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# Chapter 2

Transformations
2.1

General

## Forces and displacements are vector quantities as they are prescribed by

both magnitude and direction. Forces as used here include both direct forces
and couples; while displacements include both translational and rotational
movements. In matrix structural analysis these forces and displacements
are written as column matrices containing their vector components.
The linear transformation of forces and displacements can be expressed
in matrix form as in Equations 2.1 and 2.2. Where the P s and U s are
force and displacement vectors and the Hs are the transformation matrices.
Mathematically, a linear transformation can be viewed as redefining a vector
defined with respect to one coordinate system, say A, to another set of
coordinate system, B.
[Pb ] = [Hba ] [Pa ]
(2.1)
[Ub ] = [Hba ][Ua ]

(2.2)

The subscripts identify the coordinates systems used to define the elements of the vectors. The order of the double subscript in the transformation
matrix define the direction of the transformation. In general, the force transformation matrix to B from A, [Hba ], is different from the transformation
matrix to A from B, [Hab ].
Since forces and displacements vectors have specific meaning in structural mechanics, the above transformations also have their corresponding
specific meaning in mechanics rather than simply a mathematical operation. Specifically, the force vector [Pb ] in Equation 2.1 refers to a statically
equivalent set of forces of the force vector [Pa ]. For Equation 2.2, the displacement vector [Ub ] is the kinematically equivalent displacement to the
displacement vector [Ua ] resulting from a rigid body motion.
1

## In the following chapters, force transformations will be the basic tool

or form that will be used in expressing the equilibrium equations in matrix
form. Displacement transformations, on the other hand, will be the basic
form used to express compatibility equations.

2.2

Coordinate System

## To define force vectors completely, its point of application, its magnitude,

and its direction must be defined. Similarly, displacement vectors require
three quantities to be completely defined: its location, its magnitude and
its direction. Mathematically, definition of vectors require the use of a reference coordinate system. In matrix structural analysis, a right-hand Cartesian coordinate system1 , such as that shown in Figure 2.1, is used almost
exclusively.

xy

## Figure 2.1: Right-Hand Cartesian Coordinate System

In representing vectors in the Cartesian system, as in Figure 2.2, a
double-headed arrow notation is used for moments, [M ] and rotations, [] to
distinguish them from direct forces, [P ] and translational displacements [].
By convention, the direction of the couple or rotation is in the direction the
right hand curls when the thumb is pointed in the direction of the arrow.
With the reference system selected, forces and displacements can be
defined as by their vector components in a column matrix which is also
referred to as a vector. Equation 2.3 defines space forces and displacement
1

If the thumb, index and middle finger of right hand are oriented to form three orthogonal axes, the thumb is the xaxis, the index finger is the y-axis, and the middle finger
is the zaxis. Instead of naming the axes with letters, numbers may be assigned starting
with 1 for the xaxis. Using numbers indicate ranking between axes with the x being
the lowest, then y, then z.

3
y

x
z

z
a) P or

b) M or

## Figure 2.2: Vector Representation on Right-Hand Cartesian Coordinates

with respect to the xyzaxes.

Px

[P ] = Py
Pz

x

[] = y
z

Mx

[M ] = My
Mz

x

[] = y
z

(2.3)

## With forces and displacement defined as in Equation 2.3, the magnitude

of the force can be determined as well as its orientation with respect to the
selected axes. For example, for the planar force2 , [P ]T = [Px Py ], shown
in Figure 2.3a, the resultant or magnitude of the force, |P |, is given by
Equation 2.4 and its orientation, , from the xaxis is given by Equation
2.5.3
y

Py

P
Py

y
z

Px

Px
a) Planar Force

b) Spacial Force

## Figure 2.3: Planar and Spacial Force Vector Representation

2

Vectors are column matrices. To print it along with the text and to save print space,
its transpose is frequently shown.
3
more commonly calculated as = arctan(Py /Px ) but the arccos function was used to
be consistent with the space force

## CHAPTER 2. TRANSFORMATION MATRICES

|P | =

and

Px2 + Py2

Px
= arccos
|P |


(2.4)


(2.5)

For the space force in Figure 2.3b, the magnitude and orientation are
given by Equations 2.6 to 2.7.
|P | =


x = arccos

Px
,
|P |

y = arccos

Py
,
|P |


(2.6)


z = arccos

Pz
|P |

(2.7)

## Referring to Figure 2.3b, x is the angle between P and Px in the plane

containing both P and Px consider the triangle made by P and Px and
a closing vector connecting the ends of the two previous vectors on the x
plane. Similarly, y and z are the angles in the planes containing P and
Py and Pz respectively. Note that only two of the angles are required to
define the direction of a three-dimensional vector; while only one angle is
required for a two-dimensional vector.

## Local and Global Coordinates

In structural analysis there are usually several applied forces acting at different locations and different directions. From the resulting deformation of
the structure, the displacements of different points are also required.
For applied loads, we can select any convenient coordinate axis to define
each load. The position of the origin of the selected refernce axis defines
the location; while the vector components with respect to the axes define
its magnitude and direction. There are theoretically as many different local
When working on a particular member or element of a structure it is
convenient to define a local or member coordinates. Member internal stress
resultants, axial force, shears, and moments, as well as member deformations, deflections and slopes, are referred to this set of coordinates.
For members which can be idealized as straight line elements, the local
or member axes has its origin at one end of the member, normally indicated
as the Aend, and oriented such that the xaxis is along the centroidal axis
of the member section, and the y and zaxes are along the principal axes4
of the section. See Figure 2.4
For the whole structure, a single overall set of coordinates is used to
define the structures geometry before and after deformation, as well as, to
describe the actions to which it is subjected to. The analysis equations for
the structure are written with reference to this single coordinate system.
4

The principal axes are those where the product moment of inertia

R
A

yzdA vanishes.

## Figure 2.4: Member Local Coordinate Axis

This set of coordinates is usually referred to as the global or system or
structure coordinates.
ym1

P1

## Force Axes, xi-yi

x1

y2

P2

x2

xm1

xm2

y1

x
Global Axis, x-y

ym2
Member Axes, xm-ym

## Figure 2.5: Global and Local Axes

Figure 2.5 shows examples of the coordinate systems that have to be
defined for a given problem. Each load have their corresponding local coordinates. Similarly, each member has its own member coordinate system.
It will be necessary to transform the applied forces, member forces and displacements from the local to the global coordinates to perform the analysis
at the structure level. After completing the analysis at the structure level,
it will also be necessary to transform the results for each member from the
global reference to the member reference axes.

2.3

## The general case of transformations involves coordinate systems that are

both translated and rotated in space relative to each other. Disregarding
for the meantime the relative positions of the origins of the axes, this section
will consider the case that involves only planar rotation (rotation about one

## CHAPTER 2. TRANSFORMATION MATRICES

axis).
Considering a planar force P in Figure 2.6a, this can be defined by its
components Pxa and Pya in the xa yb coordinate axes. As there are no
restrictions on what set of coordinate axes to use, the force P can also be
defined by its components in the xb yb or xc yc axes as shown in Figure 2.6b
and 2.6c.
xc

ya
P

xb

yb

xc

Pya
xa

P yb

a) [PA]

yc

Pxa

P xb

c) [PC]

b) [PB]

## Figure 2.6: Force P Defined by Different Coordinates

As the vectors [Pa ], [Pb ] and [Pc ] define to the same force their components must be related in some way. Specifically, given [Pa ] we should be able
to determine [Pb ] through a transformation such as [Pb ] = [Lba ][Pa ].5
Referring to Figure 2.7, the components of [Pa ], Pxa and Pya are assumed
to be known. It is required to find the components Pxb and Pyb of [PB ] which
have the same resultant as [Pa ]. The vector [Pb ] is defined with respect to
the xb yb axes which is rotated by an angle from the xa ya axes
a
b

## Figure 2.7: Relation Between [PA ] and [PB ]

The components Pxb and Pyb can be determined considering the triangles
with angle indicated in Figure 2.7. Alternatively, the components Pxb and
Pyb can be determined as the sum of the components of Pxa and Pya on the
5
The notation [Hba ] shall be used for the general case of translation plus rotation, the
notation [Lba ] is used for the rotational transformation of a pure vector.

## xb and yb axes respectively. Thus:

Pxa cos + Pya sin

P xb

Pyb

## = Pxa sin + Pya cos

or in matrix form;
"

"

P xb
cos sin
=
sin cos
Pyb

#"

P xa
P ya

(2.8)

or simply
[Pb ] = [Lba ][Pa ]
with

(2.9)

"

cos sin
[Lba ] =
sin cos

(2.10)

## A closer inspection of the elements of [Lba ] in Equation 2.10 will reveals

that the elements of a particular column are simply the components of a unit
force along the xa and ya axis on the xb and yb axes. Referring to Figure
2.8a, element l11 = cos is the component of a unit vector along the xa
axis on the xb axis, and l21 = sin = cos( 2 ) is the corresponding
component on the yb axis. Similarly from Figure 2.8b, l12 = sin is the
component of a unit vector along the ya axis on the xb axis, and l22 = cos
is the corresponding component on the yb axis.
ya

ya
yb

yb

xb

Pya = 1

xb

xa
Pxa = 1
a) First Column

xa
b) Second Column

## Figure 2.8: Elements of [LBA ] as Components of Unit Vectors

The generation of the transformation matrix by columns using unit loads
usually proves to be much simpler and more efficient rather than generating
each equation (row) then rewriting these in matrix form. As such, generation
of the transfomation matrices by columns will be used almost exclusively.
Probably the most important thing to recognize is that the only information required in determining the rotational transformation matrix is the
relative rotation, , of the two axis. Since is also a vector representing a

## rotation about the zaxis, the direction/sign is significant. In general, the

relative rotation is measured from the lower ranking axis, the xa axis for
this case; and positive for a rotation towards the positive half of the other
axis, the ya axis for this case. Referring to Figure 2.7, a positive rotation is
a counter-clockwise rotation from the xa to the xb axis.
Example Problem 2.1 Given the force vector [PA ] defined with respect to
the xa ya coordinate system, determine the equivalent force vector [PB ] with
respect to the xb yb axes where the xb axis is rotated 30 degrees from the
xaxis.
"

30 kN
[Pa ] =
40 kN

Solution:
[Pb ] = [Lba ] [Pa ]
"

"

#"

Pxb
cos(30 ) sin(30 )
=
P yb
sin(30 ) cos(30 )
"

0.866 0.500
=
0.500 0.866
"

45.981 kN
[Pb ] =
19.641 kN

#"

30 kN
40 kN

30 kN
40 kN

to show the equivalence of the forces, determine the resultants and orientations using Equations 2.4 and 2.5. Based on vector [Pa ]:
|Pa | = 50 kN

and

c = 53.13

and

b = 23.13

## and from vector [Pb ]:

|Pb | = 50 kN

As shown in the example, the three force vectors can be resolved into the
same resultant force of 50 kN acting at an angle of 53.13 from the xa axis.
As such, the three force systems should elicit the same response to a structure if applied separately. Such force systems are referred to as statically
equivalent, i.e. although composed of forces of different magnitudes they
will elicit the same response on a body.
As a result, structural problems can be solved using equivalent systems
where the forces are replaced with their statical equivalents. For example,
any of the three systems shown in Figure 2.9 which are subject to equivalent
forces can be used to determine the response of the plane truss.

40 kN

50 kN

45.98 kN
19.64 kN

30 kN

30o

53.13o

30o

30o

## Figure 2.9: Equivalent Systems Using Equivalent Forces

Since the Lmatrix can be determined solely from the knowledge of the
relative orientation of the axes, it follows that the above transformation
applies to any vector quantity and is thus applicable to moment, [M ]T =
[Mx My ], translational displacement, []T = [x y ], rotational displacement, []T = [x y ], vectors, and position vectors (coordinates of points).
The rotational transformation for these vectors, or any vector [V ] can be
expressed as [Vb ] = [Lba ][Va ] where [Lba ] is given in Equation 2.10.
For displacements, the linear transformation such as [Ub ] = [Lba ][Ua ] can
be defined to mean the determination of a kinematically equivalent set of
displacements. The two vectors, [Ua ] and [Ub ] define the same displacement,
differing only on the coordinate axes used.
For the above and rotations about an axis other than the zaxis, it
is important to recall the sign convention for the rotation. For rotations
about the xaxis, the rotation is measured from the yaxis, positive in the
direction of the positive zaxis. For rotations about the yaxis, the rotation
is measured from the xaxis, positive in the direction of the positive zaxis.

Inverse Transformation
The inverse transformation, [Pa ] = [Lab ][Pb ] can similarly be determined.
Referring to Figure 2.10 and using the unit load method, the elements of
the first column of [Lab ] are the components of a unit vector along the xb
axis on the xa and ya axes: cos and sin respectively. The elements of
the second column are the components of a unit force along yb axis on the
xa and ya axes: sin and cos respectively. Therefore:
[Pa ] = [Lab ][Pb ]
where

"

cos sin
[Lab ] =
sin
cos

(2.11)
#

(2.12)

## Alternatively, we should recognize that Equation 2.10 is applicable for

any two sets of coordinates using the appropriate angle based on the convention used. For the inverse transformation, the angle is measured counterclockwise from the xb axis to the xa axis and is equal to ( ) or is equal

10

ya

ya

yb
yb

yb

xb

xb

P xb

xa

xa

## Figure 2.10: Elements of [Lab ] as Components of Unit Vectors

to a negative (clockwise) rotation, (). Substituting this to Equation 2.10
gives the same result as Equation 2.12.
"

cos(2 ) sin(2 )
[Lab ] =
sin(2 ) cos(2 )
"

cos() sin()
=
sin() cos()
"

cos sin
sin
cos

Still another alternative is available if we recognize that we already determined the transformation matrix [Lba ], such that [Pb ] = [Lba ][Pa ]. Then
from matrix algebra, if we multiply both sides by the inverse of [Lba ], we get
[Pa ] = [Lba ]1 [Pb ]
therefore:
[Lab ] = [Lba ]1
Inverting the matrix [Lba ] again gives the same expression as Equation 2.12.
Obviously this approach only works for cases where the inverse is defined
for which it does for this case.
Lastly, from a comparison [Lab ] in Equation 2.10 and [Lba ] in Equation
2.12, we see that [Lab ] is simply the transpose of [Lba ], i.e. [Lab ] = [Lba ]T
such that
[Lab ] = [Lba ]1 = [Lba ]T
(2.13)
A matrix whose inverse is equal to its transpose is referred to as an
orthogonal matrix. It will be shown in the discussion of the rotational
transformations in three-dimensional space that this is a property of the
rotational transformation matrix.

11

## Generalized Plane Frame Force Vectors

In the above, only a single direct force vector was considered. For a general
planar frame structure, the force resultants that act at any point may include
the x and ycomponent of a direct force and a couple. Thus, redefining
[Pa ] and [Pb ] as the forces acting at any point of a plane frame structure, we
have:

P xa

[Pa ] = Pya
M za

Px
b
[Pb ] = Pyb
Mz b

(2.14)

ya

ya
yb

xb

Pya
P xb

Pxa
Mza

xa

yb

xa

M zb

PB

PA

## Figure 2.11: Plane Frame Force Vectors Pa and Pb

Note, that [Pa ] and [Pb ] in Equation2.14 are not true force vectors, but
actually include two vectors one force and one moment vector. These are
referred to as generalized force vectors. In structural analysis, we will generally be dealing with generalized force vectors. Using generalized force
vectors allow us to define in a single vector forces that have a natural grouping. For example, we can define a vector that contains the forces acting
at all the joints of the structure, and another vector that contains all the
member forces.
To differentiate the transformations of true vectors and generalized force
vectors, the notation [L] shall be used for the rotational transformation
matrix for true vectors and the notation [R] shall be used for generalized
force vectors. Thus, for the generalized force vectors:
[Pb ] = [Rba ][Pa ]

(2.15)

## Although the transformation matrix can be easily be generated using

the unit load method, some lessons from the pure vector case can be used.
First, it should be apparent that the direct forces Pxa and Pya will transform
to Pxb and Pyb as given by Equation 2.10. Therefore the elements of the
first two rows and columns are those of Equation 2.10. For the third row,
the elements l31 and l32 should be interpreted based on the equivalent force

12

## CHAPTER 2. TRANSFORMATION MATRICES

concept. That is, l31 and l32 are the moments about the zb axis when unit
loads along Pxa and Pya are applied. Since the lever arms of these forces
are zeros from the zb axis, l31 and l32 are both zero. For the third column,
elements l13 and l23 are the equivalent forces along xb and yb axes when a
unit moment along za is applied. Recalling that a couple can be viewed as
two equal and opposite forces separated by a lever arm, it has no direct force
resultant and cannot have direct force components along any axis. Lastly,
the moment Mza will transform identically since the za and zb axes are
coincident. Therefore:

P xa
cos sin 0
Px

b
Pyb = sin cos 0 Pya
M za
0
0
1
M zb
therefore

(2.16)

cos sin 0

0
0
1

(2.17)

## The inverse transformation can similarly be derived.

[Pa ] = [Rab ][Pb ]

cos sin 0

cos 0
[Rba ] = sin
0
0
1

(2.18)

It should be recognized that the generalized displacement vector corresponding to the generalized force vector for the plane frame, i.e.
[U ]T = [x

z ]

will have the same rotational transformation matrix as that of the forces.
[Ub ] = [Rba ][Ua ]

## Generalized Plane Grid Force Vector

Recall that for a typical grid member, the internal forces include a shear
force normal to the plane and moments and torques are produced by loads
applied at right angle to the plane of the grid.
The basic transformation of coordinates for the structure is a rotation
about the yb axis as shown in Figure 2.12b. The rotation is again measured from the xa axis to the xb axis, positive as one moves towards the
positive za axis. Note that this convention is not consistent with the right
hand coordinate system convention for rotations but is used to maintain the

2.4. 3D ROTATION

13

ya

ya

Pya

Pyb
Mxa

za

xa

yb

M zb

xa

zb

za

xb

xb

za

b) [PB]

a) [PA]

## Figure 2.12: Planar Grid Force Vectors

a consistent form of the [R] matrix. Verify that the rotational transformation matrices relating the force vectors are as follows:

P ya
Py
1
0
0

b
M
0
cos

sin

M
=
xa
xb
0 sin cos Mxa
Mz b

(2.19)

1
0
0

cos sin
[Rba ] = 0
0 sin cos

(2.20)

## and the inverse relationship is given as follows:

[Pa ] = [Rab ][Pb ]

[Rab ] = 0
0

0
0

cos sin
sin
cos

(2.21)

Similar to the plane frame case, the generalized displacement vector corresponding to the generalized force vector for the plane grid, i.e. [U ]T =
[y x z ] will have the same rotational transformation matrix as that of
the forces.

2.4

## Rotational Transformation in 3Dimensions

The transformation for the planar structures is only a special case of the
general transformation equation for rotation about three axes. Again, it is
required to determine the force components on the xb yb zb axes given its
components in the xa yb za axes.
We will again first consider a direct force now defined by its three vector
components, [Pa ]T = [Pxa Pyb Pza ] and determine its statical equivalent set
[Pb ]T = [Pxb Pyb Pzb ].

14

## CHAPTER 2. TRANSFORMATION MATRICES

ya

ya

xb

xb

Pya
yb

y
z

P xb
Pxa

xa

za

zb

za

za

xa

a) 3-D Coordinates

b) Pxb as sum of
components of [PA]

## Figure 2.13: ThreeDimensional Rotation of Coordinates

For simplicity, consider only the xb axis as shown in Figure 2.13b This
axis may be described relative to the original xyz by their direction angles
x , y , and z . These direction angles are the interior angles between axes
xb xa , xb ya , xb za in the planes containing the respective pair of axes. As
was shown in the planar case, the force Pxb is simply equal to the sum of the
components of Pxa , and Pya on the xb axis. For the spacial case, we simply
need to add the component of Pza . Therefore,
Pxb = Pxa cos x + Pya cos y + Pza cos z
If x , y , and z are the direction angles of the yb axis with respect to
the yb axis; and x , y , and z are the corresponding direction angles of the
zb axis, it can be similarly shown that
Pyb = Pxa cos x + Pya cos y + Pza cos z
Pzb = Pxa cos x + Pya cos y + Pza cos z
or in matrix form

Px
cos x cos y cos z Pxa
b

## Pyb = cos x cos y cos z Pya

P zb
cos x cos y cos z
P za

(2.22)

From Equation 2.22 the elements of the rotational transformation matrix, [L], are all cosines of angles and are referred to as direction cosines.
Thus the values of the elements of [L] can only be in the range of -1.0 to 1.0.
Also note that the xy planar case previously derived are the four upper
left elements of the 3dimensional case. The sine term in the second row of
the first column or the matrix in Equation 2.10 is actually cos x , i.e. the
cosine of the angle between the yb axis and the xa axis or cos( 2 ). The

2.4. 3D ROTATION

15

sin in the first row and second column is cos x , the cosine of the angle
between the xb axis and the ya axis or cos( 2 ).
The above is primarily to show that the elements of the [L] matrix are
cosines of angles. Methods of determining the direction cosines to be discussed below does not require the determination of the direction angles so
that rather than using Equation 2.22 we shall return to the usual matrix
designation of the elements of a matrix shown in Equation 2.23.

l31 l32 l33

(2.23)

## Special Property of the Rotational Transformation Matrix

Consider the first column of [Lba ] and recall the unit load method discussed
in the planar case. Extending this to the space case the elements of the first
column are the components of a unit vector along the xa axis on the xb ,
yb , and zb axes respectively.
Alternatively, it could be said that the elements of the first column of
[Lba ] define a unit vector along the xa axis; i.e. if we take the elements of
the first column as the elements of the force vector, [Ea1 ] the resultant of
this force vector is a vector of unit length in the direction of xa .
ya

xb

## a) 1st Column of [L]

resultant is a unit load along xa

l1

l 32
l22
zb

zb

l 31

yb

xa
l21

yb

xb

l 11

## b) 2nd Column of [L]

resultant is a unit load along ya

## Figure 2.14: Elements of Columns of [LBA ] as Components of Unit Vectors

The same holds true for the second and third columns of [Lba ], except
that they define unit vectors in the ya and za axes respectively. The
columns of [Lba ] or any rotational transformation matrix [L] are said to
be unit orthogonal vectors, that is, each column of [L] defines a vector of

16

## CHAPTER 2. TRANSFORMATION MATRICES

unit length which is normal to the plane containing the other two vectors.

l11

[Lba ] = l21
l31

l12
l22
l32

l13

l23
l33

Ea2

Ea3

m
h

[Lba ] = Ea1

(2.24)

## unit vector along xa

~ =
~ = a1~i + a2~j + a3~k and B
From vector algebra, given two vectors, A
~
~
~
~
~
b1 i + b2 j + b3 k, the vector dot product of the two vectors A B is a scalar
with magnitude equal to
~B
~ = |A||B|cos() = a1 b1 + a2 b2 + a3 b3
A
where is the smaller angle between the two vectors. The dot product of a
vector with itself is equal to the square of its magnitude;
~A
~ = |A|2 cos(0) = |A|2 = a21 + a22 + a23
A
and the dot product of two orthogonal vectors is equal to zero.
~B
~ = |A||B| cos
A
2

 

= 0.0

Thus for the unit vectors defined by the columns of [L], the dot product of
any column with itself equals unity, and the dot product of any two different
columns must be zero. Stated mathematically;
3
X

lij lik =

i=1

1 if
0 if

j=k
j 6= k

(2.25)

## For example, for j = k = 1 and for j = 1 and k = 2

l11 l11 + l21 l21 + l31 l31 = 1.0

(
T

[Eaj ] [Eak ] =

1
0

if
if

j = k,
j 6= k

(2.26)

2.4. 3D ROTATION

17

## For example, for j = k = 1 and for j = 1 and k = 2:

[Ea1 ]T [Ea2 ] = 0.0

## [Ea1 ]T [Ea1 ] = 1.0

The nine possible dot products can be generated in matrix form by the
matrix product [L]T [L].
h

[Lba ]T [Lba ] =

Ea3

Ea2

Ea1

iT h

Ea2

Ea1

Ea3

Ea1 T h

T
=
Ea2 Ea1

Ea2

Ea3

Ea3 T

T
Ea1 Ea1
T
=
Ea2 Ea1

EaT1 Ea2

EaT1 Ea3

EaT2 Ea2

EaT2 Ea3

EaT3 Ea1

EaT3 Ea2

EaT3 Ea3

Applying Equation 2.26 to the resulting elements of the product, the diagonal elements have equal subscripts and thus evaluate to 1.0, all other
elements evaluate to 0. The resulting product is therefore an identity matrix.

1
0
0

1
0
[Lba ]T [Lba ] = 0
0
0
1
From the definition of the inverse of a matrix, it follows that the transpose
of [Lba ] is also its inverse, i.e.
[Lba ]T = [Lba ]1
Based on this, the inverse force transformation is therefore
[Pa ] = [Lab ][Pb ] = [Lba ]1 [Pb ] = [Lba ]T [Pb ]
or
[Lab ] = [Lba ]1 = [Lba ]T
Following the same reasoning, the columns of [Lab ] define unit orthogonal
vectors along the xb , yb and zb axes. Since [Lab ] is the transpose of [Lba ], it
follows that the columns of [Lab ] are the rows of [Lba ].
h

[Lab ] = Eb1

Eb2

Eb3

(2.27)

18

[Lba ] = [Lab ]T

EbT1

= EbT2
EbT3

l11

= l21
l31

l12
l22
l32

l13

l23
l33

## unit vector along xb

unit vector along yb
unit vector along zb

The above discussion describes the properties of the rotational transformation matrix without any discussion on how these are generated. For the
planar case, the generation is relatively simple and straight forward. For
the general three-dimensional structures, two basic procedures to be discussed below determine the direction cosines directly without determining
the corresponding direction angles.
As mentioned before, the transformations required in structural analysis
generally involves those relating the global or structure coordinates to the
local force and/or member axes. The most common types of load acting
on a structure are can be classified as gravity loads which act vertically
downward, or transverse or horizontal loads. As the global axes are almost
always defined along the horizontal and vertical axes, generally only the
point of application for these loads need to be defined. Wind loads act
either as a pressure or suction normal to the surface to which it is acting,
and its local axes is thus related to the member local axes. Therefore the
following shall assume that the local axis is that for the member.

## Determination of [L] by Vector Algebra

For structures which can be modeled as an assemblage of line elements, rotational transformation is normally required to relate forces and displacements
defined in the local or member coordinates and their definition in the global
or system coordinates, and vice-versa.
In the following assume xa , ya and za are the global axes, and xb , yb and
zb are the local axis of a straight line element defined as in Section 2.2 and
Figure 2.5. The coordinates of the ends of the member referred from the
global axes define its local xb axis. To define the other two axes, we require
a third point, which is not collinear with the member, located on the xb yb
plane (a point on the xb zb plane can be used, but the formulation below
has to be modified accordingly).
Let the position vectors [A] and [B] be the coordinates of the ends of the
member with point A corresponding to the origin of the local axis. And
let [C] be the coordinates of a point C on the positive yb half of the xb yb

2.4. 3D ROTATION

19

plane.

xA

[A] = yA
zA

xB

[B] = yB
zB

xC

[C] = yC
zC

ya
yb

xb

zb

za

xa

## Figure 2.15: Local Axes Defined by Points A, B, and C

The objective is to determine the transformation matrix relating the
vector defined with respect to the global axes to that with respect to the
local axes such that: [Pb ] = [Lba ][Pa ] using the coordinates of these three
points.
Rather than determine the matrix elements by columns, the basis of
this procedure is that the rows of [L] define unit vectors along local axes,
xb , yb and zb axes. In Equation 2.27 [Ebi ] are the columns of the inverse
transformation, so that [Ebi ]T are the rows of [Lba ].
For the first row of [Lba ], we need to define a unit vector along xb with

its origin at A. Note that the position vector6 AB is along xb and we can
determine a unit vector by normalizing this. 7 Thus:

(xB xA )

(zB zA )
1
[Eb1 ] =
[VBA ]
|VBA |

(2.28)

where
|VBA | =
=

[VBA ]T [VBA ]

(2.29)

## the vector AB defines the position of pointB relative to point A.

7
Normalizing is used here as the process of determining a unit vector along the given
vector.
6

20

## CHAPTER 2. TRANSFORMATION MATRICES

It is easy to verify from Figure 2-15 that the first term,
l11 = (xB xA )/|VBA |

is equal to the cosine of the angle between xb and xa axes in the plane xb
xa . Similarly, the term l12 = (yB yA )/|VBA | is equal to the cosine of the
angle between xb and ya axes in the plane xb ya ; and l13 = (zB zA )/|VBA |
is equal to the cosine of the angle between xb and za axes in the plane xb
za .
To determine the other two rows of [Lba ], we first determine the vector

AC defined by the vector [VCA ] or preferably the normalized unit vector [Ec ]
with its origin at point A and lying in the xb yb plane.

(xC xA )

(zC zA )
1
[Ec ] =
[VCA ]
|VCA |
where

|VCA | =

[VCA ]T [VCA ]

## Note that [Ec ] is a unit vector, although it is not necessarily orthogonal

to [Eb1 ] on the plane xb yb since point C was arbitrarily chosen. This vector
may, however, be used to determine a unit vector normal to both [Eb1 ] and
[Ec ] and having its origin at A.
~ and B,
~ A
~B
~ is
Recall that the vector cross product of two vectors A
~
~
~
a vector C normal to the plane containing vectors A and B, and directed
~ to
in the direction of the thumb as the right hand curls from vector A
~ The magnitude of the vector is equal to |A||B|sin() (where is the
B.
smaller angle between the two vectors). The components of the resulting
vector is determined in the same manner as determining the expansion of
the determinant.

~i

~
C = a1

b1

~j ~k

a2 a3

b2 b3

= (a2 b3 a3 b2 )~i
(a1 b3 a3 b1 ) ~j + (a1 b2 a2 b1 ) ~k
Thus the cross-product of [Eb1 ] and [Ec ] is a vector, [Vz ], in the z

2.4. 3D ROTATION

21

~c
direction: V~z = E~b1 E

~i

~z = l11
V

ec1

~j
l12
ec2

~k

l13

e c3

## = (l12 ec3 l13 ec2 )~i

(l11 ec3 l13 ec1 ) ~j + (l11 ec2 l12 ec1 ) ~k
Normalizing [Vz ] gives a unit vector along zaxis.

[Eb3 ] =

1
[Vz ]
|Vz |

Vector [Eb3 ] is thus seen to be a unit vector along the zb axis and its
transpose is thus equal to the third row of [Lba ]. Note that if point C is
in the negative yb quadrants, a unit vector in the negative zb direction is
determined from the indicated order of the vector cross product.
What remains is the determination of the second row of [Lba ]. The
second row of [Lba ] represents a unit vector normal to the xb zb plane. This
is thus equal to the vector cross-product E~2 = E~3 E~1 .

~i

~ b = l31
E
2

l11

~k
~j

l32 l33

l12 l13

## = (l13 l32 l12 l33 )~i

(l13 l31 l11 l33 ) ~j + (l12 l31 l11 l32 ) ~k
Note that the order of vector cross-products determines the direction
of the resulting vector based on the right-hand rule and must be carefully
observed.

## Example Problem 2.2 Determine the rotational transformation matrix

[Lba ] relating a vector defined with respect to the global axis xa ya za to
that defined for the local axes xb yb zb such that [Vb ] = [Lba ][Va ]. The local
axis is defined by the coordinates of three points, points A and B defines
the xb axis, and a point C which is in the xb yb plane. The coordinates
of the points with respect to the global axis are as follows: A(0, 0, 0), B(4.0,
8.66, 3.0) and C(2.97, 11.10, 4.00).

22

## CHAPTER 2. TRANSFORMATION MATRICES

Solution : The position vector [VBA ] and unit vetor [Eb1 ] along axis xb are

4.00

## [VBA ] = [B] [A] = 8.66

3.00
|VBA | = 10.0

0.400
1

[Eb1 ] =
[VBA ] = 0.866
|VBA |
0.300
The position vector [VCA ] and unit vetor [Ec ] on the plane xb -yb are

2.97

## [VCA ] = [C] [A] = 11.10

4.00
|VCA | = 12.167

0.244
1

[Ec ] =
[VCA ] = 0.912
|VCA |
0.329
Taking the cross product of [Eb1 ] and [Ec ] gives a vector along the zb -axis.

0.011

~
~
~
Vz = Eb1 Ec = 0.058
0.154
Normalizing, with |Vz | = 0.165

0.067
1

[Eb3 ] =
[Vz ] = 0.354
|Vz |
0.933
Taking the cross product of [Eb3 ] and [Eb1 ] gives a unit vector along the
yb -axis.

0.914

## E~b2 = E~b3 E~b1 = 0.353

0.200
Assembling, remembering that the above vectors are the rows of the rotational
transformation matrix

0.400

[Lba ] = 0.914
0.067

0.866
0.353
0.354

0.300

0.200
0.933

2.4. 3D ROTATION

23

## Determination of [L] using Euler Angles

Alternatively, we may generate the rotational transformation matrix by a
series of three planar rotational transformations. For example, first a rotation, , about the ya axis to the xc yc zc axes, then a rotation about the
zc axis to the xd yd zd axes, and finally a rotation about the xd axis to
the xb yb zb axes. The order of transformations described is probably the
simplest to visualize, but nothing precludes using a different set of transformations.
ya, yc

xa

yd
yb

ya

zc

xc

xb

za

zd
zb

yb

yc

za

xa

yd

xb, xc

xd

xc

zb

zc, zd

## Figure 2.16: Local Axis Defined Using Euler Angles

[Pc ] = [Lca ] [Pa ] = [L ] [Pa ]
[Pd ] = [Ldc ] [Pc ] = [L ] [Pc ]
[Pb ] = [Lbd ] [Pd ] = [L ] [Pd ]
combining,
[Pb ] = [Lcb ] [Pc ] = [L ] [L ] [Pc ]
[Pb ] = [Lba ] [Pa ] = [L ] [L ] [L ] [Pa ]
therefore,
[Lba ] = [L ] [L ] [L ]

(2.30)

The angles , , and are known as the Euler Angles and the transformation may be expressed as

cos

[L ] = 0
sin

0
1
0

sin

0
cos

[L ] = 0
0

cos sin

[L ] = sin cos
0
0

0
0
1

0
0

cos sin
sin cos

(2.31)

24

## CHAPTER 2. TRANSFORMATION MATRICES

Again, the order of the triple product is important and must follow
the order of the planar transformations in this case. What remains to be
ya

x
w

xa

za

yb

Ly

(yB yA)

xb

(z
B

zA

(xB x
A)

zb

## Figure 2.17: Relation Between Euler Angles and Coordinates

discussed is the determination of the Euler angles or more directly the cosines
and sines of these angles. Recalling the premise that the local axes is that
for a straight line element, the coordinates of the A and Bends of the
members can be used. Defining Ly as the projection of member AB on the
plane y = 0, then
cos =
where

Ly =

(xB xA )
,
Ly
p

cos =

and

sin =

(xB xA )2 + (zB zA )2
(Ly )
,
|VBA |

and

sin =

(zB zA )
Ly

(2.32)

and

(yB yA )
|VBA |

(2.33)

## where |VBA | is the length of AB as given by Equation 2.29.

For typical structures, the rotation about the local xb axis, , is usually a
multiple of /2 including zero. For example, beams are normally horizontal
members with the local yaxis being vertical and thus parallel to the global
yaxis resulting to = 0. Columns are typically vertical members with the
local yaxis usually oriented parallel to either the global y or zaxis.
Example Problem 2.3 Determine the rotational transformation matrix
[LBA ] for the problem in Example 2.2 using Euler angles. The coordinates
the ends of the member are the same: A(0, 0, 0) and B(4.0, 8.66, 3.0).
However, instead of the coordinates of a point C, the rotation about the
local xaxis is given as /4.

2.4. 3D ROTATION

25

Solution :
The angles and can be determined solely from the coordinates of points
A and B. More importantly, the cosines and sines of these angles can be
determined solely from the coordinates without determining the values of the
angles.
Ly =

(zB zA )
= 0.60
Ly
(yB yA )
sin =
= 0.866
|VBA |

(xB xA )
= 0.80
Ly
Ly
cos =
= 0.50
|VBA |

sin =

cos =

cos

[L ] = 0
sin

0
1
0

cos sin

[L ] = sin cos
0
0

[L ] = 0
0

0.800
sin

0 = 0
0.600
cos

0
1
0

0.600

0
0.800

0.500 0.866

= 0.866 0.500
0
0

0
0
1

0
0
1

0
0
1

cos sin = 0
sin cos
0

0
0

0.707 0.707
0.707 0.707

## performing the tripple product

0.400

[Lba ] = [L ] [L ] [L ] = 0.914
0.066

0.866 0.300

0.354 0.198
0.354 0.933

The result is identical to that of Problem 2.2 since the coordinates of point
C was intentionally chosen to be on a plane rotated /4 from the vertical
plane about the local xb -axis.

## Combined Procedure to Determine [L]

The two procedures discussed both have their drawbacks. For the vector
procedure, selecting and determining the coordinates of point C on the
xb yb plane for each member in a structure is impractical and may be cumbersome if not difficult except when is a multiple of /2.
For the Euler angles procedure, determining the Euler angles for each
member and performing the triple product is not an efficient procedure. Note
also that except for the rotation which replaces the information provided

26

## by point C, the determination of the direction cosines in the individual

matrices makes use of the same information as in the vector method. The
vector method offers a more systematic method when dealing with several
members.
Particularly for manual calculations, a more practical approach is to use
a combination of the two procedures of generating [L], using the coordinates
of the ends of the member and the rotation from the vertical plane of
the xb yb plane from the vertical plane. As indicated in Figure 2.18 and
ya

xd-yd plane is a
vertical plane

yb

yd

xd, xb
zd

zb

za

xa

## Figure 2.18: Local Axis Defined by Points A and B, and Rotation

from the discussion on Euler angles, the resulting transformation, [L ] =
[L ][L ], by the application of the and Euler rotations is equal to
the transformation [Lda ] from the acoordinate system to the dcoordinate
system. xa ya za axes to the xd yd zd axes. Note that the xb and xd axes
are coincident, and that the xd yd plane is vertical.
In the combined procedure, the transformation from the a-axes to the
b-axes is determined by first transforming from the aaxes to the daxes,
and then transforming from the daxes to the baxes.
[Lba ] = [Lbd ][Lda ]

(2.34)

## The determination of [Lda ] follows the procedure for the determination

of [Lba ] using vectors. The first row (unit vector along x-axis) is determined
as in Equation 2.28.
[Eb1 ]T =

1
|VBA |

## (xB xA ) (yB yA ) (zB zA )

or
[E1 ]T = [l11

l12

l13 ]

We do not have or need a point C for this procedure since we know that
the xc yc plane is vertical. We can therefore arbitrarily select any vector
on this vertical plane. There are an infinite number of such vectors, but

2.4. 3D ROTATION

27

probably the most obvious and simplest is a vertical unit vector along the
ya axis which we also know to be on the vertical plane. Therefore take
[Ec ]T = [ 0

0]

This is used to determine a vector, Vz , along the zd axis (which is coincident to the zc axis).

~i

~
Vz = l11

0

~k
~j

l12 l13

1
0
= l13 ~i 0 ~j + l11 ~k

Normalizing Vz gives the third row of [LBA ]. Finally the second row, a unit
vector along the yb axis, is determined as E~2 = E~3 E~1 . Equation 2.35
gives the resulting [L ] in terms of the elements of the first row.

l11

l12

q l11 l12
[L ] =

2 + l2
l11

13

l13

2 + l2
l11
13

l13

2 + l2
l11
13

l12 l13

(2.35)

l11

gives:

## cos cos sin cos sin

(2.36)
[L ] = sin cos cos sin sin
sin
0
cos
Substitution of the proper expressions for the elements of Equations 2.35
and 2.36 in terms of the coordinates of the A- and Bend of the member
should give identical results.
With [Lda ] determined and recognizing that [Lbd ] is simply [L ] as defined
in Equation 2.31, the rotational transformation matrix [LBA ] is determined
from Equation 2.34 or.
[Lba ] = [L ][Lda ]

## Example Problem 2.4 Determine the rotational transformation matrix

[Lba ] for the problem in Example 2.2 using the combined vector and Euler angles procedure. The coordinates the ends of the member are: A(0, 0,
0) and B(4.0, 8.66, 3.0); and the rotation about the local xaxis is given as
/4.

28

## Solution : The elements of the first row is determined as in Example Problem

2.
h
i
[Eb1 ]T = 0.400 0.866 0.300
using [Ec ] = [0

0]
~c
V~z = E~b1 E
h

and

V~z = E~b3 E~b1
h

assembling gives

## [Lda ] = 0.693 0.500 0.520

0.600
0.0
0.800
it can be verified that this [Lda ] is equal to the matrix [L ] = [L ][L ]
using the matrices defined in Example Problem 3. Finally,using [L ] defined
in Example Problem 3
[Lba ] = [L ][Lda ]

0.400

[Lba ] = 0.914
0.066

0.866 0.300

0.354 0.198
0.354 0.933

## Generalized Force Vector in Three-Dimensions

Recognizing that direct forces and moments transform independently under
a rotation of axes, then the transformation of a general space force system
(comprising of three direct forces and three couples) can be expressed as
"

"

Pb
L

= ba
Mb
Lba

or
[Pb ] = [Rba ][Pa ]

#"

Pb
Mb

(2.37)

29

## where (with subscripts A and B intentionally omitted)

[P ]T = [Px Py Pz Mx My Mz ]
Furthermore, since the corresponding displacements exhibit the same
vector properties as the forces and moments, they are subject to the same
transformation laws. Thus,
[Ub ] = [Rba ][Ua ]
where
[U ]T = [x y z x y z ]
Examination of [Rba ] shows that the following relationships hold
"
1

[Rba ]

Lba

Lba

LTba

LTba

"

#1

=
#

" 1
L

"

ba

L1
ba

Lba

Lba

#T

thus,
[R]1 = [R]T

(2.38)

That is, [R] matrix is also an orthogonal matrix. And the reverse transformation may be expressed as
[Pa ] = [Rab ][Pb ] = [Rba ]T [Pb ]
[Ua ] = [Rab ][Ub ] = [Rba ]T [Ub ]

2.5

## Force Transformations to a Parallel Set of Coordinates

While it was recognized that the origin of the local axes generally differs
from that of the global axes, the discussion on rotational transformations
considered only the relative rotations of the axes. In this section we shall
consider the relative position of the axes. To separate the effect of relative rotations, we shall consider systems where the corresponding axes are
parallel.
In the case where the origins of the two coordinate systems involved
is not coincident, force transformations should be taken as the process of
finding the statically equivalent of a force system defined with respect to
a particular coordinate axis in another set of coordinates. As previously
stated, statical equivalence means that the two force systems will have the
same overall effect on the structure or system.

30

## For example, the stress resultants of a beam-column shown in Figure

2.19a is described as an axial force, Px , and a moment, Mz , about the centroidal axis of the member. Alternatively, the stress resultants is frequently
expressed as an axial force, Px , acting at an eccentricity, e = Mz /Px , from
the centroidal axis as shown in Figure 2.19b.
z
z

yc

ye
b) About Axis at e = M/P

## Figure 2.19: Column Resultant

These alternate ways of describing the force resultant is equivalent to
defining two separate coordinate axes; one located at the centroid defining
the force resultant as [Pa ]T = [Pxa Mza ], and the other having the coordinate axes located at a distance e from the centroid defining the force
resultant as [Pb ]T = [Pxb 0]. As the two force vectors define the same
stress distribution, the two should be related by a transformation relationship such as that in Equation 2.39. Necessarily, the force vectors in Equation
2.39 refers to generalized forced vectors. Note that the transformation is a
mathematical or conceptual tool used to facilitate computations and that
there is no actual physical transfer of forces.
[Pb ] = [Tba ][Pa ]

(2.39)

## Plane Frame Force System

Consider first the planar force system acting at point A of a system, given
as [Pa ]T = [Pxa Pya Mza ], it is required to determine the statically equivalent
force vector [Pb ]T = [Pxb Pyb Mzb ] at a parallel set of coordinate axes located
at point B.
Since superposition is assumed to apply, we can consider each load at
A separately. Considering the direct force PAx alone as in Figure 2.21a.
It should be apparent that the overall effect of the force system remains
unchanged if we add two equal and opposite forces equal to Pxa at point
B along the xb axis as in Figure 2.21b. For the forces shown in Figure
2.21b the negative force along xb axis and the force along xa forms a couple
and can be replaced by an equivalent moment equal to (yPxa ) as shown in

31

yb

ya

yb

ya

Pyb

Pxb

xb
y

Pya
Pxa
Mza

Mzb

xb

xa

xa
A

a)

[PA]

b) [PB]

## Figure 2.20: Equivalent Planar Forces -Parallel Translated Axes

Figure 2.21c. Therefore the equivalent set of forces at B consist of a force
Pxb = Pxa and a couple Mzb = yPxa .
ya

yb

Pxa

xb
B

Pxa

y Pxa

xb

xa

x
a) Pxa at A

Pxa

Pxa xb

Pxa
A

yb

ya

yb

ya

xa

xa

b) Equivalent System 1

c) Equivalent System 2

## Figure 2.21: Equivalent Forces at B due to Pxa

Proceeding in the same fashion, the Pya force is statically equivalent to
a set of forces at B equal to Pyb = Pya and a couple Mzb = xPya as shown
in Figure 2.22.
For the bending moment, Mza , there is no direct force resultant being a
couple. Therefore, with respect to point B, the bending moment transforms
identically as shown in Figure 2.23. However, to this must be added the
couples generated by the transformation of the direct forces. In summary,
the equivalent force system [Pb ] at B of the force system [Pa ] at A is given
by:
P xb

= P xa

P yb

= P ya
= yPxa xPya + Mza

M zb
or in matrix form,

Px
1
b
Pyb = 0
M zb
y

0
1
x

0
P xa

0 P ya
1
Mz a

(2.40)

32

## CHAPTER 2. TRANSFORMATION MATRICES

ya

yb

ya

yb

ya

yb
Pya

Pya
xb
y

Pya
A

xb

Pya

Pya

xa

a) Pya at A

x Pya

xa

xa
A

xb
B

b) Equivalent System 1

c) Equivalent System 2

## Figure 2.22: Equivalent Forces at B due to Pya

yb

ya

yb

ya

Mza

xb
y

Mza
A

xa

ya

Mza

Mza

yb
Mza

xb

xb

B
xa

xa

a) Mza at A

b) Equivalent System 1

c) Equivalent System 2

or

[Tba ] = 0
y

0
1
x

0
1

## The actual generation of the transformation matrix is by columns using

unit loads, rather than rewriting the expressions in matrix form.

## Planar Grid Force System

For the forces related to a typical grid structure, the relative translation of
the axis is in the plane x-z shown in Figure 2.24.
Using the unit load method, statical equivalent forces at B due to a unit
load, Pya = 1 is shown in Figure 2.25. As indicated the equivalent at B is a
force and a couple equal to Pya multiplied by the lever arm equal to the distance from A to B. Since this moment vector is directed perpendicular to
AB, it must be resolved to its components along the xb and zaxes. Rather
than performing the rotational transformation, it should be recognized that
the moment equivalents along the xb and zaxes are simply the force at ya
multiplied by the perpendicular distances to the corresponding axes.
For the statical equivalence of moments such as Mzb in Figure 2.26, it

33

a
b
ya
xa

za
b

## Figure 2.24: Planar Grid, Translated Parallel Axes

ya

ya

yb

yb
Pya

Pya

xa

xa
z

Pya

xb

xb

x
za

za

zb

zb

Pya

b) Equivalent System 1

a) Pya at A
ya

xa

ya

yb

x Pya
xa

Pya

xb

## Pya (x2 + z2)1/2

za

xb

zb

c) Equivalent System 2

z Pya
za

zb

## Figure 2.25: Equivalent Force at B due to Pya

should be remembered that moments have no resultant force components
and will transform identically about any axis.
The force transformation relationship between [Pb ] and [Pa ] can therefore
be shown to be :

Py
1
b
M
z
=
xb
Mz b
x

0
1
0

0
P ya

0 Mxa
1
Mz a

(2.41)

## 3-Dimensional Force System

Proceeding now to the three-dimensional case, shown in Figure 2.27, we
again wish to find the transformation relationship between the forces at A

34

## CHAPTER 2. TRANSFORMATION MATRICES

ya

ya

yb
Mxa

yb
xa

xa
z

Mxa

xb

xb

x
za

za

zb

zb
b) Equivalent System at B

a) Mxa at A

## Figure 2.26: Equivalent Force at B due to Mxa

and the statically equivalent forces at B, i.e. [PB ] = [TBA ][PA ] where the
force vectors correspond to the space case.
ya

yb

Mya
xb

Pya
Pxa
Pza

Mxa

xa

zb

Mza
za

## Figure 2.27: Parallel Axes Translated in Space

Rather than working with individual forces, consider that the generalized
force vectors can partitioned into the direct forces and moments. In the
partitioned form, the transformation relationship can be expressed as in
Equation 2.42.
"
# "
#" #
Pa
I

Pb
=
(2.42)
Ma
XBA I
Mb
As was shown in the planar cases, forces and moments transform identically because the corresponding axes are parallel. Therefore the diagonal
elements of Equation 2.42 must be identity matrices. The null matrix in the
upper right results from moments not having any direct force resultants and
therefore cannot have any statical equivalent direct force components.
Therefore, the only submatrix to be determined is the [Xba ] matrix in
the lower left. Since the axes are translated, unit forces along the xa , ya ,
and za axes have equivalent moments about the xb , yb , and zb axes. From
the discussion made for planar grids, the moments about any axis are equal
to the force multiplied by the corresponding perpendicular distances. For
example, for the first column of Xba a unit force along the xa axis results in
an equivalent couple equal to (z) 1 about yb , and a couple equal to y 1

## 2.5. TRANSLATION - FORCES

35

about the zb axis. Being parallel to the xb axis, no lever arm and therefore
columns of [Xba ] can be similarly determined. The matrix Xba is therefore

x
0

z
0
x

[Xba ] = z
y

## The [Xba ] submatrix is referred to as the position matrix, as this is the

only portion of the transformation matrix where the relative distances of
point B from point A are found. With respect to its form, this matrix
is also a skewsymmetric matrix, i.e. one which have elements xij = xji .
This matrix has a special property that its transpose is equal to the negative
of the matrix, [X]T = [X].
The complete transformation matrix is given in Equation xx.

P xb
1
0
0
Py 0
1
0
b
P 0
1
1
zb

=
Mxb 0
z y

Myb z
0
x
y x 0
M zb

0
0
0
1
0
0

0
0
0
0
1
0

Pxa
0
Py
0
a

0
Pza

0 Mxa

0 Mya
Mz a
1

(2.43)

## The inverse transformation [Pa ] = [Tab ][Pb ] can be determined as above

and can be shown to be in the form
"

"

Pa
I

=
Ma
Xab I

#"

Pb
Mb

(2.44)

## Where the elements of [Xab ] refers to the relative distances of point A

from point B. From Figure 2.27 obviously the relative distances of point A
from point B are simply the negative of those of point B from point A.
Therefore:
[Xab ] = [Xba ] = [Xba ]T

z
0
x

[Xab ] = z
y

x
0

In summary
"

[Tba ] =
"

[Tab ] =

(2.45)

Xba I
I

T
Xba
I

(2.46)

## Note that the transpose operation is preferred to the negation operation

in presenting Equation 2.46 since it is less likely to be missed. Alternatively,
we could have been determined [Tab ] by taking the inverse of [Tba ] noting
that [Pa ] = [Tba ]1 [Pb ] = [Tab ][Pb ].

36

2.6

of Coordinates

## Similar to force transformations, the displacement transformation such as

in Equation 2.47 can be described more generally as the problem of determining the kinematically equivalent or compatible set of displacements of
one defined at a given set of coordinates in another set of coordinates.
[Ub ] = [Tba ][Ua ]

(2.47)

## More specifically, the transformation may be visualized by imagining

both coordinate systems being connected by a rigid body with the displacements [Ua ] at a point A being known. Being parts of a rigid body, the
displacements [Ub ] at point B is related or can be determined from that of
point A since the relative position of the two points remain constant. The
transformation expressed in Equation 2.47 can be viewed as the determination of the displacement of a point B of a rigid body due to a rigid body
motion described by the displacement of a point A.

## Plane Frame Displacement Transformation

Figure 2.28 illustrates the problem in two dimensions. The rigid body AB is
subjected to a rigid body motion with the displacement at point A being
given by the vector [Ua ]T = [x y z ].
ya

yb

xb

yb
xa

xb

B
xb

ya

xa
A

xa

## Figure 2.28: Plane Frame Displacement Transformation

As shown in Figure 2.29, the displacement at point B can be taken as
the sum of the effects of the translational and rotational displacements taken
separately. If point A is subject to a translation displacement, xa , with no
vertical translation or rotation, all points of the rigid body, including point
B, must move by the same amount and in the same direction. Similarly,
if point A is subject to a vertical displacement, ya , all points in the rigid
body will undergo only translational displacements equal to ya .
When point A undergoes a rotational displacement, za , all points in
the rigid member will undergo the same rotational displacement. In addition, points other than point A will undergo translational displacements.

yb

ya

ya

37

yb

yb

ya
y

xa

xb

ya

xa
A

xa

a)

za

xb
xa

A
xa

za

xa

ya

za

xb

za

b)

at A

ya

at A

c)

xa

at A

## Figure 2.29: Plane Frame Displacement by Components

Recall that displacements are assumed to be small such that the translational displacements due to rotations can be linearized, i.e. the translational
displacement due to the rotation can be taken equal to the product of the
rotation and the perpendicular distance from the direction of translation to
the center of rotation. Thus the displacement of B along xb axis is equal to
yza (the negative sign indicating that the displacement is in the negative
direction of the xb -axis) and the displacement along yb is equal to xza .
The total displacement of B is the sum of the effects of each displacement
components of A. Thus, in matrix form:

1
x
b
yb = 0
0
zb

0
1
0

ya
y

x ya
za
1

(2.48)

Note that the above matrix is generated more conveniently column wise
using the unit displacement method similar to the generation of force transformation matrices.

## Planar Grid Displacements

For a planar grid it is probably better to visualize a rigid plate body containing points A and B at opposite corners as shown in Figure 2.30. A rigid
body motion can be desctibed by the displacement at point A as given by
the vector [Ua ]T = [y x z ].
The displacement at point B can again be taken as the sum of the
effects of the translational and rotational displacements taken separately
as shown in Figure 2.30. If point A is subject to a vertical translational
displacement, ya , with no rotation, all points of the rigid body, including
point B, must move by the same amount and in the same direction.
When point A undergoes a rotational displacement xa as shown in
Figure 2.30b, all points in the rigid member will undergo the same rotational
displacement. In addition, point B will undergo a vertical displacement

38

ya

ya

ya

yb
xa

ya

A
x
a)

zb
ya

xa

xa

xa
ya

za

yb

yb

xb

z
zb

at A

xb

za

b)

xa

za

za

xa

zb

za
za

xb

xa

c)

at A

za

at A

## Figure 2.30: Planar Grid Displacement

equal to the rotation at A multiplied by the perpendicular distance to the
rotation vector, z.
Similarly when point A undergoes a rotational displacement za as
shown in Figure 2.30c, all points in the rigid member will undergo the same
rotational displacement, and point B will also undergo a vertical displacement equal to the rotation at A multiplied by the perpendicular distance,
x. The total displacement of B is the sum of the effects of each displacement
components of A. Thus, in matrix form:

x
1
b

=
yb 0
zb
0

z
1
0

x
ya

0 ya
1
za

(2.49)

## Again, the above matrix is generated more conveniently column wise

using the unit displacement method.

## 3-Dimensional Displacement Transformation

The observations made for the planar cases may be used in generating the
transformation relations for the general case where the xb yb zb axes are
translated along all three axes as shown in Figure 2.31.
Similar to what was done for the three dimesional translation transformation, we can work with partitioned form of the transformation in the form
of Equation 2.50.
#" #
" # "
a
I Yba
b
=
(2.50)
b
a
I
When any point of a rigid body undergoes a translational displacement,
then all points of the rigid body will necessarily have to undergo the same
displacement. Thus the upper left submatrix in Equation 2.50 must be
an identity matrix. The same holds true for rotational displacements, and
therefore the lower right submatrix must also be an identity matrix. The
lower left submatrix is a null matrix since if we impose a pure translational
displacement, necessarily no rotations must occur.

ya

39

yb

ya

xb

Uya
Uxa

xa

Uza

zb

za

za

## Figure 2.31: Three Dimensional Displacements

The only submatrix remaining is the upper right. Physically, the elements of this matrix represents the translations of point B resulting from
unit rotations about the xa , ya , andza axes. Figure 2.32 shows planar representations of these rotations. For a unit rotation about xa in Figure 2.32a,
point B will translate along yb by an amount 1z and along zb by an amount
1x. The plane containing point B will translate only on the xplane and
therefore there is no displacement along the xb axis. Similar observations
can be made for the rotations about the ya and za axes. Therefore the
YBA can be generated as shown in Equation xx.
yb
y
zb
z

ya

xa

ya

xb
xa
xa

za

yb

a) Due to xa

zb

za

za

yb

xa

xa

ya

ya

x ya
xb

y
zb

za

xb
xa

za

za

ya

b) Due to ya

c) Due to za

[Yba ] = z
y

z
0
x

x
0

## The matrix Yba should be recognized to be exactly equal to the position

matrix Xba determined for forces. The complete tranformation is shown in
Equation 2.51.

40

## CHAPTER 2. TRANSFORMATION MATRICES

1
xb
y 0
b
0
zb
=

xb 0

yb 0
0
zb

0
1
1
0
0
0

xa
0 0
z y
y
0 z
0
x
a

1 y x 0
za

0 1
0
0 xa

0 0
1
0 ya
za
0 0
0
1

(2.51)

The inverse transformation matrix, [Tab ], such that [Ua ] = [Tab ][Ub ] can
be determined following the same reasoning used for the force transformation. Thus in summary:
"

[Tba ] =

I Xba

T
I Xba

(2.52)

"

[Tab ] =

(2.53)

Comparison of Equations 2.45 and Equations 2.53 shows that the displacement transformation from a point A to a point B is equal to the transpose of the force transformation from B to A. Similarly, the displacement
transformation from a point B to a point A is equal to the transpose of
the force transformation from A to B. This property of the transformation
matrices will be shown in Section 2.7 to be an example of the more general
contragradient law for displacement and force transformations.

2.7

## Transformation to a Set of Axis Both Translated and Rotated

We may now consider the general the transformation of forces and displacements to an axis which has been both translated and rotated with respect
to the original set as shown in Figure 2.33. In particular we would like to
determine the transformation relationship in the following form:
[Pb ] = [Hba ][Pa ]

(2.54)

## [Ub ] = [Hba ][Ua ]

(2.55)

Rather than generate the Hmatrices directly, the transformation is generally easier to determine by visualizing the transformation as the result of
the pure translation stage and a pure rotation stage.

ya

41

yc
b

xc
xa
zb

zc

za

## Figure 2.33: Local Axis Defined by Points A and B, and Rotation

Force Transformation
While the discussion is equally applicable for the threedimensional case,
consider the coordinates for the plane frame case in Figure 2.34a. The
force system at point A may be transformed to an equivalent set of forces
referred to a parallel axis xc yc zc with its origin at point C which is
conincident with point B; then a rotational transformation of the latter
forces to determine its components in the xb yb zb axes.
yc

ya

ya
xb

yb

xb

yb

yd

xc

xd

y
xa
A

y A

xa
x

## Figure 2.34: Local Axis Defined by Points A and B, and Rotation

Noting that [Tca ] = [Tba ] since points B and C are coincident, and
[Rbc ] = [Rba ] since the xc yc zc axes and xa ya za sxes are parallel.
[Pc ] = [Tca ][Pa ] = [Tba ][Pa ]
[Pb ] = [Rbc ][Pc ] = [Rba ][Pc ]
combining
[Pb ] = [Rba ][Tba ][Pa ]
= [Hba ][Pa ]

42

## CHAPTER 2. TRANSFORMATION MATRICES

therefore,
[Hba ] = [Rba ][Tba ]

(2.56)

## Substituting the partitioned form of the transformation matrices for the

three-dimensional case.
"

[Hba ] = ba
Lba

#"

Xba I

"

Lba

=
Lba Xba Lba

(2.57)

## Alternatively, we could have made a rotational transformation at point

A first to the D-axes, then make a translational transformation from D to
point B.
[Pd ] = [Rda ][Pa ] = [Rba ][Pa ]
[Pb ] = [Tbd ][Pd ]
combining
[Pb ] = [Tbd ][Rba ][Pa ]
therefore,
[Hba ] = [Tbd ][Rba ]

(2.58)

While this procedure results in the same [Hba ] matrix, it requires the
determination of the relative position of point B with respect to the D-axes,
indicated as x0 and y 0 in Figure 2.34b. These can be determined by the a
rotational transformation of the position vector. To avoid this additional
computation, it is preferred to determine the transformation using the first
option.
If the inverse transformation [Hab ] is required, it is more convenient to
rotate from the xb yb axis to the xc yc axis, then to translate to the xa
ya axis. This avoids the additional computation discussed in the previous
paragraph. Alternatively, we can simply invert the [Hba ]. Performing the
latter, we have
[Hab ] = [Hba ]1 = [Rba Tba ]1
= [Tba ]1 [Rba ]1

(2.59)

"

[Hab ] =

LTba

LTba

#"

T
Xba
I

"

LTba

Lba

(2.60)

T LT
T
Xba
ba Lba

"

#T

## 2.7. ROTATION AND TRANSLATION

43

Note that the for the planar case, it is frequently easier to generate the
[Hba ] and [Hab ] matrices using the unit load method rather than performing
the indicated matrix product.

Displacement Transformation
For the displacement transformation, the same procedure discussed for the
force transformation shall be followed using the applicable matrices. Performing a translation then a rotational transformation.
[Uc ] = [Tba ][Ua ]
[Ub ] = [Rba ][Uc ]
Recall that the rotational transformation is identical for any vector. Combining
[Ub ] = [Rba ][Tba ][Ua ]
= [Hba ][Ua ]
therefore,
[Hba ] = [Rba ][Tba ]

(2.61)

## Substituting the partitioned form of the transformation matrices for the

three-dimensional case.
"

[Hba ] = ba
Lba

#"

I Xba
I

"

L
Lba Xba
= ba

Lba

(2.62)

## For the inverse transformation

[Hab ] = [Hba ]1 = [Rba Tba ]1
= [Tba ]1 [Rba ]1
The inverse transformations are given in Equations 2.53 and 2.38
T
I Xba

"

[Hab ] =

LTba

LTba

#"

T LT
LTba Xba
ba

"

"

Lba

LTba

#T

44

2.8

## It can be observed that the force and displacement transformations involve

the same submatrices but positioned differently. A closer inspection will
however a special relationship between the force transformations and the
inverse displacement transformations. More specifically:
[Hba ] = [Hab ]T

(2.63)

[Hab ] = [Hba ]T

(2.64)

and
Since the matrix transpose operation is reversible, the above equations
may also be written in as a relationship of the force transformation matrices
to the transpose of the corresponding inverse displacement transformations.
The relationship shown is referred to as Contragradience or the contragradient relationship between force and displacement transformations.
Equations 2.63 and 2.64 actually represents a special case of contragradience where the transformation relationships are reversible (the inverse of
the transformation matrices exists). In general, the contragradient principle
may be stated as follow:
Given two statically equivalent force vectors and their corresponding displacement vectors such that the elements of the
displacement vectors are the displacements in the direction of
the corresponding element of the force vector. If the two force
vectors are related by a linear transformation, then the inverse
displacement transformation matrix is the transpose of the force
transformation matrix.
For example, if the force vectors are related such as [P ] = [Hpq ][Q],
then inverse displacement relationship is such that [Uq ] = [Hpq ]T [Up ]. Or
[Hqp ] = [Hpq ]T .
In structural mechanics, the linear transformation relationship of the
force vectors generally results from the application of the static equilibrium
requirements. Further, the vectors are normally generalized force vectors
not limited to the vectors defined in this chapter. As previously stated, one
vector may represent the forces acting at the joints of the structure, and the
other representing the internal member forces. As such, the size of the two
force vectors are generally different.
For example, consider the free body diagram of a joint of a planar truss
as shown in Figure 2.35. The joint loads, Px and Py , can be defined as the
elements of a vector [P ], and the member forces, Q1 , Q2 , and Q3 , can be
defined as the elements of matrix [Q]. A linear transformation relationship
between the two vectors, [P ] = [E][Q], can be written based on equilibrium,
i.e. summation of forces along the x and yaxes. Note that [E] has two

45

rows and three columns and is therefore not square. As such, its inverse
is not defined, and the inverse relationship is cannot be determined. The
physical interpretation of this is that: if we know the values for the Qforces,
we can determine the joint loads P . We cannot, however, find determine
the Qforces when the P forces are given. This is because we only have two
independent equations of equilibrium available, and therefore we cannot
determine the three unknown Qforces.
With the [E] matrix defined, from contragradience, the relation between
the corresponding displacement vectors is given as [Up ] = [E]T [Uq ]. The
physical interpretation of this is that: if we know the displacent of the joint,
[Up ], we can determine the kinematically equivalent displacements along
each member direction. Recall that the kinematically equivalent displacement along a given axis, say Uq1 is equal to the sum of the components Upx
and Upy on Uq1 .
P2
Q1
Q2

P1
Q3

## Figure 2.35: Local Axis Defined by Points A and B, and Rotation

Alternatively, a corollary to the above definition of contragradience allows us to determine the force transformation matrix from the inverse displacement transformation.
Given two kinematically equivalent displacement vectors and
their corresponding force vectors such that the elements of the
force vectors are the forces in the direction of the corresponding
elements of the displacement vector. If the two displacement
vectors are related by a linear transformation, then the inverse
force transformation matrix is the transpose of the displacement
transformation matrix.
The linear transformation relationship of displacement vectors is generally determined in structural mechanics from the requirements of compatibility. For the example truss joint in Figure 2.35 the displacement relationship
can be expressed as [Up ] = [C][Uq ]. Physically, compatibility requires that
the member ends connected to a joint must remain connected (have the
same displacement) to the joint. Thus we can write [E] = [C]T or [C] =
[E]T .

46

## CHAPTER 2. TRANSFORMATION MATRICES

The proof of contragradience is based on the equivalence of the virtual work8
done by the two force systems.
If a force system [P ] acting on a body is subject to a displacement [Up ]
where the elements of [Up ] contain displacements in the direction of the
corresponding elements of [P ], it is said to do virtual work equal to [P ]T [Up ].
Consider now a statically equivalent force system [Q] which is related to
[P ] by a linear transformation in the form
[Q] = [Hqp ][P ]
If an equivalent system is used where the [P ] forces are replaced by the [Q]
forces, and is subject to the displacement [Up ], the virtual work done by the
Q-forces is equal to [Q]T [Uq ]. The vector [Uq ] represents the kinematically
equivalent dislacements along the Q-forces due to the P -displacements.
Since we are dealing with an equivalent systems, the response (the virtual
work done) must be the same. Thus,
V W = [P ]T [Up ] = [Q]T [Uq ]
but
[Q] = [Hqp ][P ]
substituting
[P ]T [Up ] = [Hqp P ]T [Uq ]
[P ]T [Up ] = [P ]T [Hqp ]T [Uq ]
Since P and Q are arbitrary:
[Up ] = [Hqp ]T [Uq ]
The relationship is specially useful and will be used continuously throughout the course. Specifically, contragradience will be used to determine the
compatibility (displacement transformation) matrices by transposing the
corresponding equilibrium (force transformation) matrices.

This can be taken as the basic definition of work which is force times the displacement.