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UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA

CVG 2140 – DR. MARTIN - PEREZ

SIMPLY SUPPORTED
BEAMS
KHALIL BARAKZAI - 7460696

Table of Contents
Introduction and Background..................................................................................... 4
Objective.................................................................................................................... 4
Apparatus................................................................................................................... 4
Procedure................................................................................................................... 4
Presentation of Collected Data................................................................................... 4
Case 1..................................................................................................................... 4
Case 2..................................................................................................................... 5
Case 3..................................................................................................................... 6
Results and Calculations............................................................................................. 7
Discussion.................................................................................................................. 8
Conclusion.................................................................................................................. 8
References.................................................................................................................. 8

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List of Tables
Table 1: Experimental Readings for Case 1
………………………………………………………………………………………….....5
Table 2: Theoretical Values for Case 1 with True Error
……………………………………………………………………………5
Table 3: Experimental Readings for Case 2……………..
………………………………………………………………………………6
Table 2: Theoretical Values for Case 2 with True Error ….
………………………………………………..………………………6
Table 2: Experimental Readings for Case 3……………..
………………………………………………………………………………6
Table 2: Theoretical Values for Case 3 with True Error
……………………………………………………………………………6

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List of Figures
Figure 1: Diagram of load P (23.80 N) applied at various distances from
RA…………………………………..…………4
Figure 2: Diagram of load P (23.80 N) applied at various distances from both
supports…………………………..5
Figure 3: Diagram of P (23.80N) applied as
shown…………………………………………………………………………………..6

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Introduction and Background
Using experimental and theoretical processes, the reactions at the supports
of a beam are measured under various loading conditions. In the experimental
procedure, a gauge is used to calculate the reactions on each support with loads
being applied at various distances from the supports. These values for the reactions
of the beam are than compared with theoretical values which are obtained using
simple beam mechanics equations.

Objective
To determine the reactions at the supports of a simply supported beam for
various loading conditions.

Apparatus



Aluminum beam of 1,220-mm length
Two supporting frames
Weight to apply external load
Two spring balances located at the supports

Procedure
We start off by taking the initial reading of each spring balance, or the
reactions of the simply supported beam due to the weight of the beam. We than
apply a single concentrated load of 5.35 lb (23.80 N) at various distances, a, from
the left support A and read both reactions Ra and Rb as shown in figure of the Lab
Manual. We than repeat the measurement with two simultaneous loads of 2.35 lb
(10.5 N) and 5.35 lb (23.80 N) at various distances, a, from both supports, A and B.
We finish off by applying a load to the beam with an overhang outside the support
at B applied at a distance of 6 in (0.152 m).

Presentation of Collected Data
Case 1

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Figure 1: Diagram of load P (23.80 N) applied at various distances from R A

Table 1: Experimental Readings for Case 1
Distance, a
inche meters
s
6
0.152
12
18
24

0.305
0.457
0.61

30
36
42

0.762
0.914
1.067

RA(N)

RB (N)

20.91
5
17.8
15.13
12.01
5
8.9
6.675
3.115

2.67
6.23
9.345
12.01
5
15.13
17.8
20.91
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Table 2: Theoretical Values for Case 1 with the True Error
Distance, a
inche meters
s
6
0.152
12
0.305
18
0.457
24
0.61
30
0.762
36
0.914
42
1.067

Ra(N)

Rb (N)

True Error (Ra)
(%)

True Error (Rb)
(%)

20.84
17.86
14.89
11.90
8.94
5.97
2.99

2.97
5.95
8.92
11.90
14.87
17.84
20.82

0.35
0.31
1.62
0.93
0.42
11.78
4.33

9.99
4.67
4.79
0.93
1.75
0.20
0.45

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Case 2

Figure 2: Diagram of load P (23.80 N) applied at various distances from both
supports
Note that the downward arrows represent load P

Figure 3: Diagram of P (23.80N) applied as shown
Table 3: Experimental Readings for Case 2
Distance, a
inches
meters
6
0.152
12
0.305
18
0.457

RA(N)

RB (N)

12.24
13.57
15.58

22.25
20.47
18.69

Table 4: Theoretical Values for Case 2 with the true error
Distance, a

Ra(N)

Rb (N)

True Error (Ra)

True Error (Rb)
6

inche
s
6
12
18

meters
0.152
0.305
0.457

11.83
13.22
14.60

22.43
21.05
19.67

(%)

(%)

3.41
2.67
6.70

0.81
2.73
4.98

Case 3
Table 5: Experimental readings for Case 3
Distance, a
inches
meters
6.00
0.15

RA(N)

RB (N)

-1.78

12.24

Table 6: Theoretical values calculated for case 3 with the error calculations
Distance, a
inche meters
s
6.00
0.15

Ra(N)

Rb (N)

True Error (Ra)
(%)

True Error (Rb)
(%)

-2.09

12.55

14.89

2.48

Note that the negative value of RA indicates that it is pointing downwards rather
than upwards as the diagram seems to suggest.

Results and Calculations
For case 1, the theoretical values were calculated by first taking the sum of
moments around point A which would give us the reaction at B, and then taking the
sum of forces in the y-direction:
Please refer to figure 1 for clarification
∑MA=0:
-P*a + RB (1.22) =0 where P =5.35 N
RB =

5.35
a
1.22

where a is the distance from RA

∑Fy=0:
RA + RB = P
RA = P - R B

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For case 2, the theoretical values were calculated with the same approach as for case 1.
Please refer to figure 2
∑MA=0:
– P1*(a) - P2*(1.22 - a) + RB*(1.22) = 0
Where P1 = 10.46 N and P2 = 23.81 N

RB =

10.46∗a+ 23.81∗(1.22−a)
1.22

∑Fy=0:
RA + RB = P1 + P2
RA = 34.265 - RB

Case 3 calculations, please refer to figure 3
∑MA=0:
RB * (0.76) – P*(0.912)
RB =

where P = 10.46 N

10.46∗0.912
=12.55 N
0.76

∑Fy=0:
RA+RB = P
RA = -2.0915
True Error Calculations

True Error=

Theoretical Value−Experimental Value
∗100
Theoretical Value

Discussion
The results of this experiment are acceptable as there is a relatively small
error between the theoretical values and the experimental values in each case.
Case 1 had an average error of only 2.82% at R A and 3.25% for RB, case 2 had an
average of 1.83% and 1.22% for RA and RB respectively and case 3 had a true error
of 14.89% and 2.48 % for RA and RB respectively. Case three is the only one with an
error over 5 % which is tells us that our experiment, for the most part, is acceptable.
Possible error sources include not measuring the distance a correctly, or not
applying the weight exactly at the specified distance a. Another source of error
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could have come from the fact that the spring scales may not have been properly
calibrated and therefore reported false readings. The final source of error could have
come from the fact that it is really hard to read the values on the spring scale with
the human eye as it is not digital and rounding errors could therefore have occurred.

Conclusion
In conclusion the experiment presented good results with little error, this
experiment is suitable in testing reactions at the supports of a simply-supported
beam.

References
1. Lab Manual, CVG2140, Mechanics of Materials, W2015

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