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# Chapter 5 Bending Moments and Shear Force

Diagrams for Beams
In addition to axially loaded bars/rods (e.g. truss) and torsional shafts, the structural members may
experience some loads perpendicular to the axis of the beam and will case only shear and bending
in the beam. The current chapter together with Chapters 6 to 8 will focus on such an issue.

5.0 SHEAR FORCE AND BENDING MOMENTS DIAGRAMS FOR BEAMS
A Shear Force Diagram (SFD)indicates how a force applied perpendicular to the axis (i.e.
parallel to cross section) of a beam is transmitted along the length of that beam. A Bending
Moment Diagram (BMD) will show how the applied loads to a beam create a moment
variation along the length of the beam. These diagrams are used to determine the normal and
shear stresses as well as deflection and slopes in the following chapters.

5.1 BEAM SIGN CONVENTION (SI&4th:256-257; 5th:256-257)
At any point along its length, a beam can transmit a bending moment M(x) and a shear force
V(x). If a loaded beam is cut, the definitions of a positive distributed load, shear force and
positive bending moment are as Fig. 5.1 below:
Positive internal
bending moment

Positive internal shear force
Fig. 5.1 Beam shear force and bending moment sign convention

Where distributed load acts downward on the beam; internal shear force causes a clockwise
rotation of the beam segment on which it acts; and the internal moment causes compression
in the top fibers of the segment, or to bend the segment so that it holds water.

5.2 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BEAM LOADINGS (SI&4th:264-268; 5th:264268)

A beam (Fig. 5.2) is loaded with vertical forces Fi, bending moments Mi and distributed loads
w(x).
F1

F2

w(x)

M1

M2
x

dx

F.B.D. of element dx
w(x)
M(x)

M(x)+

dM(x)
dx
dx

V(x)

V(x)+

dV(x)
dx
dx

dx

Fig. 5.2 Transversely loaded beam and free body diagram of element dx

Lecture Notes of Mechanics of Solids, Chapter 5

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D. 5.B. 5. Section I-I).2) dx Taking moments about the right hand edge of the element: dM ( x )  dx  + ∑ M R .D.Edge = 0 = − M ( x ) − V ( x )dx + w( x )dx dx  = 0 (5.6).B.2). Let’s take a simply supported beam. 5.6) Lecture Notes of Mechanics of Solids.3. Fig. (5.2) & (5.Look at the FBD of an elemental length dx of the above loaded beam (Fig. (5.3). use Eq. (5. Chapter 5 2 . (global equilibrium) P a I F. (method of section I-I) II A M(x) B I II L RAY=(1-a/L)P RBY=Pa/L A o V(x) x RAY=(1-a/L)P Fig.H . As it has an infinitesimal length.3 FBD of beam cut before force P Step A: Cut beam just before the force P (i.5) (5. It is now necessary to equate the equilibrium of the element. (5. equate vertical equilibrium: (5. Starting with vertical equilibrium +↑ ∑F y dV (x )   = 0 = V ( x ) − w(x )dx − V (x ) + dx  = 0 dx   (5.1) Dividing by dx in the limit as dx→0.3) +  M (x ) + 2  dx  Dividing by dx in the limit as dx→0. dM ( x ) = V (x ) (5. Take moments about the right hand end (O): a  a  + ∑ M o = 0 = − P1 −  x + M ( x ) = 0 → M ( x ) = P 1 −  x L  L  To determine the shear force.3) are important when we have found one and want to determine the others.4). as an example to shown the solutions: F. dV (x ) = − w(x ) (5. the distributed load can be considered as a Uniformly Distributed Load (UDL) with constant magnitude w(x) over the differential length dx.Simply Supported Beam By using the free body diagram technique. the bending moment and shear force distributions can be calculated along the length of the beam. giving that: dM ( x )  a V (x ) = = 1 −  P dx L  To verify Eq. and draw a free body diagram including the unknown shear force and bending moment as in Fig. 5.4) dx Eqs.e.3 BENDING MOMENT AND SHEAR FORCE EQUATIONS Introductionary Example .

Step B: Cut beam just before the right hand end (RHE) F.7) and using Eq. These then.+↑ ∑F y a   a = P  1 −  − V ( x ) = 0 → V ( x ) = P 1 −  L  L  which is the same equation as (5.8) dx L These expressions for the bending moment and shear force can now be plotted against x to produce the Shear Force and Bending Moment Diagrams as Fig.B. (5. but cutting the beam just before the end (Section II-II). 5.D. To find out the rest of the bending moment and shear force distributions. 5.6). it is necessary to now carry out a similar analysis. (Section II-II) P a A II o II M(x) V(x) x RAY=( 1-a/L)P Fig. Chapter 5 3 . are the equations for the bending moment and shear force variation in the range of 0 ≤ x ≤ a .4).5: Lecture Notes of Mechanics of Solids.4 FBD of beam cut before the right hand end Equate moments about the right side: + ∑M 0  a = 0 = − P 1 −  x + P ( x − a ) + M ( x ) = 0  L giving: a  a M (x ) = P1 −  x − P(x − a ) = − Px + Pa L  L (5. the shear force equation is : dM ( x ) a V (x ) = =− P (5.

(5. 5th:590-599) The two sets of equations for V(x) and M(x).5).9) L  a 1 1  M ( x ) = P 1 −  x − P x − a L  Where the notation has the following meaning: x−a n for x < a  0 = n (x − a ) for x ≥ a (n ≥ 0) (5.12) for n = 0 Remarks To derive the bending moment equation by using Macauley's notation.8).P a Loading Diagram (1-a/L)P L Pa/L V(x) (1-a/L)P +ve Shear Force Diagram x -ve M(x) -a/LP (1-a/L)Pa +ve Bending Moment Diagram x Fig.11) when differentiating: ∂ x−a ∂x n n x − a  = x−a  0  n −1 for n ≥ 1 0 for n = 1 (5.6).0) a 0 0  V ( x ) = P 1 −  x − P x − a (5. (5. Chapter 5 4 . you may need to do the following: 1) Determine the ground reactions from global equilibrium.10) (5. can be condensed to just one set of equations if we use a special type of notation called Macauley's Notation.5 Shear Force and Bending Moment Diagrams for simply supported beam Macauley's Notation (4th:590-599. Lecture Notes of Mechanics of Solids. 5. 2) Cut the beam just before the right hand end. (5. The above equations would look like this (to be derived in Example 5.7) and (5. Eqs.

even if they are 0 or 1. 'x'. (global equilibrium) P a I A B I L RAY=(1-a/L)P RBY=Pa/L We have RAY = (1-a/L)P and RBY = a/LP Step 2: Draw FBD of beam cut just before the RHS (Section I-I).t. Chapter 5 5 . (Section I-I) P a A I o I M(x) V(x) x RAY=( 1-a/L)P Step 3: Equilibrium for FBD of beam cut just before the RHS (Section I-I). 5) Always indicate the powers. Take moments about RHS: a 1 1  + ∑ M O = 0 = − P1 −  x + P x − a + M ( x ) = 0 L  a 1 1  M ( x ) = P 1 −  x − P x − a L  and differentiating w. F. determine the shear force and bending moment equations and plot them for a simply-supported beam as in the introductory example.B.r. gives the shear force equation as: dM ( x ) a 0 0  V (x ) = = P 1 −  x − P x − a dx L  Step 4: Plotting the Shear Force and Bending Moment Diagrams Lecture Notes of Mechanics of Solids.0: As in the introductory example. Example 5.B. as Eq.4).D.D. 4) All length terms in the bending moment/shear force equations MUST be written using Macauley's notation.3) Equate the cut FBD to equilibrium about the right hand end. F. Step 1: Determine the ground reactions. (5.

It is also interesting to note that concentrated forces (e. Lecture Notes of Mechanics of Solids. Look at the equations segment by segment When 0 ≤ x ≤ a a 1 a a 0 a     M ( x ) = P1 − ( x ) − P × 0 = P1 −  x and V ( x ) = P1 − ( x ) − P × 0 = P1 −  L L L L     To plot this segment in the diagram. M ( x) = 0 and x = a . P a Loading Diagram (1-a/L)P L Pa/L V(x) (1-a/L)P +ve Shear Force Diagram x -ve M(x) Bending Moment Diagram -a/LP (1-a/L)Pa +ve x Example 5. firstly look at the boundary points as x = 0. one can plot Shear Force Diagram in this region. Nevertheless you MUST still work out and indicate the locations and values (including +ve or –ve) at all turning points in the diagrams in detail.1: Determine the shear force and bending moment equations and plot them for a simply-supported beam loaded with a UDL. Likewise.According to M(x) and V(x) to depict the diagrams. you may be able to directly plot the Shear Force Diagram by observing the external forces as well as plot Bending Moment Diagrams by observing the Shear Force Diagram. Draw two points and then connect them because the equation gives a line.g. When a ≤ x ≤ L a 1 a a   1 M ( x ) = P1 − ( x ) − P × ( x − a ) = P1 −  x − Px + Pa = Pa − P x L L L   a 0 a a   0 and V ( x ) = P1 − ( x ) − P × ( x − a ) = P1 −  − P = − P L L L   Remarks: Please draw global FBD of the beam firstly and follow by its Sear Force and Bending Moment Diagrams. Chapter 5 6 . The reason for doing this is that when you get sufficient experience. reaction forces and external forces) correspond to inclined line in BMD and horizontal line in SFD. M ( x) = Pa(1 − a / L ) .

as Eq. 'x'.t. Rw F. Chapter 5 7 .Step 1: Determine the ground reactions. From global equilibrium the ground reaction forces can be found to be both equal to wL/2 as. As far as V(x) and M(x) are concerned the UDL can be temporarily replaced by its resultant Rw (=wx) applied at the centroid of the UDL distribution in the moment equilibrium equation. gives : dM ( x ) wL 0 1 V (x ) = = x −w x dx 2 ( ) Step 4: Plotting the Shear Force and Bending Moment Diagrams According to M(x) and V(x) to depict the diagrams Lecture Notes of Mechanics of Solids.D.r. So if we take moments about the RHS of the beam we get: 1 1 x x 1 1 1 + ∑ M O = 0 = − R AY x + Rw 2 + M (x ) = −(wL / 2) x + w x 2 + M (x ) = 0 wL 1 w 2 ∴ M (x ) = x − x 2 2 and differentiating w.B. w F.D. (global equilibrium) I A B I L wL/2 wL/2 L ∑ M = 0 = − R L + (wL ) 2  = 0 →∴ R = wL / 2 (+ upwards) + ↑ ∑ F = 0 = R + R − wL = 0 →∴ R = wL / 2 (+ upwards) + B AY y AY AY BY BY Step 2: Draw FBD of beam cut just before the RHS (Section I-I).B.4). (5. (Section I-I) w x/2 M(x) A o V(x) x RAY=wL/2 Step 3: Equilibrium for FBD of beam cut just before the RHS (Section I-I).

Lecture Notes of Mechanics of Solids.0) and a UDL (Example 5. There is a significant difference of the Shear Force and Bending Moment Diagrams between a concentrated force (Example 5.w A Loading Diagram B L wL/2 wL/2 V(x) wL/2 Shear Force Diagram +ve x -ve -wL/2 M(x) wL2/8 Parabola +ve Bending Moment Diagram x It is worth pointing out that one should not completely replace such a UDL by its corresponding resultant concentrated force Rw (=wx) in the beginning of the solution. Chapter 5 8 . It is also interesting to note that the UDL corresponds to an inclined line in the Shear Force Diagram and a quadratic curve (parabola) in the Bending Moment Diagrams.1).

∑M +↑∑F + A y = 0 = −1 × 10 × 5 − 20 × 15 + R DY × 20 − 10 × 30 = 0 →∴ R DY = 32. F. It however does work for a UDL which starts anywhere along a beam and continues to the end.2: Determine the shear force and bending moment equations and plot them for a beam loaded with a UDL between A and B and two concentrated forces at C and E.5 x − 20 dx 0 Lecture Notes of Mechanics of Solids.5 x − 20 + M (x ) 1 1 − 20 x − 15 + 32. F. (global equilibrium) 20kN UDL=w=1kN/m B A 10m RAY I D C 5m 5m 10kN E RDY I 10m Step 1: Determine the ground reactions. Note: The only problem with Macauley's Notation is that it does not work when a UDL stops. The problem can be corrected by applying a UDL of equal magnitude but opposite sense where the first UDL ends.r.D. gives the shear force equation as: dM ( x ) 0 1 1 0 V (x ) = = 7.D. 'x'. (5.5 x − x 2 1 2 x 2 2 −1 x − 10 1 + x − 10 2 2 2 2 + 20 x − 15 − 32.B.5kN x Step 3: Equilibrium for FBD of beam cut just before the RHS (Section I-I).5kN = 0 = R AY − 1 × 10 − 20 + R DY − 10 = 0 →∴ R AY = 7. (Section I-I) and application of equivalent UDL 20kN w=1kN/m M(x) o A V(x) 32.5 x − x + x − 10 − 20 x − 15 + 32.5 x 1 +1 1 M ( x ) = 7. as Eq. Chapter 5 9 .t.4).5 x − 20 1 1 and differentiating w.B.5kN Step 2: Draw FBD of beam cut just before the RHS (Section I-I). Take moments about RHS: + ∑M O = 0 = −7.Example 5.5kN 7.

125 +ve 25 12.5kN 20kN B 10m 5m 10kN D C 5m E 32.Step 4: Plotting the Shear Force and Bending Moment Diagrams UDL=w=1kN/m A Loading Diagram 7.5m Step 1: Determine the ground reactions.5 x Bending Moment Diagram -ve -100 Again.5 -ve -22. the UDL segment corresponds to an inclined line in SFD and a quadratic curve in BMD. Chapter 5 10 .3: Determine the shear force and bending moment equations and plot them for a cantilever beam loaded with a moment MB = 40kNm and a force F= 10kN. 10kN MB=40kNm MA A I B + RAY 4m I C 1.5 = 0 → M A = −95kNm (.clockwise) Lecture Notes of Mechanics of Solids. The cantilever beam is fully clamped in the left hand end A as shown.5 Shear Force Diagram 10m 10 +ve +ve x -2.B. Global F. Example 5.. The ground reaction for this point should have reaction force RAY and reaction moment MA. So the global equilibrium is given as + ↑ ∑ Fy = 0 = R AY + 10 = 0 →∴ R AY = −10kN (.5kN V(x) kN 7.downwards) + ∑M A = 0 = M A + 40 + 10 × 5.D.5 M(x) kNm quadratic 28.

'x'. such concentrated moments do not affect the Shear Force Diagram (Note that the drop at point A (the left end) in SFD is due to the concentrated reaction force RAY. (Section I-I) MB=40kNm 95kNm A V(x) 4m 10kN M(x) O B + x Step 3: Equilibrium for FBD of beam cut just before the RHS (Section I-I).D.Step 2: Draw FBD of beam cut just before the RHS (Section I-I). both MA and MB do not appear in shear force equation V(x) at all). gives the shear force equation as: dM ( x ) 0 0 V (x ) = = −10 x + 0 − 0 = −10 x dx Step 4: Plotting the Shear Force and Bending Moment Diagrams MB=40kNm 95kNm B + Loading A Diagram 10kN C 10kN V(x) kN Shear Force Diagram +ve x -ve -10 M(x) kNm 95 Bending Moment Diagram 55 15 x It is interesting to observe that due to concentrated bending moments MA (reaction moment) and MB (external moment). as Eq. In addition. (5. F.4). In fact.r.t.B. there is respectively a sudden leap and drop in the Bending Moment Diagram. Take moments about RHS: 1 0 0 + ∑ M O = 0 = 10 x − 95 x + 40 x − 4 + M ( x ) M ( x ) = −10 x 1 + 95 x 0 − 40 x − 4 0 and differentiating w. Lecture Notes of Mechanics of Solids. Chapter 5 11 .