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Today, more than ever, engineering applications are often interdisciplinary, involving the interrelationship of the basic engineering sciences (mechanics, metallurgy, chemistry, physics, mathematics, etc.). This is the reason why the modern engineer must have a fundamental knowledge in each of these particular areas. There is no doubt that one of the most important matter within the preparing of the engineering students is represented by the course of Strength of Materials, which is a very important link of this knowledge. Furthermore, for a successful machine or structural design, a thorough mastery of strength of materials is a must. This book is intended to be a basic course of Strength of Materials which to develop in the engineering student the ability to analyze a given problem in a simple and logical manner and to apply to its solutions a few fundamental and wellunderstood principles. But there is also another important reason this book has been written for: to accustom the Romanian engineering students with the main concepts, symbols and trends belonging to the English Engineering Life. As we know, the world of modern science has progressed swiftly across hitherto impossible barriers. There has been more change in the last twenty years than in the previous fifty and more in fifty years than in the previous 200. Never was it more important to have available information on the countless facts of modern scientific knowledge and achievements. Every science-oriented engineer should equip himself with the most up-to-date achievements of science and technique. But for this, he must know the other mans language. Research people need knowledge of reports and publications in many languages. You can not have a proper access to the impressive quantity of Internet information if you dont master a foreign language, especially English. The barrier that is set up by a difference in language may constitute a serious obstacle in pure science or in the more practical world of technology. There are three main ways in which scientific information may be acquired: - by adequate translation; - by persuading scientists to publish their work in the better-known languages; - by teaching scientists to read, to write and to speak foreign languages. From these three solutions, the third one is, of course, much more convenient to anyone. Only from the above mentioned ideas one can conclude that it is so important to master a foreign language, especially English which is spread all over the world. Engineering English is no longer a problem nowadays. Every student can easily and rapidly master it, provided he is set on learning it. This is the conclusion to be drawn as far as the difficulties in the search for technical information are concerned. A great philosopher used to say: The knowledge of a language is another weapon in life.

Strength of Materials


During the whole history of the human society, the practical needs have been those which fundamentally contributed to the development of sciences like mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, etc. In the same manner, the Strength of Materials has arisen from the necessity of building safely, economically and aesthetically. Through the ages, the application of materials in engineering design has posed difficult problems to mankind. In the Stone Age the problems were mainly in the shaping of material. In the early days of the Bronze Age and the Iron Age the difficulties were both in production and shaping. For many centuries metal-working was laborious and extremely costly. Estimates go that the equipment of a knight and horse in the thirteenth century was of the equivalent price of a Centurion tank in Word War II. With the improving skill of metal working, applications of metals in structure increased progressively. Then it was experienced that structures built of these materials did not always behave satisfactorily and unexpected failures often occurred. Detailed descriptions of castings and forgins produced in the Middle Age exist. When judged with present day knowledge, this production methods must have been liable to build important technical deficiencies into the structures. The vastly increasing use of metals in the nineteenth century caused the number of accidents and casualties to reach unknown levels. For example, the number of people killed in railway accidents in Great Britain was in the order of two hundred per year during the decade 1860-1870. Most of the accidents were a result of derailing caused by fractures of wheels, axles or rails. Most of these accidents were certainly due to a poor design, which mainly means a poor understanding and use of Strength of Materials, when design a certain mechanical structure. Within the context of modern engineering design, Strength of Materials has continued to occupy a very important place, providing a useful and necessary tool in understanding the behaviour of certain mechanical structures subjected to external loads.

Three fundamental areas of engineering mechanics are statics, dynamics and strength of materials. While statics and dynamics are devoted primarily to the study of the external effects of forces on rigid bodies (i.e. bodies which do not deform


under the action of the external loads), strength of materials deals with the relations between externally applied loads and their internal effects on bodies. Moreover, the bodies are no longer assumed to be rigid; the deformations, however small, are of major interest. In mechanical design, the engineer must consider both dimensions and material properties to satisfy requirements of strength and rigidity. When loaded, a machine component or structure should neither break nor deform excessively. Let us now consider for example a body subjected to several external loads (forces and couples) Fig.1.1. Before the action of the loads, one can find a certain state inside the body. But, due to the action of the external loads, the mechanical state inside the body will change. Each particular point of the involved body feels in a certain way the action of the external loads, depending upon the position of the point inside the body and the physical nature of the material at that level. Within the above mentioned context Strength of Materials tries to offer reasonable answers to some Fig. 1.1 important questions such as: - what does a certain point of the body feel if the external loads act? - how does the involved body deform under the action of the external loads? - which are the mathematical connections between the mechanical effects occured at the level of the points of the body and the values of the external loads? - which are the critical values of the external loads for which the body fails or deforms excessively ? These are only some matters Strength of Materials is concerning with. In its obvious intention to give valuable answers to the above mentioned questions, Strength of Materials has ordered its problems in three important classes: Dimensioning problems: - input data : values and physical nature of the external loads; geometry of the body; mechanical properties of the material the body is made of; - output data : the required dimensions so that the body would not fail or deform excessively. Determination of the allowable external loads: - input data: body dimensions and geometry; mechanical properties of the material; - output data: the maximum allowable values of the external loads so that the body would not fail or deform excessively.

Strength of Materials

Checking problems: - input data : body dimensions and geometry; mechanical properties of the material; external loads values and orientation; - output data : a checking calculus which to conclude if the involved body would fail or not within such conditions. Strength of Materials provides the engineers with the mathematical means of getting inside the bodies, of understanding the intimate behavior of matter, in order to give valuable answers to the questions mentioned above. As a branch of science, Strength of Materials belongs to the Mechanics of Solid Deformable Bodies together with: The Theory of Elasticity, Theory of Plasticity and Statics, Dynamics and Stability of Constructions. Although the Theories of Elasticity and Plasticity concern with the same problems as Strength of Materials, they use only a limited number hypothesis (assumptions), are much more exact but, many times, exceedingly complicated. The Theories of Elasticity and Plasticity use complex mathematical tools, in many cases less adequate to the engineering applications. On the contrary, Strength of Materials uses a large number of theoretical simplifying hypothesis, approximations and experimental analysis methods, providing a useful tool for immediate engineering applications. Through its practical and theoretical investigations Strength of Materials interferes with a lot of fundamental sciences such as: mathematics, physics, technology, chemistry, etc. even with biology, proving again if it is still the case the absence of once called hard lines between the sciences.


From the earliest times when people started to build, it was found necessary to have information regarding the strength of materials so that rules for determining safe dimensions of different bodies or structural elements could be experienced. No doubt the Egyptians had some empirical rules of this kind, for without them it would have been impossible to erect their monuments, temples, pyramids and obelisks, some of which still exist. The Greeks further advanced the art of building. They developed statics, which underlies the mechanics of materials. Archimedes (287-212 B.C.) gave a rigorous proof of the conditions of equilibrium of a lever and outlined methods of determining centers of gravity of bodies. He used his theory in the construction of various hoisting devices. The Romans were great builders. Not only some of their monuments and temples remain, but also roads, bridges and fortifications. We know something of their building methods from the book of Vitruvius, a famous Roman architect and engineer of the time of Emperor Augustus. Most of the knowledge that the Greeks and Romans accumulated in the way of


structural engineering was lost during the Middle Ages and only since the Renaissance has it been recovered. Thus when the famous Italian architect Fontana (1543-1607) erected the Vatican obelisk at the order of Pope Sixtus V, this work attracted wide attention from European engineers. But we know that the Egyptians had raised several such obelisks thousands of years previously, after cutting stone from the quarries of Syene and transporting it on the Nile. Indeed, the Romans had carried some of the Egyptians obelisks from their original sites and erected them in Rome; thus it seems that the engineers of the sixteenth century were not as well equipped for such difficult tasks as their predecessors. During the Renaissance there was a revival of interest in science and art leaders appeared in the field of architecture and engineering. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was a most outstanding man of that period. He was not only the leading artist of his time but also a great scientist and engineer. Leonardo da Vinci was greatly interested in mechanics and, in one of his notes, he states: Mechanics is the paradise of mathematical science because here we come to the fruits of mathematics. The first attempts to find the safe dimensions of structural elements analytically were made in the seventeenth century. Galileo Galileis (1564-1642) Leonardo da Vinci famous book Two New Sciences shows the writers efforts to put the methods applicable in stress analysis into a logical sequence. It represents the beginning of the science of Strength of Materials. In 1678, the paper Of Spring was published, a paper whose author was Robert Hooke (1635-1703). It contains the results of Hookes experiments with elastic bodies. This is the first published paper in which the elastic properties of materials are discussed. The linear relation between the force and the deformation is the so-called Hookes law, which later on was used as the foundation upon which further development of the Strength of Materials of elastic bodies was built. Bernoulli family produced outstanding mathematicians for more than a hundred years: Jacob, Nicholas, John, Daniel Bernoulli. Besides mathematics these outstanding mathematicians were also attracted by Mechanics and Strength of Materials. For example, Daniel Bernoulli was the first Galileo Galilei to derive the differential equations governing lateral vibrations of prismatic bars, using it to study particular modes of this motion and to John Bernoulli belongs the well-known hypothesis of plane sections for beams in bending.

Strength of Materials

Leonard Euler (1707-1783), Daniel Bernoullis pupil, was one of the greatest mathematicians of all times. In the field of Strength of Materials he was principally interested in the geometrical forms of elastics curves. His contributions in the buckling phenomenon, for example, is essential.

Daniel Bernoulli

Leonard Euler

Navier (1785-1836) published in 1826 the first real book on Strength of Materials where his main achievements in this field were incorporated. If we compare this book with those of the eighteenth century, we clearly see the great progress made in mechanics of materials during the first quarter of the nineteenth. Engineers of the eighteenth century used experiments and theory to establish formulas for the calculation of ultimate loads. Navier, from the very beginning, states that it is very important to know the limit up to which structures behave perfectly elastically and suffer no permanent deformations. Within the elastic range, deformation can be Navier assumed proportional to force and comparatively simple formulas can be established for calculating these quantities. Beyond the elastic limit the relation between forces and deformations becomes very complicated and no simple formulas can be derived for estimating ultimate loads. Navier suggests that the formulas derived for the elastic conditions should be applied to existing structures, which had proved to be sufficiently strong, so that safe stresses for various materials could be determined which later could be used in selecting proper dimensions for new structures. S. D. Poisson (1781-1840) was born in a small town near Paris in a poor family and, until he was fifteen years old, he had no chance to learn more than to read and write. In 1796 he was sent to his uncle at Fountainebleau, and there he was able to visit mathematics classes. His excellent progress made him became in 1812 a member of the French Academy. In the field of Strength of Materials, the principal results obtained by Poisson are incorporated in two memoirs which he published in


1829 and 1831, and in his course of mechanics (Trait de Mcanique) published in 1833. The two outstanding engineers, G. Lam (1795-1870) and B.P.E. Clapeyron (1799-1864), graduated from the cole Polytechnique of Paris in 1818. They had important contributions to the Strength of Materials within their help offered to the new Russian engineering school of that time the Institute of Engineers of Ways of Communication in St. Petersburg. This new Russian school was later to have a powerful influence upon the development of engineering science in Russia. Lam and Clapeyron had to teach applied mathematics and physics in this school and they had also to help with the design of S. D. Poisson various important structures in which the Russian government was interested: for example, several suspension bridges were designed and erected in St. Petersburg at that time. These bridges (constructed between 1824 and 1826) were the first suspension bridges build on the European Continent. After their return to Paris, Lam and Clapeyron continued their work and, as a recognition of their fundamental contributions within the engineering world, they were elected members of the French Academy of Sciences. Barr de Saint-Venant (1797-1886) was born in the castle de Fortoiseau (Seine et Marne). His talent in mathematics was noticed very early and he was given a careful coaching by his father who was G. Lam a well-known expert in economy. Later he studied at the Lyce of Bruges and in 1813, when sixteen years of age, he entered the cole Polytechnique after taking the competitive examinations. Here he showed his outstanding ability and became the first in his class. Unfortunately, the political events of 1814 (when referring to Napoleon, Saint-Venant said : My conscience forbids me to fight for an usurper.) forced him to interrupt his academic studies being proclaimed a deserter and never again allowed to resume his study at the cole Polytechnique. After nine years, the government permitted him to enter the cole des Ponts et Chausses without examination. After graduating, he devoted all his life to engineering (especially to Barr de Saint-Venant the Theory of Elasticity and Strength of Materials),

Strength of Materials

in 1868 being elected a member of the Academy of Sciences. D.J. Juravski (1821-1891) graduated in 1842 from the Institute of Engineers of Ways of Communication in St. Pertersburg. His career was closely related with the development of railroad construction in Russia. A. Whler (1819-1914) was born in the family of a schoolmaster in the province of Hannover and he received his engineering education at the Hannover Polytechnical Institute. Being an outstanding student, he won a scholarship after his graduation, which enabled him to get a practical training, both at D.J. Juravski the Borsing locomotive works in Berlin and in the construction of the Berlin-Anhalter and Berlin-Hannover railways. In this way he had to solve many problems concerning the mechanical properties of materials and started his famous investigations upon the fatigue strength of metals. It can justly be said that scientific investigation in the field of fatigue of materials began with Whlers work. For each kind of fatigue test, Whler designed and built all the necessary machines and measuring instruments. In designing these machines, he imposed stringent requirements upon the accuracy with which forces and deformations were to be measured so that his machines represent an important advance in the technique of structural materials. The above mentioned scientists were only a few of those who fundamentally contributed to the development of Strength of Materials. Of course, there are much more names involved in this problem and it would be unfair if we did not even mention them here: C. A. Coulomb (1736 1806), Augustin Cauchy A. Whler (1789 18557), Thomas Young (1773 1829), J. C. Maxwell (1831 1879), Otto Mohr (1835 1918), Alberto Castigliano (1837 1884) etc. The Romanian school has also offered excellent researchers and scientists to the Strength of Materials engineering world: C. C. Teodorescu, Gh. Buzdugan, tefan Ndan, Radu Voinea, D. R. Mocanu, Petre Augustin, etc. Nowadays, the courses of Strength of Materials occupy a fundamental place within the Romanian academic engineering education, with a strong tradition and hope for the future.



It is to be recalled from Section 1.2 that the main task of Strength of Materials concerns the mechanical behaviour of different bodies or structural elements subjected to external loads. Within its theoretical and practical investigations, Strength of Materials operates with three important types of bodies: a) Bars: represent those bodies whose length is much greater than the other two dimensions (Fig.1.2). Examples of this class: beams, members, rods, columns, pins, rivets, shafts, etc.
Fig. 1.2

square cross section

rectangular cross section

circular cross section

annular cross section

I - Shapes

U - Shapes
Fig. 1.3

T Shapes


The cross section of a bar is defined as the plane section of minimum area obtained through the intersect between the involved bar and a plane passed through the bar at the some arbitrary point. The cross section of a bar has a certain area generally denoted by A [mm2] and may have different geometric shapes (Fig.1.3). The cross section of a bar may be constant or variable, as shown in Fig.1.4.

Strength of Materials

a. Fig. 1.4


The bar axis is defined as the geometric locus of the cross sections centers of gravity (centroids). It is also called the medium curve. Along its different portions the bar axis may be straight (Fig.1.5a) or curved (Fig.1.5b).

a. Fig. 1.5


In Strength of Materials calculus schemes the bars are usually represented through their longitudinal axes (Fig 1.6).
Simplified representation

Fig. 1.6 10


It is important to be noted that, in most cases, a bar is geometrically represented within an Oxyz coordinate system, the bar cross section being located in the zOy plane while Ox is the longitudinal axis, i.e. the bar axis or the medium curve. b) Plates: represent those bodies whose two dimensions (length and width) are much greater than the third dimension (thickness), Fig. 1.7.

Fig. 1.7

Fig. 1.8

The midsurface of a plate is defined as the geometric locus of the plate thickness midpoints. Depending upon the shape of the midsurface, the plates may be classified in two important types: plane plates (Fig. 1.7) and curved plates (Fig 1.8).

Fig. 1.9

Fig. 1.10

Depending upon the thickness variation there are two main distinct types of plates: with constant thickness (Fig. 1.9) and with variable thickness (Fig. 1.9). c) Blocks: represent those bodies whose dimensions are of the same size order (Fig 1.10) Although the above classification has been done on geometrical criteria, it does also remain available for Strength of Materials calculus. On the other hand anyone can observe the high variety of the surrounding bodies, objects or structural elements. It is the engineering designers' practical experience which has to choose, for each particular body or structural element, the appropriate class from those presented above. The fundamental Strength of Materials problems, concepts and theories have been constructed on the bars class. Many of these theoretical and practical investigations results have been then extended to the other two classes: plates and blocks.

Strength of Materials


Since Strength of Materials deals with the relations between externally applied loads and their internal effects on bodies, the clear understanding of the external loads action represents a first and necessary step in the analysis of a given mechanical structure. In fact, a load represents the action of a certain body on another body. It models therefore the interaction between two or more bodies or structural elements. There are two main classes the loads may be classified in: forces and couples (moments of forces). When International System metric units are being used, forces (usually denoted by P or F) are expressed in newtons (N) and couples (moments of forces - usually denoted by M) are expressed in newton-meters (N m). However, when one finds that these units are exceedingly small or big quantities, multiples or submultiples of these units may be also used. Within the framework of different criteria, several specific types of loads have to be differentiated: a) Depending on the size of the interacting bodies contact surface area, we may have: concentrated forces: when the contact surface area may be theoretically reduced to a point, Fig 1.11.

Fig. 1.11

distributed forces: when the interaction of the bodies in contact is transmitted through a surface of a certain area, Fig 1.12.

Fig. 1.12

Furthermore, the forces may be distributed on surfaces (Fig 1.13) or, if a dimension of such surfaces is too small, one can talk about forces distributed on lines, Fig.1.14.


Fig. 1.13

Fig. 1.14

In Fig. 1.15 some examples of forces distributed on lines in case of a simply supported beam have been represented.

Fig. 1.15


Strength of Materials

The above mentioned concentrated and distributed forces may be encountered in a wide range of practical situations or engineering applications, Fig.1.16.


A liquid in a vessel. The lateral vessel walls are subjected to a linearly distributed force (pressure p = g x , where is the liquid density, g is the b. gravitational acceleration and x is the depth at the level where the pressure is measured. A pressurized gas in a thin walled vessel. The force p acting on the vessel walls is uniformly distributed. * A uniform snow layer acts on a house root with a uniformly distributed force. * A railway vagon acts on the railways with mobile concentrated forces.



Fig. 1.16 14


It is to be noted that the moments of forces may be classified in the same manner. b) Depending on the loads variation in time we may have:

constant loads: the loads (P or M) remain constant in time (Fig. 1.17).

Fig. 1.17

loads with a periodical variation in time (Fig. 1.18). In such cases the loads do periodically vary in time, between a maximum and a minimum value.
Fig. 1.18

loads with a random variation in time (Fig. 1.19).

Fig. 1.19

c) Depending on the time in which a load is applied to a certain body we may have: static loads: which do slowly vary from zero up to the nominal value, remaining then constant in time (Fig. 1.20a).

a. Fig. 1.20



Strength of Materials

dynamic loads: which vary in a very short time from zero up to the maximum value (Fig. 1.20b). An example of this type has been represented in Fig.1.21. The rod BD of uniform cross section is hit at its end B by a body of mass m, moving with a velocity v0. The rod deforms under the impact with l. After vibrating for a while, the rod will come to rest and all its internal stresses will disappear. Such a sequence of events is referred to as an impact loading (this load is an example of dynamic loads class).
Fig. 1.21


The mechanical connections between bodies subjected to different loads and the surrounding environment are provided by the mechanical supports. From our knowledge of statics we have to recall three basic types of mechanical supports: simple supports: which prevent the supported element from moving linearly along a direction perpendicular to the supporting base ( Fig. 1.22).

Fig. 1.22

In Fig. 1.23 an example of a simply supported beam has been represented. Usually the supporting points are denoted by capital letters A , B , C

Fig. 1.23

Fig. 1.24



pin-connections: which prevent the supported element from moving linearly along two perpendicular directions at the supporting point (Fig. 1.24). In Fig. 1.25 an example of a beam, simply supported at A and pin connected at B has been shown.
Fig. 1.25

Fig. 1.26

fixed connections: which prevent the supported element from moving linearly or rotating at the supporting point. In Fig.1.26 a column with one fixed end B and one pin-connected end A has been represented. If a structural element is fixed at a certain point, it is usually said that the element is embedded at that point. For any of the above presented types of connections, if the support prevents the supported element from moving or rotating along a certain direction then, along that direction a reaction occurs.

Depending upon the number of prevented linear movements or rotations, in case of plane problems, the following reactions will develop (Fig. 1.27).

simple support

pinconnection Fig. 1.27

fixed connection:

As shown in Fig.1.27, the horizontal reactions are denoted by X while the vertical reactions by Y, with subscripts representing the involved supporting point. The reactions represent in fact the action of the surrounding environment on bodies or structural elements subjected to external loads. These reactions can be then calculated using different equations representing the bodies or structural elements conditions of mechanical equilibrium.

Strength of Materials

Let us consider now, for example, a beam, simply supported at end A and pinconnected at end B, subjected to a uniformly distributed force p and a concentrated force P (Fig. 1.28). Due to the action of the external loads p and P, at the level of the supporting points A and B the reactions YA, XB and YB will develop.
Fig. 1.28

These reactions may be computed from the beam conditions of mechanical equilibrium. After the reactions have been computed, there will be no difference between the external loads p and P and these reactions, all representing a global system of loading for a body in mechanical equilibrium (Fig.1.29).

Fig. 1.29


The equilibrium equations represent the mathematical expression of equilibrium for a body or a structural element subjected to external loads (original loads and reactions). In case of plane problems (2D problems) the conditions of equilibrium consist in two equations representing the projections of all forces about two arbitrary perpendicular directions in the plane and one equation representing a summation of moments about an arbitrary point of the plane. Let us consider for example a beam, simply supported at A and pinconnected at B (Fig. 1.30), supporting a load P.


Fig. 1.30

Due to the action of force P, reactions YA, XB, YB will develop. In such cases any strength of materials problem has to start with the computation of the unknown reactions YA, XB, YB . In writing the mathematical conditions of equilibrium a coordinate system must be firstly chosen (Oxy), Fig. 1.30. After that, three necessary equilibrium equations have to be written as follows: summation of forces about Ox axis equals zero :
= 0 XB = 0, summation of forces about Oy axis equals zero :

+ YB P = 0 YA + YB = P , summation of moments about the pin support B equals zero: P(a + b) M B = 0 P(a + b) - YAb = 0 YA = b . Substituting for YA into Y =0, we write: P(a + b ) Pb Pa Pb Pa YB = P YA = P = = . b b b We may write therefore: P(a + b ) Pa X B = 0; YA = ; YB = . b b

Y = 0 Y

The negative sign of YB expresses that the real physical sense of reaction YB is opposite than that shown in Fig. 1.30. Once the reactions have been computed, strength of materials doesnt make any differentiation between the original loading (represented by force P) and these reactions, all being treated as a global system of forces acting upon a body in mechanical equilibrium (Fig. 1.31). Following the same reasoning, in case of 3D problems six equilibrium equations are required: three equations of forces and three equations of moments.

Fig. 1.31


Strength of Materials

For the 2D mechanical structural elements presented below, supported and loaded as shown, determine the values of reactions using the required mathematical equilibrium equations:

X = 0 X B = 0; Y = 0 Y A + YB P = 0 ; M B = 0 YA l P b = 0 .
We write therefore:
YA = P b Pa ; YB = ; X B = 0. l l

Fig. 1.32

X = 0 X B = 0; Y = 0 Y A + YB 3 P = 0 ; M B = 0 YA (800 + 600) P(400 + 600) 2 P 300 = 0 ;

We may finally write:

Y A = 114,28 N ; YB = 185,72 N ; X B = 0.

X = 0 X A 10 2
Fig. 1.33

2 = 0; 2 X A = 10 kN .

Y = 0 Y A 10 2

2 52 = 0; 2 Y A = 20 kN . 2 3 5 2 1 M A = 0 ; 2 M A = 20 kN m.

M A = 0 20 10 2

Fig. 1.34

2 = 0 X A = 14,142 kN ; 2 2 = 0; Y = 0 Y A + YB 10 20 2 Y A + YB = 24,142 kN .

X = 0 X A 20

M A = 0 YB 1500 10 1000 20 500

YB = 11,38 kN .
Finally we may write:

2 = 0; 2

Fig. 1.35

X A = 14,142 kN ; Y A = 12,762 kN ; YB = 11,38 kN ;