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School of Planning, Architecture and

Civil Engineering, David Keir Building,


Queens University, Belfast, BT9 5AG

Worked Examples of mathematics used in


Civil Engineering
Worked Example 1: Stage 1 Engineering Surveying (CIV_1010) Tutorial - Transition
curves and vertical curves.
Worked Example 1 draws from CCEA Advanced Subsidiary (As) and Advanced GCE (A2) Mathematics
modules;
Module M2- Mechanics 2, topic 5 in relation to motion in a horizontal circle
Module C2- As core Mathematics 2, topic 1 in relation to the co-ordinate geometry of a
circle including use of circle properties
Module C2- As core Mathematics 2, topic 3 in relation to radian measure including use for
calculation of arc length
A transition curve is a curve of gradually varying radius used in highway design to join a straight
section of road to a circular curved section. Transition curves are used to reduce the shock lateral
loading imposed on the vehicle by allowing the radial force to build up slowly rather than
instantaneously.
Source: Whyte, W. and Paul, R. (1997, 4th Edn.). Basic Surveying, Elsevier, London, pp. 289-291.
Question:
It is required that two intersecting straights are joined by a circular arc and transition curves. Use the
following data to select a suitable road alignment:
0
I=43 2010

The minimum radius (R) which can be used is 420m


Rate of change of radial acceleration, r= 0.3m/s3
Deflection angle between 2 tangents, I= 4302010
Equation relating length of transition curve to angle;
L

so that total length of curve,


Design Speed of Road, V= 80km/hr

Solution:
Change design speed into m/s (M1.1);
= 22.2m/s,
V=22.22 m/s

School of Planning, Architecture and


Civil Engineering, David Keir Building,
Queens University, Belfast, BT9 5AG
Calculate L, where L is total length of each transition curve (M1.1; M2.3; M2.4; M2.5);

(Minimum length to satisfy rate of change of radial acceleration)

Calculate , corresponding to the total angle traversed by each transition curve (i.e. angle
corresponding to L) (C3.2; M2.4; FP2.5):
Use transition curve equation;
Rearrange to make

the subject

Apply boundary condition that at

Reducing equation to;


Therefore

or

Total angle corresponding to 2 transition curves=

Calculate length of central circular arc (C2.1; C2.3; FP1.6; FP3.7);

Or

Calculate total arc length if curve totally transitioned (C2.1; C2.3; FP1.6; FP3.7);
If curve totally transitioned

School of Planning, Architecture and


Civil Engineering, David Keir Building,
Queens University, Belfast, BT9 5AG

Worked Example 2: Stage 1 Fluids 1 (CIV_1008) Tutorial- Buoyancy


Worked Example 2 draws from CCEA Advanced Subsidiary (As) and Advanced GCE (A2) Mathematics
modules;
Module M1- Mechanics 1, topic 4 in relation to the equilibrium of a particle
Module M1- Mechanics 1, topic 7 in relation to mass and acceleration
Stable equilibrium of a floating body, such as a ship, depends on the relative lines of action and
resulting moment of the upthrust force (acting upwards) and weight of the body (acting
downwards). The weight of the body acts through its centre of gravity which is fixed. Whereas, the
upthrust force acts through the centre of buoyancy of the floating body which can move relative to
the body.
Question:
An oil tanker in a state of stable equilibrium can carry 0.5x109 kg of oil of relative density 0.85. The
ship can be considered as a rectangular in shape, length 380m and width 55m. The mass of the ship
is 190x106 kg. Calculate the draught of the fully loaded ship in seawater. (
,
the draught of a vessel is the depth to which it is immersed in the water).
When the ship is unloaded, it is necessary to carry seawater ballast in order to keep the propeller
submerged. A minimum draught of 20m must be maintained. What volume of seawater must be
added to meet this requirement, and what fraction of the ships capacity will be filled with seawater
ballast?

Solution:
For the ship to float (M1.4; M1.5; M3.1);
W
d

Calculate the weight of the ship (M1.2; M1.7);

Let d be the draught of the ship in seawater;

U
55m

Calculate upthrust;

School of Planning, Architecture and


Civil Engineering, David Keir Building,
Queens University, Belfast, BT9 5AG

But

, therefore;

Calculate total weight of the vessel to maintain a draught, d, of 20m;

The required weight of seawater ballast is;

The required volume of seawater is;

The maximum volumetric capacity of the ship is;

The fraction of the total capacity occupied by the seawater ballast is;

School of Planning, Architecture and


Civil Engineering, David Keir Building,
Queens University, Belfast, BT9 5AG

Worked Example 3: Adapted from Stage 1 Solids & Structures 1 (CIV 1001 ) 2004 Exam
Paper Question 4
Worked Example 3 draws from CCEA Advanced Subsidiary (As) and Advanced GCE (A2) Mathematics
modules;
Module C2- As Core Mathematics 2, topic 5 in relation to the integration of xn and related
sums and differences
A cantilever is a beam rigidly secured at only one end. The applied load is carried to the fixed
support where it is resisted by bending moment and shear stress.
Question:
A diver of mass 75 kg stands on the end of a fibre glass (Youngs Modulus, E=8Gpa) diving board, 3 m
in length. By modelling the diving board as a simple cantilever calculate the deflection at the free
end of the diving board. Repeat the calculation for two other divers with masses of 50 kg and 100 kg.
Solution:
b=300mm
d=40mm
Beam Section

x
L
x
-P
Shear Force Diagram; where shear force is plotted against length, x, from free end
x
-PL
Bending Moment Diagram; where bending moment is plotted against length, x, from free end
Use equation;

Where E and I correspond to the youngs modulus and second moment of area, specific properties of
the diving board
5

School of Planning, Architecture and


Civil Engineering, David Keir Building,
Queens University, Belfast, BT9 5AG
Integrate to get deflected slope of board (C2.5; C4.5);

Where c1 is an arbitrary constant of integration


Apply boundary condition when x=L, slope is fixed =0 (FP2.7);

Integrate again to get an equation for displacement, v in terms of distance, x from free end of
board (C2.5; C4.5);

Apply boundary condition when x=L, v =0 (FP2.7);


=0

Therefore displacement of diving board at tip, when x=0 is;

Substitute diving board properties into deflection equation to determine tip deflection;
P=75g N
L= 3 m
b=300x10-3 m
d=40x10-3 m

E=8x109 kN/m2

School of Planning, Architecture and


Civil Engineering, David Keir Building,
Queens University, Belfast, BT9 5AG

Worked Example 4: Stage 1 Solids & Structures (CIV 1001) Tutorial- Pin jointed frames
Worked Example 4 draws from CCEA Advanced Subsidiary (As) and Advanced GCE (A2) Mathematics
modules;
Module M4- Mechanics 4, topic 3 in relation to the analysis of light pin-jointed frameworks
Module M1- Mechanics 1, topic 2 in relation to the resolution of component forces
Module M1- Mechanics 1, topic 5 in relation to the calculation of the sum of moments about
a point
6.0m
4.0m
1.0m 2.0m
A

Question:
The car has mass 1750 kg and the bridge can be taken to have a self mass of 250 kg per unit length
of section for the members making up the deck of the bridge and 100 kg per unit length for the
other members. The structure is to be analysed as a pin jointed truss and consequently the loads
have to be applied at the joints of the structure. Apply the loads in the usual manner and calculate
the resultant horizontal and vertical forces at the restraints.

Solution (M4.3):

Deck members
Other horizontal members
Diagonal members

Length/m
6
5
5

Weight/kN
15
6
5

Calculate distribution of loads for the car;


1.0m

2.0m

1.0m

School of Planning, Architecture and


Civil Engineering, David Keir Building,
Queens University, Belfast, BT9 5AG

8.75kN
8.75kN
RC
Resolve (M1.2; M1.5; M1.6; M4.2);

RD

Take moments about C;

Therefore;

5+3

5+3
7.5+5

5+3
7.5+5

5+3
7.5+5

2.5+7.5

2.5+7.5
10.21

7.29

RA

RB

8
12.5

8
22.71

10

RA

8
19.79
10

RB

Resolve (M1.2; M1.5; M1.6; M4.2);

Take moments about A;

Therefore;

School of Planning, Architecture and


Civil Engineering, David Keir Building,
Queens University, Belfast, BT9 5AG

Worked Example 5: Stage 1 Mathematics (CIV 1015) Mathematics 2C Exam May 2004,
Question 1
Worked Example 5 draws from CCEA Advanced Subsidiary (As) and Advanced GCE (A2) Mathematics
modules;
Module M1- Mechanics 1, topic 1 in relation to the application of differentiation to
kinematic problems
Module M1- Mechanics 1, topic 7 in relation to the application of Newtons second law of
motion
Module M3- Mechanics 3, topic 4 in relation to analytically modelling the motion of elastic
springs
Module FP1- Further Pure Maths 1, topic 1 in relation to the addition and multiplication of
matrices
Question:
For one dimensional simple harmonic motion, the motion for the system can be represented by a
second order differential equation (presented below). The equations can be obtained using
Newtons second law of motion (F=ma, where; F- Force acting, m-mass, a-Acceleration) and Hookes
Law (F=-ku, where; F-Force acting, k-Rate of spring constant, u-Displacement of spring) (C1.6; C4.4;
M1.7; M3.4);

Where; m= mass, u= displacement, k= Rate of spring constant and subscripts 1 and 2 denote
particles 1 and 2 respectively

Given that k=1 and m=1, show that the natural frequencies of vibration are given by;

School of Planning, Architecture and


Civil Engineering, David Keir Building,
Queens University, Belfast, BT9 5AG

Solution:
Represent the two systems of differential equations in matrix form;

Where

denotes the second order differential equation of displacement, u with respect to time, t

When m=1 and k=1;

Try a solution of the form;

Where

denotes the angular frequency

Differentiate twice (C3.6; M1.1; FP2.7)

Substitute into system of equations (FP1.4;

This system will have a non-trivial solution when;

Expanding to obtain the characteristic equation;

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