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Determinacy,IndeterminacyandStability
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Contents
1Introduction
2ImportantTerms
3ExternalDeterminacy
3.1ReactionComponents
3.2EquationsofCondition
4InternalDeterminacy
4.1MembersandJoints
5Stability
6ExampleProblem
7References

Introduction
Beforebeginningtoanalyseastructure,itisimportanttoknowwhatkindofstructureitis.Differenttypesofstructuresmay
needtobeanalysedusingdifferentmethods.Forexample,structuresthataredeterminatemaybecompletelyanalysedusing
onlystaticequilibrium,whereasindeterminatestructuresrequiretheuseofbothstaticequilibriumandcompatibility
relationshipstofindtheinternalforces.Inaddition,realstructuresmustbestable.Thismeansthatthestructurecanrecover
staticequilibriumafteradisturbance.Thereisnopointanalyzingastructurethatisnotstable.

Thissectionwillexplaintheconceptsofdeterminacy,indeterminacyandstabilityandshowhowtoidentifydeterminate,
indeterminateandstablestructures.

ImportantTerms
Stable/Unstable
Astablestructureisonethatwillnotcollapsewhendisturbed.Stabilitymayalsobedefinedas"Thepowertorecover
equilibrium."[1]Ingeneral,therearemaywaysthatastructuremaybecomeunstable,includingbucklingof
compressionmembers,yielding/ruptureofmembers,ornonlineargeometriceffectslikePDeltahowever,forlinear
structuralanalysis,themainconcernisinstabilitycausedbyinsufficientreactionpointsorpoorlayoutofstructural
members.
InternallyStable[2]
Ininternallystablestructureisonethatwouldmaintainitsshapeifallthereactionssupportswereremoved.A
structurethatisinternallyunstablemaystillbestableifithassufficientexternalsupportreactions.Anexampleis
showninFigure1.

ExternalDeterminacy
Theabilityto
calculateallofthe
externalreaction
componentforces
usingonlystatic
equilibrium.[2]A
structurethat
satisfiesthis
requirementis Figure1:InternalStability
externallystatically
determinate.A
structureforwhichtheexternalreactionscomponentforcescannotbecalculatedusingonlyequilibriumisexternally
staticallyindeterminate.

InternalDeterminacy

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Theabilitytocalculatealloftheexternalreactioncomponentforcesandinternalforcesusingonlystaticequilibrium.
[2]Astructurethatsatisfiesthisrequirementisinternallystaticallydeterminate.Astructureforwhichtheinternal
forcescannotbecalculatedusingonlyequilibriumisinternallystaticallyindeterminate.Typicallyifonetalksabout
'determinacy',itisinternaldeterminacythatismeant.
Redundant
Indeterminatestructureseffectivelyhavemoreunknownsthancanbesolvedusingthethreeequilibriumequations(or
sixequilibriumequationsin3D).Theextraunknownsarecalledredundants.[2]
DegreeofIndeterminacy
Thedegreeofindeterminacyisequaltothenumberofredundants.[2]Anindeterminatestructurewith2redundants
maybesaidtobestaticallyindeterminatetotheseconddegreeor"2S.I."

ExternalDeterminacy
Ifastructureisexternallydeterminate,thenallofthereactionsmaybecalculatedusingequilibriumalone.Tocalculate
externaldeterminacy,thefollowingequationsareused:[2]

Doublesubscripts:usebracestoclarify Staticallyunstableexternally ~Eq.1


r = 3 + ec Staticallydeterminateexternally ~Eq.2
r > 3 + ec Staticallyindeterminateexternally ~Eq.3

wherer isthenumberofreactioncomponents,andec isthenumberofequationsofcondition.Bothoftheseare


describedindetailbelow.

Thedegreeofindeterminacyisgivenbythefollowingequation:[2]

ie = r (3 + ec ) ~Eq.4

ReactionComponents

Intheequationsabove,r isequaltothetotalnumberofreactioncomponentsasfollows:

SupportType Image Reactions r

Roller r = 1

Pin r = 2

Fixed r = 3

Formultiplereactionpoints,r isthesumofallthecomponentsforallthereactionpointsinthestructure.

EquationsofCondition

Additionally,ec isthe"numberofequationsofcondition."Thesearereleaseconditionswithinthestructurethatprovide
extraequilibriumequationsbeyondthethreeforglobalequilibrium.[3]

Forexample,ifaninternalhingeisaddedtothestructure,asshowninFigure2,thenthereisoneequationofcondition.If
therewasnointernalhingeinthisexample,thenthestructurewouldbeindeterminateanditwouldnotbepossibletofind
thereactionforcesortheinternalforces(sinceishasfourreactioncomponents).Theadditionofthehingeprovidesan
additionalequilibriumconditionwhichforcestheinternalmomenttobeequalto0atpointB( MB = 0 ).Thismaybe
seenifthestructureissplitintotwofreebodydiagramsasshowninthelowerpartofFigure2.AtpointB,therearethree
internalforcecomponentsthatexistinequalandoppositeaction/reactionpairsoneithersideofpointB:
AB BC
1.AxialforceBx andBx
AB BC
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AB BC
2.ShearforceBy andBy
AB BC
3.MomentMB andMB

So,MB AB
= M
BC

B
= 0 ,becausetheyare
actionreactionpairs.

Therefore,onlyoneextraequilibriumequationis
possibleduetotheintroductionofthehinge:either
= 0 or M = 0 butnotbothbecause
AB BC
M
B B

thetwoequationsarenotindependent.So,foreach
internalhingeinastructure,thereisasingleequationof
condition:ec = 1 .

Forastructurewithaninternalroller,suchasthatshown
inFigure3,boththeforcetransferinthedirectionofthe
rollerandthemomentareequaltozeroatthelocationof
theroller.Thisprovidestwoextraequilibriumequations,
andthereforetwoequationsofcondition.Forthe
structureshowninFigure3,theextraequationsare:

M
B
AB
= 0 (or MB
BC
= 0 ) Figure2:StructurewithanInternalHinge

and

B
AB
x
= 0 (or BBC
x
= 0 )

So,foreachinternalroller,therearetwoequationsofcondition:
ec = 2 .

Figure3:StructurewithanInternalRoller
Ifthereareadditionalmembersthatframeintoasingleinternalhinge,
thenthereisanadditionalequationofconditionforeachadditional
member.[2]Forexample,forthreemembersconnectedatahinge,thentherearetwoextraindependentequilibrium
equationsthatareaddedtothesystem(becauseinanequalandoppositeaction/reactionpair,therecanonlybetwosides).
So,forahingeconnectionwithmultipleelements,ec = n 1 wherenisequaltothenumberofmembersconnectedto
thehinge.[2]

Similarly,forarollerconnectionwithmultiplemembers,eachadditionalmemberaddstwoequationsofcondition,so
ec = 2 (n 1) .[2]

Insummary:

Internal Equations
SupportType ofCondition
Hinge ec = n 1 ~Eq.5
Roller ec = 2 (n 1) ~Eq.6

wherenisthenumberofmembersconnectedtothehingeorroller.

WARNING:Thismethodofdeterminingexternaldeterminacyisnotvalidforindeterminatestructureswhichcontain
closedloops.

InternalDeterminacy
Ifastructureisinternallydeterminate,thenallofthereactionsandinternalforcesmaybecalculatedusingequilibrium
alone.Internaldeterminacyisgenerallymuchmoreimportantthanexternaldeterminacyinstructuralanalysis.Tocalculate
internaldeterminacy,thefollowingequationsareused:[2]

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3m + r < 3j + ec Staticallyunstable ~Eq.7


3m + r = 3j + ec Staticallydeterminate ~Eq.8
3m + r > 3j + ec Staticallyindeterminate ~Eq.9

wheremisthetotalnumberofmembersinthestructure,r isthenumberofreactioncomponents,j isthetotal


numberofjointsinthestructure,andec isthenumberofequationsofcondition.Themeaningofr andec arethe
sameasfor#ExternalDeterminacyabove.Thedefinitionofmembersandjointswillbediscussedbelow.

Thedegreeofindeterminacyisgivenbythefollowingequation:[2]

ie = 3m + r (3j + ec ) ~Eq.10

MembersandJoints

Thereisnospecificway
thatastructuremustbe
splitintomembersand
jointsforthepurposesof
thedeterminacyanalysis.
Anydivisionofthe
structureisokayaslong
asthemembersandjoints
areconsistentwitheach
otherhowever,joints
shouldbeplacedatleast
atthefollowinglocations:

1.Freeends
2.Reactions
3.Intersectionsof
threeormore
elements

Foranexampleofhowto
calculatethenumbersof Figure4:DeterminationoftheNumberofMembersandJoints
membersandjoints,see
Figure4.

Stability
Anunstablestructuregenerallycannotbeanalysed.Therefore,itisusefultoknowifastructureisstableorunstablebeforea
structuralanalysisisconducted.Therearefourmainwaysthatastructuremaybegeometricallyunstable.Theseapplyonly
tolineargeometricstabilityandnottoinstabilitycausedbybuckling,memberyieldingornonlineargeometry.

1.Therearenotenough
reactions[3]:Thiswillgenerallybe
clearfromanapplicationofthe
determinacyequations(Eq.79).
2.Thereactionsareparallel[4]:All
ofthereactioncomponentspointin
thesamedirection.Anexampleof
suchasituationisshowninFigure
5.Inthisexample,thehorizontal
equilibrium Fx = 0 cannotbe Figure5:InstabilityduetoParallelReactions
solvedandtherewillbeanet
horizontalforceonthesystemwith
noresistance.
3.Thereactionsareconcurrent[4]:Allofthereactioncomponentsmeetatapoint.Anexampleofsuchasituationis
showninFigure6.Effectively,thesystemisfreetorotateasarigidbodyaroundthepointthatthereaction
componentsmeetat.
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4.Thereisaninternalcollapse
mechanism[3]:Thisisany
situationinwhichthereisan
internalmechanisminthesystem
thatwillcauseittodeform
betweenthesupports.Insomesuch
situations,thiswillbeclearfrom
theuseofthedeterminacy
equations,butinothers,itmaynot.
Inallsuchcases,though,the
instabilitywillbecomeclearduring
thestructuralanalysisbecauseit
willbeimpossibletosolveforall
oftheinternalforces.Anexample
internalcollapsemechanismis
showninFigure7. Figure6:InstabilityduetoConcurrentReactions

ExampleProblem
Determinewhetherthefollowing
structuresshowninFigure8are
externallydeterminate,internally
determinate,externallyindeterminate,
internallyindeterminateorunstable.Ifa
structureisindeterminacy,determine
howmanydegreesofindeterminacyit
has.

Figure7:InstabilityduetoanInternalCollapseMechanism

a)ExternalDeterminacy:

ie = r (3 + ec )

r = 4, ec = 1 (Thehingeontheleftatthepindoesnotprovideanyadditionalequationsofcondition).

Therefore,

ie = 0 .

Then,isthisstructurestaticallydeterminate?No,itisunstablebecauseifwetakeafreebodydiagramofthe
leftsideofthebeam,andtakeasumofmomentsaboutthecenterhinge,thesumofmomentswillbenonzero
duetotheverticalreactionattheleftpin(butweknowthatithastobezeroduetotheexistenceofthepin).

InternalDeterminacy:

ie = (3m + r) (3j + ec )

m = 2, r = 4, j = 3, ec = 1 (Again,thehingeontheleftatthepindoesnotprovideany
additionalequationsofcondition).

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Therefore,

3m + r = 10 ,3j + ec = 10 ,andie = 0 .

Then,isthisstructurestaticallydeterminate?No,itisunstableduetothesamereasonabove.

b)ExternalDeterminacy:

r = 3, ec = 0 .

Therefore,

ie = 0 .

Thenisthisstructurestaticallydeterminate?No,becausethereactionsareconcurrentthroughthepinonthe
right.

InternalDeterminacy:

m = 2, r = 3, j = 3, ec = 0 .

Therefore,

3m + r = 9 and3j + ec = 9 ,

sothestructureappearsinternallydeterminate,butitisstillunstableduetotheconcurrentreactions.

c)ExternalDeterminacy:

r = 3, ec = 0 .

Therefore,

ie = 0 .

Sincetherearenosourcesofinstability,thisstructureisexternallystaticallydeterminate.

InternalDeterminacy:

m = 6, r = 3, j = 6, ec = 0 .

Therefore,

3m + r = 21 and3j + ec = 18 ,

sothisstructureisinternallystaticallyindeterminatetothreedegrees(or"3S.I.").

d)ExternalDeterminacy:

r = 5, ec = 2 .

Therefore,

ie = 0 .

Sincetherearenosourcesofinstability,thisstructureisexternallystaticallydeterminate.

InternalDeterminacy:

m = 5, r = 5, j = 6, ec = 2 .

Therefore,

3m + r = 20 and3j + ec = 20 ,

sothisstructureisinternallystaticallydeterminate(or"S.D.").

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e)ExternalDeterminacy:

r = 7, ec = 2 .(Duetothethreemembersconnectedtotheinternalhinge)

Therefore,

ie = 2 .

Thisstructurecanbedescribedas2degreesexternallystaticallyindeterminate.

InternalDeterminacy:

m = 3, r = 7, j = 4, ec = 2 .

Solving,

3m + r = 16 and3j + ec = 14 ,

Again,thisstructureisfoundtobe2degreesinternallystaticallyindeterminate.

f)ExternalDeterminacy:

r = 4, ec = 2 .

Therefore,

ie = 1 .

Duetothedesignofthestructure,theinternalrollercannotbesupportedandthestructureisclassifiedas
unstable.

InternalDeterminacy:

m = 2, r = 4, j = 3, ec = 2 .

Solving,

3m + r = 10 and3j + ec = 11 ,

Wecansafelysaythatthisstructureisunstable,bothbytheequationsofdeterminacyandbyunderstanding
howthestructurewillbendunderloading.

However,iftherighthandpinwereafixedendsupportthiscasewouldbeconsideredastable,statically
determinatestructure.

References
1.http://www.colorado.edu/engineering/CAS/courses.d/Structures.d/IAST.Lect23.d/IAST.Lect23.pdf
2.Kassimali,A.(2011).StructuralAnalysis:SIEdition(4thed.).Stamford,CT:CengageLearning.
3.Leet,K.M.,Uang,CM.,Gilbert,A.M.(2011).FundamentalsofStructuralAnalysis(4thed.).NewYork,NY:
McGrawHill.
4.Hibbeler,R.C.(2012).StructuralAnalysis(8thed.).UpperSaddleRiver,NJ:PearsonPrenticeHall.

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