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# CHAPTER 2: TRUSSES

## 2.1 2D Truss or Plane Truss

Every truss member is identified as a truss element. Each truss element is in direct
tension or compression. In a truss element all the loads and reactions are applied only at
the pin joints.
Hence we may define a truss element as a two noded element having two degrees
of freedom at each node. As shown in figure, for node i the d.o.f. no. along the
horizontal and vertical directions are 2i-1 & 2i respectively and the corresponding
displacements at node i are identified as Q
2i-1
& Q
2i
.
Compared to the 1D problems, plane truss may make inclination with X-axis or
(90- ) with Y axis. We may define local & global co-ordinates for a truss element. The
local co-ordinate system has only one co-ordinate x
1
which is located along the truss
element axis. The global co-ordinate system has 2 co-ordinates x & y of Cartesian
co-ordinate system.
Let q
1
1
& q
1
2
be the displacement of nodes 1 & 2, respectively in the local co-ordinate
system. Hence, the element displacement vector in the local co-ordinate system is
denoted by
9
1
2
x
1
1
x
y
q
4
q
3
q
2
2

q
1
q
1
1
q
1
cos
q
2
sin
q
3
cos
q
2
1
q
4
sin
q
1
1
= q
1
cos + q
2
sin
q
2
1
= q
3
cos + q
4
sin
Deformed Element
Fig.2.1 Local coordinates & Global coordinates of truss element
e
l
x x
l
) (
cos
1 2

e
l
y y
m
) (
sin
1 2

In terms of global co-ordinate system, q
1
& q
2
are the displacements of node 1
along x & y, q
3
& q
4
are displacement of node 2 along x & y.
The element displacement vector in the global co-ordinate system is denoted by
Now we should relate {q
1
}

& {q}
From fig. 2.1 it can be noted that
q
1
1
= q
1
cos + q
2
sin (2.1)
q
2
1
= q
3
cos + q
4
sin (2.2)
Writing (2.1) & (2.2) in matrix form
We can write l = cos & m = sin
where l & m are the direction cosines.
OR
{q
1
} = [L] {q} ..(2.3)
where [L] is called transformation matrix.
2.1.2 Element Stiffness Matrix for 2DTruss:
10
q
1
1
q
1
2
{q
1
} =
q
1
q
2
q
3
q
4
{q} =
q
1
q
2
q
3
q
4
q
1
1
q
1
2
=
cos sin 0 0
0 0 cos
sin
q
1
q
2
q
3
q
4
q
1
1
q
1
2
=
l m 0 0
0 0 l m
It may be noted that the 2D truss element is a 1D structural element when viewed
in the local co-ordinate system (i.e. along x
1
).
Element stiffness matrix in the local co-ordinate system is
Since we know only global co-ordinates, we would like to express the element
stiffness matrix in terms of global co-ordinates.
Consider the strain energy of the element. In terms of local co-ordinates it can be given as
U
e
= 1/2 {q
1
}
T
[k
e
1
] {q
1
} (2.5)
But {q
1
} = [L] {q}
{q
1
}
T
= {q}
T
[L]
T

Substituting. in (2.5) we get ,
U
e
= {q}
T
[L]
T
[k
e
1
][L]{q}
=1/2 { q }
T
[ k
e
1
] { q }
where [ k
e
] = [ L ]
T
[ k
e
1
] [ L ] is the element stiffness matrix in terms of the global
coordinates.

2.1.3 Strain in element for 2D Truss:
11
l m 0 0
0 0 l m
AE/l
e
l 0
m 0
0 l
0 m
[k
e
] =
1 -1
-1 1
AE/l
e
[k
e
1
] =
1 -1
-1 1
(2.4)
[k
e
] = AE/l
e
l
2
lm -l
2
-lm

lm m
2
-lm -m
2
-l
2
-lm l
2
lm
-lm -m
2
lm m
2
.(2.6)
e
l
q q
Length Original
Length in Change 1
1
2
1

{ }

'

1
2
1
1
1 1
1
q
q
l
e
{ } [ ] { } ) 7 . 2 ..( .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... 1 1
1
q L
l
e

e
E
{ } [ ] { } q L
l
E
e
e
1 1
{ }{ } ) 8 . 2 .......( .......... .......... .......... q m l m l
l
E
e
e

2.1.4 Stress in element for 2D Truss:
2.2 3D Truss or Space Truss
The 3-D truss element can be treated as a straightforward generalization of the 2D
truss element discussed above. The local and global coordinate systems for a 3-D truss
12
Fig. 2.2 Nodal Displacement components for 3D truss
{ } ) 9 . 2 .( .......... .......... .......... .......... ..........
2
1 1

'

q
q
q
{ } ) 10 . 2 .....( .......... .......... .......... .......... ..........
6
5
4
3
2
1

'

q
q
q
q
q
q
q
[ ]
1
]
1

l l l
n m l
L
0 0 0
0 0 0
element are in fig 2.2. Note that the local coordinate system is again the x
1
axis running
along the element, since a truss element is simply a two-force member. Consequently, the
nodal displacement vector in local coordinates is
The nodal displacement vector in global coordinates is now (Fig 2.2b)
Referring to Fig 2.2, we find that the transformation between local and global
coordinates is
{q
1
} = [L]{q} .(2.11)
where the transformation matrix L is given by
where l, m and n are the direction cosines of the local x
1
axis with respect to the global x,
y and z axes, respectively.
2.2.1 Element Stiffness Matrix for 3DTruss:
It may be noted that the 2D truss element is a 1D structural element when viewed
in the local co-ordinate system (i.e. along x
1
).
Element stiffness matrix in the local co-ordinate system is
Since we know only global co-ordinates, we would like to express the element
stiffness matrix in terms of global co-ordinates.
13
AE/l
e
[k
e
1
] =
1 -1
-1 1
(2.12)
[ ] ) 14 . 2 ..( .......... .......... ..........
2 2
2 2
2 2
2 2
2 2
2 2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
]
1

n mn n l n mn n l
mn m lm mn m lm
n l lm l n l lm l
n mn n l n mn n l
mn m lm mn m lm
n l lm l n l lm l
l
E A
K
e
e e
( )
e
l
x x
l
1 2

( )
e
l
y y
m
1 2

( )
e
l
z z
n
1 2

2
1 2
2
1 2
2
1 2
) ( ) ( ) ( z z y y x x l where
e
+ +
[ ]
1
]
1

1
]
1

1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
]
1

n m l
n m l
L
AE
n
m
l
n
m
l
K
e
e
0 0 0
0 0 0
1 1
1 1
0
0
0
0
0
0
e
l
q q
Length Original
Length in Change 1
1
2
1

Consider the strain energy of the element. In terms of local co-ordinates it can be given as
U
e
= {q
1
}
T
[k
e
1
] {q
1
} (2.13)
But {q
1
} = [L] {q}
{q
1
}
T
= {q}
T
[L]
T

Substituting. in (2.5) we get ,
U
e
= {q}
T
[L]
T
[k
e
1
][L]{q}
= { q }
T
[ k
e
1
] { q }
where [ k
e
] = [ L ]
T
[ k
e
1
] [ L ] is the element stiffness matrix in terms of the global
coordinates.
The element stiffness matrix in global coordinates is given by
The direction cosines l, m and n can be evaluated as follows:
2.2.2 Strain in element for 3D Truss:
14
{ }

'

1
2
1
1
1 1
1
q
q
l
e
{ }[ ]{ } ) 15 . 2 ..( .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... 1 1
1
q L
l
e

e
E
{ } [ ] { } q L
l
E
e
e
1 1
{ }{ } ) 16 . 2 ( .......... .......... q n m l n m l
l
E
e
e

2.2.3 Stress in element for 3D Truss:
15