METHOD OF JOINTS

The method of joints is one of the simplest methods for determining the force
acting on the individual members of a truss because it only involves two force
equilibrium equations.

Since only two equations are involved, only two unknowns can be solved for at a
time. Therefore, you need to solve the joints in a certain order. That is, you need
to work from the sides towards the center of the truss.

When a force points toward the joint, the member is said to be in compression. If
the force points away from the joint, the member is said to be in tension. It is
often important to know whether a truss member is in tension or in compression
because some building materials have different strengths in compression versus
tension.

Principle

If a truss is in equilibrium, then each of its joints must also be in equilibrium.

Procedure for analysis

1. If possible, determine the support reactions

2. Draw the free body diagram for each joint. In general, assume all the force
member reactions are tension (this is not a rule, however, it is helpful in keeping
track of tension and compression members).

3. Write the equations of equilibrium for each joint, Fx  0 Fy  0

4. If possible, begin solving the equilibrium equations at a joint where only two
unknown reactions exist. Work your way from joint to joint, selecting the new joint
using the criterion of two unknown reactions. 5. Solve the joint equations of
equilibrium simultaneously.

Case 1: If two members are connected at a joint and there is no external force applied to the joint Case 2: If three members are connected at a joint and there is no external force applied to the joint and two of the members are collinear. Therefore very often the analysis begins with finding the reaction forces applied at the supports.Tips The joints with external supports always connect with two truss members. . Pay attention to symmetric systems and zero force members. These members may provide stability or be useful if the loading changes. the analysis starts from analyzing the supports. Zero-force members may be determined by inspection of the joints. Thus many times. Identification of these special cases sometimes will make the whole analysis WAY EASIER!! Zero Force Members Truss analysis may be simplified by determining members with no loading or zero- force.

) = 0 Cy = 500 lb. Fx  0. determine the support reactions for the truss. = 0 Ax = -500 lb. MA  0. First.Example: Consider the following truss. Fy  0. 500 lb. Ay  Cy = 0 Ay + 500 lb. BC. (10 ft.)  Cy(10 ft. . and AC. Determine forces AB. Ax + 500 lb. = 0 Ay = -500 lb.

FAC  500 lb. FBC cos 45° + 500 lb. FAB  500 lb. (C) . The forces in the truss can be summarized as: FAB = 500 lb.The equations of equilibrium for Joint A: Fx  0. = 0 FAB = 500 lb. (T) FBC = 707. Fy  0. The equations of equilibrium for Joint B: Fx  0. = 0 FBC = -707.1068 lb. (T) FAC = 500 lb. = 0 FAC = 500 lb.2 lb.

In such cases. The Method of Sections involves analytically cutting the truss into sections and solving for static equilibrium for each section. we are dealing with static equilibrium at a point. . In the method of sections. then whichever section of the truss being considered must also be in equilibrium. you should choose sections that involve cutting through no more than three members at a time. Principle If a truss is in equilibrium. Since the method of sections allows solving for up to three unknown forces at a time. This allows solving for up to three unknown forces at a time.METHOD OF SECTIONS If only a few of the member forces are of interest. it would be very inefficient to use the method of joints to solve for them. A section has finite size and this means you can also use moment equations to solve the problem. In the method of joints. The sections are obtained by cutting through some of the members of the truss to expose the force inside the members. a truss is divided into two parts by taking an imaginary “cut” (shown here as a-a) through the truss. and those members happen to be somewhere in the middle of the truss. method of sections is used. This limits the static equilibrium equations to just the two force equations.

2. Example: Find the members CD. We need to indicate the unknown forces at the cut members. If required. Cd. Then if it comes out minus I know it is compression. the member is in tension as per our assumption. This result is based on the equilibrium principle and Newton’s third law. Draw the FBD of the selected part of the cut truss. you can always choose to draw an unknown force as tension. This is common practice but not the eleventh commandment. Tips About the sense of forces. Decide which side of the cut truss will be easier to work with (minimize the number of reactions you have to find).) 5. if the answer is positive. and cd. Procedure for analysis 1. 4. If the answer is negative. (Please note that you can also assume forces to be either tension or compression by inspection as was done in the figures above. This is based on: a) where you need to determine forces. 3. Please note that in most cases it is possible to write one equation to solve for one unknown directly. the internal forces at the cut member will also be either tensile or compressive with the same magnitude. b) where the total number of unknowns does not exceed three (in general). Upon solving. Decide how you need to “cut” the truss. Initially we may assume all the members are in tension. and. . as we did when using the method of joints. the member must be in compression. determine the necessary support reactions by drawing the FBD of the entire truss and applying the equations of equilibrium (E-of-E). Apply the E-of-E to the selected cut section of the truss to solve for the unknown member forces.Since truss members are subjected to only tensile or compressive forces along their length.

3000 CD = 3000 lb (C) To find cd: MC = 0. -15cd -20(4500)+10(3000) = 0 15(cd) = 10(3000) – 20(4500) cd = 4000 as assumed cd = 4000 lb (T) To find Cd. To find CD: Md = 0. . CD = .

Cd( √ 13 ) + 4000 – 3000 = 0 2 Cd( √ 13 ) = -1000 Cd = 500 √ 13 Cd = 1802. 2 F = 0.7756 lb (C)) .7756 lb (C) The forces in the truss can be summarized as: CD = 3000 lb (C) cd = 4000 lb (T) Cd = 1802.

Set P1 = 700 lb and P2 = 400 lb . Determine the force in each member of the truss and state if the members are in tension or compression.1.

2. Set θ = 30°. . Determine the force on each member of the truss and state if the members are in tension or compression.

3. and state if the members are in tension or compression. . Determine the force in each member of the truss.

. Determine the force in each member of the truss and state if the members are in tension or compression.4.

. Determine the force in each member of the truss and state if the members are in tension or compression.5.

6. and BC of the Fink truss and state if the members are in tension or compression. . FB. Determine the force in members GF.

and state if the members are in tension or compression.GC and CB of the truss used to support the sign.7. . Determine the force in members FG.

8. . and DE of the truss and state if the members are in tension or compression. JE. Determine the force in members JI.

Also. Determine the force in members CD and CM of the Baltimore bridge truss and state if the members are in tension or compression.9. indicate all zero-force members. .

Determine the force in members LK. and BC of the truss.10. LC. and state if the members are in tension or compression. .