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Design of W-Shapes for Combined Bending

and Torsion
Paper by BRUCE G. JOHNSTON (2nd Quarter, 1982)

Discussion by Charles G. Salmon

Bruce Johnston has provided an excellent extension of the
subject of W-shapes subjected to torsion. With his detailed
charts of the torsional functions
M \ GJ

GJ far
the computation of flexural stresses due to torsion (so-called
warping torsion) is certainly simplified
Mention is made in the paper of the modified flexure
analogy method having a correction factor /?, first presented
by this writer in class in 1964 and published in 1971.1
Because the thinking required for the flexure analogy is a
more basic tool of the structural analyst, it may be of interest
to present a few additional comments.
The flexure analogy treats the applied torsional moment
M as a couple acting in the planes of the two flanges; thus,
the flange force acting in the plane of each flange is M/h,
where h is the distance center-to-center of flanges. One
flange is then treated as loaded in its plane by the force
M/h. For instance, in Johnston's Fig. 5 the lateral force
M/h acts as a concentrated load at a distance a from the left
end, making the simple beam bending moment on the
flange plate

h \L
as shown in Johnston's Fig. 6. The simple flexure analogy
is always conservative (see dashed line of Fig. 6), i.e., it
overestimates the bending normal stress (which occurs at
one side of the flange plate).
The flexure analogy, however, has the advantage that
engineers tend to think in terms of ordinary bending mo-
ment rather than in terms of the torsional functions; thus,
the calculation of Mj is simple. The overestimate of bending
moment depends on the torsional properties of the section

Charles G. Salmon is Professor of Civil Engineering, University

of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.

,! 3. Modified flexure analogy using /3 factor (Johnston
Refs. 1 and 4).
^_.,..,4I 4. Flexure analogy without any /? correction (always
The structural analyst probably has the best tool in
area 1 Johnston's method, which includes the greatest variety of
Shear due Jv cases available, but a thorough study of the differential
equation and the flexure analogy concept should also be


shesrr US>K# ... 1. Salmon, Charles G. and John E. Johnson Steel Structures:
Design and Analysis International Textbook Co., Scranton,
&>/** rift**** Pa., 1971,pp. 380-397.
Figure 1

(Johnston paper a; Salmon & Johnson text X = I/a) and

the torsional functions resulting from the differential
In order to reduce the lateral load bending moment Mj
from its conservative simple flexure analogy value to its
correct value (accounting for the torsional differential
equation solution), this writer introduced the symbol /? as
a reduction factor to be applied. Thus, Mj as would be
obtained from the differential equation becomes
Mj = j3 (Mj from simple flexure analogy)
The j8 adjustment values for several cases were presented
in Salmon & Johnson. 1 P. H. Lin (Johnston Ref. 4) pre-
sented the /? modified flexure analogy (without mention
of the original source), and provided additional loading
cases with greatly expanded /? tables.
When the flexure analogy without /3 is applied as in
Johnston's Fig. 5, the lateral loading of one flange is a
concentrated load at a from the left as in Fig. 1(a). The
shear due to that load would be constant [equal to ( M /
h)(b/L) over segment a], as in Fig. 1(b). Ordinary flexure
theory gives the maximum bending moment as the area
(area 1) of the shear diagram from the left end to the con-
centrated load; thus,
A* lb\
For the real torsional problem, the shear area to give the
true lateral flexural moment Mj is not the entire shear area
due to torsion, but only the warping torsional shear, indi-
cated by area 2 on Fig. 1 (c). The ratio between area 2 and
area 1 is the factor /3.
In summary, four approaches seem open to the ana-
1. Johnston torsional function graphs (paper being
2. Hotchkiss approach (Johnston Ref. 3).