# 12

Beam Deﬂections
by Discontinuity
Functions

12–1

Example 3: SS Beam With Complicated Loading . . . . .2. .1. . .Lecture 12: BEAM DEFLECTIONS BY DISCONTINUITY FUNCTIONS TABLE OF CONTENTS Page §12. . Example 2: Hinged Beam Propped by Elastic Bar . . . . . . . . 12–2 12–3 12–3 12–3 12–4 12–5 12–5 12–6 12–8 . .2. . . . . . §12.2. . . . Examples §12. . .1. §12. Nonsingular DFs . . . .2.2. Example 1: Simply Supported Beam Under Midspan Point Load §12. . . . Singular DFs . . . §12. §12.1. . . . . . . .1. . Application to Beam Deflection Calculations .1.2. . . Discontinuity Functions §12. .3.3.1.

(This integer can be interpreted as an exponent if nonnegative.... The generic nomenclature for these functions. They may be found under several names and notations in other fields such as Physics. It is convenient to distinguish between two types of DFs: nonsingular and singular. For these n is nonnegative.2. A Short Table of Discontinuity Functions Name Symbol doublet < x−a > −2 −1 Definition antiderivative of doublet function is delta function [Dirac] delta < x−a > antiderivative of delta function is step function step < x−a >0 1 if x > a. x < x − a > n+1 < x − a >n dx = valid if n ≥ 0 and x0 ≤ a n+1 x0 For beam problems where origin of x is at left end. Superscript n is an integer that characterizes the kind of discontinuity represented by (12. is x −a (12.1.) The Table provided in Figure 12. as discussed below. n th order ramp n if x > a. n ≥ 0. 1. else 0 < x−a >n (x−a) . 2.. Consequently n may be interpreted as an exponent.1. In this course they will be used to represent beam x-functions that range from applied loads through deflections. else 0 2 < x−a > (x−a)2 if x > a.§12... taking x as independent variable.. Discontinuity Functions (abbreviation: DFs) were invented to compactly represent discontinuities of various kinds in mathematical functions. We will adopt MacAuley’s angle-brackets notation.1 lists the most widely used DFs..1 DISCONTINUITY FUNCTIONS §12. §12. and a useful integration rule. as illustrated in Figure 12. Nonsingular DFs Also called ordinary. that is.1. If n = −2.1). else 0. integral is step function.. A list of Discontinuity Functions. Figure 12. In this case x − a n can be directly defined as (x − a)n if x ≥ a. else 0 ramp < x−a > parabolic ramp 1 x−a if x > a. For n = 0 the function receives several names noted in Figure 12.. Discontinuity Functions As the name indicates. else 0 ( n≥ 0 ) Useful integration formula for n = 0.1. which is that used by most Mechanics of Materials textbooks. x 0 is normally 0 If n = −1.1) n in which a denotes the position along x where a discontinuity occurs. . integral is delta function. Chemistry and Electrical Engineering. These may be graphed as conventional functions.. 12–3 .. along with their definitions.. This Table is also provided on the Supplementary Crib Sheet for Midterm Exam #3.2..

−2 <x−a> 6 ε2 area of hashed rectangle remains unity as ε 0 x ε a+ a−ε 2 a 2 doublet function. . collisions in dynamics and particle physics. These DFs exhibit strong singular behavior at x = a.3. They are defined only through limit processes. −1 <x−a> Delta function. (For example. 12–4 .. . distributions and generalized functions in the mathematical literature.1.2. (The last name is used in Russian publications.Lecture 12: BEAM DEFLECTIONS BY DISCONTINUITY FUNCTIONS n=1 n=0 n=2 1 0 2 <x−a> <x−a> Step function.3. Pictured are cases n = 0. Singular DFs If n is a negative integer.) They do not represent ordinary functions. Note that for n = 0 the function receives several names: step. §12.3. and Heaviside. and for that reason they are also called Singularity Functions. Also called singularity functions. Discontinuity Functions for n = −1 (Delta function. . . as illustrated in the figure.) Integer n is not an exponent in the usual sense but an index that identifies the singularity strength.. Application to Beam Deflection Calculations For beams a point force P (positive up) acting at x = a is mathematically representable as a scaled delta function: P x − a −1 . [In advanced mathematics it is known as a distribution (Western literature) or generalized function (Russian literature). A point moment Ma (positive CW) acting at x = a can be represented by a scaled doublet: Ma x − a −2 . . and as such cannot be conventionally plotted. unit step. . Dirac delta or unit-impulse function. which appears in many fields of engineering and sciences.1. 1 and 2. also called Dirac delta (in Physics) and unit impulse function (in dynamics) 1 ε a−ε 2 a . Discontinuity Functions for nonegative exponents. The case n = −1 pertains to the so-called delta function. also called unit step and Heaviside function 1 <x−a> Parabolic unit ramp function Unit ramp function unit slope 0 x a x a a x Figure 12. as illustrated in Figure 12.] It can be defined as a limit of a sequence of functions.. also called Dirac Delta) and n = −2 (doublet). also called dipole (in Physics) and double impulse (in dynamics) moment of hashed 2-triangle area remains unity as ε 0 x ε a+ 2 Figure 12. §12.2. x − a n is not a conventional function.

Example 1: Simply Supported Beam Under Midspan Point Load This example problem is defined in Figure 12. (12. If not included. as remarked above that decision is optional. Examples The following examples illustrate how the method works for three problems of varying complexity. which foregoes the need for explicit continuity conditions.2 y A (a) (b) Constant EIzz P L/2 P A B C x EXAMPLES C RB = P 2 RA = P 2 L/2 L B Figure 12.§12. The bending moment Mz (x) is zero at both supports: Mz A (x) = C2 = 0 and Mz B (x) = −P( 12 L) − C1 L = 0 ⇒ C1 = −P/2.4(a). and integrate twice more: Mz (x) = −P x − 12 L 1 + 12 P x.2) (Note that the reaction forces have not been included in this p(x). they will automatically appear in the integration constants for the transverse shear force Vy (x) and the bending moment Mz (x). One question often asked is Should reaction forces be included in p(x)? Answer: that decision is optional. Write the point load as a delta function of amplitude −P: p(x) = −P x − 12 L −1 . For beam deflection calculations. Here it is solved by the fourth order method and DFs. §12.) Integrate twice to get transverse shear and bending moment: Vy (x) = − p(x) d x = P x − 12 L Mz (x) = −Vy (x) d x = −P x − 0 + C1 . (b) FBD to get support reactions.4) . E Izz v (x) = − 12 P x − 12 L 2 + 14 P x 2 + C3 E Izz v(x) = − 16 P x − 12 L 3 + 12–5 1 P 12 x 3 + C3 x + C4 .1. (12. DFs are normally used in conjunction with the fourth order method. §12.2. Pause here to apply static BCs. Replace into the moment expression. (12.3) 1 L 1 2 − C1 x + C2 .4. Beam problem for Example 1: (a) problem definition. Deflection calculations for this configuration were done in Lecture 11 using the second order method and inter-segment continuity conditions. starting from the applied load p(x).2.

here it has an additional applied load. find: (1) axial force FB D in bar BD and reaction at A. The deflection is zero at both supports: E Izz v A = E Izz v(0) = 1 P L 3 + C3 L = 0 ⇒ C3 = −P L 2 /16.5.2.5(b). (To visualize this property. L and P. The beam is loaded by a point load P at C and a uniform load w over the right halfspan BC. Note that this structure is statically determinate.5(a). In terms of E. Izz .Lecture 12: BEAM DEFLECTIONS BY DISCONTINUITY FUNCTIONS Elastic bar of modulus D E and x-sec area A (a) y (b) (drawn assuming bar is in tension) L x y L w L A Internal bar force FBD =2P+3wL/2 B Elastic beam of constant modulus E and inertia Izz x A C wL L P C B L/2 L/2 P RA =−P−wL/2 Figure 12. A. Beam AC is simply supported at A and held by an elastic bar BD at halfspan B. The moment equilibrium equation (+ CCW): M A = FB D L − w L(3L/2) − P (2L) = 0. Both P and w are taken as positive downward. 2 (12. Beam AC has constant bending inertia Izz . bar BD has constant cross section A and both members have the same elastic modulus E. §12. (a) Problem definition. It is defined in Figure 12. it requires ability to use and manipulate DFs.6) The procedure is faster and less error prone than that used in Lecture 11. Structure for Example 2. try to remove the bar: if so the structure becomes a mechanism and collapses. (b) FBD showing beam reaction R A and internal bar force FB D . Example 2: Hinged Beam Propped by Elastic Bar This is a variant of the second problem discussed in Recitation 5. yields FB D = 2P + 12–6 3w L . C4 = 0 and E Izz v B = E Izz v(L) = − 16 P( 12 L)3 + 12 Replacing into E Izz v(x) yields the deflection curve.5) Evaluating at x = 12 L provides the midspan deflection: vC = v( 12 L) = − P L3 48E Izz (12. which can be simplified to v(x) = − P 8 x − 12 L 48E Ix x 3 − 4 x 3 + 3L 2 x (12. On the other hand.2. (2) deflection v B at B (this is controlled by the bar elongation) and (3) vertical deflection vC at C.) We now apply the two kinematic BC.7) . do a FBD of the structure taking moments with respect to A so as to get rid of the reaction force. The FBD is pictured in Figure 12. To find the axial force in bar BD.

More generally: (12.10) for p(x).11) Note that we have replaced R A ( x − 0 0 ) in the first equation (the expression of the transverse shear force) by R A x 0 = R A . Two useful checks: MzC = Mz (2L) = 0 and VyC = Vy (2L) = P. EA EA (12. For convenience we take both R A and FB D as if they were applied loads. − P x−2L 1 + C1 x + C2 . From now on the P term in the second of (12.9) This elongation is obviouly equal to the downward beam deflection at B. The justification for (12. if n ≥ 0. The moment at the simple support must be zero: Mz A = Mz (0) = C2 = 0 and the transverse shear must equal the negative of the reaction force: Vy A = Vy (0) = −R A = −R A + C1 = 0 ⇒ C1 = 0.§12. whence v B = v(L) = −δ B D is a kinematic BC.13) .12) is that x cannot take negative values if the coordinate origin is placed at the left end of the beam.12) x − 0 n ⇒ x n . The reason for getting both C1 and C2 to vanish is that we incorporated the beam reactions R A and FB D from the start in the expression (12.11) will be dropped. Integrate twice more: E Izz v (x) = 12 R A x 2 + 12 FB D x − L 2 − 16 w x − L E Izz v(x) = 16 R A x 3 + 16 FB D x − L 3 − 12–7 1 w 24 x−L 3 + C3 4 + C3 x + C4 . whence P x − 2L 1 = 0 everywhere. This is permissible for any DF with nonnegative supercript.10) Integrate this twice: −Vy (x) = Mz (x) = p(x) d x = R A + FB D x−L 0 − w x−L −Vy (x) d x = R A x + FB D x−L 1 1 − P x−2L − 12 w x−L 2 0 + C1 . Under the internal force FB D = 2P + (3/4)wL the bar elongates by δ B D .2 Fy = R A + FB D − w L − P = The reaction at A can be now obtained from y force equilibrium: R A + 2P + 3w L/2 − w L − P = 0. (12. which gives R A = −P − EXAMPLES wL . Pause to find C1 and C2 . which is given by the Mechanics of Materials formula δB D = FB D L (2P + 3wL/2) L = . since for all beam points x ≤ 2L and x − 2L n vanishes if n ≥ 1. (12.8) This reaction will act downwards if P > 0 and w > 0. 2 (12. (12. and carry them along in compact symbolic form. We write the generic load p(x) using DFs: p(x) = R A x − 0 −1 + FB D x − L −1 −w x −L 0 − P x − 2L −1 . To find the deflection curve we start from the applied forces on the beam.

18) L 2 2L 1 L 0 2 1 1 −P x− + MC x − + C1 x + C2 . The second BC. and a point moment MC at midspan x = L/2. See Vable. p. and v B = v(L) = −δ B D = −FB D L/(E A). P and MC are positive if acting as shown. (2) a point force P at x = 2L/3.) Integrate twice: L 1 2L 0 L −1 −P x− + MC x − + C1 .Lecture 12: BEAM DEFLECTIONS BY DISCONTINUITY FUNCTIONS y A w C x Constant EIzz P MC B D L/3 L/6 L/2 L Figure 12. Mz (x) = − 2 w x + 2 w x − 2 3 2 12–8 .6. 492. the bar disappears. §12.2. yields C3 = P L2 2Izz − 6 A + wL 12 L2 − 18Izz A . the beam deflections go to infinity.3. Beam for Example 3 The kinematic BCs are v A = v(0) = 0.6. Example 3: SS Beam With Complicated Loading The problem is defined in Figure 12. Evaluating at x = 2L provides the tip deflection: vC = v(2L) = − 4 2L 2 + A Izz PL E − wL 2 E 3 7L 2 + A 24Izz (12. for a discussion of that topic. after some simplifications. (12. The calculation of deflections will be done with the fourth order method in conjunction with DFs. The applied load is p(x) = −w x − 0 0 + w x − L = −w + w x − 2 0 L 2 0 +P x− 2L −P x− 3 −1 2L 3 −1 + MC x − L + MC x − 2 −2 L 2 −2 (12.17) (Note that the load term due to the point moment MC is positive if this couple acts clockwise. w.15) 18Izz L − A 2 x.14) Replacing C3 . as found above. Reactions are not included in the load p(x): they will appear through the integration constants. −Vy (x) = −w x + w x − 2 3 2 (12. R A and FB D gives the deflection curve in terms of the data as E Izz v(x) = − 1 6 −P − 12 wL x 3 + 1 w 24 x−L 4 2P + 1 6 3wL 2 wL + 12 L2 2Izz − 6 A − P x−L 3 (12.16) Note that if A → 0. because A is a simple support. The first BC gives C4 = 0. The SS beam is subject to three types of applied load: (1) a uniform distributed load w over the left midspan. that is.

Setting Mz B = Mz (L) = 0 and then E Izz v B = E Izz v(L) = 0 yields E Izz v (x) = − 16 w x 3 + 16 w x − C1 = L 2 3 − 12 P x − 9w − 8P − 24MC .2 0. EIzz = 1 and L=1 v(x) (c) Deflection curve for w=0. EIzz = 1 and L=1 0. which immediately gives C4 = 0. so we leave it as is for now.7.§12. P=0. thus Mz A = Mz (0) = C2 = 0 and we dont need to carry C2 further.8 x 2 3 4 5 6 v(x) 1 −0.8 x 1 −0.4 0.6 0. 24 C3 = −243w − 512P + 432MC 109368 (12. Deflection curves for Example 3 beam for three individual load cases. Evaluating at sections C (x = 12 L) and D (x = 23 L) gives 1 (165 w − 512 P + 240 MC ).6 0. EIzz = 1 and L=1 Figure 12.22) The midpsan deflection vC is not affected by the point moment MC since this action produces an antisymmetric deflection curve.5 −0.19) The deflection at A must be zero. vC = − 1 (135 w − 368 P).75 0.25 −0. 31104 E Izz (12.20) Substitution into E Izz v(x) produces the deflection curve 2L 3 1 L + 2 MC x − 3 2 9w − 8P − 24MC 3 243w − 512P − 432MC x − x + 144 109368 1 E Izz v(x) = − 24 w x4 + 1 w 24 x− L 2 4 − 16 P x − 2 (12. see Figure 12.21) Figure 12.5 −1.25 −1. MC =100. MC =0.2 0. 20736 E Izz vD = − 12–9 .7 plots deflection curves for three individual load cases.75 v(x) (b) Deflection curve for w=0. 3 2 L 4 1 2L 3 1 L 2 1 1 1 w x 4 + 24 w x− − 6P x − + 2 MC x − + 6 C1 x 3 + C3 x + C4 .6 0.5 −0. MC =0. P=0.4 0.2 1 0. The moment at the left simple support must vanish.75 (a) Deflection curve for w=100. E Izz v(x) = − 24 2 3 2 (12.5 0.2 0.8 x 1 EXAMPLES 0. P=100.25 −0. The other two integration constants are more complicated functions of the data.7(c).25 0.75 −1 −1. But the expression of C1 from Mz B = Mz (L) = 0 is involved in terms of the data.4 0. Integrating twice more: 2L 2 L 1 1 + MC x − + 2 C1 x 2 + C3 .

x->0. EIvB=EIv/. ClearAll[x.0.EIvx].0. EIv=Integrate[EIvp.x->2/3]. Print["EI vB=".EIv]. Plot[100*EIvx/.P->0. p=-w+w*UnitStep[x-1/2]-P*DiracDelta[x-2/3]. Print["VVy=". Print["C1=".x->1.EIvp]. {C1.P->1.{w->0.C3}={C1.MzB.EIvB}=Simplify[{MzA.MC->1}.EIvB==0}.x]+C1.w.MzB.x->0." C3=".EIvA.1}].1}].{w->0.x->1/2].7 is shown below.Lecture 12: BEAM DEFLECTIONS BY DISCONTINUITY FUNCTIONS The Mathematica program that solves this problem and produces the plots of Figure 12.{C1. C2=C4=0." MzB="." EIvA=".{x. Mz=Integrate[Vy. 12–10 . Plot[100*EIvx/. MzA=Mz/.EIv=Simplify[EIv].C4].C3}/.1}].EIvA.p]. {MzA.EIvA==0. Vy=-w*x+w*(x-1/2)*UnitStep[x-1/2]-P*UnitStep[x-2/3]+MC*DiracDelta[x-1/2]+C1.Together[C3]].solC[[1]]. vB=Simplify[EIvx/.solC[[1]]].Together[vC]]. vC=Simplify[EIvx/.0.{w->1.EIvA.P->0. Print[solC]. Print["MzA=". Print["Mz(x)=".x]+C3. Plot[100*EIvx/.x->1.{x.Together[C1]. MzB=Mz/.VVy//InputForm]. Print["EI vD=".MC->0}.{x.x->1].C3. Print["p(x)=". EIvx=Simplify[EIv/.C2. EIvA=EIv/.P. Print["EIv’(x)=".Mz].EIvB}].MzB. Print["EI v(x)=".MC.MC->0}.x]+C2. Print["EIv(x)=". EIvp=Simplify[EIvp].Together[vD]]. Print["EI vC=". solC=Simplify[Solve[{MzA==0.EIvB].x]+C4. EIvp=Integrate[Mz. VVy=Integrate[p. Mz=Simplify[Mz].MzA.vB].C3}]]." EIvB=".MzB==0.C1. vD=Simplify[EIvx/.