup is tied with a string at the point of loading to ensure a modelled tension cable.
With the same load applied at the same point the deflection is almost negligible making the
system highly stiff and hence more efficient.


It is inevitable to understand the theory that is behind this whole concept. In the above problem
the reduction of internal force had to be done to increase the stiffness because the load travels
long path to reach at the cantilever beam. So what is the underlying theory of the whole setup?
Fig 4.1 is a clear demonstration of the behaviour of cantilever under concentrated load.

Fig 4.1: Cantilever under concentrated load

Adding a support reduce the internal forced by transferring loads into the second support. The
whole setup can be modelled in the following way.

Fig 4.2: Model of the system

Hence we can clearly understand that total load is transferred to support B which in our case is
the tension cable which eventually reduces the internal forces considerably and hence the
deflection. The result is a stiffer model.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts


This concept of providing tension cable to reduce internal forces is widely employed in huge
construction at higher scale. Examples can be

(a) (b)

Fig 5.1: (a) Antenna Tower Mast, and (b) Ship Mast

Both the examples are cantilever structures which are tied with guy wires to ensure lateral
stability from lateral loads especially wind load.


1) www.structuralconcepts.org

2) www.expandingknowledge.com

3) en.wikipedia.org

5) www.dreamstime.com

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.19 The Ruck-a-Chucky Bridge The Hanging Arc

Qiaoyuan Wei
In this structural concept coursework, I will explain how the hanging arc structure is achieved
in the famous Ruck-A-Chucky Bridge with presenting a similar model. I try my best to
demonstrate this concept in a simple way and make this process interesting.

Background of the Ruck-A-Chucky Bridge

The Ruck-A-Chucky Bridge is the most well-
known un-built bridge in the world which
design by famous engineer T.Y.Lin and
D.Allan Firmage. It is designed to stretch across
the middle fork of the American River in
California at a point which the air distance is 10
miles above the Auburn Dam. The bridge
famous for its special structure and aesthetic
design. With the rugged terrain, the hanging
arc plan finally evolved. (Ruck-A-Chucky

Figure 1 Ruck-A-Chucky Bridge (from Google Image)

What is the hanging arc structure?

A hanging arc structure is the arc-
shape bridge suspended by cables.
This means that the structure is
made up of two parts: the cable and
the curved gird. The cables carry
the whole hanging arc, acting in
tension, while the curved girders
resist the traffic load and assimilate
the axial pressure generated by the
cables. It is easy for cables to
dominate the compression in the
girder by anchoring on the slope.
Thus these two portion balance and
enhance the bridge structure with
less bending and torsional
moments. (The Design of the Ruck-
A-Chucky Bridge.) Figure 2 Hanging arc Structure (from Google

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Modelling the Ruck-A-Chucky Bridge

1. Cutting the cardboard into two equal
semiarc shape. (Figure 3)

2. Preparing the handrail of the bridge, and

using a drawing pin to punch holes on the
handrail in a uniform interval. The cables
Figure 3
will be crossed through these holes later. ( Figure 4)

Figure 4

3. Sticking the bridge and the handrail together, and connecting two semiarc to forming a
complete bridge. ( Figure 5)

Figure 5

4. Cutting the same length of rope which act as the cables. Making the rope across all the holds
on the bridge. ( Figure 6)

Figure 6
Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

5. Hanging the bridge by fastening the cables on both sides of the river. The most difficulty
task is adjusting the angles of each rope. (Figure 7, 8, 9)

Figure 7

Figure 8

Figure 9

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Why choosing a hanging arc structure?

On one hand, as the surrounding of the bridge is incredible steep, the bridge must equip with at
least a length of 1,300 foot, with an angle of 40from the horizontal to provide enough vertical
clear height above the high water line of the Dam. In this condition, the ends of the bridge are
required to have large curvature so that it lessen the heavy excavation work which cuts down the
spending. Therefore, a curved bridge is a more favorable choice compared with a straight one.
On the other hand, adopting intermediate piers as supporters is unsatisfactory due to the costly
budget. Also, it would sharpen the seismic effect on the piers as a result of the extreme depth of
water. Finally, the hanging arc structure was proposed by designers. (The Design of the Ruck-
A-Chucky Bridge.)

[1]. The Design of the Ruck-A-Chucky Bridge. http://www.ketchum.org
Retrieved October 17, 2013, from
[2]. Ruck-A-Chucky Bridge. http://www.opacengineers.com
Retrieved October 17, 2013, from
[3]. Suspension Bridge. Wikipedia. 2013 ed.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.20 The Used of Bracing in Resisting Wind Load

Afaf Ismail
Structural Concept

The low pressure and high pressure areas are generated by the heating phenomenon of the sea
and land at different speeds which contribute to the presence of air around the globe. The
movement of the air in the atmosphere from high pressure to lower pressure causes wind.
Whenever the wind hits any structures even the earths surfaces it creates wind load [1][2].

The strength of wind pressure depends on the shape of the structure, velocity and density of the
air and the stiffness of the structures subjected to the wind [1]. In the old days, the actions of
lateral load (wind load) always been ignored, however, the situation has now changed. The
factor has been taken into major consideration especially in building up sky crappers after the
incident of structural collapse [3].

The strength of wind is proportional to the height of a building, the taller the building the greater
the wind pressure. As the wind speed moves at the surface, the frictional forces slows down the
speed of the wind and at certain time, the speed could reach as low as zero, and increase up at
greater height as the frictional forces decreases [4].

Figure 2 Wind Speed vs Height

Figure 3 The act of wind on structure

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Bracing consists of diagonal members or truss that is used to transfer the horizontal load acting on
structure to the adjacent column or beam. Without adequate bracing, a structure may not be able to
withstand lateral load acted on it, and probably will experience cracking of wall, performance
problems or even worse structural failure [5][6]. Below are the common types of bracing usually
being used:

Figure 4 Types of bracing

Model Demonstration

As to demonstrate this situation, a model was built up by using wooden sticks, rope, glue,
modelling clay and hair dryer. In this situation, the hair dryer acts as the wind source to push the
structure that is made up by the wooden stick while modelling clay is used as the foundation.

From Figure 4, the structure was built up without any bracings and the wind load from the hair
dryer was subjected to the structure and pushed the structure away and caused lateral deflections.
Due to lack of strength the structure was unable to sustain the wind load and deflected.

Figure 5 Deflected model of structure by the act of wind load

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

The structure was then modified by adding few bracings in between the two columns and it was
subjected to the same wind load as previous structure. The result is shown in the Figure 5 below.

Figure 6 Structure with bracings

From Figure 5 and Figure 4, the outcome from the experiment could be compared. When the
bracings were added on the structure, the structure became stiffer and stronger than the one
without bracing. As the result, even the structure was subjected to the same wind load as the
previous structure, with the presence of the bracings, it helped to resist the wind load and the
structure standing strong without experiencing any deflections.


Figure 7 Hancock Centre, Chicago

One of the clear examples of the used of bracing in tall building

is the one in Chicago, Hancock Centre. The used of the bracing
was obvious when they decided not to hide the trusses beneath
the concrete and put it out as the exterior of the building [7].

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Figure 8 Tacoma Narrows Bridge

This picture is one of structural failure that took place on 1940 on Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The
structure failed to resist the wind load at speed as low as 19m/s. In this era where the lateral load
were not yet being considered and the bracing is not commonly used [3].


Bracing plays a very important role in resisting lateral load especially in tall buildings. Without
a proper bracing in constructing tall building or even single story house, under strong wind load,
the structure may not be able to withstand the load and undergo major deflections and crack and
finally leads to structural failure. Thus, bracing should be considered as early as possible in
construction planning in order to avoid any unwanted events in the future.

1. Yang, T. (2006, August 9). Behavior of plastic design: Wind Loads. Retrieved October 18, 2013, from
University of California, Berkeley:

2. Patre, V. (2013, April 28). Effect of wind Load On High Rise Building. Retrieved October 2013, 18, from
Slide Share Website: http://www.slideshare.net/ssuser5172c0/vikas-patre

3. Mendis, P., Ngo, T., Haritos, N., Hira, A., Samali, B., & Cheung, J. (2007). Wind Loading on Tall
Buildings. EJSE International (Special Issue) , 41-54.

4. ApaWood. (2009, December). Document Review: Introduction to Wall Bracing. Retrieved October 18,
2013, from Apa Wood Web Site: http://www.cityofwaupaca.org/docview.aspx?docid=2739

5. Delhi Faculty. (2005, July 13). Lecture: Lateral Force Resisting Systems Braced Frames. Retrieved
October 18, 2013, from Delhi State University of New York: http://faculty.delhi.edu/hultendc/AECT210-

6. Oakley, D. (2005, November 13). Lectures: Wind Loads and Resisting Structures. Retrieved October 19,
2013, from Architecture Planning and Preservation Website:

Graeme. (2008, August 14). A Place of Sense: Bracing is Beautiful. Retrieved October 19, 2013, from A
Place of Sense: http://www.aplaceofsense.com/2008_08_01_archive.html

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.21 Using a Lateral Support to Prevent Buckling

Xuliang Zhang
Concept: buckling
Structure: four legs chair with a circle bar as a lateral support

The definition of buckling

When a slender structural member is loaded with an increasing axial compression force, the
member deflects laterally and fails by combined bending and compression rather than by direct
compression alone. This phenomenon is called buckling. (Ji and Bell, 2008) From the definition,
we can know that if the buckling want to occur, the structural member should be slender first and
then give it heavy axial compression force.

Now let us see four figures below which show us how the buckling occurred intuitively.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4

Buckling Collapse

From the figures we can see that one of the paper columns began to bend with the increasing load.
When the load reached the critical value, adding the load continually, a collapse happened.

A good example in practice

Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7 Figure 8

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Figure 9
From the figures above we can know that the circle bar is used as the lateral support that can
prevent the chair legs occurring buckling.

The reasons
As we know the buckling formula is:

: The critical load which would cause buckling

Le: Effective length
E: Youngs Modulus
I: The second moment of area

The effective length is useful in determining the critical load for different boundary conditions. The
effective length can be expressed as a factor of the length of the column: Le = kL

Effective Lengths for Columns with Various End Conditions

End Condition Fixed-Free Fixed-Fixed Fixed-Pinned
The effective length is
equal to the distance
between points in the
column where moment = 0
(between "pins"). This
occurs when the curvature
of the column changes.

The Fixed-Free column is

"mirrored" through the fixed
end to visualize Le=2L.
Effective Length, Le L 2L 0.5L 0.7L
Relative Buckling Strength
1 0.25 4 2
(~ 1/ Le2) for same L
Source: http://www.ah-engr.com/som/10_buckling/text_10-1.htm

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

We can know that critical load is inversely proportional to the square of the effective length.
Therefore as the effective length decreases, the critical load increases. For short members the
crushing load is reached before the buckling load, while for slender members the buckling load is
reached first. From the figure 9, we can know that the circle bar as a lateral support reduces the
effective length, which therefore increases the critical load of the chair.

Ji,T. and Bell, A. (2008) Seeing and Touching Structural Concepts, New York, Taylor and Francis.


Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.22 Stress Distribution for Different Combinations of

Loadings on Strings
Theodoros Tsiftis
In this project the structural concept of stress distribution was investigated by the use of
strings bounded on a dryer loft. They were taken 3 different types of strings combination in
order to carry a load of a specific book. The book was placed in two different ways:
vertically and horizontally, in order to demonstrate the differences in stress distribution. As
a result, 3*2 = 6 different combinations in total took place.

The types of strings that were taken were:

a) 2 strings
b) 6 strings
c) 2 strings, each of them was consisted of 3 strings bounded together as one
The 3 different types of strings can be seen in figures 1,2 and 3, respectively for cases a),
b) and c).

Figure 1. Two strings Figure 2. Six strings

Figure 3. Two strings, each of them consisted of 3 strings bounded together as one.

The two different load combinations are depicted in figures 4,5 and 6 for the case of
vertical loading, and figures 7,8 and 9 for the case of horizontal loading as well as with
their deflections.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Figure 4. Vertical loading and Figure 5. Vertical loading and deflection

deflection for the case of two for the case of six strings.

Figure 6. Vertical loading and Figure 7. Horizontal loading and

deflection for the case of two strings, deflection for the case of two strings.
each of them was consisted of 3
strings bounded together as one.

Figure 8. Horizontal loading and Figure 9. Horizontal loading and

deflection for the case of six strings. deflection for the case of two strings,
each of them was consisted of 3
strings bounded together as one.
Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

The stress over a specific area is calculated from the formula: , where F is the
acting force and A is the area. Considering the only force acting on the cables is the
weight of the book, then the weight is expressed as W. The thickness of a single string
is expressed as Tsw.
The book dimensions were: 17 cm width and 3 cm depth, which are the two dimensions
the book was in contact with the strings. The stress distribution calculations for the
vertical loading are:

Vertical loading on two strings:

Vertical loading on 6 strings:
Vertical loading on two strings each of them was consisted of 3 strings bounded
together as one:
It is clearly seen that the highest stress distribution is for two strings and the stress
distribution with the use of six strings in a row is 3 times less than when the strings
are bounded together in 2 triplets.

The maximum deflections due to the action of loading that were measured were:
Vertical loading on two strings: 3.4 cm
Vertical loading on six strings: 2.5 cm
Vertical loading on two strings each of them was consisted of 3 strings bounded
together as one: 2.7 cm

It is obvious from the measured deflections that the difference in stress distribution
produced different deflections according to the differences in stress distribution. So, the
two strings deflected the most as the stress distribution was the highest of all (9.1875
and 3 times greater than the stress distribution of six strings and the two triple strings
respectively), and much more from the other two cases. The difference in deflection of
the two other cases was smaller, but the deflection was smaller for the case with the
smallest stress distribution.

The stress distribution calculations for the horizontal loading are:

Horizontal loading on two strings:

Horizontal loading on 6 strings:
Horizontal loading on two strings each of them consisted of 3 strings bounded
together as one:
It is observed that the highest stress distribution is for the case of the two strings
and the stress distribution with the use of six strings in a row, is 3 times less than
when the strings are bounded together in 2 triplets. In comparison to the stress
distribution of vertical loading the stress distribution for horizontal loading is 5.667
times higher, because of the ratio 17 cm/3 cm = 5.667 and because all the other
parameters remain the same.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

The maximum deflections due to the action of loading that were measured were:
Horizontal loading on two strings: 7.3 cm
Horizontal loading on six strings: 6.2 cm
Horizontal loading on two strings each of them consisted of 3 strings bounded
together as one: 5.7 cm

As it can be seen from above, the measured deflections that the difference in stress
distribution produced different deflections according to the differences in stress
distribution. So, the case of the two strings deflected the most as the stress distribution
was the highest of all (9.1875 and 3 times greater than the stress distribution of six
strings and the two triple strings), and much more from the other two cases. The
difference in deflection of the two other cases was smaller, but the deflection was
smaller for the case with the smallest stress distribution.
In addition to, the deflections for all cases due to horizontal loading was over 2 times
greater than the deflection due to vertical loading. That happens because of the
difference in stress distribution.

The difference in stress distribution as it was observed with the use of the physical
model plays a significant role to the deflection of structural members, in this case
strings acting as cables. The relationship between deflection and stress distribution is
not proportional but not linear.

Hulse, R. and Cain J. 2000. Structural Mechanics. Second Edition. New York:
Palgrave Macmillian.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.23 How Can a Karate-Chop Break a Board?

Maria Gkouma
Karate-chop is to strike sharply with the side of the hand.[1] It is a spectacular motion included to
the martial art of karate, with which karate practitioners can break boards, bricks or concrete slabs,
trying to apply their maximum force combined with the minimum pain of limb. The latter is
achieved with mental and physical practice. From engineers' perspective, karate-chop on a board
demonstrates a practical technique in which few structural concepts have been used creatively.

Analysis of the applied Structural Concepts into Karate-Chop

Striking with proper force, momentum and positioning the board can be broken.[2] Increasing the
velocity of hand and applying the force as a concentrated load on the board, the board reaches its
elastic limits so as it starts to yield and breaks.[2] Below, the structural concepts used for breaking
the board (Figure 1) are identified and analysed.

Figure 9: Karate practitioner makes the move of karate-chop.

1. Cross-section of the board

"Second moment of area is the geometrical property of a plane cross-section which is based on its
area and on the distribution of the area. The stiffness of a beam is proportional to the second
moment of area of the cross-section of the beam."[3] To reduce deflections, an increase in the
depth of a beam is more effective than an increase on its width (for a rectangular cross-section).[2]
The board sustains a large deflection under the applied load as the value of the second moment of
area is small because the material of the cross-section of the board is close to its neutral axis.
Second moment of area I is given by:

where b is the width of the board and h is its height.

It is also worth mentioning the spacers between the board plates and the material of which the
board is made.[4] The spacers between the boards have the result of separating the boards so as
practitioner break one board at a time and not the entire stack. The construction materials of the
board which are often pine (soft wood), clay bricks or concrete slabs, are brittle so the yield point
coincides with the failure point (breaking of board).

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

2. Span and deflection

To karate-chop this is demonstrated by the boundary conditions of the board, considered to be
simple supports, which do not have a stiff effect so as the applied load can produce large
displacement. Displacement to the centre of the board (where the force is applied) is maximum
and can be calculated by:

where F is the applied force, l is the length of the board and E is the modulus of elasticity and I is
the second moment of area of the board.

3. Stress distribution
"For a given external or internal force, the smaller the area of the member resisting the force, the
higher the stress is."[3] Karate practitioners strike with the karate chop point (Figure 2) of their
hand and not with all the side of hand. With this way, karate practitioners achieve greater stress for
their applied force, as the average normal stress is given by:

where F is the applied force to an area A.

Figure 10: Karate Chop Point is equivalent to a concentrated applied load.

4. Energy exchange
"For a conservative system, the total energy is constant and a body once moved will continue to
move or to vibrate. During motion there is a constant exchange between potential energy and
kinetic energy."[3] By striking dramatically the board with the limb a large amount of gravitational
potential energy is converted into translational kinetic energy according to the conservation of
energy. So if the hand of practitioner of a mass m elevated before the strike to point A with a height
h from the board then the velocity u of the hand at the time of the strike (point B) can be easily
calculated by:

where g is the gravitational acceleration.

"Conservation of momentum indicates that the momentum of a system is the same at two different
times when the resulting external force is zero between those two times."[3] According to the
Newton's 2nd law "the net force on an object is equal to the rate of change (that is, the derivative)
of its linear momentum P in an inertial reference frame"[5]:

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

where F is the applied force, m is the mass of the body and du, dt are the intervals of velocity and
time. Under this concept the practitioner tries to maximise his mass by turning and twisting his
entire body and not by hitting the board only with his hand. The velocity of his strike by bumping
dramatically his hand to the board is also maximised.

Modelisation of the Karate-Chop

The used equipment (Figure 3) includes: 2 piles of books (for representing the boundary
conditions) and 1 board (flexible in order not to avoid pain of the limb).

Figure 11: Used equipment for the model.

The hand is on the air with a stored energy (gravitational potential energy). Turning with speed
all the body for striking the board, this energy is converted to translational kinetic energy with
maximum the velocity of hand touching the board. This leads to maximising the applied force
which combined with a small area of appliance (karate-chop point) leads to maximisation of the
applied stress. Due to the form of the cross-section (having a small second moment of area) as
well as to the boundary conditions which are simply supports, the applied stress causes a large
displacement to the board which is dramatically broken. The stages of the model are depicted to
figure 4.

1 2 3

4 5
Figure 4: Stages of the model.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

A video made by me, with the modelisation of karate-chop is also available at:

After the analysis provided by the interpretation of the applied structural concepts the initial
question could be replied and the physical models behind the karate-chop can be revealed.
Summarising, the karate-chop can be easily executed to boards by achieving the proper conditions.
Having the boards small second moment of area I, so as the applied force to be vertical to their
width b and with the aim to have the smaller height h and applying the practitioners great force,
which can be achieved by increasing the mass or/and velocity and small area of applied load
(karate chop point), the maximum stress can be applied and the limb will break the board.
However, because the karate-chop is accompanied with pain; mental concentration and physical
practice are needed for having more impressive results. This was the reason for which to the
modelisation of the karate-chop the used board was made of a very flexible material.

[1] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/karate--chop
[2] http://discovermagazine.com/2000/may/featphysics#.UmQCXvn3HK9
[3] http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/project/teaching/civil/structuralconcepts/
[4] http://skepticalteacher.wordpress.com/2009/11/14/physics-of-karate-no-woo-required/
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_laws_of_motion#Newton.27s_second_law

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.24 Advantage of Using Pendulum Dampers in Tall

Karthik Ravikumar
In major cities due to high population density the availability of land for construction has
become a major problem. Therefore sustainable options such as tall buildings which reduce the
consumption of land, also it gives ease of access to various sources in one place. The design and
construction of tall buildings is a tedious process and should be designed with various

Usually tall buildings sway to a higher range than other short buildings during the
occurrence of supernatural forces like earthquake and wind. In most of the tall buildings
constructed, damping devices are installed to reduce the vibration during earthquake and heavy
typhoon winds.

Energy exchange during oscillation of pendulum:

When pendulum oscillates about its axis, the energy stored initially is the potential
energy due to its elevated position. Once it starts oscillating, the potential energy (at 1) is converted
in to kinetic energy (at 2) and then again to potential energy due to elevated position (at 3).

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Why pendulum dampers in high-rise building?

During uncertain environmental conditions like earthquake, typhoon winds or some
other less harmful vibration source affects the structural stability of the tall building. Pendulum
type of damper is used in high rise building to damp the vibrations at resonance. They are usually
installed at the top portion of the building as the top part sways more than the bottom part.

A simple model was prepared to demonstrate the action of pendulum damper during
severe earthquake and super typhoon loadings.

1. Clothes drying rack.
2. Jerkin lace (thick) 1 no.
3. Shoe laces 2 nos
4. Paper ball.

Considering the paper ball to act as the pendulum damper and assumed that its
excited to the building own natural frequency, during severe loadings the tall buildings will sway
more at the top part. When the building frame is subjected to excitation frequency (point of
resonance) it starts swaying.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Also the pendulum attached to the building oscillates in direction opposite to swaying direction of
building to counteract the forces of sway. Because of the force applied by pendulum, the
magnitude of sway is reduced to varying degree depending upon the height of building and weight
of the pendulum damper.

Severe loading condition was simulated in the model by shaking it and action of pendulum was
observed. As it can be seen in the above picture when the building frame is vibrated, the pendulum
oscillates in the opposite direction indicated by the arrow marks.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

The movement of the pendulum damper along with the building frame was recorded.
Link for the model video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUUk2E7q59Q
(Note: The white lace tied below the paper ball doesnt affect the oscillation of pendulum and only
to denote the presence of hydraulic pistons).
The simulation model of oscillation of pendulum during swaying of building can be viewed
through this link: file:///C:/Users/Karthik%20Ravikumar/Desktop/Tuned_mass_damper.gif
(source: Wikipedia).

Tall buildings with damping system:

Taipei 101 which stands 1667 ft located in Taipei, Taiwan. This is the first
skyscraper which installed pendulum damping system to damp earthquake and super typhoon
winds. The pendulum weighs about 730 tons with eight primary pistons to reduce the swaying. It
was studied that it reduces the sway upto 30-50%.

With the real example and observation using a model, the concept and necessity of
damping systems in tall buildings is understood clearly. After huge investment of money and time
its compulsory to use such damping system in tall buildings as nature forces are unpredictable
irrespective of the location history and geologic conditions.
Ji Tianjian and Bell A.J.(2006). Seeing and touching Structural concepts.
Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taipei_101


Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.25 Spaghetti Skyscraper with an Oreo Pendulum

Konstantinos Petropoulos

Skyscrapers must be rigid enough to prevent large sideways movement (lateral drift), but also must be
flexible in strong winds. While resistance ensures comfort for the occupants, flexibility prevents structural
damage. By enlarging critical structural elements, such as columns and bracing, the majority of
designers achieve the necessary strength for their structures. However, there are other tall buildings
around the world which need additional structural analysis and in most cases pioneer solutions. In the
present coursework Taipei 101 was studied and used as guidance in order to analyse a structural
Structural design
In the area of the Asia-Pacific, earthquake tremors and typhoon
winds are common and buildings are designed to withstand them.
The engineers of Taipei 101 designed a building (Figure 1) to
withstand the strongest earthquakes likely to occur in a 2,500 year
cycle and gale winds of 60 m/s (Taipei-101, 2013).

The demands of its environment and the extraordinary height of

Taipei 101 called for additional innovations. Through the use of high-
performance steel construction the design achieves both flexibility
and strength. Taipei 101 is supported by 36 columns and 8 of them
are megacolumns with compressive strength of 69 Mpa (Taipei-
101, 2013). The exterior columns of the building are connected to the
columns of the buildings core with outrigger trusses, every 8 floors.

Moreover, engineers designed a 728 tonne steel pendulum which

acts as a tuned mass damper. At a cost of US $4 million, this
pendulum in suspended and sways to offset movements in the
Figure 1: Taipei 101 (Jmhdezhdez, 2013)structure caused by strong gusts (Taipei-101, 2013).

In most cases, dampers are steel bodies or huge concrete blocks mounted in skyscrapers and moved in
opposition to the resonance frequencies oscillations of the structure by means of springs, pendulums or
even fluids.

Figure 2: TMD of Taipei 101 (Wikipedia, 2013) Figure 3: Sketch of Taipeis 101 TMD (Jmhdezhdez, 2013)91
Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

However, in Taipei 101 engineers design the largest damper sphere (Figure 2) in the world. It is
consisted by 41 circular steel plates (1.25 m each) and they are welded together to form a 5.5 m
diameter sphere. There are also 2 (7 tonnes) additional TMD which prevent damage to the building
during strong wind loads and they are installed at the tip of the spire.

All these above mentioned features, combined with the solidity of its foundation make Taipei 101 one of
the most stable buildings ever constructed.

Harmonic absorbers also known as tuned mass dampers, stabilize against violent motion caused
by harmonic vibration. A tuned damper reduces the vibration of a structure with a lightweight component
so that the worst-case vibrations are less intense.
A TMD is consisted by a mass mounted on a structure via a spring system and a viscous damper. They
are placed where the structures deflections are greatest. 3 variables determine the effectiveness of a
TMD: the mass ratio, the frequency or tuning ratio and the damping ratio of the TMD itself. The mass and
the spring are tuned so as to have a natural frequency close to that of the primary structure. When
properly tuned, the TMD mass oscillates in the opposite direction from the primary structure (Figure 3).
The motion of the mass relative to the main structure can be very large when the system is properly
tuned and this provides an opportunity to dissipate a substantial amount of energy in the damper linking
the mass to the main structure (RWDI, 2013).
Sources of vibration and resonance
Unwanted vibration may be caused by environmental forces acting on structures, such as wind or
earthquake, or by a seemingly innocuous vibration source causing resonance that may be destructive,
inconvenient or simply unpleasant.

Model Experiment
The purpose of this experiment is to present the effectiveness of a TMD in a tall structure during an
earthquake. Therefore, the experiment was split in two parts. In the first part, the model was without a
TMD (Figure 4) but in the second part a TMD was added to the model (Figure 5).

Figure 4: Model without TMD Figure 5: Model with TMD Figure 6: Graph paper with Models spots
Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

The materials that were used for this experiment were spaghetti acting as columns and bracings,
marshmallows acting as joints, a rope, a net and 3 Oreo biscuits in order to create the pendulum, a tape
and finally a graph paper. The dimensions of the model are 800 mm height, 120mm x 120mm for the
base and the weight of the TMD was 45gr.

In both cases the model was fixed on the table, in order to videotape how it swings during a 15 seconds
earthquake. However, after a few seconds the model was detached from the table and by the end of the
15 seconds the final place of the model was marked.

Figure 6 shows with a black marker the initial place of the model, with a green marker the final place of
the model without the TMD and with a pink marker the final place of the model without a TMD. It is
obvious that the model without the TMD was not that stable and also stiff as the one with the TMD. When
the model began to oscillate or sway, the TMD was set into motion by means of the spring and, when the
model was forced right, the TMD simultaneously was forced it to the left.

Video Presentation

TAIPEI-101. (2013). Retrieved October 7, 2013, from the official Taipei-101 website:
RWDI. (2013). Retrieved October 9, 2013, from the RWDI website:
Jmhdezhdez. (2013). Retrieved October 10, 2013, from the Jmhdezhdez website:

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

1.26 Form finding Make an Effective Use of Materials

Valerio Stuart
i. An efficient structure should make materials work under the type of stress that suits best
their mechanical properties
ii. Concrete works well under compression

A shell is a curved two-dimensional structure. As a straight line defines a beam, a curved line
defines an arch and a plane defines a plate, therefore a shell is defined by a curved surface.
Shell structures include concrete shells, ships hulls, balloons, masonry vaults and long span
domes. Before the use of reinforced concrete, when masonry constructions made by brick, stone
or granite were commonly used, it was important to design the structure to work under
compression only. That was usually achieved giving the structure a high self-weight load to
make it work under a funicular load, with the line of thrust along the axis of the structure. This
would prevent the presence of bending moment in the structure.
Nowadays reinforced concrete is commonly used to build almost every type of structure and
thanks to the presence of the reinforcement, it has bending and shear strength. However,
especially in long span structures, it is still important to optimise the structure both from an
efficiency and sustainability point of view. When dealing with a reinforced concrete shell, the
best way to achieve that optimization is to design a structure under a pure membrane stress state
in compression for all loading conditions.

Heinz Isler and the hanging model

Heinz Isler was a Swiss structural engineer, famous for his thin concrete
shells. He studied thin concrete shells at the Federal Institute of
Technology (ETH) in Zurich [1].
An experimental principle long used to find the optimal shape of
structures in compression is the hanging model and its inverse. When a
flexible chain, a rope or a cable under its own weight is suspended
between two supports then is subject only to tensile forces and forms a
curve known as catenary. Inverting the catenary, maintaining the same
type of load, is possible to obtain a body subject only to compression
Figure 2 - Isler portrait
forces.[2] The inverted catenary was used, for example, in 1748 by
Giovanni Poleni to compare the shape with Michelangelos design of St.
Peter's in Rome, and extensively by Gaudi at the beginning of this century for many structures
around Barcelona (chapel in Colonia Guell, Sagrada Familia, etc.). Extended to two dimensions,
the hanging fabric can be
used to find shapes of
shells over almost
arbitrary plans. This
principle was used very
successfully in many
practical applications by
H. Isler [3].

Figure 1 - H. Islers hanging fabric models

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

This method consists in putting an

elastic surface, lacking of bending
stiffness, in a pure tension state.
Once the surface is in the funicular
form, it is sufficient to reverse it to
find a surface under compression
only. The small-scale model, made
from draped fabric, defines the
most effective structural curvatures
but as stated before, the material in
this model is in tension. In order to
apply this same curvature to
concrete, Isler frozed his models
with epoxy resins and then flipped
them by 180 degrees, thereby Figure 3 Highway service area in Deitingen, Switzerland
putting the material into
compression. The geometry can be 9cm thickness reinforced concrete structure
scaled up to whatever size is
necessary [4].
At that time, this was the only way to design such structures since computers werent used to
solve this type of structural problems. Furthermore, Isler found that even when using the same
amount of material, his doubly curved shells could support up to three times the load as does a
flat structure before failure [5].

To build the following models I used three cellulose sponge cloths, because of their small
dimension and the faculty of easily absorb water, I was able to replicate the Islers experiment
inside a freezer.

Figure 4 First step of the experiment, cellulose cloths inside the freezer

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

As we can see in Fig. 4, one cloth is hanged using shoe laces while the other is inside a bowl in
order to give it a spherical shape. Later on, another cloth has been added to replicate a flat slab
and compare the resistance of the several models.
The hanging cloth is free to take the form in which there are no compression forces. While the
cloth in the bowl is not as free and will be forced to take a spherical configuration or something
really close to that. Imperfections of the bowl and the dimensions of the cloth prevent it to adapt
itself to the bowl.
I am aware that the common load case for this type of structure is a distributed load on the
whole surface, unfortunately the load applied was condensed only in a small central portion of
the models.

1st model: flat slab

A cellulose sponge cloth, wet and then frozen, makes the first model. The ice is acting like the
concrete, providing resistance to compression. The sponge cloth provides bending and shear
stiffness. The model is curved at the four corners to provide a little distance from the plane
where the model is placed.
The slab is expected to fail sooner than the other two curved models.

Load history:
400gr (1x tomato can)
800gr (2x tomato can)
Failure at 1200gr (3x tomato can)

Figure 5 - the flat cloth Figure 6 first loading step

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Figure 7 second step of the loading path Figure 8 failure of the cloth, visible cracks at the center

2nd model: reverse bowl-shaped sponge cloth

Another cellulose sponge cloth, wet and then frozen, makes the second model. Once again the
ice is used as the concrete providing resistance to compression. The sponge cloth provides
bending and shear stiffness. Due to the presence of the bowl, the cloth was not able to shape
itself freely like the hanging model did (see Fig. 9 & 10).
The model is expected to fail later than the first model, the flat slab.

Figure 9- 2 model Figure 10 first step of the load pattern

Load history:
400gr (1x tomato can)
800gr (2x tomato can)
1600gr (4x tomato can)
2400gr (6x tomato can)
Failure at 3400gr (6x tomato can, 2x pasta bags 500gr each)

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Figure 11 second step of the load pattern Figure 12 third step of the load pattern

Figure 13 L.P. fourth step Figure 14 failure of the model

3rd model: reverse hanging sponge cloth

The last model (see Fig. 15 & 16), made by hanging a wet cellulose sponge cloth inside a
freezer, is expected to perform better than the previous two models. As in the previous cases, the
ice is taking the place of the concrete, providing resistance to compression. The sponge cloth
provides bending and shear stiffness.
Between the three models this is the closest to the ones realized by Heinz Isler.

rd rd
Figure 15 3 model Figure 16 3 model

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Load history:
400gr (1x tomato can)
800gr (2x tomato can)
1200gr (4x tomato can)
1600gr (4x tomato can)
3400gr (6x tomato can, 2x pasta bags 500gr each)
Failure at 4400gr (6x tomato can, 4x pasta bags 500gr each)

Figure 17 Figure 18 Figure 19 Figure 20

Figure 21 second to last step in the load history Figure 22 the model before the failure

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts


Figure 23 failure sequence


The tests have been successful in showing how different forms can significantly affect the
resistance of a structure. This is strictly related to the material the structure is made of, being the
concrete (or the ice, in this case) a material weak in compression, is it wise to design a structure
fitting that characteristic.
From the results shown, it is also possible to confirm the Isler statement that a doubly curved
shell could support up to three times the load as a flat structure before failure.
Another important and significant result is the capacity of the 2nd and 3rd models to withstand a
load much greater than their own self-weight.
In the first model, the failure occurs sooner than in the others since the flat slab is not under a
membrane stress state in compression, which is the type of stress that suits best a material like
ice (or concrete). Therefore, even if the sponge cloth is behaving as reinforcement to provide
tensional resistance, the model fails with a load close to 1/3 of the ultimate load for the 2 nd
model and equal to 1/4 for the 3rd model.
Regarding the 2nd model, it is important to notice that before the collapse, the first part of the
structure subject to cracks is the one around the supports. Thats where compression is no more
the only and dominant stress but there is also a considerable bending moment.
[1] H. Isler Biography Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinz_Isler last accessed
21st Oct 2013)
[2] Heinz Islers Infinite Spectrum Form-Finding Design John Chilton, IASS Journal 2010
[3] Form Finding of Shells by Structural Optimization - K.-U. Bletzinger & E. Ramm, 1993
[4] Build Bios Significant work by significant people
(http://blog.buildllc.com/2009/04/heinz-isler-a-few-important-things/ last accessed 21st
Oct 2013)
[5] Linkwitz, 1999
Fig. 1 H. Isler portrait (http://mcis2.princeton.edu/swisslegacy/engineers_6.html last
accessed 21st Oct 2013)
Fig. 2 H.Islers hanging fabric models (http://blog.buildllc.com/2009/04/heinz-isler-a-few-
important-things/ last accessed 21st Oct 2013)
Fig. 3 Highway service area Deitingen south, triangle concrete cupola roofs, (1968)
Understanding and Using Structural Concepts


Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

2.1 Truss Bracing

Khin Swe Myat

1. Introduction
Nowadays, high-rise buildings have become taller; floors are wider and wider as well as
bridges especially in spans will be longer. According to the background knowledge of structural
concepts, increasing the height of the buildings and larger span of bridges result in greater
deflection, which significantly reduces the stiffness of the structures. The fact that civil
engineers especially structural engineers need to consider the sufficient stiffness of the design
structures in order to cope with the ever-increasing trend of heights and spans.

2. Concept
Stiffness (Ks) is defined as the ratio of a force (P) acting on a deformable elastic medium
to the resulting displacement ().
Ks =

Stiffness of Pin-joint structures
A pin-joint structure, such as a truss, contains s bar members and n pinned joints with
a unit load applied at the critical point of the structure. The displacement at the critical point is
directly proportional to the square of internal forces in the members, which is expressed in the
N i2 Li
i=1 Ei Ai

1 1
In relation to the stiffness equation, K s = s 2 = s
Ei A i Ni2ei
i=1 i i i

Ni = the internal force of the ith member induced by a unit load at the critical load
ei = Li / Ei Ai=the flexibility of the i th member
With regard to the above equation, it is obvious that the smaller the internal forces, the stiffer
the structures.

3. Calculation Analysis
The pin-joint structures with and without bracing having the same length of 1 meter
between the vertical and horizontal members, on which a vertical load of 1N is applied at the
critical point of the structures. Figure (A) represents the truss without bracing, having the larger
internal forces between the members in comparison with Figure (B), which demonstrates the
truss with bracing at the end of the structure.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Figure(A) Figure(B)
Drawing system : Auto Cad 2013,
Units : Metre (length) , Newton (force)
Summary of the internal forces of the two figures
Figure (A)
Magnitudes 0 0.5 0.707 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5

No of elements 2 4 14 2 2 2 2 2 1

2 2
N L (N -m) 0 0.25 0.707 1 2.25 4 6.25 9 12.25

N 2
L (N2- 0 1 9.898 2 4.5 8 12.5 18 12.25

s N i2 Li 68.15

Figure (B)
Magnitudes (N) 0 0.5 0.707 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0

No of elements 4 2 12 2 2 2 2 1

2 2
N L (N -m) 0 0.25 0.707 1 2.25 4 6.25 9
N 2
L (N2-m)
0 0.5 8.484 2 4.5 8 12.5 9
s N 2L 44.984
i i


( figureA)
From the calculation analysis, = 1.51
( figureB)

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

It is clearly seen from the summary of internal force analysis that:

There are more zero force members in Figure (B) than in Figure (A), which means that
the load goes a shorter distance or follows a more direct force path to the supports.
The differences between the magnitudes of the internal forces in Figure (B) are smaller
than those in Figure (A).
The magnitudes of the internal forces in Figure (B) are smaller than those in Figure (A).
By analyzing the internal forces between pin-joint structures, the three inter-related concepts
could be detected.
The more direct the internal force paths, the stiffer the structure.
The more uniform the distribution of the internal forces, the stiffer the structure.
The smaller the internal forces, the stiffer the structure.
4. Examples in real life

Figures show the characteristics of

truss system along the metro-link
railway lines in Piccadilly Railway
Station, Manchester.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts


The structural concepts, calculation analysis as well as examples in real life above
clearly indicate that bracing helps to reduce the internal forces of a truss member and distributes
the forces more uniformly when a large-span truss is concerned. Thus, bracing is a type of
structural elegance in order to stabilize high-rise buildings and transmit loads to their
foundation, which leads to increasing the lateral structural stiffness. Consequently, the
proposing of such type of truss bracing is a great practical application for basic structural

6. References
1. Lecture note from Dr.Tianjian Ji: Concepts for designing stiffer structures.
2. https://online.manchester. ac.uk/bbcs webdav/pid-2441062-dt.
3. Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station: 12th March 2012- you tube.com

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

2.2 Using of Prestress of Rose Greenhouse of The

Chatsworth House
Hao Fang

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

2.3 Lateral Stability of Burj Al Arab: Exo-skeleton and Tuned

Mass Damper Study
George Saba
Nowadays, a great number of high-rise buildings
have been constructed all over the world. This relatively
modern type of construction is a result of the substantial
increase in the population density of metropolitan areas
and the rapid increase in prices of real estate. High-rise
construction itself has become a significant part of the
tourism and service industries where existing brand
names (nations and multinational corporations) are
enhanced and new brand names are established [1]. Figure 1 Blue Prints Showing The Burj Al Arab Exo-
However, such high structures involve great engineering Skeleton 4
challenges as they are subjected to high vibrations that could cause huge displacements to
certain structural elements on a daily basis. Although, in some cases low-amplitude vibrations
might not necessarily be a threat to the structural integrity of the structure, the resulting
movements could create serviceability problems that could cause discomfort to the occupants.
This paper will discuss a solution implemented by structural engineers to overcome the lateral
forces acting on Burj Al Arab, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Burj Al Arab, a 60-storey hotel standing at 321m, located on an artificial island 280m off the
coast of Dubai, is the tallest hotel in the world. Although ideal for tourism, winds at heights of
over 300m could shake the building apart. An analysis based on 18 years of data provided by a
local airport indicted that the building should be designed to withstand wind speeds of 45m/s [2].
However, high wind speeds were not the only issue. The sail-like architectural look of the
structure could cause very dangerous wind conditions known as vortex shedding. Wind
blowing against the sharp edges could simulate the effect of small-scale tornadoes that could
shake the structure to destruction [3]. In addition, studies indicated that winds were not the only
source of vibration. Although the Arabian Peninsula is not a seismic region, southern Iran,
located just over 150 kilometers across the gulf is well-known for its seismic activity. This
meant that tremors from an earthquake in Iran, provided one occurs, could reach this incredible
Structural Engineers had to ensure that this magnificent structure stood
against anything that the gulf could throw at it, without compromising the
aesthetics of the seven-star hotel. Burj Al Arabs design uses slender
concrete walls to separate sections of the building. Although, these allow
for the maximum amount of surface area, they are not capable of
withstanding high horizontal loads. The solution, as shown in Figure 1,
was to install six diagonal steel trusses, approximately 85 meters in
length, that connect the sail-like steel bows to the concrete core. This
structure is known as the exo-skeleton and it acts as a form of bracing that
transfers the lateral loads to the concrete core at the back of the building
and then to the foundations (Figure 2) . Not only does the exo-skeleton
fulfill its structural needs but it also plays a vital role in what makes Burj
Al Arab such a stunning and iconic structure.

Figure 2
Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

The innovation in its design and implementation meant that the building is structurally sound;
however, a solution was still needed to dissipate the energy imposed on the structure in order to
reduce the vibration.
Engineers decided to make use of Tuned Mass Damper(s). Tuned Mass Dampers are resonant
devices used to suppress or reduce the amplitude of vibrations induced by wind or earthquakes.
In general, as explained by P.Kundu of the National Institute of Technology (Rourkela) [1],
damping is only about 5% of the critical in modern buildings, which is the reason why artificial
damping systems are required to dissipate energy and consequently reduce vibration. These
devices usually consist of an inertia element (mass) and a suspension mechanism, however, the
products could significantly vary depending on their use and the manufacturer.
Based on Newtons second law of motion, we know that force is equal to the mass times the
acceleration (F=ma). When translated from theory into practice, it could be used to understand
the concept of Tuned Mass Dampers. When an external force (such as wind) is applied on the
building, acceleration will have to take place. This will cause the structure to sway in the same
direction as the wind, which will subsequently set the Tuned Mass Dampers into motion in the
opposite direction, provided the devices are perfectly installed as the frequencies and amplitudes
of the TMD(s) have to match those of the building. Otherwise, the TMDs would create out-of-
sync movements that could add to the problem [5]. As a result, if the frame or structure sways to
the left, the TMD device(s) will immediately come into action and make use of its huge weight
to pull back to the right. This occurrence will take place at a very high rate that the occupants
will not know it is taking place, which as a result allows the structure as a whole to fulfill its
requirements and meet its compulsory serviceability checks.

Figure 3- Location of all 11 TMDs [4] Figure 4- Closer look at a TMD within Figure 5- Sketch showing the freedom
the skeleton [6] of movement of the TMD device
As there are no standard rules on whether to use a single mass damper or multiple tuned mass
dampers or on where exactly to locate them, the options should be weighed based on a number
of factors. These include the required use of the building (compactness), budget (initial,
operating and maintenance) and most importantly safety. Since the exo-skeleton was believed
to be the most vulnerable section of the structure and as the interior design of the hotel involved
constructing the largest atrium in the world from the ground floor all the way to the top of the
building, the Tuned Mass Dampers could not be located inside, like the 728 tone sphere used in
Taipei 101 [1]. Instead, GERB USA [6] (also installed TMDs for Millennium Bridge in London)
was employed to install 11 horizontal TMDs with a mass of 5000kg each at different locations
within the exo-skeleton (Figures 3). Furthermore, in order to ensure that the devices were fully
Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

functional investigations were carried out in a wind tunnel. The results of the simulation
indicated that frequencies ranging between 0.75 and 2.0 Hz will be enough to dissipate energy
from daily gulf winds.
In conclusion, it is believed that the structural engineers in collaboration with the architects used
the structural concept of bracing in a creative way to ensure stability and at the same time gave
the building an iconic presence. The use of Multiple Tuned Mass Dampers made this design
possible by reducing the enormous amount of vibrations that would have been created.




[2] Case Study: Burj Al Arab Building Construction. Link:


[3] Matt Sims, The Burj Al-Arab: Re-inventing the City of Dubai. Introduction to Structural
Engineering. Link:

[4] National Geographic, Mega Structure- Burj al-Arab. Link:


[5] Turcnu Ana Maria, Advanced Building Technologies. Gheorghe Asachi Technical University
of Iasi.

[6] Projects undertaken by GERB USA. Link: www.gerbusa.com

[7] ANTHONY C. WEBSTER and RIMAS VAICAITIS, Application of Tuned Mass Dampers
To Control Vibrations of Composite Floor Systems.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

2.4 Pursuing Structural Concepts of an Axe

Yang Fan
An axe is a kind of tool used in our daily life. As defined in The Collins American English
Dictionary, It consists of a heavy metal blade which is sharp at one edge and attached by its
other edge to the end of a long handle.[1]

Mechanism of axes
The first structural concept applied in the design of axes is stress distribution. When an axe is
being waved by someone, there is an external force transmitted to the surface of the object, for
example, a tree, through the sharp blade of the axe. As the contact surface is very small for the
reason that the shape of the blades plane cross section from the toe to the heel seems like a
short line, as the position of the hatching line is shown in Figure 1, there will be a very high
stress to form by even a quite small force. It is a living example of the structural concept, stress
distribution: for a given internal or external force, the smaller the area of the member resisting
the force, the higher the stress will be.

=F/A (F: force; A: area; : stress)

Figure 1 [2]

The second structural concept reflected from axes is buckling. Let us consider another weapon,
sword at first. As everybody knows, a sword has obvious advantages like light weight and
sharpness. However the durability of a sword is not very strong especially when a sword is often
used to cut or chop some stiff and bulky stuff like wood. Because apart from the blade of a
sword is sharp, the other edge is also very sharp or thin, which means the cross section of it

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

seems like a line. When it is used to chop stiff and thick objects like trees, it acts like a
cantilever beam bearing vertical loads, which means the phenomenon of lateral torsional
bucking probably occurs. Under vertical loading, the blade could suddenly deflect and fail in the
lateral and rotational directions. Axes successfully avoid the problem of lateral torsional
buckling through increasing the horizontal second moment of area of the cross section,
compared with a sword, as it is shown in Figure 2. According to the structural concept of
different cross sections, the further the material of the section is away from the neutral axis of
the section, the larger the second moment of area of the section will be. Besides, the stiffness of
a beam is proportional to the second moment of area of the cross-section of the beam. As
mentioned above, the sword or the axe is just like a cantilever beam in this situation. Therefore
the shape of the cross section will significantly affect the ability of a sword or axe to resist

Figure 2
For the axe:
= (-D/2xD/2)
For the sword:
= (-d/2xd/2)

d0<< D, <<

So, axe is a kind of tool or weapon which can prove structural concepts and we should be aware
of its mechanism, so that we can use it more properly and efficiently. It is important to recognize
that there are different structural concepts being used in our daily life, everywhere, even on a
small gadget. What we ought to do is just thinking more and trying to associate the knowledge
learned from texts with our daily life. It is really meaningful and interesting!

[1] http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/american/ax
[2] http://soso.nipic.com/search.aspx?g=&x=&t=tk&q=%B8%AB%D7%D3&pn=0

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

2.5 The Applications of Centripetal Force in Sports

Hao Shen
1. Introduction

Why a motorcycle needs to be inclined when turning a corner? Why the court for track cycling
race is designed to be sloping? There is only one explanation: Centripetal force.

2. Concept

Centripetal force (from Latin centrum "center" and petere "to seek"[1]) is a force that makes a
body follow a curved path: its direction is always orthogonal to the velocity of the body, toward
the fixed point of the instantaneous center of curvature of the path. Centripetal force is
generally the cause of circular motion.

The magnitude of the centripetal force on an object of

mass m moving at tangential speed v along a path with
radius of curvature r is: [2]

where is the centripetal acceleration. The direction of

the force is toward the center of the circle in which the
object is moving, or the osculating circle, the circle that
best fits the local path of the object, if the path is not circular. [3]

3. Applications and Analysis

3.1 Motorcycle

As can be seen below, the bold line is a simplify body of a motorcycle which is trying to turn a
corner and point A is the centre of mass. The weight of mg of the motorcycle acts vertically

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

downwards and normal force N acts vertically upwards. The distance between point A and
point B is L. f is friction force. Also mention that the angle of inclination is a.



Considering the centripetal force is provided by friction force, thus

( r is the radius of the circular track and v is the velocity of the motorcycle);

Combining equations,
r*g= tan(a)

Assuming r is a constant, so an inverse correlation between v and angle a can be seen. Put
it another way, if a driver wants to increase the velocity of the motorcycle during a circular track
race, he or she needs to slope closer to the ground.

3.2 Speed Skating

The same theory also can be found in speed skating. However, since the centripetal force is
provided by friction force and the magnitude of friction force is related to the friction
coefficient.( f= *N where is the friction coefficient)
= 0.02(steel on ice); =0.71(rubber tire on road);
Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Hence, it is interesting to note that a speed skater has more chance to fall down than a
motorcycle driver theoretically.

3.3 Track Cycling



(f is too small compared to N*sinA, so f can be ignored in

this equation)

Thus, g*tanA= .
In this case, g*tanA is a constant. Which means that if an athlete
wants to exceed others, he or she needs to ride in a bigger circle.

1. Craig, John (1849). A new universal etymological, technological and
pronouncing dictionary of the English language: embracing all terms used in art,
science, and literature, Volume 1. Harvard University. p. 291., Extract of page 291
2. Chris Carter (2001). Facts and Practice for A-Level: Physics. S.l.: Oxford Univ
Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-19-914768-7.
3. Eugene Lommel and George William Myers (1900). Experimental physics. K.
Paul, Trench, Trbner & Co. p. 63.
4. http://image.baidu.com/
5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centripetal_force

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

2.6 Centre of Mass: Bascule Bridge

Nikolaos Zacharopoulos
During the early 1900s the construction of many bascule bridges took place all over the world and
mainly in the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and Canada. Bascule bridge is a new
concept for the time and the growing demand for cargo transfer along and across city rivers is what
made engineers construct these types of movable bridges.

The basic engineering concept behind bascule bridges is the centre of mass and it looks like a giant
seesaw. How does a seesaw work though and how is it related to a heavy movable structure?

A seesaw is more often a piece of wood fixed at its center

to form a pivot point. The pivot point is also the centre of
its mass and this is why it is sometimes easy to balance a
seesaw in the air. The force of gravity acts at the centre of
mass of a body and since the pivot point/centre of mass is
fixed, all the weight is transferred to the foundation.

However it is the movement of the seesaw that makes it

fun and interesting. The movement occurs from the
children on the seesaw. Their weight along with their
positioning produce a moment around the pivot point
which is equal to M = weight x distance. As every
child knows movement along the lever arm of the seesaw
can permanently lock the seesaw into position. This observation is verified by the equation above.
The bigger the distance the bigger the moment.

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

The same principle is what a bascule bridge uses. It creates a center of mass on a large object to
make pivoting easier and more energy efficient. Bascule bridges use huge counterweights located
close to the centre of mass to produce a moment equal to what the rest of the bridge produces
which has significantly less mass but longer lever arm.

MLeaf Side = Wd

MCounterweight Side = 4Wd/4 = Wd

MLeaf Side = MCounterweight Side

Bascule bridges are continually built around the world with Chicago being the city with the most
bascule bridges in the world (around 40). By using relatively small amounts of energy, a bascule
bridge can be lifted to allow vessel passage below the bridge, putting this structural concept in use.


Ti J. and Bell A. (2008), Seeing and Touching Structural Concepts,Taylor and Francis,London.

Giernacky R., Tosolt J. (2010), Movable Bridge Balance and Counterweight Design Considerations
for Designers and Constructors, Heavy Movable Structures Inc., Orlando


Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

2.7 Electrical Kettle

Luxiang Yan
Conservation of energy means that the total energy at two different positions or at two
different times is the same in a conservative system.
Energy can be transformed from one form to another and for a conservative system, the
total energy is constant.
In ancient Mesopotamia, the first kettles
were used in the kitchen. In China, the old-
style kettles were made of iron and placed
over an open flame to boil fresh water for
the purpose of drinking, which were always
used by family and travellers. With the
development of kettles, in 1922, Arthur
Leslie Large invented electrical kettles
which could be plugged in instead of
needing to be heated on a stove.

How does a kettle work?

I lift the lid you will see at the bottom of the

kettle, there is a heating element. When the
kettle is plugged into an electrical outfit, the
current will flow into the heating element to
heat the water inside.


Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

When the kettle is placed on the plate which is shown in the figure below, the current flows in
through hat device and is transformed from electric energy to heat energy to heat the water until
the water is boiled.


Now I add 1.2 litres of cold water into the

kettle at 15C and I want to raise the water
to its boiling point. The total amount energy
I need is 4.2 1200 grams 85 degrees =
428400 joules. The 4.2 in this equation is
called specific heat capacity of water.


Understanding and Using Structural Concepts

Fig.4 Fig.5

Because the electrical kettle is rated a 2400 watts, theoretically speaking, to boil 15C water to
its boiling point, that procedure just needs 428400/2400=178.5s. However, according to the
record in figure 5, it takes 203 seconds to finish this job. The reason is during the process of
heating water, some electric energy transforms to kinetic energy as we can see the water is
boiling violently when it gets 100C. That means the motion of molecules in the water is
accelerated due to the electric energy. In the meantime, some water turns to steam and released
to the air as shown in figure 4. That steam takes away some energy and delays the heating time.


The application of electrical kettles illustrates one of the fundamental laws of the universe: the
energy can be converted into another, but cannot be created or vanished into nothing. This idea
is called conservation of energy.

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2.8 Metronome and Pendulum

Jinhong Ying
Study the simple gravity pendulum system.
Mechanical metronome

Metronome is a device can make stable beats with different speed. Although normal people have
no often used metronome but it is popular in the musician. It is used by musician to help keep a
steady tempo as they play. The most commonly used is mechanical metronome. Mechanical
metronome is one type of the old machine. It was invented by Johan Maelzel in the 19th century.
(Fig.1 is showing the mechanical metronome look like.) The basic principle of the J M
metronome is a simple gravity pendulum. The internal system of metronome is shown in Fig.2.
It shows the simple gravity pendulum clearly. The blue part is the rod. The red part is the heavy
bob. The green part is the pivot of the system. The gravity pendulum has a steady period, the
period is given a steady beat.

Fig. 1 Fig.2
The simple gravity pendulum:
The simple gravity pendulum is an idealized mathematical model of a pendulum. This is a
heavy bob on the end of a massless cord suspended from a pivot, without friction. When given
an initial push, it will swing back and forth at a steady amplitude. In Real, pendulums are
subject to friction and air drag, so the amplitude of their swings declines.<2>

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Fig.3 simple gravity pendulum

The energy change in the simple gravity pendulum:
In the initial point A, the heavy bob is resting. In this position, it only has the potential energy
(Pe=m*g*h). When the bob is released, the potential energy will change to the Kinetic energy
(Ke=1/2*m*v^2). In the point D, the bob only has the kinetic energy. Then, after the point D the
kinetic energy will change back to the potential energy until the bob arrives to point G. After, the
bob goes back to point A and swing between point A and point G. The total energy isnt loss
without regard to friction and air drag. The fig.5 is show the energy at each point.



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2.9 Cement Clinker Warehouse

Yuejian Zhou
Concept:Prestressing force
Structure: Cement Clinker Warehouse(From a cement factory in China)

Background------Simple explanation of the processing and function of prestressing concrete

1:The concrete is so brittle that it originally cannot take so much tensile stress.
2:Put the steel strands into the concrete and pull them ,then steel strands are in tension.
3:According to the Newton third law, the concrete will be in compression ,which obviously
improving the concretes limited tensile stress a lot.

Example: Photos from construction location

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Simplified picture of the structural design :

Explanation of this design picture:

1:the annular area is made of concrete
2:the red lines means steel strands,which are pulled in procedure from the number 1 to 4 in

Why choose prestressed structure?

1:To meet the strength and stability of the structure much more easier than using steels.
2:The cost of prestressing structure is much lower than using substitutes like steels.

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2.10 Simply Supported Framework

Yuejian Zhou
Concept:Stiffness ,Supporting braces, Displacement
Model: Simply supported framework

Two typical models made by paper and gummed tape

(1) (2)

Assumption and calculation(Simplified Model ):

(1) (2)

The comparison of these two models:

1:The second structure is obviously stiffer than the first one with following analytic reasons:
A:the second structure has much more direct internal force paths than the first one.
B:the second structure has much smaller internal forces than the first one.

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2:The materials used for bracing are the same ,but the second structures bracing distribution is
better than the first one.Obviously, without bracings ,the structure could be much less stiff and
A:whether setting bracings or not affects the stiff ness, safety and stability of structures a lot.
B: the distribution of braces significantly affects the stiffness of the structure with the
functions like changing the uniform of the internal force distribution.
3:The displacement of the second structure is less than the first one.
According to the assumption and calculation of the internal forces ,we can calculate the
displacement of each of these two models via formula.
s 2
N L i i

i 1 Ei Ai
Some practical examples of bracing systems with high stiffness and safety:


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2.11 The General Concept of Funicular

Ihsan Keskin

A funicular, also known as an inclined

plane or cliff railway, is a cable railway
in which a cable attached to a pair of
tram-like vehicles on rails moves them
up and down a steep slope; the
ascending and descending vehicles
counterbalance each other. The basic
idea of funicular operation is that two
cars are attached to each other by a
cable, which runs through a pulley at
the top of the slope. Counterbalancing
of two cars, with one going up and one
going down, minimizes the energy
needed to lift the car going up.
Winching is normally done by an
electric derive that turns the pulley.
Sheave wheels guide the cable to and
from the drive mechanism and the
slope cars. [1]
Especially if there is height difference
between two points in the city centre,
funicular systems can be very useful.
The first funicular system was built at
Salzburg in Austria in 1515. In the
earlier stages, this system was
operated by people or animal force, Figure 1: Tunnel Line that is the first
steam power respectively. As for underground funicular system and the second-
nowadays, usually electricity is used. oldest underground railway in the world, designed
by the French engineer Eugne-Henri Gavand in
1867 (In Istanbul, Turkey).[3]

2)Structural Concepts
The funicular consists of minimum two vehicles that are connected and balanced each other by
using steel cable and pulley system. The weight of descending vehicle enables the other vehicle
to go up by using or needing minimum energy. In general, sub-station is built on the place which
has less sloping than the other parts of line or the slope can be zero in here. Thus the both
vehicles launch to slow down for stopping automatically thanks to increasing friction force.
As the descending vehicle is completely empty and the ascending vehicle is fully loaded is the
most adverse condition at funiculars. Plus if the friction force is taken into account, this system
was going to fail. But, this problem was overcome easily using pulleys which have different
diameter. In addition to them, it is clearly seen that the vehicles can easily act in unison to move
by connecting steel cable which has sufficient tensile strength. As well as, when the vehicle at the
top-station start to move, the potential energy will launch to convert the kinetic energy, but this
energy will balance with the movement of ascending vehicle and friction force. (Figure 2 and
Figure 3)

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Figure 2: The basic concepts of funicular

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Figure 3: Plan of funicular line and the movement of funicular

If the most adverse condition is simply taken into considerations, in other words the descending
vehicle is empty and the ascending vehicle is fully loaded, according to these theories :

Figure 4: Free Body Diagram of Funicular


Funicular is very useful transportation type in the short distance and sloping area. The system of
funicular consists in basic physic rules as the above mentioned. In order to consume minimum
energy, it is also considerably eco-friendly. People can commute easily and comfortably.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funicular (Access date : 19.10.2013)
[2] http://cinemusicompany.com/tunel-taksim-karakoy-since-17-ocak-1875-the-tunel-inaugurated-
photographs-by-bulent-ozalp-with/ (Access date : 19.10.2013)
[3] Dr. Tianjian Ji - MACE60010 Analysis of Structures Lecture Notes.

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2.12 Structural Concepts of Wall-mounted Towel Rails


Hong Wai, Mark

Cantilever is a span which it is fixed at one end, while the other end is overhanging or free from
any support. Therefore, the tension is happened on the top of the cantilever which is contrast
from normal beams. Cantilever is widely use as beam or slab for steel and concrete building or
bridges. Other than the above, we can also observe that cantilever is applied on our surrounding
other than buildings and structures. For examples, wing of aeroplanes, book shelves, towel rails
and so on.
In this paper, I would like to discuss about the reaction at support(s), the moment and the
deflection of the 2 different types of cantilever towel rails which with single support (Figure 1)
and double supports (Figure 2).

Figure 1: Towel rail with single support Figure 2: Towel rail with double support

Towel Rail with Single Support

Point Load

Figure 3: Single supported towel rail with point load

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- The reaction (R1) at the support is,

Fy = 0;

R1 = P

- The moment (M1) at the support is,

M1 = P (x)

- The maximum deflection is, max =

Uniformly Distributed Load (UDL)

Figure 4: Single supported towel rail with UDL

- The reaction (R1) at the support is,

Fy = 0;

R1 = w (x)

- The moment (M1) at support is,

M1 = w (x2) / 2

- The maximum deflection is, max =

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Towel Rail with Double Supports

Point Load

Figure 5: Double supports towel rail with point load

- The reaction (R2) at the support is,

Fy = 0;

R2 = P/2

- The moment (M2) at the support is,

M2 = P/2 (L), which L = the length of cantilever

- The maximum deflection is, max =

The reaction of each support is P/2 because the Load at each end is only half of the total load
which applied on the outer beam as shown in Figure 5.
This only applies if the Load (P) is located in the middle of the outer beam.

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Uniformly Distributed Load (UDL)

Figure 6: Double supports towel rail with UDL

- The reaction force (R2) at the support is,

Fy = 0;

R2 = w(x) / 2

- The moment (M2) at the support is,

M2 = w(L)(x) / 2, which L is the length of the cantilever from support

- The maximum deflection is, max =

Methods to improve the cantilever in order to carry more capacity

1. Shorten the length of cantilever so the deflection will be lesser.
2. Add a bracing to transfer the load and shorten the cantilever if the length is necessary.
3. Increase the cross-section area to reduce the deflection and lessen the chances of failure
at support.
4. Improve the connection part between support and the cantilever.

Figure 7: Single supported cantilever rail with bracing.

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By having both towel rails with the same material which both of them having same EI. Then,
compare them with their maximum deflection; obviously that the towel rail with double supports
will have lesser deflection. This is due to the towel rail with 2 support have the shorter length of
cantilever and the loads acting on it is supported by 2 supports. Besides, the single supported
towel rail will have the bigger chance to break at the support compare to another towel rail. In
addition, the single supported towel rail is dangerous to install inside the house because it is
pointed out and passerby might easily get hurt by it. Moreover, the double supports towel rail
help to save on place because it required lesser area.
In conclusion, with the justifications above, the towel rail with double supports is better than the
one with single support. And, towel rail with double supports has higher value for money.

1. http://www.advancepipeliner.com/Resources/Others/Beams/Beam_Deflection_Formulae
2. Deflection - en.wikipedia.org
3. Dupen, B., 2012. Applied Strength of Materials for Engineering Technology.[pdf]
Available at:< http://www.personal.psu.edu/jsu47/Course?EMET222/BDupenBook.pdf>
4. Mann, J., N.D. Design To Minimize Deflection. Available at:< http://

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2.13 Chengdu 339 Project Composite Columns Structures

Wei Chen

Figure 1: Renderings of Chengdu 339 Project

Structures to be analysed: Chengdu 339 Project, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

Brief introduce: The design of Chengdu 339 Project fully take the plot and the unique nature of
the Sichuan Radio and TV Tower into account, all the architectures around the Sichuan Radio
and TV Tower use curved elements, just like the buildings are embracing the tower.

Concept: The basic function of columns is the delivery of vertical forces to the base of the
structural frame. Traditionally, the columns cross section has been chosen by using the most
economical arrangement of materials to resist only required axial loads. But columns can be
more than compression members. Columns that are connected to beams with moment-resisting
connections, which help restrain deflections of floor members as well as lateral drift of the
overall structure, must be designed as beam columns. Their cross section must be chosen for
both axial and flexural.

Analysis: The Chengdu 339 Project is using one of the theories called filled composite columns.
With the filled composite columns the project can realize the backward terrace design
and the embrace of the tower. And the columns in it can be bevel.

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Figure 2: Bevel Columns

Figure 3: Columns Under Construction

The concrete in the core of the steel pipe columns provides additional strength, toughness, and
stiffness to the steel columns. The total composite section, including the steel shell can be
utilized with its additional stiffness to control lateral drift of overall structure.

Xue Jianyang, Steel and concrete composite structural design principle, science press (2010).

Zhang Qian, English of Civil Engineering, (1st ed.), science press (2009).

Picture References:

Figure 1) Renderings of Chengdu 339 Project. [Website] Available from:


Figure 2) Bevel Columns. [Website] Available from: <http://www.upcd.org/news/id-123.html/>

Figure 3) Columns Under Construction. Own photo.

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2.14 Influence of the Depth on the Shear Force

Santosh Kumar Karunakaran

SHEAR FORCE- The shear force at the cross section of beam is defined as the vertical forces to
the right or left of the section

BENDING MOMENT- The bending moment at cross section of beam is defined as the algebraic
sum of the moments of the forces to the right or left of the section

Effective depth-The depth of the member measured from top of the surface to the centroid of the

Figure1 cutting single piece of paper with figure 2 cutting a bundle of papers with
scissors scissors

As shown in the figure 1 by Holding a piece of paper by one hand firmly and cutting it with help
of scissors by another hand is used to illustrate the shear force acting on the paper to cut the
paper this can show as follows

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Two blades of

Piece of paper

Fixed support (one hand

which is holding the paper

The moment at fixed support is taken by hand that is holding the piece of paper firmly.
Let the distance between two blades of the scissors be . The two forces applied here are equal
and opposite forces let it be P here

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Here is approximately zero because when compared to total length of paper. Therefore P is
zero so we can say it is nearly in pure shear force so we say cutting a piece of paper with
scissors experiences shear force.

It is easy to cut a single piece of paper with scissors as shown figure 1 but we have apply more
force to cut a bundle of papers as shown in figure 2 so we can say that as thickness of the
member increases more shear force is required to cut surface.

According to I StructE EC2 (Concrete) Design Manual The design ultimate shear force at the
face of the support should not exceed VRd2 where:
VRd2 = 0.3 v fck bw d
fck- compressive strength of concrete
v- effectiveness factor obtained from table 5.15
bw- width of web in t beam or beam
d-effective depth of beam

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For the design of shear reinforcement, the design ultimate shear force, VSd may be taken
as that acting at a distance d from the face of the support.
Where VSd exceeds VRd1, the shear capacity of the section without shear reinforcement,
Shear reinforcement will be required.

So from these we can say that effective depth that is thickness in this experiment plays an
important role in design of shear reinforcement.

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNcfzNjIifU
2) www.structuralconcepts.org
3) Manual for the design of reinforced concrete building structures to EC2 (page no55)
4) http://www.civilengineeringterms.com/mechanics-of-solids-1/definition-of-shear-force-

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2.15 The Prestressed Beam String Structure

Yu Ma
1. Conceptual Analysis
Beam String Structure is a kind of hybrid structure, which is composed of upper
structural member, lower string and struts. In terms of upper structural member, it could be
beam, arch or plane truss and so on.
There are many practical projects have adopted this kind of structure,such as Guang Zhou
International Meeting and Exhibition Center and Beijing Customs Swimming Gymnasium.

So why such a kind of structure is putting into use widely in large-span structure?Is it really
much better than other structure?Of course the answer is yes.Prestressed beam string sructure is
certainly the best choice among the majority structures.We can got the conclusion through the
below analysis.

As we learn have learned in mechanics of materials, a simply supported beam carrying a

uniformly distributed load has a maximum bending moment at mid-span and value is1/(8ql^2).
What is more, it also has maximum deflection at mid-span and value is 5ql^4/(384EI). The
bending moment diagrams and deflection shapes diagrams are below.

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By the analysis above, the value of bending moment is proportional to the square of its
span, so that it will increase greatly as the result of the augmenting of the span of the beam.
When it comes to the displacement, the deflection of a beam is proportional to its span to the
power of four and the power of three for uniformly distributed loads and a concentrated load
respectively, so if the span of a beam is increased, the displacement will grow considerably.
Hence, if such type of beam is introduced in designing of long-span structure, the high inner
force and low stiffness of the structure will be the critical problems to be solved.From =M y/ I
, One of the methods is to increase I, which, however, is uneconomic because what we talk
about is large-span structure.
So, what else can we do?
From the basic structural concept, the smaller the internal force, the stiffer the structure,
the method of reducing the internal force can provide us a larger span.So,how can we reduce the
internal force of a stucture?
What if we use prestressed beams to replace simple beams (Fig.1.3)?

As is known, a beam carrying a uniformly distributed load is under compression of the

upper and tension of the lower.When we use prestressed beam, the load is opposite(
compression in the lower and tension in the upper).Thus,the internal force is reduced as the
structure is more stiffer.
Furture more,can we improve the beam?We prestressed the beam in both up and down ends
which is bending the beam.We also use string to collect the support.


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Thus ,the structure is assumed as a prestressed arch beam.

Finally, from the basic structural concept, the most effective way toincrease the stiffness
or reduce the deflection of a structure are to reduce spans or to add supports.The meaning of
adding supports could be implemented in this case.
What if we changed the string into plane truss?

In this way, the spans of the arch below were effectively diminished and the structure
becomes much stiffer as a result. Therefore, bigger static stiffness would be acquired if the arch
beams and string as well as struts are combined.
2. Calculation Analysis
By analysing the moment of a prestresssed string structure,the mechanics characteristic
of such structure could be detected.
The bending moment diagram of the simply supported beamcarring a
uniformlydistributed load constructed as below Fig 2.1.

The bending moment diagram of the prestressed beam carrying a uniformly distributed
load could be constructed as below 2.2.

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The bending moment diagram of the prestressed arch belowcarrying a uniformly

distributed load could be constructed as Fig.2.3.

The effect of the plane struss of the prestressed beam string structure could be considered
as concentrated loads that applied at correct section of the beam.Similarly, the bending moment
that the structure subjected to such form of forces could be consructed as Fig.2.4.

If superposing the bending moment of the two states above, the bending moment diagram
of a beam string structure is detected (Fig.2.5), and we could easily reach to the conclusion that
the bending moment of a beam string structure is much smaller and more distributed than a
simple beam.

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3. Model Demonstration
The examples of Beam String Structure are below in Fig.3.1 and Fig. 3.2.


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4. Conclusion
Presressed beam string sructure is semi-rigid structure, which has many advantages such as
high supporting capacity, small deformation, self-balancing function, strong structural stability,
convenience of construction and transportation, and so on. The prestress of the cable make
midspan bending moment of the beam decrease to 1/4 of the maximum bending moment of
simple beam.

Choi, K. (2002), Reinforced concrete structure design assistant tool for beginnersUniversity
of Southern California
Conte,H. (2007) History of Structural Engineering. University of San Diego
Holland, R. (1997) Reinforced concrete, London : Thomas Telford

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2.16 Understanding the Concept of Resonance When the

Army Walk Across the Bridge
Chi Zhang
In 1831, a single triumph cavalry valiantly, dash through England Manchester near a
drawbridge. Loud and rhythmic''despair, despair, despair''hoofs demonstrating team glory.
However, the unfortunate thing happened. With a bang, the bridge inexplicably collapsed. Men
have been plunged into the river, heavy casualties.

Coincidentally, in 1906, the Russian capital Petrograd with a heavily armed army, the pace of
neat, arrogant discipline through Love Walter Bridge. The bridge is very strongeven though it
is difficult to shake ran a mighty force. But being triumphant commander, when suddenly the
deck vibrated violently. Then accompanied by a loud cracked beneath his feet, the bridge
collapsed. Suddenly, officers, soldiers, wagons, horses have been involved.

These two events, people had investigated the cause of the accident, however, neither the
destruction of the army, nor the poor quality of the bridge. So, what is the reason causing these
tragedies happen? Finally, it is through the study found that the perpetrators victims themselves.
These accidents are ''resonance'' the result of the physical phenomenon. Resonance is the root
cause of the army walking in the same pace. A strict physical language of ''resonance'', the
vibrator in a periodic variation of natural frequency, the vibration amplitude of the sharp
increase. This phenomenon is called resonance. Those mentioned above, the pace of the military
is very neat, and the frequency happens to be close to the bridge through which the natural

of free vibration, sparking a bridge resonance, resulting in a big accident. To receive these
lessons in blood, and later all over the world have stipulates that any team of people crossing the
bridge, must scattered go, try to avoid this destructive resonance phenomenon repeats itself.

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From the two practical examples, we know the basic knowledge of 'resonance', we should
know more and have a better understanding of 'resonance'.

Concept of resonance
In physics, resonance is the tendency of a system to oscillate with greater amplitude at some
frequencies than at others. Frequencies at which the response amplitude is a relative maximum
are known as the system's resonant frequencies, or resonance frequencies. At these frequencies,
even small periodic driving forces can produce large amplitude oscillations, because the system
stores vibrational energy.

Resonance occurs when a system is able to store and easily transfer energy between two or more
different storage modes (such as kinetic energy and potential energy in the case of a pendulum).
However, there are some losses from cycle to cycle, called damping. When damping is small,
the resonant frequency is approximately equal to the natural frequency of the system, which is a
frequency of unforced vibrations.

In the acoustic resonance known as " resonance ", which refers to the sound of the object due to
resonance phenomena, such as the same two frequencies fork close one of the vibration sound,
the other will sound. In electricity , the oscillation circuit resonance phenomenon called "
resonance . "

Typically a system (either mechanical, or electronic sounds) has a plurality of resonance

frequencies, the vibrations at these frequencies is relatively easy to vibrate at other frequencies
is difficult, we used a system of low-range frequencies. If the frequency of vibration caused by
more complex words (such as a shock or a vibration speed) of a system will generally "pick" the
resonant frequency with the frequency of vibration, the fact that a system will filter out other

Types of resonance
Mechanical and acoustic resonance
Electrical resonance
Optical resonance
Orbital resonance
Atomic, particle, and molecular resonance

Other Examples of resonance

Resonance occurs widely in nature, and is exploited in many manmade devices. It is the
mechanism by which virtually all sinusoidal wavesand vibrations are generated. Many sounds
we hear, such as when hard objects of metal, glass, or wood are struck, are caused by brief
resonant vibrations in the object. Light and other short wavelength electromagnetic radiation is
produced by resonance on an atomic scale, such as electrons in atoms. Other examples are:

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Timekeeping mechanisms of modern clocks and watches, e.g., the balance wheel in a
mechanical watch and the quartz crystal in a quartz watch
Tidal resonance of the Bay of Fundy
Acoustic resonances of musical instruments and human vocal cords
Shattering of a crystal wineglass when exposed to a musical tone of the right pitch (its
resonant frequency)

(Pushing a person in a swing is a common example of resonance. The loaded swing, a

pendulum, has a natural frequency of oscillation, its resonant frequency, and resists being
pushed at a faster or slower rate.)

Detection technology of resonance

Impact Test : The most common method is to use an item percussion machine, measuring
machines, to give the resonance frequency. Because very small impact force can provoke a wide
range of frequencies, this method is very effective. Using this technique, the different parts of
the percussion machine structure is important because the resonant frequency of the structure at
the same point collection, different parts of the percussion obtained. When identifying the
machine resonance frequency, power parts and transmission parts should be struck. Using this
mode, the machine must be shut down. So you can easily identify the device natural frequency .

Start and Stop Test: the device affixed reflective tape on the shaft, so start stop process, you
can get phase the whole process, the amplitude and phase changes Technology. Start and Stop
the process equipment, the use of vibration values recorded peak hold mode. If there is no
resonance, the vibration amplitude in a certain ratio. If a peak vibration speed and phase change
occurs 180 degrees, it shows a resonance frequency of the device. The resonant frequency at the
phase of 90 degrees.

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Mitigate the resonance effect in a bridge

In order to mitigate fully the resonance effect in a bridge, engineers incorporate dampeners into
the bridge design to interrupt the resonant waves and prevent them from growing.
Another way to halt resonance is to give it less room to run wild. If a bridge boasts a solid
roadway, then a resonant wave can easily travel the length of the bridge and wreak havoc. But if
a bridge roadway is made up of different sections with overlapping plates, then the movement of
one section merely transfers to another via the plates, generating friction. The trick is to create
enough friction to change the frequency of the resonant wave. Changing the frequency prevents
the wave from building.

[1] http://baike.baidu.com/view/74730.htm
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resonance

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2.17 Equilibrium Analysis of the Structures Triangular


Maomei Wang

Triangular structure is a common structure. It is not only applied to the building structure, but
also widely used in daily life. Human beings are good at using the stability of triangle to
facilitate people's lives, such as pictures show below (fig.1~3). Generally, maintaining a
structure in balance, it needs force balance, so that resultant force equal to zero.

Fig.1 Fig.2 Fig.3

Equilibrium Analysis
Triangle does not deform easily. It is able to balance the stretching and compressive forces
inside of the structure.
For economic: the triangle has only 3 sides, it requires little material to make a support, so it
cost a little.
For stability analysis of geometric plane, the pin joint structure must satisfy this equation:
where v is Variable degrees, j is the number of pin joints, b is the number of members.[1]
Therefore, the variable of triangular structure with pin joint is:

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This proves that the structure has the minimum required constant geometrical constraints.

But for rectangular structure:

This equation shows the structure has an extra freedom. So that structure cannot balance.
Overall, when the lengths of the sides are fixed, a triangle will maintain shape. On the contrary,
both the angles and the lengths of a four-sided figure must be fixed for it to keep its shape.


Fig.4 Fig.5 Fig.6

Through the experiment, when applying a horizontal force to the structure, rectangular structure
deformed a lot while the triangle one is maintain the status quo. So that can be easily found that
triangle-shape structure is stiffer than rectangular structure.


Fig.7 Fig.8

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Bike-the most common transport, also demonstrates this property. (Fig.7)

The roof trusses of the basilica di Santa Croce (Florence)(Fig.8) .A truss is a structure
comprising one or more triangular units constructed with straight members whose ends are
connected at joints referred to as nodes. Truss has made good use of stability of triangle. [2]

Triangular structure has a good planar stability. A single triangular unit is geometric invariants
without redundant constraints. It is widely used in building structure and also in daily life.

[1]Fu-Kang Yang, Jiabao Li structural mechanics (on the list) fourth edition Higher Education
Press Pages 12~18
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truss

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2.18 Post-Tension Slabs

Jad Gebran
The structural concept discussed is the behaviour of concrete slabs. As known, concrete is weak
in tension but strong in compression. That is why it is reinforced with steel bars in order to gain
strength in tension and avoid failure. Based on this structural concept, a more effective way will
be discussed which is post tension concrete and more precisely post tension slabs as well as its
advantages in design and construction.

This figure shows the basic

behavior of concrete under applied

As seen in the figure, at the mid-span the top of the beam (same as slab) is in compression
whilst the bottom is in tension. However, it is the opposite on the supports.
Post tensioning consists of placing tendon bars in the tension areas carrying the shape of the
moment on the slab.

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The tendon bars are placed in the

ducts seen in the picture and
distributed along the slab just to
cover the tension areas. (Chairs are
provided for this issue). The other
steel bars shown are the minimum
required for compression.

The ducts shown are considered from one side a dead end on which concrete will be poured but
from the other side bars are extended and placed in anchors to create a live end which will be
pulled after casting to provide tensile stress and strength.

As known, after 28 days which is

the time required for concrete to
reach 75% of its strength, tensile
strength will be provided by
tensioning the tendons from the
anchorage with hydraulic jacks.

In this figure: live end tendons

pulled out of the duct to be

Note that these pictures are taken by me on site.

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These figures show the effect of tendons on

the slab by lifting it and increasing its

Just to mention that this type is a bonded post tension slab for which grout will be added later to
create bonds between concrete and tendons and to prevent corrosion. The other type is

For more details, this link provides a detailed video and a step by step process regarding the post
tension slabs construction.

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Based on the basic knowledge of the structural concept and behaviour of concrete that were
applied to perform a post tension slab; many advantages are therefore presented:
- Longer spans between supports, unrestricted columns and architectural freedom.
- Thinner slabs less concrete total weight reduced more economical.
- Reduces cracks and shrinkage.
- Fewer amounts of steel reinforcement bars required.
- Done on site with fast formwork installations cost and time are reduced.
- Safety is provided through expert people holding certificates in post tension construction

Post tension slabs are used in several construction areas such as:
- Foundation slabs
- Cantilevers
- Office buildings
- Multi-story buildings
- Car parks
- Bridges
- Slab on ground ex: tennis and sports courts (cracks and deflection are controlled)

These are some images examples for several structures constructed by using post tension slabs:

BCHO tree towers in Korea Al Dana tower Qatar

Marina bay Singapore

Tennis court: post tension slab on Post-tension bridge under

ground. construction in New Jersey
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The following model will show the difference in deflection between a normal slab model and
another one with applied tensile force which can be considered as post tension slab.

This picture shows the deflection

of a slab model made of 3 layers of
cling film due to the self-weight of
a plastic bottle.

This time another slab model is

made of only 1 large layer of the
same cling film, but tensile forces
are exerted with both hands from
each side after applying the same

These forces can be considered the

same as the tensile stressed exerted
by hydraulic jacks on the tendons
after concrete casting in a post
tension slab.

We can conclude that the

deflection in the post tension
model is way less than in the first
Knowing that its thickness is less
and the span is larger which make
the post tension slab more

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Post tension concrete, specifically post tension slabs in this case, represent an effective
application of the main structural concept discussed; the behaviour of concrete under loading.
Based on the advantages cited before, post tension slabs can be used in preference over ordinary
reinforced concrete.


- Post-tensioning institute http://www.post-tensioning.org/

- http://www.concreteconstruction.net/concrete-construction/post-tensioned-slabs

- CCL http://www.cclint.com/sites/default/files/ccl_ptslabsbrochureeng.pdf

- Google images.

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2.19 Fixed and Roller Support in Structures

Mohammed Numaan
Supports refer to the part of the structure which may help other parts to resist loads. Structural
systems transfer their loading through a series of elements to the ground. This is accomplished by
designing the joining of the elements at their intersections. Each connection is designed so that it
can transfer, or support, a specific type of load or loading condition. In order to be able to analyze a
structure, it is first necessary to be clear about the forces that can be resisted, and transferred, at
each level of support throughout the structure. The actual behaviour of a support or connection can
be quite complicated. So much so, that if all of the various conditions were considered, the design
of each support would be a terribly lengthy process. And yet, the conditions at each of the supports
greatly influence the behaviour of the elements which make up each structural system.

The common types of connections which join a built structure to its foundation
are; roller, pinned and fixed. All of these supports can be located anywhere along a structural
element. They are found at the ends, at midpoints, or at any other intermediate points. The type of
support connection determines the type of load that the support can resist. The support type also
has a great effect on the load bearing capacity of each element, and therefore the system.

Fixed Support:

Fixed supports can resist vertical and horizontal forces as well as a moment. Since they restrain
both rotation and translation, they are also known as rigid supports. This means that a structure
only needs one fixed support in order to be stable. All three equations of equilibrium can be
satisfied. The representation of fixed supports always includes two forces (horizontal and vertical)
and a moment.

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Let this Table illustrate the way in which fixed support (Fig 1) can be generated. Here, one is to
notice that the base of the four legged table (which is flat on the ground with provisions of bolt
connection) serves as a fixed connection. Consider the first support in Fig 1. The reactions in the
support are Vertical reaction (VA), Horizontal reaction (HA) and Moment about A (MA)

Fig. 1 Fig. 2

On being pushed (Fig 2) it is observed that the table doesnt show any translatory motion as the
base is fixed offering a horizontal resistance thus developing a moment about A. This type of
support is observed in beam connections.

Roller Support:

Roller supports are free to rotate and translate along the surface upon which the roller rests. The
surface can be horizontal, vertical, or sloped at any angle. The resulting reaction force is always a
single force that is perpendicular to, and away from, the surface.

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Now, imagine the same table as shown in fig (1) on a roller support. It would remain in place as
long as the structure must only support itself and perhaps a perfectly vertical load (Fig 3).

Fig. 3 Fig. 4

As soon as a lateral load of any kind (a push in this case) pushes on the structure (Fig 4) it will
roll away in response to the force (Fig 5) which leaves us with evidence that a roller support is
unable to offer horizontal resistance thus no moment takes place.

Fig. 5

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Note: The concepts mentioned implies for 2 dimensional structure.

A video link http://legacy.caus.vt.edu/setareh/archresearch/007_fdmtl_08_types_of_supports.html
is given that explains the support reaction concepts.

Roller support is widely used in bridge construction where in due to the traffic mobility the
supports provide desirable horizontal movement

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Support_(structure)

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2.20 Ideas of Economical Design

Tang Zing Wei
One of the most significant current investigation in engineering field is to achieve an optimal
structures design with high load-weight ratio. To date various methods have been developed and
introduced for an economical design. For example, pre-tension and post-tension concrete beam was
introduced to obtain a longer span with comparatively shallow beam depth while comparing with
conventional beam design; for the composite structures design, the composite section has four
times the stiffness and twice the strength of the non-composite section. Therefore, by following the
idea of optimal design, the construction cost and time could be reduced.

This paper will focus on the variety of members design which resisting bending and axial forces.
The first sections of this paper will compare the section modulus for bending members. It will then
go on to the comparison of hot-rolled and cold-formed steel design. It will has a experimental
model shows in the last sections of this paper.

The comparison of section modulus for various beam design

This section focuses on the effect of section modulus for flexural members design. For a
symmetrical sections, section modulus (Z) is proportional to the second moment of area (I) and
inversely proportional to the distance from neutral axis to extreme fibres (y). Section modulus of
the cross-sectional shape is a significant importance parameter for flexural beam design.
Furthermore, it also shows an idea of most of the stresses caused by bending are resisted by
extreme fibres of the section. Thus, the sections further apart from neutral axis is more efficient
than the sections near centroid. According to this theory, the various shape of beam had been
designed for achieving a better structural performance while minimizing the used of materials. Two
photos below are the comparison of I beam design with conventional beam design.

I Section Concrete Beam

KARL JANSEN (2011) Fig1. I Section Concrete Beam Design [Online image]. Available from:
http://ceephotos.karcor.com/2011/12/. [Accessed 20/10/13].

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Fig2. Conventional Concrete Beam Design [Online image]. Available from:

http://www.mvadventures.com/Articles/16.jpg. [Accessed 20/10/13].

Fig 1 shows the I section concrete beam design for supporting the decking of bridge. The I
section will be used especially for this kind of superstructure with long span and high working load.
In term of deflection wise, I section beam gives the better performance of deflection control due to
the higher value of second moment of area. By comparing with conventional beam design, it was
usually in the area of short to medium span such as residential or housing design.

Fig 3. I section Steel Beam Design [Online image]. Available from:

[Accessed 20/10/13].

Moreover, as shown in Fig 3, the I section steel beam was used to support the slab. For the
purpose of economical and optimal design, part of the materials at the middle web can be removed
since the majority of the bending stresses were taken by extreme fibres. This will significantly
reduced the amount of steel materials used and thus recued the construction cost. Different designs
were introduced to fit to various purpose, the feasibility, cost, time, transportation and
manipulation for worker are the considerations during design. However, the strong relationship of
section modulus and structural performance had been introduced in the paper. This finding has
important implications for developing optimal structural design.

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The comparison of hot-rolled and cold-formed steel in axial loading

This sections discuss about the hot-rolled and cold-formed steel members under tension and
compression loading. In the hot-rolled steel design, the tension capacity calculation is related to
cross-sectional area, yield strength of the materials, and the reduction factor of the materials
imperfection . The calculation is similar with the steel design in compression, the only different is
the factor of slenderness ratio has to be considered in this case. It is interesting to note that the
cross-sectional area is an important parameter in axial force capacity calculation design.

In addition, for the cold-formed steel such as c-section or z-section under axial loading, the
cross-sectional area is relatively small if comparing with hot-rolled steel since the thickness of
cold-formed steel section is only vary from 1.2 to 6.4mm (Yu 1924,3). However, the load-weight
ratio is relatively high. The possible explanation of it is because of the cross-sectional shape. The
different configuration shape of cold-formed steel helps in resisting various types of failure mode
such as, local buckling, distortional and lateral-torsional buckling. Hence, the configuration shape
of the cold-formed steel could be a design consideration for achieving an optimal structural design.

Furthermore, cold-formed steel is also consider as a light weight structure and it is easy for
transportation and handling in construction site. Therefore, cold-formed steel was become one of
the materials for trusses construction to support the large span roofing. The members of trusses are
performing well in resisting axial forces and the benefit of it is the self-weight is relatively light
compare with hot-rolled steel trusses. Figure 4 shows the cold-formed steel trusses.

Fig 4. Cold-formed steel trusses [Online image]. Available from:

[Accessed 20/10/13].

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A simple model to demonstrate the effect of shape

This section shows a simple structure to support two books by using a piece of paper. The
method of this experiment was used a few piece of masking tape to stick to a paper in order to
maintain the cylinder shape of the paper. Figure 5 shows the experiment photo.


Masking Tape

A piece of paper

Fig 5. A simple cylinder structure supporting two books

Figure 5 demonstrated a paper in cylinder shape is able to support the loading of two books. The
self-weight of this paper is around 1grams, while the weight of two books are around 450grams. A
piece of paper is really thin and week in resisting any forces, but with a shape of cylinder, it can
achieved a high load-weight ratio of 450 times. This experiment proved that shape of the structure
play an important role in resisting the load.

In conclusion, increasing the size of beam or thickness of the steel members were not the only
ways to obtain the higher members capacity. Design the member by considering its section
modulus and shape of the section will be another options to achieve an economical structure design.

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2.21 Different Kinds of Door Closer Mechanism

Shuang Li

1. Large Door Closer

Door Closer is a kind of small widgets which are common in daily life but always
ignored. It is often fixed in the entrance, fire doors, kitchen and bathroom doors. The
main function of Door Closer is made up by three aspects: self-closing, closing speed
adjustment, and door stopping. The most important use is making the door shut
automatically, in order to limit the spread of fire and the ventilation in the building.

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Structural Components
Mainly made up of bearing parts, transmission gear, auto-reset spring, check valves,
rack piston, throttle, and seals. In addition, there will be some cases and links to fix the
door closer and to attach door leaf and doorframe.

The mechanism of door closer: when opening the door, the door leaf drives the links to
move, and to rotate the transmission gear, making rack piston move to the right. During
the process of rack piston`s moving, the spring is compressed, and the hydraulic oil of
the right cavity is being compressed. Then, the check valves, on the left side of the rack
piston, are open under oil pressure to make the hydraulic oil flow to left cavity from the
left. When the process is complete, because the spring has been compressed during
the process, the elastic potential energy saved will be released, pushing the rack piston
from right to left, driving the transmission gear and links rotating, to make the door
When the spring is released, because the hydraulic oil in the left cavity is compressed
and the check valve is closed, the hydraulic oil can only flow out through the gaps
between shell and piston, and then flow back to the right via the small holes in the
piston and two paths with throttles. In this way, the hydraulic oil becomes the resistance
when the spring releases. In other words, this can meet the aim of buffer through
throttling, and can make the speed of closing doors to apposite values if adjusting the

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2. Small Door closer

Another kind of door closer is much smaller, and much simpler than the large one. It is
usually found on the door leaf of the wardrobe, cupboard or somewhere else.

The mechanism of the small door closer is also easier to understand. The mechanism
will be shown in the pictures below. The most important damp of small door closer is
the friction.

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A,B,C,D are fixed pin points on the board planes, while F is a movable pin between the
two dam-boards and G are fixed on the ends of the members they are on.





1. http://www.patent-cn.com/E05F/CN1303985.shtml
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Door_closer
3. Shangguan T. Mechanical Design[M]. 1. Tsinghua University Press, 01/07/2009.

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2.22 The Dynamic Analysis on Jumping and Taking off

Process of Springboard Diving
Yifeng Zhang
Resonance is a phenomenon which occurs when the vibration of a system tends to reach its
maximum magnitude. The frequency corresponding to resonance is known as the resonance
frequency of the system. When the damping of the system is small, the resonance frequency is
approximately equal to the natural frequency of the system.

Springboard diving is one of the most important world-class competition events, in open
competition, divers use 1 metre and 3 metres springboards. Since the distance from the surface
to the springboard is short, the key for divers to perform well is to master the laws of rebound of
the board to increase the jumping height.

Video of the relationship between the board and the diver: http://v.ku6.com/show/VTMFL-

( a) Hurdle step (b) Max height of step (c) Initial contact

(d) Final contact (e) Max dive height

Figure 1. Pictures of a dive

Fig. 1. shows a diver practising diving, it can be seen the dive consists of the following parts:

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1) The diver traverses down the springboard and initiates motion of the board with a hurdle
2) The diver leaves the board which then rebounds from the fulcrum;
3) The board oscillates because of the external force and self-load;
4) The diver lands on the board, it deflects downwards to a maximum;
5) As the board returns to its horizontal position the diver is launched upwards to reach the
maximum dive height.
The success of the diver is generally considered to be a function of the final takeoff velocity
of the diver and the ability of the diver to execute fast rotations. Success or failure, however, is
very sensitive to the motion of the board immediately prior final contact.

In this situation, the diver walks five steps on

the board. The first three steps are trying to find
the natural frequency of the board and creating
initial velocity, the fifth step is the hurdle step.
Fig.2. shows the motion of a springboard during
a forward dive with a hurdle step. When diver
contacts with the board, like fig.2c, (a) Rebound of the board

(b) Deflection when the diver is airborne

Where, y0 represents the deflection under the

static loads, h represents the height, W
represents the force diver impact, k represents
the stiffness of springboard.
The oscillation period in seconds of the board:
(c) Deflection during diver contact
deflection during diver contact
Figure 2. Motion of a spring board

Where, me represents the effective mass of the springboard, ml

represents the applied load.

When the jumping frequency matches the inherent frequency of the springboard, the diver can
reach the maximum dive height. That means the final contact the diver lands on the tip when the
board reaches the maximum downward deflection, and then goes upward together with the
board to reach the max height to ensure the diver has enough time to finish his dive.

1. Seeing and Touching Structural Concepts. Available: http://www.structuralconcepts.org
2. Boda, WL. Modelling the springboard and diver as an oscillating spring system. Unpublished
doctoral dissertation, University of Massachusetss, Amherst; 1992.
3. Dennis Rewt. Movement Control in Springboard Diving. Doctoral dissertation, University of
Edinburgh; 1993.

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2.23 Structural Analysis of a Prestressed Concrete Beam

Loaded to Failure
Taju Fonuh Tabod
Definition of concept: The elastic analysis of a structure, say a beam, is the preliminary state of
that structure before it attains its yield point, governed by its material properties, after which it
goes into its plastic state.

Model demonstration: A pre-stressed concrete beam is loaded to failure in a laboratory to

figure out how much load it can withstand. This analysis is based on the simple elastic analysis
theorem. The steel wire in the concrete beam is in tension while the beam itself is in

Figure 1: Concrete beam before it is loaded to failure.

Figure 2: Concrete beam after it is loaded to failure.

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The beam is supported at both ends and is being loaded at two points, both at one thirds of the
beam span as shown in figure 1. The load is gradually applied onto the beam at increments and
it is observed that the beam gradually deforms. This plastic nature supports the theory; stress
applied on a structure causes a relatively large strain on that structure. Cracks begin to appear
around the loaded points until it eventually fails by shear (notice the crack patterns in figure 2).

Practical Examples:

Pre-stressed concrete beams and columns are used in concrete building frames. Examples of concrete
framed buildings are shown below;

Figure 3: Concrete beam supporting the load . Figure 4: concrete framed building
from the concrete slab


W.H.Mosley, R. Hulse & J.H. Bungey, 1996: 65

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2.24 Concept of Shear Failure in Connections

Yaxin Mo

In structural engineering, the design of connections is vital as shear failure in them is detrimental to the
global stability of structure, even leading to the ultimate failure of structure. In this assignment, scissor, an
essential instrument in our daily life, is used to demonstrate the shear failure mechanism in connection.


As seen in Fig.1, if the load P exceeds the shear strength of bolts or rivets, the bolts or rivets would fail in
shearing by sliding the fibres along one plane. This type of failure is called as failure in single shear. In the
type of connection shown in Fig.2, the rivets or bolts on one side of the joint would shear across two
planes, which is known as failure in double shear. However, only the single shear concept is demonstrated
in the following two sections.

Figure 1 Figure 2

Demonstration by Failure of Scissor

Scissor consists of a pair of blades pivoted by a bolt. When the gap between two handles gets closer, two
sharpened blades slide against each other to cut object. In Fig.2, assuming the shear strength of bolt , as a
force is applied on one handler, two resultant forces FB,Fc generated by bolt and object are applied in pivot
B and point C.

Taking the moment of pivot B,

FcS2 =F S1

Having force equilibrium in vertical direction,

FC+F-FB =0

Hence, FB=5F, Fc=4F

The shear stress in bolt B=FB/A

(A is the area of bolt)

When FB/A> , the scissor fails into parts.

Figure 3

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Imitation of the Single Shear Failure in Connection

Without using steel plates and bolts, this part shows an imitation of single shear failure by using ice cube
and a cube empty bottle which we easily make in our daily life. First of all, the bottle was filled with water
and put into refrigerator for a while. Then, an ice cube (Fig.4) indicating the bolt was taken out and placed
on table for 15mins. In the meantime, the bottle (Fig.5) was cut into two segments indicating two steel
plates. During the test (Fig.6), ice cube was put inside two segments which would be pulled into two
opposite directions until failure happened. Figure 7 shows that the shear failure surface is nearly even and

Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7

Shear Failure of Connections in Structures

Figure 8 and figure 9 below illustrate shear failure of connections in concrete structure and steel
structure respectively.

Figure 8 Figure 9

In structural engineering, as shear failures tend to happen quickly without much notice or warning, it
is vital to understand the behavior of shear failure in connections and design suitable dimensions for
connections based on corresponding shear strength of material. The design shear stress of
connections should be less than shear strength of material. Otherwise, shear failure will cause a great
damage to the stability of the whole structure.

Durka, M.E., Morgan, W., Williams, D.T., (1996). Structural Mechanics, 5th edition, London:
Addison Wesley Longman.
Ji.T.J.,Bell.A.,(2008),Seeing and Touching Structural Concepts, Taylor and Francis, London

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2.25 The Importance of Wide Base in Stability of Structures

Siddharth Selva Mohan
This example aims to support the fact that wider bases increase the stability of a structure.

Definition: Stability; 1) The attribute of being firm and steadfast, 2) The quality of being
enduring and free from variation.
Example 1
The structure is found opposite to The
Liverpool Warehouse Co Ltd, Trafford
Park, Manchester. As we can observe the
hanging structure has been supported with
a wide base D. The structure will only be
under the influence of wind load. Upon the
wind action the weight of the hanging part
is supported by the base, ie the line of
action falls within the base. Thus keeping
the structure stable .It has a square base to
distribute the force uniformly. To explain
this is a simple way I did an experiment
with a small model of this structure. A
small model similar to this structure is

Figure 1: Like the structure itself, a model

has been made with a square base with flour
and a fork signifies the hanging part. Let us
take the initial base width as d1. In order
nullify the frictional force a flyer paper is
used. The centre of mass is identified.

Figure 2: A uniform load P is applied

vertically on the structure. The forces are
being transferred to the base. As the contact
area between the surface and the base of the
structure is ample. The forces are easily
transferred into the surface. Also the line of
action falls within the base. Thus keeping the
structure stable.
Observation: There is neither a movement
nor a uplift of the structure.
Figure 1

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Figure 2 Figure 3

Figure 4 Figure 5
Figure 3: Now shorten the base uniformly with a dimension of d2, d1> d2.
Figure 4: Applying the same Load force P in the modified structure. (Green Line of
Figure 5:
Observation: We can observe that the structure has toppled over. The base was
not wide enough to absorb the mass through the line of action. As the result the line of
action falls outside the base, d2. So unable to support its mass the structure falls.

Inference: It is clearly notable that a wider base helps in supporting the structure and
in transmitting the load forces. For structures with small base the center of gravity will
come out of its area through which its supported, making the structure to topple.

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Example 2 The art of crossover (Basketball Stance)

The Basketball Defensive Stance

If we dont have a proper stance, often we

will be out of position thus leading to off-
The stance recommends
Wide base
Knees inside of feet To secure the
line of action within base.
Butt down To lower the CG

All of this would create great stability,

failing to maintain stability would enable the
offence to score on us.

The Crossover
Crossover is performed by the offensive player to break the stance of the defender. Providing
delusions to defender makes him move to and fro thus he accidently shortens his base and his
line of action falls outside his base and he collapses to the floor.

Figure i Figure ii
Figure i: Player B is in a proper defensive stance with a wide base d1. He is stable
Figure ii: Player A starts the crossover, making the defender believe he is going
right. As the defender moves right, Player A will change his direction with a quick
cross dribble.

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Figure iii Figure iv

Figure iii: After realizing the cross dribbles, Player B tries to follow up by changing his
direction. In an acute movement he shortens his base to d2.
Figure iv: In an attempt to defend Player B pulls himself towards Player A which further
reduces his base to d3. Thereby his center of gravity falls outside his base.

Figure v Figure vi
Figure v: As the effect of misplaced line of action, Player B losses his balance and
Figure vi: Player Bs defensive stance is broken and brought to the ground. Player A
crosses him over, Thus completing The Crossover.

You can find the video to the above through this link:

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A short base does not help in keeping the structure stable. In the event of acute changes a
wide base is more helpful as it passes the centre of gravity through without any complications.
Had Player B maintained his stance with wide base, he would have been stable and the
crossover would have failed.

Seeing and Touching Structural Concepts - Dr.Tianjian Ji & Dr.Adrian Bell
Equilibrium and Stability - http://www.tutorvista.com/content/physics/physics-
Basketball Stance - http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/defense/stance.html
Images -http://avcssbasketball.com/guard-play-youth-basketball/ &

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2.26 Hookes Law

Tianyi Xu


How can you break a six-inch thick concrete wall if you only have a whisk? Michael Scofield,

who is an actor in prison break, made it successfully [1]. In order to tear down a wall, Michael

barely used a whisk to drill a few small holes on the six-inch thick concrete wall, when he was

trying to escape from the prison. According to Hooke's Law, the strength and stability of the

wall will be reduced with these holes.

Picture1 Prison Break [1]


Hooke's law, as a principle of physics, states that the force needed to extend or compress
a spring by some distance which is proportional to that distance. That is,

where is a constant factor characteristic of the spring, its stiffness[2].

Let me explain the above holes drilling phenomenon. Stress concentration is the force
component due to external factors or their own factors geometry, dimensions mutations
localized within the stress caused a significant increase of the phenomenon [3]. Mostly in the
corners, holes, notches, groove, and there are rigid constraints at their neighbourhood. Stress
concentration can cause brittle fracture; make objects fatigue cracks. Therefore, the existence of
holes in the wall reduces the overall structural strength and more susceptible to cracking. The
force required to break them is relatively small.

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If punch in the concrete wall, it will produce stress concentration. So both stress and strain will
change. Hooke's law gives the relationship between stress and strain (E), and you can find
the best location for drilling. Concrete is a non-elastomeric, if the object is non-uniform material,
the body of each point affected by the elastic force will have different effects, generally
speaking, the elasticity coefficient of the spatial coordinates x, y, z of the function. Stress () is
defined by x, y, z coordinate functions, a spatial rectangular coordinate system, derived from a
group of three equations. Strain () is defined by x, y, z coordinates function to obtain a set of
partial differential equations.

is the Young's modulus along axis

is the shear modulus in direction on the plane whose normal is in direction
is the Poisson's ratio that corresponds to a contraction in direction when an
extension is applied in direction .

According to the principle of stress concentration, if the stress inside the object becomes bigger,
the force required to destroy the object becomes smaller. Thus, if we take the external force F of
an average adult as the stress, we can get the relative strain from the first formula above; then
we can calculate the internal stress with this strain value using the second formula. And if the
internal stress exceeds the external force F, we can easily smash this wall.

Hookes law in our daily life

In mechanics, Hookes law is applied extensively. Examples of daily applications include
automobile suspensions, toys and retractable pens, all of which involves a spring.

Picture2 Automobile suspensions [4] Picture3 Toy [5] Picture4 Retractable pens

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[1] Prison break. [Online], Available at: <http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/0JHaMxIyhZ4
> [Accessed: 16 October 2012].
[2] Hookes law. [Online], Available at: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hooke's_law >
[Accessed: 16 October 2012].
[3] Hookes law. [Online], Available at: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_concentration>
[Accessed: 16 October 2012].
[4] Automobile suspensions. [Online], Available at: <promufflerandbrake.com> [Accessed: 16
October 2012].
[5] Toy. [Online], Available at: <loveyababy.wordpress.com> [Accessed: 16 October 2012].
[6] Retractable pens. [Online], Available at: <e.polydono.com> [Accessed: 16 October 2012].

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2.27 The Matrix Suspension

Fatma-Azzahra Mahmud
1. Introduction
Surreal action sequences in film are used to entertain and maintain a lasting impression on
audiences. By applying structural concepts to iconic scenes in film, an enhanced
understanding of these concepts can be achieved, as well as highlighting their vast
functions in various industries. This report will carry out the modelling of Neos bullet
dodge in The Matrix, including an analysis of the behaviour of the derived structural

2. Centre of Mass
The location through which the weight of the object acts or
where the mass of the object is concentrated

Through visual inspection, it appears that Neo is able to maintain stability by using his
lower legs to support the rest of his body. Upon this, the lower legs and feet (element AB,
Figure 6) ar taken to be the supporting structure; for stability to exist the line of action of
the bodys centre of mass must fall within the area of the bodys support. From Figure 3 it
is possible to determine that the centre of mass in the suspension position lies away from
the support, and it can therefore be concluded that some form of structure was used to
support the suspension.

Figure 1 Neo performing the suspension: Perspective A Figure 2 Neo performing the suspension: Perspective B

Centre of Mass

Figure 3 Motion of the suspension from start to end position

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3. Support System

In biomechanics, the knee joint is generally approximated to an engineering pin-joint.

Considering a portal frame structure that follows the form of the suspension, where there is
no support at point D, a pin-joint cannot support the frame. Following the same conclusion
as that derived from the analysis of the bodys centre of mass, it can be assumed that a
support frame with a rigid joint was used to maintain the suspension. By also accounting for
the disproportionate length of the body in suspension - and hence the mass - to the
supporting lower legs, a fixed support also becomes necessary.

Figure 5 Joint detail in support

Figure 4 Support system designed to maintain body suspension system

From the analysis of the suspension above, a supporting frame shown in Figure 4 was
designed. As detailed in Figure 5, the rotation at the joint becomes locked at a 90angle,
allowing the frame to act as a propped cantilever. The fixed support can be achieved through
attaching the shoe of the performer to a nail fixed into the ground, or a steel plate parallel to
the body, which extends beyond the centre of mass (Figure 4). Alternatively, a large mass
can be distributed in the shoe and around the supporting area. (Refer to Sources for videos of
the different support systems aforementioned in use by performers).

4. Equilibrium
If a body is in a state of equilibrium, the sum of reaction forces is equal to the sum of action
forces and the sum of all moments about any point on the body is zero

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At the point of suspension, Neo remains in a state of equilibrium. To understand the behaviour
of the body within the state of equilibrium, it is necessary to simplify the human body to a
structural model, as shown in Figure 6 and explained below:

2.1. Fixed Support (A)

At the fixed support, vertical and horizontal reaction forces are modelled, in addition to
a moment about the support.

2.2. Rigid Joint (B)

The rigid joint provided by the support system experiences a horizontal force at B, this
force is required to model the patellofemoral joint reaction force (1).

2.3. Action from Support System (Between A and C)

To model the support system on the free body diagram, vertical forces along the
cantilever have been added.

A further approximation is the action of the core muscles (Figure 4, Section 1) in supporting the
remainder of the body not under the action of the support system. In the simplified free body
diagram, vertical forces to symbolise muscle action are omitted, however the extension of the
beam along the body does approximate this behaviour to some extent. Hence, following the
definition of equilibrium, equilibrium of the suspension position (Figure 6) will occur if:
MA = (FS . x/2) (FC . y)

3. Modelling the Suspension

To further illustrate the concepts discussed, an experiment was carried out to model the
behaviour of the suspension.

3.1. Model Support System

A rubber material was cut to size and used to approximate the action of the support
system. Although the rubber cannot model the rigid joint, the vertical action forces will
be represented in the model due to the elastic properties of the rubber, as shown in
Figure 7.

Figure 7 Elastic properties of rubber used to model support system

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3.2. Results
A wooden manikin was used, along with the rubber support system and a stopper placed
at the knee to improve approximation to the model, where both a rigid joint and a force
occur at the knee. The foot was fixed with tape in three directions to model the fixed
support. This was completed for only one leg, and the result showed that this was
sufficient to support the body, as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8 Model in equilibrium with support system installed

After removing the support system, failure occurred as expected due to the displacement
of the centre of mass (Figure 9). To model friction between shoes and the ground, some
tape was left on the foot of the manikin in one direction.

Figure 9 Model in failure mode after removing support system

4. Sources
4.1. References
1. Unknown. Biomechanics of the knee joint. http://seltsft.eu/wp-
content/uploads/2011/06/Mati_Psuke_plveliigese_biomehaanika.pdf (accessed 20
October 2013).
4.2. Performances of The Matrix suspension
1. Fixed support: Extended parallel plate
2. Fixed support: Distributed mass at foot

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2.28 Prestressed Table

Rongxing Zhou

Figure 1 Table by Junya Ishigami and Yasutaka Konishi


This table is designed by the Japanese architect Junya Ishigami and structural engineer Yasutaka
Konishi. The size of this table is 9.6m*2.6m*1.1m. The material of this tables panel is
aluminium. The thickness of this table is only 6mm.

Concepts of prestress

Prestressing is a technique that generates stresses in structural elements before they are loaded.
This can be used to reduce particular unwanted stresses and/or displacements which would
develop due to external loads, or for generating particular shapes of tension structures.(Ji, T.
and Bell, A., 2008)

Analysis of this Prestressed table

Generally, aluminium plate will deform clearly when it has a long span. In this case, it is the key
point to guarantee the flat of this table. Therefore, the concepts of prestress are applied to this
table. The deflection caused by the aluminium plates weight needs to be balanced. Considering
the tiny thickness of this table, prestress is not easy to be applied to this table. However, another
method could be applied to this table using the concepts of prestress. It is the pre-deformation

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Considering the difficulty of making this table, this 9.6m panel is cut to a whole panel of 8m
from both sides. Pre-deformation is applied to this 8m aluminium panel. Finally, the table has
been made. Pre-deformation balances the deflection by its weight.

Figure 2 Approximate process of making this table

Figure 3 Manufacturing process of aluminium panel

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Ji,T. and Bell,A.J.(2008) Seeing and Touching Structural Concepts, London and New York: Taylor &




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2.29 Diagonal-span Arch Bridge

Haoxuan Xie

Diagonal-span arch bridge is one of the new types of arch bridges, it keeps and develops the
aesthetic characteristics of general arch bridges. Diagonal-span arch bridge puts a heterotropic
layout between arch and beam. A strong dynamic effect makes diagonal-span arch bridge send
out a vivid sense of life. Because of the unique structural forms and beautiful appearance,
diagonal-span arch has a strong competitiveness among the urban bridges. There are some
famous diagonal-span arch bridges all over the world, such as Campo Volantin footbridge in
Spain, Hulme bridge(Hulme, Manchester, England), Juscelino Kubitschek bridge in Brazil and
so on.

Fig1: Campo Volantin footbridge in Spain Fig2:Hulme Bridge in UK

Fig3:Juscelino Kubitschek bridge in Brazil

Put Hulme Bridge( Hulme, Manchester, UK) as an example to analyze its structure design.
The Hulme Arch Bridge has three primary structural elements that function collectively to
distribute the range of loads and stresses that the structure experiences; they are the arch, the
deck and the asymmetric cable arrangement, Fig 4. Through critical analysis of each of these
elements and how they interact with the other key structural elements, a broader idea of how the
bridge functions structurally can be compiled.

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Fig4: Load path diagram

The steel trapezoidal box-section arch was specified to be parabolic; the advantages being that
when the bridge is in equilibrium the arch should be in pure compression and that is also ensures
that the thrust line generated by the in-plane effects of dead loads follow the centerline of the
arch section, reducing moments generated by the eccentricities.
However, as a result of the asymmetric cable arrangement, large out-of-plane bending moments
are generated within the arch; they are so significant structurally that they become the most
onerous design load for the arch. Consequently, the arch acts more like a laterally loaded
bending member as opposed to a conventional arch.
There is a net rotational force in the arch, generated by the asymmetric cable arrangement, this
is carried by the large concrete foundations and the crown of the arch is also filled with concrete
to resist the turning force and also increase the stiffness of the member, Fig5.

Fig5 Out-of-plane bending moment diagram

Significant axial stresses are generated by the axial and bending effects experienced within the
arch and the stresses are carried by the arch top and soffit plates. Due to the unordinary nature of
the force distribution, stiffening plates moving out of plane. Where the cables are fixed to the

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arch through lugs attached to the soffit, there would be high stress concentrations where the
point loads act, and therefore the diaphragm distributes the load across the section.

The bridge consists of a 50 metres bridge deck, consisting of three 17 by

17 m steel and concrete decking segments, covered with tarmac. The deck is supported by
twenty-two 51 mm diameter spiral steel cables originating from both sides of a 25 metres
high arch. The arch is made of six prefabricated trapezoid steel box sections, and spans the
bridge diagonally. The bridge is illuminated at night. The arch varies between 1.6 metres wide
by 1.5 metres deep at the bases to 3 metres wide and 0.7 metres deep at the top. It is supported
by a pair of 8.5 by 6.5 by 5.5 m concrete blocks, which bear most of the weight of the bridge.
The deck is supported by piled abutments, which incorporate areas for bearing and expansion
joint inspection and maintenance. The arch is kept in shape by a number of internal stiffeners
and diaphragms, with the top section filled with concrete. To minimise internal rust, the lower
sections of the arch were coated with a vapour corrosion inhibitor, with portholes with
removable covers inserted into the arch so that the inside can have additional coats applied in
the future.

From the loads, a set of most onerous design criteria can be found for bending, torsion and shear
effects, Fig6.

Fig6: Strength checks

[1] Hussain, N., Wilson. I, 1997. The Hulme Arch Bridge, Manchester, Institution of Civil
Engineering Journal, pg.2-13. February 1999.
[2] Lee Barnes Warren, A Critical Analysis of the Hulme Arch Bridge, Bath, 2009.
[3] Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulme_Arch_Bridge)

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2.30 Cargo Bridge Analysis of Structure in the Mini-Game

Dalu Xing
When do we need an analysis of structure? The answer of both in study and in engineering may
have been out of the date. Actually, we are playing with it. One fascinating game, Cargo
Bridge ever occupies my spare time to consider how I can build a perfect bridge to pass the
levels of an increasing difficulty. I may share my ideas and the tips what I use from the
knowledge about analysis of structure and what I learned from the game.

1. The Introduction of the Cargo Bridge

It is a mini-game that the players are required to build the stable and economical bridges for
transporting the different loads from one side to another side successfully. It simulates a 2D
environment, the real loading situation and the structural damage development.

1.1 Material description

Timber walks: workers can step on them.

Timber connectors: only used to connect elements of the bridges and workers cannot step
on them.
Steel walks: they possess the same function with the timber walks but higher strength and
Steel connectors: they possess the same function with the timber connectors but higher
strength and cost.

* "Connector" elements are cheaper and lighter than walk respectively.

1.2 Load description

bridge dead load

workers live loads
items live loads
Each type of item has different weight. When workers move them back from one side of a
bridge to the other, the bridge bears a sum of both workers loads and items loads.

Besides, the impact loads that exist in some levels require a higher strength design and fatigue
loading influences also should be considered if a bridge needs to be used repeatedly.

2. Structural Analysis

2.1 Support simplification

Nearly all the supports are simplified as pin rocker supports instead of other styles. The less
supports are provided in those more difficult levels.

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In some levels, the topographical conditions between two sides are different, such as an altitude
gap. However, the workers cannot climb the sharp slope over 45o. As a result, the walks should
be designed a gradient as even as possible.

2.2 Structure simplification

All the damages are attributed to an insufficient strength requirement at the joints instead of any
middle sections. In other words, the materials are assumed to be perfect. This actually neglects
the impact of shear forces and motions on any middle sections. As a result, we may simplify all
the structures as trussed models.

Actually, we only need to consider the axis forces applied on the materials and the stability of
entire structures.

3. Game Skills

3.1 Basic skill

Triangle principle is a basic method to build the bridges. To ensure that the structures are
stable, we increase two-rigid bodies (Binary system) gradually to develop integrated bridges.
Definitely, we sometimes add more connectors to create a statically indeterminate trussed bridge
for enhancing its strength.

3.2 Skills for Win

3.2.1 Goal: Build qualified bridges with the least materials. It means that the more savings
left, the higher score.

3.2.2 Higher score

Use the simpler structure to replace the original one. (See the example)
Use the stronger materials to create a much simpler structure. (See the example)

3.3 Examples

Example 1: Level one

We can see the pictures below that display the process how the bridge is built and mended.

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The Bridge 2 is much simpler than Bridge 1 but possesses the nearly equivalent bear capacity
compared with Bridge 1. As a result, the money is saved $111 (373-262=111). A video can be
available at:


Example 2: Level eight

We can see the pictures below that display the process how the bridge is built and mended.

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The Bridge 2 is much simpler than Bridge 1 but uses the material with a higher strength. As a
result, the money is saved $200(1351-1151=200). Two videos can be available at:




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2.31 Statics 3D Equilibrium

Simon Casey

Equilibrium derives from Newtons first law (the law of inertia) where An object continues
in a state of rest, or in a state of motion at a constant speed along a straight line, unless
compelled to change that state by a net force (Holzner, 2011). This could be interpreted
as; an object will remain at rest or in a continuous motion state in the same direction
unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Therefore equilibrium is vital for building
structures as unnecessary movement can prove catastrophic.

Equilibrium can often be seen to be analysed as a 2-dimensional problem. This provides

provisional analyses of the problem. However, it could be argued that this is not a true
representation of what is actually occurring due to forces such as torque (Harbola, n.d.).
Therefore it could be said that 3-dimensional (3D) analyses offers a more accurate story
to what is actually taking place.

Google Sketch up (Sketch up) is going to be used to offer visual presentation. The 3D
coordinate system used in Sketch up makes use of 3 planes; x, y, and z (see figure 1). To
demonstrate the use of 3D equilibrium a mast and guy ropes are going to be modelled on
Sketch up (figure 2) and used for analyses.

Figure 1 Figure 2
1kN A


6m C

A mast and guy ropes, as seen in figure 2, can make use of 3D equilibrium analyses as
the forces do not lie in a single plane. Therefore making use of simple statics, equilibrium
is going to be used to the tension within the ropes.

When an object is in equilibrium then the resultant forces are equal to zero. Therefore the
following statements apply:

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As we are working in 3D, the equation is expressed in scalar equations relating to

individual planes:

It is advised that when completing equilibrium analyses that you draw a free-body diagram
(see figure 3) to show the structure and what forces are acting on it.

Figure 3

Making use of figure 2 and 3, the following example has been calculated using simple

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Here are some examples of where the given procedure can be used to calculate

Small scale:

Figure Figure

Sourced from: http://www.stellaglasshardware.com/project/future-shop

Large scale:

Figure Figure

Sourced from: Sourced from:

http://www.zilionis.lt/rtv/qth/sia/bub01.php http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/15129

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2.32 Curves Designs of Railroad

Shuai Wang

Speed of trains, and further use of existing resources,the improvement of operational
efficiency is very necessary. To ensure the safe operation of the train, one of the key
issues of the rail curve is designed to ensure the safe operation of high-speed trains.
Therefore, with the curve design and safe operation of trains, it is on the study of the
relationship between the factors of great significance. Studied the inclination, camber,
speed, transition curves of these factors between the safe operation of the train through
the model established in the ideal state, high speed, the relationship between bend
expression: h=s*v2 /gR

R - The curve radius (m)

- Bend angle;

F, N - is the force of the train tracks (N)

S - inside and outside the rail centre distance (mm)

h - Standard high (mm)

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v Speed of train operation (m / s)

Considering the above factors and the relationship between the train operationThe
main research h, R, and the relationship between the train speed V) .h, R and v are in
the ideal state, which should satisfy the relation trains through the corners of the stress
analysis. As followsFigure 2 is an entity, and Figure 3 is a simplified of force


Figure 2

S gauge, h high, angle, G compartment gravity, O compartment focus

Figure 3

F, N is the force of the train tracks

Figure 3 F is the pressure between inside and outside track tires, N is the track to
train supportive, we can have the following equation

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Ncos + F sin=Mg .(1)

Nsin - Fcos=MR2/ v ..(2)

sin= h/s (3)


h=(v2 /R- F)*s/g (4)

As the train ahead of the ideal state is F = 0, is obtained

h=s*v2 /gR (At this point the speed v is the Ideal state)

To make trains pasting the curve safety, there must be a high difference between
outside and inside the tracks.




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This booklet is a collection of students coursework on, Understanding structural concepts,

which is part of the module of Analysis of Structures in 2013-14 at The University of Manchester.
The booklet forms a source of learning for the students themselves enabling them to learn from
each other rather than from lecturers and textbooks.

It is hoped that students learn effectively and actively and this, in part, requires appropriate
activities and/or stimulators being provided. Students were asked to study, Seeing and Touching
Structural Concepts, at the website, www.structuralconcepts.org, where structural concepts are
demonstrated by physical models and their applications are shown by practical examples. It was
hoped that students could not only quickly revise a number of concepts they studied previously
but could also gain an improved understanding of the structural concepts.

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