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# CHAPTER 4

## Internal Forces in Beams

Shear force diagrams, bending moment diagrams and deflected shape of
beams.

## 1. Determination of Support Reactions for Plane Structures (Determinate)

The determination of support reactions for plane structures (determinate) is based on the
equations of equilibrium and the equations of condition if any.

F = 0, F = 0, M = 0
x y z

Example 1
Beam ABCD has a pinned support at A and a roller support at C. It carries two
concentrated loads of 20 kN each and a uniformly distributed load of 4 kN/m over the
right hand half as shown. Determine the reactions.
20 kN
20 kN
4 kN/m
A
B C D

3m 1.5m 1.5m 3m

Solution
20 kN
20 kN
4 kN/m
A
B C D
HA
VA V
3m 1.5m 1.5m C 3m

Fx = 0, HA = 0
20*3 + 20*9 + 4*(4.5)*(4.5 + 4.5/2) Vc*6 = 0
Vc = 60.25 kN

Fy = 0, 20 + 20 + 4*4.5 = VA + VC
VA = -2.25 kN, (-ve sign indicates VA acts in opposite direction)
VA = 2.25 kN ()

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Example 2
Find the support reactions for the simple beam as shown below.
5 4
40 kN 50 kN 3

A D
B C

5m 2.5m 2.5m

Solution
5 4
40 kN 40 kN
50 kN
3

A 30 kN
D
B C
HA
VA VD
5m 2.5m 2.5m

Resolve the 50 kN inclined external load into horizontal and vertical components as
shown.
Fx = 0, HA = 30 kN
40*5 + 40*7.5 VD*10 = 0
VD = 50 kN

Fy = 0, 40 + 40 = VA + VD
VA = 30 kN

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2. Internal Forces in a Beam

## Before a structural element can be designed, it is necessary to determine the internal

forces that act within the element. The internal forces for a beam section will consist
of a shear force V, a bending moment M, and an axial force (normal force) N. For

## Sign Convention (considering a small segment of the member):

Shear ForceV:
Positive shear tends to rotate the segment clockwise.

Bending MomentM:
Positive moment bends the segment concave upwards ( ).
(so as to hold water)

Axial ForceN:
Tension is positive.

An important feature of the above sign convention (often called the beam convention)
is that it gives the same (positive or negative) results regardless of which side of the
section is used in computing the internal forces.

V
M M
N N

## POSITIVE SIGN CONVENTION

N Axial Force N

V
M M
Shear Force Bending Moment

## Figure 1 Sign Convention of Internal Forces

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2.1 Procedures for Finding V, M and N at a Beam Section
i. Identify whether the beam is a determinate or an indeterminate structure.
(This chapter focuses on the analysis of determinate beam only. Indeterminate
structure requires the consideration of compatibility condition, i.e. the
deformation of the structure).

## ii. Compute the Support Reactions

Make use of the equilibrium equations and the equations of condition if any.

## iii. Draw a Free-Body Diagram of the Beam Segment

Draw a free-body diagram of the beam segment to the left or right of the beam.
(Although the left or right segment could equally be used, we should select the
segment that requires the least computation).
Indicate at the section the unknowns V, M and N. The directions of these
unknowns may be assumed to be the same as their positive directions.

## iv. Use the Equations of Equilibrium to Determine V, M & N.

If the solution gives a negative value for V, M or N, this does not mean the force
itself is NEGATIVE. It tells that actual force or moment acts in the reversed
direction only.

## v. Check the Calculations using the Opposite Beam Segment if necessary.

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Example 3
Determine the shear force V and the bending moment M at the section P of the
overhanging beam shown.

10 kN 15 kN
4 kN/m

A B P C D
HB
VB VC
2m 4m
10m 3m

Solution
No. of reactions = no. of equations of equilibrium Determinate beam

## Determine reactions HB, VB and VC.

Fx = 0, HB = 0

MB = 0, 4*10*(10/2) + 15*13 10*2 VC*10 = 0
VC = 37.5 kN

Fy = 0, VB + VC = 10 + 4*10 + 15
VB = 27.5 kN

## Determine V and M atP (using left free-body)

10 kN
4 k N /m
MP
A B P HP
HB VP
VB
2m 4m

Fx = 0, since HB = 0, HP = 0

Fy = 0, VB + VP = 10 + 4*4
27.5 + VP = 26
VP = -1.5 kN(This implies that Vp acts in downwards direction )

10*6 + 4*4*4/2 + MP = VB*4
MP = 27.5*4 60 32 = 18 kNm

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Determine V and M atP (using right free-body)

15 kN
4 kN/m
MP
HP
P
VP VC
6m 3m

Fx = 0, HP = 0,

Fy = 0,VC + VP = 15 + 4*6
37.5 + VP = 39
VP = +1.5 kN(This implies that Vp acts in upwards direction as assumed)

15*9 + 4*6*6/2 + MP = VC*6
MP = 37.5*6 135 72 = 18 kNm
(This implies that MP acts in the direction as indicated in the free-body
diagram.)

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Example 4
Determine the shear force V and the bending moment M at section P of the cantilever
beam.
40 kN

MA A 5 kN/m
HA
4m B P C
VA 3m 3m
Solution

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Determine the support reactions

Fx = 0, HA= 0,
Fy = 0,VA = 5*6 + 40 = 70 kN

40 * 3 + 5*6*6/2 MA =0
MA = 210 kNm

## Determine V and M atP (using left free-body)

40 kN

A 5 kN/m P M
210 kNm P
4m B HP
70 kN V
P

Fx = 0, HP= 0,

Fy = 0, VP + 70 = 40 + 5*4
VP = -10 kN

40*1 + 5*4*4/2 + 210 70*4 - Mp = 0
MP = 10 kNm

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Determine V and M at P (using right free-body)

MP 5 kN/m
HP
P C
VP 2m

Fx= 0, HP= 0,

Fy = 0, VP = 5*2 = 10 kN

5*2*1 Mp = 0
MP = 10 kNm

Both the left free-body and the right free-body can be used to obtain the results.
However, it is noted that by using the right free-body will greatly simplified the
calculations. This shows importance of choosing the appropriate free-body.

## 2.2 Shear Force and Bending Moment Diagrams

By the methods discussed before, i.e. by using free-body diagrams, the magnitude and
sign of the shear forces and bending moments may be obtained at many sections of a
beam. When these values are plotted on a base line representing the length of a
beam, the resulting diagrams are called, respectively, the shear force diagram and the
bending moment diagram.
Shear force and bending moment diagrams are very useful to a designer, as they allow
him to see at a glance the critical sections of the beam and the forces to design for.
Draftsman-like precision in drawing the shear force and bending moment diagrams is
usually not necessary, as long as the significant numerical values are clearly marked on
the diagram.
The most fundamental approach in constructing the shear force and bending moment
diagrams for a beam is to use the procedure of sectioning. With some experience, it
is not difficult to identify the sections at which the shear force and bending moment
diagrams between these sections are readily identified after some experience and can
be sketched in.

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Example 5

Draw the shear force and the bending moment diagrams for the beam shown.

8 kN

2 kN/m
A C
B
HA
VA VC
5m 3m

Solution

Fx= 0, HA = 0
2*8*8/2 + 8*5 VC*8 = 0
VC = 13 kN

Fy = 0, VA + VC = 2*8 + 8
VA + 13 = 2*8 + 8
VA = 11 kN

2 kN/m HX
M
X
11 kN VX
x
For 0 x 5m

Fx = 0, HX = 0
Fy = 0, VX + 2x = 11, VX =11 - 2x

## Take moment about the cut,

11x 2x(x)/2 Mx = 0, Mx = 11xx2

8 kN

2 kN/m HX
M
B X
11 kN VX
5m
x

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For 5 x 8m

Fx = 0, HX = 0
Fy = 0, VX + 11 = 2x + 8, VX = 2x - 3

11x 2x(x)/2 8*(x-5) - Mx = 0, Mx = 11xx28x + 40
Mx = 3xx2 + 40

x (m) 0 1 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 8
V (kN) 11 9 7 5 3 1 -7 -9 -11 -13
M 0 10 18 24 28 30 30 22 12 0
(kNM)

8 kN

2 kN/m
A C
B
11 kN 13 kN
5m 3m

+ve
11
9 7 5 Shear Force (kN)
3
1B
A C

-7
-9
-11
-13
A B
C
0 0
10 12
+ve 18
24 22
28 30
Bending Moment (kNm)

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2.3 Relationships between Load, Shear Force and Bending Moment

point = point

## Change in shear between points A Area under the distributed load

and B = diagram between points A and B.

## Slope of bending moment diagram

Shear at that point
at a point. =

## Change in bending moment Area under the shear force diagram

between points A and B. = between points A and B.

Change in shear at the point of
application of a concentrated load. =

## Couples or Concentrated Moments

Change in bending moment at the Magnitude of the moment of the
point of application of a couple. = couple.

## 2.4 Shapes of Shear Force and Bending Moment Diagrams

A. Beams under Point Loads only
i. Shears are constant along sections between point loads.
ii. The shear force diagram consists of a series of horizontal lines.
iii. The bending moment varies linearly between point loads.
iv. The bending moment diagram is composed of sloped lines.

## B. Beams under Uniformly Distributed Loads (UDL) only

i. A UDL produces linearly varying shear forces.
ii. The shear force diagram consists of a sloped line or a series of sloped
lines.
iii. A UDL produces parabolically varying moment.
iv. The bending moment diagram is composed of 2nd-order parabolic
curves.

Shear force diagram is a Horizontal Straight Line.
Moment Diagram is a Sloping Straight Line.

## ii. At a Point Load:

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There is a Jump in the Shear Force Diagram.

## iii. At aPoint Moment:

There is a Jump in the Bending Moment Diagram.

## iv. Section under UDL:

Shear Force Diagram is a sloping straight line (1st order)
Bending Moment Diagram is a Curve (2nd order parabolic)

## v. Section under Linearly Varying Load

Shear Force Diagram is a Curve (2nd order)
Bending Moment Diagram is a Curve (3rd order)

vi. The Curve of the Bending Moment Diagram is 1 order above the Curve
of the Shear Force Diagram.

vii. Maximum and Minimum Bending Moments occur where the Shear
Force Diagram passes through the X-axis (i.e. at points of zero shear)
(This characteristics is very useful in finding Max. and Min. bending
moment.)

Example 6
Draw the shear force and bending moment diagrams for the beam shown.

20 kN 40 kN
4 kN/m
A F
B C D E
HA
VA V
F
1.5m 1.5m 3m 1.5m 1.5m

Solution

Fx = 0, HA = 0 kN

20*1.5 + 4*3*(3 + 3/2) + 40*7.5 VF*9 = 0
VF = 42.7 kN

Fy = 0, VA + VF = 20 + 40 + 4*3
VA = 29.3 kN

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Shear Force and Bending Moment

20 kN 40 kN
4 kN/m
A F
B C D E
29.3 42.7

29.3 29.3

+44.0 2.325m
9.3
-0.9 -4.0
+14.0 +10.8 E F
0
A B C -2.7
D
-63.9
Shear Force (kN)

-42.7 -42.7

A B C D E F
0

44
58
63.9
68.8 67.9

## Bending Moment (kNm)

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Example 7
Draw the shear force and bending moment diagrams for the beam shown.

10 kN 20 kN
4 kN/m
A B C D E
HB
VB VD
2m 2m 4m 2m

Solution
Fx = 0, HB = 0 kN

20*2 + 4*8*4 10*2 VD*6 = 0
VD = 24.7 kN

Fy = 0, VB + VD = 10 + 20 + 4*8
VB = 37.3 kN

10 kN 20 kN
4 kN/m
A B C D E
37.3 24.7

1
27.3
4
19.3
+46.7 8 1
A B C D +8 4 0
-20 -0.7 -34.7
E
4
-10 -10 1

## Shear Force (kN) -16.7

-20
1
10 -8
C 0
A B D E

+26.7
Bending Moment (kNm)

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3. Deflected Shape of Beams
The qualitative deflected shape (also called elastic curve) of a beam is simply an
approximate and exaggerated sketch of the deformed beam due to the given loading.
The deflected shape is useful in understanding the structural behaviour.

## 3.1 Sketching the Deflected Shape of a Beam

i. The deflected shape must be consistent with the support conditions:
(a) At a Roller Support, the vertical deflection is zero but the beam may rotate
freely.
(b) At a Pin Support, the vertical and horizontal deflections are zero but the
beam may rotate freely.
(c) At a Fixed Support, the vertical and horizontal deflections are zero and
there is no rotation.

ii. The deflected shape must be consistent with the Bending Moment Diagram.
(a) Where the moment is positive, the deflected shape is concave upwards
( ).
(b) Where the moment is negative, the deflected shape is concave downwards
( ).

iii. The transition points between positive and negative moment regions are points of
zero moment. These points are called point of inflection or point of
contraflexure.

iv. The deflected shape must be a smooth curve except at internal hinges.
Normally, the vertical deflection at an internal hinge is not zero.

v. Quite often it is possible to sketch the deflected shape of a structure first and then
to infer the shape of the bending moment diagram from the sketch. This is
useful for checking whether a bending moment diagram obtained through
calculations is correct.

A B C

Bending Moment

## +ve moment -ve moment

A B
Deflected Shape C

## point of inflection Figure 2 Deflected Shape of a Beam

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Figure 3a Examples of Deflected Shapes

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Figure 3b Examples of Deflected Shapes

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Example 8
Construct the complete shear force and bending moment diagrams, and sketch the
deflected shape for the beam shown.

10 kN
20 kN
30 kN/m

A B C D

2m 5m 2m
Solution

10 kN 20 kN
30 kN/m

A B C D
HB
VB VC
2m 5m 2m

X = 0, HB = 0 kN

20*7 + 30*7*(3.5 2) + (30*2/2)*(5 + 2/3) - 10*2 VC*5 = 0
VC = 121kN

Y = 0, VB + VC = 10 + 20 + 30*7 + 30*2/2
VB = 149kN

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79

50

20

A
B C D
-10

-70 -71
2.63m

-80
-60

A B C D
24
2.63 m

## Bending Moment (kNm)

10 kN 20 kN

30 kN/m

A B C D
P.I. P.I.
Deflected Shape

4. Principle of Superposition
The principle of superposition states that on a linear elastic structure, the combined
effect (e.g., support reactions, internal forces and deformation) of several loads acting
simultaneously is equal to the algebraic sum of the effects of each load acting
individually.

## There are two conditions for which superposition isNOT valid.

1. When the structural material does not behave according to Hookes law; that is,
when the stress is not proportional to the strain.
2. When the deflections of the structure are so large that computations cannot be
based on the original geometry of the structure.

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P2 P1
w kN/m
MA
HA
VA
L L

2P1 L

(a)
m1 B.M. due to P1

+
P 2L

(b) m2
B.M. due to P2
2
+ 2wL

(c) m3
B.M. due to w

2P1 L + P 2L +2wL2

m 1 + m2 + m3
(d) Complete bending
moment diagram

## Figure 4a Examples of using the Principle of Superposition

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-77.5

-52.5

5 kN
4 kN/m 40 kNm -12.5
77.5

15
2.5m 2.5m

-12.5
4 kN/m
12.5

10

+ +
5 kN -25
-12.5
25

5
+
+
-40 -40

40 40 kNm

bending moment (kNm)
Figure 4b Examples of using the Principle of Superposition

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-20 kNm
10 kN
5 kN/m

## 5 kN 25 kN 10 kNm -20 kNm

4m 2m

2.5 kNm

5 kN/m

10 kN 10 kN 10 kNm

+ +
-20 kNm
10 kN

5 kN 15 kN Bending Moment

## Figure 4c Examples of using the Principle of Superposition

5. Beam Deflection

Beam deflection can be determined by using the following beam deflection table.
The deflection of the beam is inversely proportional to the quantity EI, which is the
flexural rigidity of the beam.

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Example 9
Use the methods of superposition to find the deflection at the free end of the following
cantilever beam. EI of the beam is constant.

Solution

WT = W1 + W2

## From the deflection table,

WT = PL3/3EI + wL4/8EI

WT = 2(9)3/(3EI) + 0.5(9)4/(8EI)

WT = 896 /(EI) m

Example 10

Use the method of superposition to find the deflection at the middle of the following
simply supported beam. EI of the beam is constant.

10 kN
3m
1.5 kN/m
A B

12 m

25
Solution

6m

10 kN
3m

A B

y
1

1.5 kN/m

A B
y2

yM = y1 + y2

## From the beam deflection table,

yM = Pa(3L2 - 4a2) / 48EI + 5wL4 / 384 EI
= 10(3)[3(12)2 - 4(3)2] / 48EI + 5(1.5)(12)4 / 384EI
= 652/EI m

References
1. R.C. Hibbeler (2005), Mechanics of Materials, SI 2nd edition, Prentice Hall
2. R.C. Hibbeler (2005), Structural Analysis, SI edition, Prentice Hall

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