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Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology

Department of Aerospace Engineering

AE 232-Strength of Materials Laboratory

Experiment No: Deflection of Beams and Macaulays Method

Rahul Tanwar (SC11B158)
Rahul Kumar (SC11B040)
R.S.S. Sai ram (SC11B039)
Rajeev Verma (SC11B041)
D. Sai Teja (SC11B044)
Anurag Rayipudi (SC11B043)
Ranjan Das (SC11BO42)


Date Submitted: 25/09/2012

When a beam with a straight longitudinal axis is loaded by lateral forces, the axis is deformed
into a curve, called the deflection curve of the beam. Deflection is the displacement in the y
direction of any point on the axis of the beam.
The Macaulays method involves the general method of obtaining slopes and deflections (i.e.
integrating the equation for M) will still apply provided that the term, W (x a) is integrated
with respect to (x a) and not x. Macaulays Method enables us to write a single equation for
bending moment for the full length of the beam.

To determine experimentally the deflection at two points on a simply supported beam
carrying loads and to check results by Macaulays method
To find a single equation for the bending moments along the beam, using Macaulays

Beam deflection arrangement, Dial gauge, Vernier Callipers , Hangers and weights

Deflection of a beam is the displacement of a point on the neutral surface of a beam from its
original position under the action of applied loads. Before the proportional limit of the
material, the deflection, , can be calculated using the moment of inertia, modulus of
elasticity along with other section properties that will depend on the given situation imposed
on the beam. The position of the load, the type of load applied on the beam, and the length of
beam are examples of section properties that depend on the situation.
Bend test is therefore suitable for evaluating strength of brittle materials where interpretation
of tensile test result of the same material is difficult due to breaking of specimens around
specimen gripping. The evaluation of the tensile result is therefore not valid since the failed
areas are not included in the specimen gauge length.
Smooth rectangular specimens without notches are generally used for bend testing under
three-point or four-point bend arrangements as shown in figures 1 a) and b) respectively.

The compressive force and the tensile force acting on the member are equal in magnitude
because of equilibrium. Therefore, the compressive force and the tensile force form a force
couple whose moment is equal to either the tensile force multiplied by the moment arm or the
compressive force multiplied by the moment arm.

An Illustration of bending action in a beam acted upon by transverse loads. Bending may be
accompanied by direct stress, transverse shear or torsional shear, however for convenience;
bending stresses may be considered separately. In order to separate the stresses it is assumed
that the loads are applied in the following manner: loads act in a plane of symmetry, no
twisting occurs, deflections are parallel to the plane of the loads, and no longitudinal forces
are induced by the loads or by the supports. Below is figure 1.

A beam or part of a beam that is only acted on by the bending stresses is said to be in a
condition of pure bending. However for many circumstances bending is accompany by
transverse shear.

Assumptions of pure bending are:
The beam is initially straight and unstressed.
The material is homogeneous, same density and elastic properties.
The elastic limit is nowhere exceeded.
Youngs modulus for the materials is the same in tension and compression.
Plane crosssection remains plane before and after bending.
No resulted force perpendicular to any cross section.
Macaulays Method is a means to find the equation that describes the deflected shape of a
beam. From this equation, any deflection of interest can be found. Macaulays Method
enables us to write a single equation for bending moment for the full length of the beam.

Consider the simply-supported beam loaded as shown in fig.1.
For values of x between b and l
MXX = RAx W1(x-a) W2(x-b) (i)
For values of x between a and b
MXX = RAx W1(x-a) (ii)
For values of x between o and a
MXX = RAx (iii)
W1 W2




Eqn. (i) gives the bending moment at any section of the beam provided bracketed terms are
discarded when they become negative. For this reason, the bracketed terms are known as the
Macaulay Ghost Terms.
EI (d2y/dx2) = M
EI (d2y/dx2) = RAx W1(x-a) W2(x-b) (iv)
In Macaulays method, the bracketed terms are intergraded as a whole. This is justified since
(x-a)dx = (x-a)d(x-a)
EI (dy/dx) = RAx2/2 W1(x-a) 2 /2 W2(x-b) 2/2 + A
EIy = RAx3/6 W1(x-a) 3 /6 W2(x-b) 3/6 + Ax + B
By integrating the bracketed quantities as a whole, the constants A and B have the same
values for all values of x.
The actual values of the constants A and B are obtained from the boundary conditions, that is,
in eqn. (vi):
y = o when x = o and y = o when x = 1
In the particular case considered, B = 0.

It can be used to calculate the deflection of a beam at various distances from the end points.
The advantage of this method compared to other methods used for the same purpose is that
using a single equation with a specific set of constants we can calculate the deflection of
beam in various sections. The experiment is not expensive but very useful in determining the
Macaulays Method enables us to write a single equation for bending moment for the full
length of the beam.
Use of Macaulays technique is very convenient for cases of discontinuous and/or discrete
loading. Typically partial uniformly distributed loads (u.d.l.) and uniformly varying loads
(u.v.l.) over the span and a number of concentrated loads are conveniently handled using this
Deflection at load application point
At , i.e., at point B, the deflection is

1. Experimental
a) Assemble the apparatus as shown with the beam simply supported at its ends A and B.
b) Place load hangers at point C and D distant a and b from the support at A.
c) Select points X and Y approximately in positions shown in the figure 2 and set up the
dial gauge to bear at the points on the upper surface of the beam. Zero the dial gauge with
hangers in position.
d) Apply suitable loads W1 and W2 at C and D respectively and note the deflections at
X and Y as indicated by the dial gauges.
e) Record the values of W1 and W2 and the corresponding deflections at X and Y.
f) Sketch the arrangement and indicate on the sketch the distances a,b and l.
g) Also indicate the distance of points X and Y from the end A.
h) Measure the cross-sectional are dimensions of the beam.

2. Macaulays Method
a) Set up an expression for the bending moment for any section in the extreme right-hand
panel of the beam, measuring x from the left hand end. Put in square brackets, the
Macaulays terms.
b) Integrate to obtain the slope equation and again to obtain the deflection equation, adding
the constants respectively at each stage. Integrate the Macaulays terms as a whole.
c) Calculate the constants C1 and C2 from the condition that the deflection y is zero at the
values of x corresponding with the supports. Omit negative Macaulays terms.
d) To determine slope or deflection at a particular point on the beam substitute the
corresponding value of x in appropriate expression and omit any Macaulays terms which
may become negative.
e) Calculate the deflections of X and Y, using the Macaulays method and compare the values
with the observed results.

Specimen details and loading:
(All dimensions in m)
Width of beam (b) = 0.019 2 Thickness of beam (d) = 3.2X10^-3
Span (l) = 0.45 Distance (a) = 0.15
Distance (b) = 0.30 Distance (k) = 0.13
Distance (x) = 0.39
Load in gm Observed deflection in mm
W1 W2 Y X
50 50 .35 0.17
70 70 0.48 0.20
80 80 0.58 0.26
90 90 0.63 0.28
100 100 0.70 0.32

Second moment of inertia of beam cross section = I = (bd^3)/12 = 5.2* 10^ (-11)
Flexural rigidity = EI = 3.598
Modulus of elasticity = 69GPa

Load in gm Calculated deflection in mm
W1 W2 Y X
50 50 .355 0.15
70 70 .51 0.21
80 80 .55 0.22
90 90 .62 0.25
100 100 .68 0.30


0 20 40 60 80 100 120

Linear ()
Linear ()
Linear ()
Linear ()
1.The initial values are with good acceptance of calculated values. But till the end the
deviations become high.
2.The curve deviates from straight line as the load is increased. This may be because the
Macaulays method makes the approximation for radius of curvature, which can change
R d^2y/dx^2 assuming dy/dx 0
3.The Macaulays method does not take into account shear forces.
4.There might be some disturbance in the positions of load applied after each reading, which
can change results significantly.
5.There might be disturbance in positions of dial gauges which will change results.
6.The 2-dimensional system analysis might be incorrect and 3D effects needed to be
7.Human errors might be significant, and cannot be ignored for deflection at X.
But for Y it is negligible.