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A good question was raised in lecture 5 about dealing with the mass of the beam in the worked example.

We assumed a uniform beam and hence the total weight (W=mg) acts through the centre point of the beam as shown below. Mass is 300kg and g=9.81ms-2

7.5m W= mg = (300*9.81)=2943N
If we calculate the moment of the weight of the beam alone about A (clockwise positive) we get: MA = 2943*7.5 = 22072.5 Nm However: If we assume that the beam mass is uniformly distributed along its length we can calculate a mass per unit length: Mlength = Mass/length = 300/17 = 17.647 kgm-1 So we could assume that the beam is in two sections, the first a 1m long section to the left of point A and the second a 16m long section to the right of point A. The mass of the 1m section would be 1*Mlength=17.647kg The mass of the 16m section would be 16*Mlength=282.352kg And these masses would produce a weight or force that acts in the centre of each section. So we could redraw the problem as having 2 weights acting either side of A:

1m A

16 m


8m W1=mg = (282.352*9.81)=2769.882N

W2= mg = (17.647*9.81)=173.118N

So, as was correctly pointed out in the lecture, the 1m section provides a moment in

the opposite direction to the 16m section. However, if we sum the total moment around point A we get the following (taking clockwise as positive): MA = 2769.882*8-173.118*0.5 = 22072.5 Nm And this is exactly the same as the first case!