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Bending of Beams

This excerpt discusses the bending of straight as well as curved beams—that is, structural elements possessing one dimension significantly greater than the other two, usually loaded in a direction normal to the longitudinal axis.

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5.1 Introduction

In this chapter we are concerned with the bending of straight as well as curved beams—that is, structural elements possessing one dimension significantly greater than the other two, usually loaded in a direction normal to the longitudinal axis. We first examine the elasticity or “exact” solutions of beams that are straight and made of homogeneous, linearly elastic materials. Then, we consider solutions for straight beams using mechanics of materials or elementary theory, special cases involving members made of composite materials, and the shear center. The deflections and stresses in beams caused by pure bending as well as those due to lateral loading are discussed. We analyze stresses in curved beams using both exact and elementary methods, and compare the results of the various theories.

Except in the case of very simple shapes and loading systems, the theory of elasticity yields beam solutions only with considerable difficulty. Practical considerations often lead to assumptions about stress and deformation that result in mechanics of materials or elementary theory solutions. The theory of elasticity can sometimes be applied to test the validity of such assumptions. This theory has three roles in these problems: It can serve to place limitations on the use of the elementary theory, it can be used as the basis of approximate solutions through numerical analysis, and it can provide exact solutions for simple configurations of loading and shape.

Part A: Exact Solutions

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