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9.

TORSION
Members in torsion are encountered in many engineering applications, when
there is necessary to transmit a twisting couple M
t
from one plane to another parallel
plane (Fig. 9.1). The twisting couples are also called torques.
Fig. 9.1
These couples (Fig. 9.1) have a common magnitude and opposite senses. A
case in which torsion is dominant is provided by the transmission shafts, which are
used to transmit power from one point to another, as from a motor to a machine tool,
from an engine to the rear axle of an automobile or from a steam turbine to an electric
generator, etc. (Fig. 9.2).
Fig. 9.2
These shafts may either be solid (Fig. 9.3a) or they may be hollow (Fig. 9.3b).
Strength of Materials
a. b.
Fig. 9.3
If we know the power P which is to be transmitted through the shaft (expressed
in horsepowers - HP) and the frequency of the rotation n (number of revolutions per
minute - rpm ), one could demonstrate that the twisting couple (or torque) the shaft is
subjected to is given by the formula
[ ]. 02 , 7 m kN
n
P
M
t

(9.1)
If we express the power in kW (kilowatts), formula (9.1) becomes:
[ ]. 55 , 9 m kN
n
P
M
t

(9.2)
9.1 TORSION OF CIRCULAR MEMBERS
9.1.1 STRESSES AND STRAINS
Consider a circular shaft AB of diameter d, subjected to equal and opposite
torques M
t
, as shown in Fig. 9.4. We pass a section perpendicular to the axis of the
shaft through some arbitrary point C.
a. b.
Fig. 9.4
The cross section at C will be subjected to elementary shearing forces dF acting
perpendicular to the radius r of the shaft. The elementary shearing force dF developed
at the level of an elementary area dA of the cross-section considered, is given by the
shearing stress at that level multiplied by the area dA (Fig. 9.4b)
Expressing that the sum of the moments given by the shearing forces dF with
164
Torsion
respect to the axis of the shaft is equal in magnitude to the externally applied torque
M
t
, we have:

, d
t
A
M F r


(9.3)
where A is the cross-sectional area. Since dF = dA, (9.3) becomes:

. d
t
A
M A r


(9.4)
While the relation (9.4) gives us an important condition which has to be
satisfied by the shearing stresses at any given cross section of the shaft, it does not tell
us how these stresses are distributed over the cross section. This means that the
problem is statically indeterminate, i.e., the distribution of stresses cannot be
determined from statics alone. The integral of (9.4) may be solved only if the shearing
stress distribution law is found.
In deriving the torsion formulas, we make the following assumptions:
- the member in torsion has a constant cross-section;
- the member material is continuous, homogeneous and isotropic;
- Hookes law is available;

a. b.
Fig. 9.5
- the member is loaded by twisting couples in planes that are perpendicular to the
axis of the member;
- stresses do not exceed the proportional limit.
Under the above mentioned assumptions, let us now consider a circular member
subjected to torsion (Fig. 9.5). The deformation in the circular member subjected to
torsion may be easily illustrated if we trace several parallel circles and straight
generatrix lines on the surface of the circular member as shown in Fig. 9.5. When the
circular member represented in Fig. 9.5a is subjected to torsion it will deform (Fig.
9.5b). Analysing the mode in which the circular member considered does deform under
the specified loading, we note that:
165
Strength of Materials
- when a circular member is subjected to torsion, every cross section remains plane
and undistorted;
- a straight radial line in the section (for example O
1
A) remains straight after
deformation and rotates with a certain angle ;
- the distance between two cross-sections remains unchanged after deformation. This
means that
x
= 0, so that, applying the Hooke`s law, we have:

. 0
x

(9.5)
- due to the action of M
t
the rectangle abcd (Fig. 9.5a) changes into a parallelogram
(a`b`c`d` - Fig. 9.5b), the original right angles of abcd modifying with the quantity
(the shearing strain).
It follows therefore that shearing stresses develop on the faces of the
elementary volume a`b`c`d`a``b``c``d`` (Fig. 9.5b). Let us consider now a point C
located on the circumference of a given cross section of the circular member in torsion
(Fig. 9.6).
Fig. 9.6
As mentioned above, at the level of point C, a shearing stress develops, contained within the cross-
sectional plane. We do also assume that has a certain orientation within the cross-sectional plane
(Fig. 9.6). But may be resolved into two components (
1
and
2
), respectively tangential to the
circumference at C and radial. On the other hand we know that, at a given point, shear cannot take
place in one plane only; an equal shearing stress must be exerted on another plane perpendicular to
the first one. This means that the shearing stress component
2
will be accompanied by an equal
shearing stress
2
` acting along Ox direction and located on the external surface of the member (Fig.
9.6). Since this surface is not loaded,
2
` = 0 and, therefore,
2
=
2
` = 0.
166
Torsion
In other words, the shearing
stress at point C will be directed along
the tangent to the circumference at C,
perpendicular to the radius OC. We
assume that this property remains
available for any other point of the cross-
section (Fig. 9.7).
We shall now determine the
distribution of the shearing stresses in a
given cross section of a circular shaft
(Fig. 9.8a).
Fig. 9.7
The shaft of diameter d and length , is attached to a fixed support at one end.
When the torque M
t
is applied at section O, the shaft will twist with an angle called
the angle of twist.
a. b.
Fig. 9.8
Let us now detach from the shaft an element of length dx, located between two cross
sections of the shaft (I and II Fig. 9.8a). We have sketched this element separately
(Fig. 9.8b).The element considered is also subjected to torsion by the same torque M
t
,
the two ends of the element rotating reciprocally with an infinitely small angle of twist
d . For convenience, we shall consider that the end II is fixed while the end I rotates
with angle d . In this way, an arbitrary point C of the end I will displace to C``, while
a point B, located on the same radius, will displace to B``, (Fig. 9.8b).
We may write therefore:

,
d
d
d
d
`
``
1
x
r
x
C O
C C
C C
tg


(9.6)
where is the corresponding shearing strain (Fig. 9.8b).
167
Strength of Materials
Denoting by (the angle of twist per unit length) the quantity
x d
d
, the shearing strain
may be expressed as follows:
, r
(9.7)
where r is the distance between the arbitrary investigated point C and the axis x of the
shaft.
Since Hooke`s law applies, we have
, r G G
(9.8)
where G is the shear modulus.
Recalling relation (9.4), we may write:
. d d d
2


A A A
t
A r G A r r G A r M
(9.9)
Since G and are constant, we have:
p
A
t
I G A r G M

d
2
(9.10)
or

,
p
t
GI
M

(9.11)
where I
p
is the polar moment of inertia of the shaft cross-section

,
_

32
4
d
I
p

. With this
expression of , relation (9.8) becomes:
. r
I
M
GI
M
r G r G
p
t
p
t

(9.12)
Equation (9.12) is called the elastic
torsion formula. It shows a linear
distribution of the shearing stresses over an
arbitrary cross-section of a shaft in torsion,
(Fig. 9.9).
Fig. 9.9 shows the shearing stress distribution in a solid circular shaft for the
cross-sectional points located on Oy axis. Due to the symmetry of the cross section,
we shall find the same stress distribution for any other cross-sectional points located
on the same diameter. The shearing stress at the level of an arbitrary point A of the
shaft cross-section is therefore (Fig. 9.9):
Fig. 9.9
168
Torsion

. r
I
M
p
t
A

Since the shearing stress in the shaft varies linearly with the distance r from the axis of
the shaft, the maximum shearing stress develops on the circumferencial points of the
shaft cross-section. We write therefore:
.
2
d
I
M
R
I
M
r
I
M
p
t
p
t
max
p
t
max

(9.13)
The maximum shearing stress may be also written as
,
p
t
max
p
t
max
W
M
r
I
M

(9.14)
where W
p
is called the polar strength modulus of the involved cross-section. For a
circular cross section of diameter d, the polar strength modulus is
.
16
2
32
3
4
d
d
d
r
I
W
max
p
p

(9.15)
To determine whether the shaft may support the applied external torque M
t
, we
must compare the maximum value of the shearing stress given by relation (9.14) with
the maximum value of the stress which may be safely applied to the material the shaft
is made of. The strength condition is therefore

,
a
p
t
max
W
M


(9.16)
where
a
is the maximum allowable shearing stress in the type of the material the
involved shaft is made of. Relation (9.16) applies for circular members in torsion and it
may be used for all specific strength of materials problems.
Even if the formula (9.16) has been derived for a shaft of uniform circular cross
section, it may be also used for a shaft of variable cross section (Fig. 9.10a) or for a
shaft subjected to torques at locations other than its ends (Fig. 9.10b).
a. b.
Fig. 9.10
Let us now return for a while to the concept of angle of twist, to derive a
relation between this angle and the torque exerted on the shaft (Fig. 9.8a). We recall
169
Strength of Materials
that the angle of twist per unit length is given by (9.11):
.
p
t
I G
M

On the other hand, this quantity has been defined as
,
d
d
x

where is the angle of twist. We may write therefore



, d d d x
I G
M
x
p
t

which gives

, d
0

x
I G
M
p
t

(9.17)
where is the length of the shaft involved.
Since the circular shaft shown in Fig. 9.8 has a uniform cross-section (

32
4
d
I
p

constant) and is subjected to a constant torque equal to M
t
(M
t
= constant
along the shaft), relation (9.17) becomes:

p
t
p
t
GI
M
x
GI
M

0
d
(expressed in radians). (9.17')
The relation obtained shows that,
within the elastic range, the angle of twist
is proportional to the torque M
t
applied to
the shaft and to the length of the shaft.
This relation (9.17') may be used only if the
material of the shaft is homogeneous (G =
constant), the shaft is loaded only at its
ends and has a uniform cross section. If the
shaft consist of several portions with
various values of the cross sections
diameters and /or is subjected to torque at
locations other than its ends (Fig. 9.11.), we
must divide the shaft into component
Fig. 9.11
parts which satisfy individually the required conditions of relation (9.17').
For the shaft represented in Fig. 9.11, we may write therefore:

( ) ( )

+
+
+
+ + +

3 2 1
3 0 0 2 0 0 1 0
2 2
p p p
D C C B B A D A
I G
M M
I G
M M
I G
M

170
Torsion

,
3 3
3 2 1
3 0 2 0 1 0
p p p
GI
M
GI
M
GI
M
+ +
where:
.
32
;
32
;
32
4
3
4
2
4
1
3 2 1
d
I
d
I
d
I
p p p


In other words, the total angle of twist of the shaft represented in Fig. 9.11, i.e. the
angle through which end A rotates with respect to end B, is obtained by adding
algebraically the angles of twist of each component part.
In case of a shaft with a variable
circular cross section (Fig.
9.12a), relation (9.17') may be
applied only to an element of
infinitely small length dx of the
shaft. Since such an element has
an infinitely small length (dx) we
may neglect the variation of its
cross section from one end to the
other. (Fig. 9.12). This means that
we may apply the formula (9.17')
for this element, as follows:

,
) (
d
d
0
x I G
x M
p

(9.18)
where:
a. b.

Fig. 9.12
- d is the infinitely small angle of twist representing the angle through which end A
of the shaft element of Fig. 9.12b rotates with respect to the end B;

- I
p
(x) is the polar moment of inertia corresponding to the diameter d(x) of the cross
section of the shaft, located at distance x from the end of the shaft (Fig. 9.12a). In
other words, I
p
is a function of x:
( )
( )
32
4
x d
x I I
p p

.
Now integrating (9.18) in x, from 0 to , we obtain the total angle of twist of the shaft:

0
0
d
) (
x
x I G
M
p

(9.19)
or, in general:

0
d
) (
x
x I G
M
p
t

. (9.20)
171
Strength of Materials
Formula (9.20) does also apply when M
t
has a continuous variation along a circular
member in torsion (M
t
= M
t
(x), Fig. 9.13a) or when both M
t
and I
p
vary along the
member involved (Fig. 9.13b).
a. b.
Fig.9.13
Since the shearing stresses over the solid cross sections of circular shafts in torsion
have a linear distribution, in many cases one chooses hollow cross sections, thus
reducing the own weight of the shafts (Fig. 9.14a).
The distribution of the shearing stresses in a hollow cylindrical shaft of inner
diameter d and outer diameter D has been represented in Fig. 9.14b. In such cases, the
maximum shearing stress does also develop on the circumferential points of the shaft
cross section. We may apply therefore the formula (9.14):
,
p
t
max
W
M

where the polar strength modulus W
p
is given by:
a. b.
172
Torsion
Fig. 9.14

1
1
]
1

,
_


2
1
32
2
32 32
2
4
4
4 4
D
D
d D
D
d D
D
I
r
I
W
p
max
p
p



[ ], 1
16
1
16
4
3
4
3
m
D
D
d D

1
1
]
1

,
_



(9.21)

where m expresses the ratio d / D.
Important remarks
Since the shearing stress cannot take place in one plane only (section 4.3), in case of
a circular shaft in torsion, a shearing stress must be also exerted on other plane,
perpendicular to the first one. This is why the shearing stresses over the shaft cross
sections in torsion are always accompanied by equal shearing stresses directed
along the shaft (Fig. 9.15). These longitudinal shearing stresses explain the specific
longitudinal failure of members in torsion, made of different materials, whose
strength is much smaller about longitudinal direction than about normal direction
(normal to the axis of the member). This is for example the case of rods made of
wood, whose failure takes place longitudinally, along the fibres of the material (Fig.
9.16).
Consider now an element a located on the surface of a circular shaft subjected to torsion (Fig.
9.17). As presented above, on the faces of such an element, the only stresses which develop are
the shearing stresses
max
= .
Fig. 9.15 Fig. 9.16
173
Strength of Materials

The element is said to be in pure
shear. Another similar element b,
located on the same surface but
rotated with 45 is subjected to a
tensile stress (
1
= ) over two of its
faces and to a compressive stress (
2
= - ) on the other two faces (see the
previous chapter). In general, the
ductile materials fail in shear.
Fig.9.17
Therefore, when subjected to torsion, a member made of a ductile material breaks
along a plane perpendicular to its longitudinal axis (Fig. 9.18a). On the other hand,
brittle materials are weaker in tension than in shear. Thus, when subjected to torsion
In such cases, the shearing stresses corresponding to the discontinuity area may be
NOT computed with the above presented formulas. The maximum shearing stress
corresponding to the portion of the shaft with diameter d (and for the immediate
vicinity of the discontinuity) - Fig. 9.19, is given by:

n k

max
, (9.22)
where
n
is the nominal value of the maximum shearing stress for the portion involved
(computed with formula (9.14)), and
k


is a stress concentration factor. The stress-
concentration factor
k


is usually given in the form of tables or graphs, as shown in
Fig. 9.20.
a.
Fig. 9.19
b.
a member made of a brittle material
tends to break along surfaces which are
perpendicular to the direction about
which tension is maximum (
1
Fig.
9.18b), i.e. along surfaces forming a 45
angle with the axis of the member.
If a circular shaft subjected to
torsion presents an abrupt change in the
diameter of its cross section, stress
concentrations occur within the
immediate vicinity of the discontinuity
(Fig. 9.19).
c.
Fig. 9.18
174
Torsion
Fig.9.20
9.1.2 STATICALLY INDETERMINATE SHAFTS
The statically indeterminate problems of torsion represent that kind of problems in
which the internal torques cannot be determined from statics alone (i.e. the equations
of static equilibrium are not sufficient for a solution). In such cases, the equilibrium
equations must be complemented by relations involving the deformations of the shaft
and obtained by considering the geometry of the problem. The following examples will
show how to analyze statically indeterminate shafts.
Example 1
A shaft AB is attached to fixed supports at both ends and subjected to the torques shown (Fig.
9.21). Knowing that the entire shaft is made of steel for which G = 8 10
4
MPa and that M
0
= 500
Nm, d = 30 mm and = 500 mm, determine the maximum value of the shearing stress in the shaft
(
max
) and the angle of twist of section 1.
175
Strength of Materials
Fig.9.21
Due to the action of the two concentrated twisting couples (M
0
and 3M
0
), two reactions develop at
the supports (i.e. the torques M
A
and M
B
). The single equilibrium equation which may be written
from statics is:
0 0 0
2 0 3 0 M M M M M M M M
B A B A
t
+ + +
. (9.23)
Since this equation is not sufficient to determine the two unknown torques M
A
and M
B
, the problem
is statically indeterminate. However, M
A
and M
B
may be determined if we note that the total angle of
twist of shaft AB must be zero, since both of its ends are restrained. We write therefore:

B A B A
+ +
2 2 1 1
0

, 0
) 3 ( ) ( 2
2
0 0
2
0
1

+
+
+
+

p
A
p
A
p
A
GI
M M M
GI
M M
GI
M
(9.24)
where:

32
4
1
d
I
p

and
1
4 4
2
16
32
16
32
) 2 (
p p
I
d d
I

.
Thus, (9.24) becomes:

, 0
16
) (
16
) ( 2
1
0
1
0
1

+
+

p
A
p
A
p
A
I G
M M
I G
M M
I G
M
or:
176
Torsion
0
16 16
2
0 0

+
+
+
M M M M
M
A A
A
which finally gives:
.
34
1
0
M M
A
(9.25)
Substituting this value into the original equilibrium equation, we have:
.
34
67
0
M M
B
(9.26)
With these values, we are now in the position to draw the torques diagram. This has been done in
Fig. 9.21. For the computation of the maximum shearing stress in the shaft, we have to apply
formula (9.14) for each particular portion of the shaft. We write:
; 77 , 2
16
30
10 500
34
1
16
34
1
3
3
3
0
1
1
1
MPa
d
M
W
M
A
p
A
t
max
A

(9.27)

. 23 , 23
16
60
10 500
34
67
16
) 2 (
34
67
3
3
3
0
2
2
2
MPa
d
M
W
M
B
p
B
t
max
B


(9.28)
Since
2 1 2
>
t
B
t
M M
, at the same value of W
p
, it follows that
,
2 1 2
max max
B
>
and thus it is not
necessary to compute the value of
1-2 max
, when we are looking for the maximum value of the
shearing stress along the shaft.
Comparing (9.27) with (9.28) we conclude that the maximum shearing stress develops at portion
2 - B, and has the value:

. 23 , 23
2
MPa
max
B max




(9.29)
The angle of twist of section 1 is:

. 10 3 , 2
32
30
10 8
500 2 10 500
34
1
32
2
34
1
2
3
4
4
3
4
0
1 1
rad
d
G
M
I G
M
p
A
A

(9.30)
Example 2
A shaft AB is attached to fixed supports at both ends and subjected to a uniformly distributed
torque m, as shown in Fig. 9.22. Knowing that the entire shaft is made of steel for which G = 8
10
4
MPa and that
a
= 40 MPa, d = 40 mm and = 500 mm, determine:
a) The maximum allowable value of torque m so that the shaft would not fail;
b) The angle of twist of section 1.
177
Strength of Materials
a) From statics we write:
+ . 0 m M M M
B A t

(9.31)
Since the total angle of twist of shaft AB is zero, we have:

+
B A B A 1 1
0
( ) ( )

0
2 1
0 d
p
A
p
A
GI
m M
x
GI
mx M
, (9.32)
where:

( )
.
32
; 16
32
16
32
2
4
2 2
4 4
1
d
I I
d d
I
p p
p


Fig 9.22
We write therefore:
( )
( )

0 d
16
2
0
2
P
A
P
A
I G
m M
x
I G
mx M


( ) ( ) +

0 16
0
m M x mx M
A A

d
, 0
2 16
1
2
2
+

,
_

m M
m
M
A A
which finally gives:
178
Torsion
. 97 , 0 m M
A
(9.33)
Substituting this value into the original equilibrium equation, we obtain:
. m M
B
03 , 0 (9.34)
The torques diagram has been represented in Fig. 9.22. The strength condition is:
( )
, 40
16
2
97 , 0
3
1
1
1

a
A
p
A
max
t
A
max
d
m
W
M

which gives:

( ) ( )
, / 8291
500 97 , 0
40
16
40 2
97 , 0
40
16
2
3 3
mm mm N
d
m

and

, 40
16
03 , 0
3
1
1
1

a
B
p
B
max
t
B
max
d
m
W
M

which gives:
( )
. / 33510
500 03 , 0
1
16
40
40
03 , 0
1
16
3 3
mm mm N
d
m
a

The allowable value of m is given by the smallest of the two quantities computed above.
Therefore, we finally write:
m = 8291 N mm / mm .
(9.35)

b) The angle of twist of section 1 is:

. 10 09 , 3
32
40
10 8
500 500 8291 03 , 0
32
03 , 0
3
4
4
4
2
1
rad
d
G
m
GI
M
p
B


(9.36)
9.2 TORSION OF NONCIRCULAR (RECTANGULAR) MEMBERS
The formulas presented in the preceding section, for the distribution of strain
and stress under a torsional loading apply only to circular members. This happens
because the derivation of these formulas has been based upon the assumption that the
cross sections of the member in torsion remain plane and undistorted. But this is not
the case if the cross sections of the member in torsion are noncircular.
For a rectangular member in torsion (for example):
the plane and undistorted cross sections of member before deformation do not remain plane and
undistorted after deformation, Fig. 9.23.
179
Strength of Materials
the shearing stresses over the cross
sections of a rectangular member in
torsion may be not assumed to vary
linearly with the distance from the
axis of the member. More than that,
the shearing stress at the corners of
the cross section in such a case is
zero. Consider for example a
rectangular member in torsion
(Fig.9.24). Due to the action of the
torque M
t
, shearing stresses develop
over a current cross section of the
member.
Fig. 9.23
We detache a small cubic element of the rectangular member in torsion as shown in
Fig. 9.24.
Fig. 9.24
We assume that the shearing stress developed on the face of the element considered
has an arbitrary orientation within the section. However it may be resolved into two
components (
xy
and
xz
) as shown in Fig. 9.24. On the other hand we know that shear
cannot take place in one plane only; an equal shearing stress must be exerted on
another plane perpendicular to the first one. This means that the shearing stress
components
xy
and
xz
will be accompanied by equal shearing stresses
yx
and
zx
respectively acting along the Ox direction. But, since the external surfaces of the
member are not loaded, we may write:

. 0 ; 0
zx yx

(9.37)
It follows therefore that :
; 0
; 0


zx xz
yx xy


(9.38)
180
Torsion
and thus:

. 0
(9.39)
We conclude that there is no shearing stress at the corners of the cross section
of a rectangular member in torsion.
The determination of stresses in rectangular members subjected to torsion may
be done only through the Theory of Elasticity. Since this determination is not very
simple, involving a mathematical reasoning which is beyond the scope of this text, we
shall indicate here only the final results concerning the distribution of the shearing
stresses over the cross sections of rectangular members in torsion.
Consider for example a rectangular member in torsion (Fig. 9.25a).
a. b.
Fig. 9.25
We denote by the length of the member, by b and h, respectively, the
narrower and the wider side of the cross section and by M
t
the magnitude of the torque
applied to the member. One could demonstrate that, the shearing stresses over a
current cross section of the member, at points located on the sides and on the axes Oz
and Oy, have the distribution shown in Fig. 9.25b. The maximum shearing stress
develops at the midpoints of the wider sides of the cross section (points B and B`),
being equal to:
t
t t
max
W
M
b h k
M

2

, (9.40)
where W
t
is called the torsional strength modulus of the cross section involved.
We note that:
,
2
b h k W
t
(9.41)
where k is a coefficient which depends only upon the ratio h / b.
The shearing stress developed at the midpoints of the narrower sides of the
cross section is given by (Fig. 9.25b):
181
Strength of Materials
,
2
'
max max
k (9.42)
where k
2
is also a coefficient depending only upon the ratio h / b.
The angle of twist per unit length is:
,
3
1
b h k G
M
I G
M
t
t
t

(9.43)
where G is the shear modulus and :
3
1
b h k I
t
(9.44)
is the torsional moment of inertia, with k
1
a coefficient depending upon the ratio h/b.
The angle of twist may be therefore expressed as:
,
t
t
I G
M

(9.45)
or, in general, analogous to the formula (9.16):
.

0
dx
I G
M
t
t

(9.45)
The coefficients k, k
1
and k
2
are called Saint-Venants coefficients. They are given in
table 9.1 for a number of values of the ratio h/b.
Table 9.1
Saint-Venants coefficients
h / b 1,00 1,50 1,75 2,00 2,50 3 4 6 8 10

k 0,208 0,231 0,239 0,246 0,258 0,267 0,282 0,299 0,307 0,313 0,333
k
1
0,141 0,196 0,214 0,229 0,249 0,263 0,281 0,299 0,307 0,313 0,333
k
2
1,000 0,859 0,820 0,795 0,766 0,753 0,745 0,743 0,742 0,742 0,742
From table 9.1 we note that, for higher values of the ratio h/b, coefficients k and k
1
approach
3
1
. With such values, formula (9.40) becomes:
.
3
3
1
2
2
2
b h
M
b h
M
b h k
M
W
M
t t t
t
t
max

(9.46)
Thus, for a thin-walled member of uniform thickness and arbitrary shape, the
maximum shearing stress is the same as for a rectangular member with a very large
value of h / b and may be determined from (9.46) - Fig. 9.26.
182
Torsion
a. b.
Fig. 9.26
Generally speaking, the maximum shearing stress and the angle of twist per unit length
in case of noncircular members in torsion (within the elastic range), respectively, may
be expressed as:

'

,
;
t
t
t
t
max
GI
M
W
M


where W
t
and I
t
are given in form of tables, for different kinds of sections.
The strength condition is therefore:
, a
t
t
max
W
M

(9.47)
where
a

is the allowable value of the shearing stress for the material involved.
Numerical example
A torque M
0
is applied, as shown in Fig. 9.27, to a solid steel shaft with a built in end. The shaft
has two distinct portions: a rectangular portion (with sides h and b) of length
1
and a circular
portion (with diameter d) of length
2
. Knowing that:
, 50 , 5 , 0 , 1 , 10 8 , 25 , 15 , 10
2 1
4
MPa m m MPa G mm d mm h mm b
a



determine:
a) the maximum allowable value of torque M
0
which may be safely applied to the shaft;
b) the angle of twist of section 1,
1.
183
Strength of Materials
Fig. 9.27
(a) As shown in Fig. 9.27, the torque M
t
is constant along the shaft. Since the shaft has two distinct
portions, we must compute the maximum allowable torque which may be safely applied to each
portion separately (
'
t
M and
' '
t
M ). Finally, the required value of the torque will be:
) , min(
" '
0 t t t
M M M M
(9.48)
The rectangular portion (1-2):


a
t
t
t
max
b h k
M
W
M

2
. 325 , 17 17325 50 10 15 231 , 0
2 2 '
m N mm N b h k M M
a t t

The circular portion (2-B):




a
t t
p
t
max
d
M
d
M
W
M

3 3
16
16

. 398 , 153 153398 50
16
25
16
3 3
"
m N mm N
d
M M
a t t

Thus, the allowable torque which may be safely applied to the entire shaft is:
184
Torsion

. 325 , 17 ) , min(
" '
0
m N M M M M
t t t

(b) The angle of twist of section 1 is:

. 076 , 0
32
25
10 8
500 10 325 , 17
10 15 196 , 0 10 8
1000 10 325 , 17
32
4
4
3
3 4
3
4
2
2
3
1
1
2 1
2
2
1
2 1
2 2 1 1
rad
d
G
M
b h k G
M
I G
M
I G
M
B
t t
p
B
t
t
t
B

+ + +



9.3 THIN-WALLED HOLLOW SHAFTS (TUBES)
As discussed in the preceding section, the torsion of noncircular shafts requires
advanced mathematical methods. However, a simple approximate solution is possible
for the special case of thin-walled hollow shafts.
Let us now consider for example a hollow member of noncircular section
subjected to torsion (Fig. 9.28a). The computation of the shearing stresses equivalent
to the applied torque M
t
, requires the following assumptions:
a. b.
Fig. 9.28

the thickness t of the wall is small compared to the other dimensions of the
member in torsion;

the thickness t of the wall may vary within a cross section of the member, but
remains constant along the axis of the member;

the shape of the member cross section is arbitrary;


185
Strength of Materials

since the thickness of the wall is small compared to the other dimensions of the
member in torsion, we may admit that the shearing stresses are uniformly
distributed over the wall thickness, but with a certain variation law along the
contour of the cross section;

since the inner and outer walls of the hollow shaft are free surfaces, the stresses
on them are equal to zero. Thus the shearing stress at any point of a cross section
of the tube is directed along the tangent to the center line Fig. 9.28a. This
reasoning is similarly to that presented in Fig. 9.6.
For the determination of the shearing stress variation law along the center line
of the member cross section, we shall detach from the member an element of the wall
(1212abab - Fig. 9.28b), bounded by two transverse planes at a distance dx from
each other and by two longitudinal planes perpendicular to the wall, at distance ds
from each other (measured along the center line of the wall). The shearing stress
1
across the thickness t
1
induces a numerically equal longitudinal stress, as discussed
within section (4.3). In the same manner, across thickness t
2
, the corresponding
shearing stress
2
is accompanied by a numerically equal longitudinal stress directed
along the x axis, (Fig. 9.28b). Since the element considered is in mechanical
equilibrium, we may write that the summation of all forces acting along x axis is zero.
This means that:

t t t x t x t
2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1
0 d d
constant. (9.49)
Since the element represented in Fig. 9.28b has been chosen arbitrarily, the above
relation tells us that the product t of the shearing stress at a given level (point) of the
cross section and of the wall thickness t at that level is a constant throughout the
member. The term t is called the shear flow. In other words, at points where the wall
thickness has a minimum value, the corresponding shearing stress is maximum and
vice versa.
To relate the shear flow to the applied torque M
t
, we consider a small element
of the wall section, of length ds (Fig. 9.29). Since this small element has an
infinitesimal length ds, we may consider that the wall thickness remains approximately
constant along the element (and equal to t).
186
Torsion
Fig. 9.29
The elementary force which develops at the level of this element is expressed
through the product of the shearing stress at this level and the area (tds) of the
element (Fig. 9.29). We write:
. d d s t F
(9.50)
The moment of this elementary force about an arbitrary point O within the
cavity of the member is:
s h t h F M d d d
(9.51)
Since the externally applied torque M
t
represents the sum of all such
elementary moments around the wall section, we may write:

s h t h F M M
t
d d d
(9.52)
The shear flow t being a constant, we have:
, 2 d

t s h t M
t (9.53)
where is the area bounded by the center
line of the wall cross section (Fig. 9.30). It
follows that:
t
M
t

, (9.54)
which is called the Bredts first formula.
Fig. 9.30
In (9.54) t is the wall thickness at a given point of the member cross section and the
area bounded by the center line (Fig. 9.30). The maximum shearing stress
max
develops at points where t has a minimum value. We write therefore:
,
2
t
t
min
t
max
W
M
t
M

(9.55)
where W
t
is the torsional strength modulus for the involved member in torsion.
The strength condition becomes:

,
2
a
t
t
min
t
max
W
M
t
M


(9.56)
where
a
is the allowable value of the shearing stress for the material involved.
The angle of twist of a thin-walled hollow shaft may be obtained by using the method of
energy: the work done by the external torque M
t
will be equal to the elastic strain energy
accumulated by the member in torsion. Consider for example an element of length dx detached from
the hollow member of noncircular section represented in Fig. 9.28 (Fig. 9.31a).
187
Strength of Materials
a. b.
Fig. 9.31
We denote by V the volume of this element of length dx. The elementary work done by
the statically applied torque M
t
is:
, d
2
1
d
t
M L
(9.57)
where d is the elementary angle of twist (i.e. the angle of twist corresponding to the
elementary shaft of Fig. 9.31a). On the other hand this work is equal to the elastic
strain energy accumulated while the torque M
t
is applied. As shown within the
preceding chapter, the elastic strain energy density in case of pure shear is:
.
2
2
G
U
D

Thus, the elastic strain energy accumulated by the entire element of Fig. 9.31a is:
, d
2
d
2


V V
D
V
G
V U U

(9.58)
where G is the shear modulus and dV is the elementary volume of the element shown
in Fig. 9.31a. This elementary volume has been represented in Fig. 9.31b separately.
Since this elementary volume has an infinitesimal length ds, we may consider that the
wall thickness at its level is approximately constant and equal to t (Fig. 9.31b). It
follows that:
. d d d x s t V
(9.59)
We write therefore :


s x t
G
M V
G
M V
G
U M L
t
V
t
V
t
d d
2
d
2
1
d
2
d
2
1
d
2
d
2
1
d
2 2 2

,
_

. d
1
8
d
d d
2
1
4
d d
2
1
2
d d
2
1
d
2
1
2
2
2 2
2
2
2
s
t
G
x M
s x t
G
t
M
s x t
G t
M
s x t
G
M
t t t
t


We have:
188
Torsion
. d
1
8
d
d
2
1
2
2

s
t
G
x M
M
t
t

(9.60)
The angle of twist per unit length is therefore:
,
d
1
4
d
1
d
d
2 2
4
t
t t
G
t
M
I G
M
s
t
G
M
s
t x

(9.61)
where:
.
d
4
2

t
s
I
t

(9.62)
Within the above calculus, Bredts first formula has been applied.
Relation (9.61) is called the Bredts second formula.
If the hollow shaft has a constant thickness t, it follows that:

,
4
1
4
d
4
2 2 2
s
t
s
t t
s
I
t

(9.63)
s being the length of the center line.
Numerical example
How many times does the hollow shaft strength of Fig. 9.32,a decrease if a longitudinal split is
done (Fig. 9.32b) and a = 6 t ?
While both shafts are subjected to the same torque M
t
, their strength (given by W
t
) is completely
different.
a. b.
Fig. 9.32
For the hollow shaft represented in Fig. 9.32a we write :
189
Strength of Materials

( )
.
72 2 2
2
3 2 2
1
1
t
M
t Gt
M
t a
M
t
M
W
M
t t t t
t
t
max

In the second case (Fig. 9.32b) we have in fact a thin-walled member of uniform thickness
whose maximum shearing stress is the same as for a rectangular bar with a very large value of the
ratio h/b. Therefore, we have to use formula (9.46). We write:

.
8 4
3
4
3
4
3
1
3
1
3 2 2
2 2
2
2
t
M
t t G
M
at
M
t a
M
b h
M
W
M
t t t t t
t
t
max



Thus,

. 9
8
72
3
3
2
1

t
t
W
W
t
t
In other words the strength does decrease 9 times if a longitudinal split is done in the shaft.
PROBLEMS TO BE ASSIGNED
P.9
P.9.1 A shaft ABC is fixed at one end and subjected to a torque M
t
= M
0
at the other end as
shown (Fig. P.9.1). Portion AB, having a square cross section, is made of steel while portion BC,
with a circular cross section, is made of aluminum. Knowing that a = =40 mm, d = 70 mm , the
allowable shearing stress of steel
s
all

= 100 MPa, the allowable shearing stress of aluminum


Al
all

= 70 MPa, determine the largest torque M


0
which may be applied at A. Neglect the effect of
stress concentration.
Fig. P.9.1
P.9.2 A steel shaft ABC is fixed at one end and subjected to the torques shown. Knowing that =
=0,5 m,
all
= 90 MPa, M
0
= 1,5 kN m and G = 8 10
4
MPa, draw the torque diagram, determine
the required value of the diameter d and the angle of twist at A.
190
Torsion
Fig. P.9.2 Fig. P.9.3
P.9.3 A solid tapered shaft AB, made of steel, is subjected to the torques shown. Knowing that =
0,6 m,
all
= 100 MPa, d = 30 mm, G = 8 10
4
MPa:
(a) draw the torque diagram;
(b) determine the largest value of M
0
which may be safely applied;
(c) determine the angle of twist at A.
P.9.4 A shaft ABC having two distinct portions of circular cross section, is fixed at its both ends and
loaded as shown. Determine the maximum value of torque M
0
which may be safely applied at B if d
= 30 mm and
all
= 90 MPa. Do also determine the angle of twist at B if = 0,8 m and G = 8 10
4
MPa.
P.9.5 Two solid shafts made of the
same material, are subjected to the
same torque M
0
as shown (Fig.
P.9.5). Determine the ratio of d
and a so that the maximum
shearing stresses in both shafts
would be of the same value.
P.9.6 A brass shaft, having two
distinct portions (of annular and
circular cross sections
respectively), is subjected to a
uniformly distributed twisting
couple m and a torque M
0
= 5ml as
shown (Fig. P9.6). Knowing that d
= 40 mm,
all
= 80 MPa, = 0,6
m, G = 3,9 10
4
MPa:
Fig. P.9.4
(a) Determine the torques exerted on the shaft by each of the fixed supports;
(b) Draw the torque diagram;
(c) Determine the largest value of m which may be applied without exceeding the allowable
shearing stress
all
;
(d) Determine the angle of twist between 1 and 2.
191
Strength of Materials
Fig. P.9.5 Fig. P.9.6
P.9.7 Two tapered shafts AB and BC are bonded together at B and attached to fixed supports at A
and C (Fig. P.9.7). Shaft AB is made of aluminum (with
Al
all

= 75 MPa and G
Al
= 2,6 10
4
MPa)
while shaft BC is made of brass (with
B
all

=90 MPa and G


B
= 3,9 10
4
MPa). Knowing that =
0,8m and M
0
= 2 kN m:
(a) Determine the torques exerted on the composite shaft by each of the fixed supports;
(b) Draw the torque diagram;
(c) Determine the required value of d;
(d) Determine the angle of twist at B.
Fig. P.9.7 Fig. P.9.8
P.9.8 A steel shaft of square cross section and an aluminum tube are fixed at one end and connected
to a rigid plate at the other end, as shown (Fig. P.9.8). Determine the maximum value of torque M
0
which may be safely applied to the rigid plate and the angle of twist at B if: G
Al
= 2,6 10
4
MPa,
G
Steel
= 8 10
4
MPa,
Al
all


= 90 MPa,
Steel
all

=100 MPa and = 1,5 m.


192
Torsion
Fig. P.9.9 Fig. P.9.10
P.9.9 A steel thin-walled tube of square cross section AB and an aluminum tube BC of annular
cross section are fixed at one end and connected to a rigid plate at B as shown (Fig. P.9.9).
Determine the largest value of torque M
0
which may be safely applied at 1 if: d = 80 mm, a = 40
mm, t = 5 mm,
Steel
all

= 100 MPa,
Al
all

= 80 MPa, G
steel
= 8 10
4
MPa, G
Al
= 2,6 10
4
MPa and
= 0,8 m. Do also determine the angle of twist at B.
P.9.10 A solid tapered shaft ABC made of steel is fixed at one end and connected to two steel rods
as shown (Fig. P.9.10). Knowing that d = 30 mm,
Steel
all

=90 MPa,
Steel
all

=180 MPa, d
1
= 10
mm, d
2
= 16 mm, E
Steel
= 2 10
5
MPa, G
Steel
= 8 10
4
MPa and = 1 m, determine the largest value
of torque M
0
which may be safely applied at B.
193