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Bolts, pins, rivets and welds used within different machine components and technical systems are considered pieces of small dimensions, providing certain simplifying assumptions in Strength of Materials calculus. In many cases, these elements are subjected to transverse forces, as shown in Fig. 7.1.

Fig. 7.1

If the distance e between the two shearing forces application points 1 and 2 is too small, the bending moment at any cross section between the two points may be neglected, and thus the single internal force in the member remaining the shearing force T = P. The shearing force T determines the development of the shearing stresses at any cross section of the member considered (between points 1 and 2). Shearing stresses are commonly found in bolts, pins, rivets and welds used to connect various structural members and machine components. Consider for example, the two plates B and C, connected by a rivet as shown in Fig. 7.2. Due to the action of the opposite forces P, the cross section FG of the rivet is sheared by a shearing force T equal to P. The analysis of riveted, bolted and welded connections involve so many indeterminate factors that exact computation solutions are impossible. Nevertheless, by making certain Fig. 7.2 simplifying assumptions, we can easily obtain practical solutions.

Strength of Materials


Let us consider for example, a current cross section of a member subjected to shear. The shearing force T may have a certain orientation in the section considered, as shown in Fig.7.3. The shearing force T may be resolved into two components Tz and Ty, acting along the axes Oz and Oy respectively. Due to the action of Tz and Ty at the level of an arbitrary element of area dA the shearing stresses xz and xy develop. For the entire cross section considered, the following relations may be written:
xy dA = Ty ; A xz dA = Tz . A


Fig. 7.3

The actual distribution of the shearing stresses in the section considered is therefore statically indeterminate. However, since the rivets, bolts and welds are in general components of small dimensions, we may assume that the shearing stresses are uniformly distributed over any cross section.
xy = constant ; xz = constant .

This means that we may write: (7.2)

Relations (7.1) become therefore: xy dA = Ty ; A xz dA = Tz ; A or, in general,

T . A

Ty xy = A ; xy A = Ty ; xz A = Tz ; xz = Tz , A



The strength condition is therefore:

T a , A



Shearing Stresses in Members of Small Cross Sections

where A is the cross-sectional area (associated with the area of the plane surface shown in Fig. 7.3) and a the allowable value of the involved material shearing stress. In general: a= (0,5 0,8) a. (7.6) Relation (7.5) may be used for all three types of strength of materials characteristic problems: - dimensioning problems; - checking problems; - calculus of the allowable external loads. It should be emphasized that the value obtained by using the relation (7.4) is an average value of the shearing stress over the entire section. As we shall see later, the actual value of the shearing stress varies from zero at the surface of the member to a maximum value max which may be much larger than the average value. Nevertheless, the accuracy obtained using the relation (7.4) is sufficiently high when the cross-sectional areas of the members considered have low values. The shearing strain is not of a great importance in such cases. It consists in fact in a relative displacement v of the sheared cross sections located at distance Fig. 7.4 e from each other, as shown in Fig.7.4. If the material obeys the Hookes law, we write (Fig. 7.4):
tg = v Te v = e = e = . e G GA

Thus, the relative displacement of the sheared cross sections 1 and 2 is:
v= Te GA


where T is the shearing force, e is the distance between the applied external forces, G is the shear modulus while A represents the cross-sectional area of the involved member.


The rivet shear is produced at those sections where it withstands the relative displacement tendency of the joined elements, as shown in Fig.7.5. We may observe that the shearing force at the rivet sheared cross section T equals P. The allowable maximum applied force P is therefore:

Strength of Materials

Tmax = P = As a =

where a represents the allowable shearing stress of the rivet involved material. If the rivet does join a number of i + 1 elements, then i sheared sections exist, with a cumulated area:
Fig. 7.5
As = i

d2 a , 4




A rivet (pin, bolt etc.) is also subjected to bearing stresses. Consider for example the three plates of thickness t connected by a rivet as shown in Fig. 7.6. Since there are two sheared cross sections in this case, the rivet is said to be in double shear. The contact between the rivet and the joined elements develops on half cylinder surfaces as shown in Fig. 7.6 Fig. 7.7.

Fig. 7.7

Fig. 7.8

Since the actual distribution of the contact forces and of the corresponding stresses- is quite complicated (Fig. 7.8), one uses in practice an average nominal value b of the stress, called the bearing stress, obtained by dividing the load by the area of the rectangle representing the projection of the rivet on the plate section (Fig. 7.9) Since this area is equal to t d in the case of element 2 (for example) of Fig. 7.7 (Fig. 7.9), where t is the plate thickness and d the diameter of the rivet, we write:

Shearing Stresses in Members of Small Cross Sections

b =

P P = . A t d


Fig. 7.9

This value has to be equal to or less than ba (the allowable value of the involved material bearing stress). We write therefore:
b =
P b a . td


In conclusion, a rivet has to be designed considering two important matters: the shearing stress and the bearing stress. Both computed stresses must be equal to or less than the allowable corresponding stress values, so that the involved structure would not fail under the action of external loads.


The reliability of welded connections has increased to the point where they are used extensively to supplement or replace riveted or bolted connections in structural and machine design. It is frequently more economical to fabricate a member by welding simple component parts together than to use a complicated casting. Welding is a method of joining metals by fusion. With heat from either an electric arc or an oxyacetilene torch, the metal at the joint is melted and fuses with additional metal from a welding rod. When cool, the weld material and the base material form a continuous and almost homogeneous joint. To protect the weld from excessive oxidation, a heavily coated welding rod is used that releases an inert gas that envelopes the arc stream; this technique is called the shielded arc process. The welded connections offer several important advantages: - the connected members strength is not diminished through additional drilling like the riveted or bolted connections do; - the welded connections require a relatively simple technological process, leading to a low price of the manufacturing;

Strength of Materials

- the maintenance technological process require a minimum effort. Here are the main types of welds: a) Butt welds (Fig. 7.10) In such a case, the weld is subjected to tension, the normal stress being computed with the formula:
P . (b 2t ) t


Fig. 7.10

We note that a length b 2t is used instead of b. This happens due to the technological flaws, which usually occur at the two ends of the weld. The strength condition is therefore:
P aw , (b 2t ) t


where aw represents the allowable stress of the weld, usually taken to be:
aw = 0,8 a

( a = the allowable stress of the base material). b) Transverse fillet welds (Fig. 7.11) The strength of transverse fillet welds is assumed to be determined by the shearing resistance of the weld throat regardless of the direction of the applied load. In the 45 fillet weld (Fig. 7.11), with the leg equal to t, the shearing area through the throat is the length of weld b times the throat depth. Considering the real length of the weld (as specified above) equal to b 2a, the two welds shearing stress is (Fig. 7.11):
w =
P . 2a ( b 2a )


Fig. 7.11

The strength condition may be written therefore as follows:

w =
P aw , 2a ( b 2a )



Shearing Stresses in Members of Small Cross Sections

where a w represents the allowable shearing stress of the weld, usually taken to be:
aw 0,65 a .

( a the allowable stress of the base material). c) Side fillet welds (Fig. 7.12)

Fig. 7.12

Using the same reasoning we may write:

w =
P aw . 2a ( 2a )



P.7.1 Two steel plates are joined together by four rivets of 35 mm diameter as shown (Fig. P.7.1). Knowing that the allowable values of the shearing and bearing stresses of the material the rivets are made of are a = 70 MPa, ba = 120 MPa respectively, and the allowable normal stress of the plates is a = 160 MPa, determine the maximum value of force P which may be safely applied at C. P.7.2 A gusset plate is riveted to a larger plate by three rivets of 30 mm diameter as shown (Fig. P.7.2). Determine the shearing stresses developed in the rivets. P.7.3 Two plates are welded to resist a load P as shown (Fig. P.7.3). What maximum value of P can be applied if aweld = 70 MPa and aplate= 160 MPa ? P.7.4. Determine the maximum value of force P which may be applied to the welded plates shown (Fig. P.7.4), if aplates= 160 MPa and aweld = 0,8 aplates.


Strength of Materials

Fig. P.7.1

Fig. P.7.2

Fig. P.7.3

Fig. P.7.4

Fig. P.7.5

Fig. P.7.6

P.7.5 A load P is applied to a steel rod supported as shown (Fig. P.7.5). Knowing that asteel= 190 MPa; asteel= 110 MPa and ba = 250 MPa determine the maximum value of force P which may be safely applied to the steel rod.

P.7.6 Two wooden planks are joined by the glued joint shown (Fig. P.7.7). Determine the required value of length so that a 6 kN load to be safely supported if aglue = 1,5 MPa.