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Shear Center with Examples

What happens when loads act in a plane that is not a plane of symmetry?
-Loads must be applied at particular point in the cross section, called shear center, if the beam is
to bend without twisting.

Shear Stress distribution

Constrained by the shape of the cross section
o Its resultant acts at the shear center
Not necessarily the centroid

Shear Center
A lateral load acting on a beam will produce bending without twisting
only if it acts through the shear center
The shear center
o Is a property of the cross section like the centroid
o It lies on an axis of symmetry
For a doubly symmetric section S and C coincide

Why a property of the cross section?

Locating Shear Centre

Unsymmetric Loading of Thin-Walled Members

Beam loaded in a vertical plane of symmetry deforms in the symmetry
plane without twisting.

Beam without a vertical plane of symmetry bends and twists under


Unsymmetric Loading of Thin-Walled Members

If the shear load is applied such that the beam does not twist, then the
shear stress distribution satisfies
F and F indicate a couple Fh and the need for the application of a
torque as well as the shear load.

When the force P is applied at a distance e to the left of the web

centerline, the member bends in a vertical plane without twisting.
Shear stress distribution strategy
1. Determine location of centroid and Iyy, Izz and Iyz as needed -
(symmetric sections subject to Vy needs only Izz)
1. Divide section into elements according to geometry (change in slope)
2. Start with a vector s following element center line from a free end
3. Calculate first moment of area(s). This determines the shear flow
- Negative shear value indicate direction of shear flow opposite to assumed
vector s
4. Calculate first moment of area(s). This determines the shear flow
o For symmetric sections subject to bending about one axis
Elements parallel to bending axis-Linear distribution
Elements normal to bending axis-Parabolic distribution
5 For unsymmetric sections shear flow in all elements is parabolic
5. When moving from one element to another the end value of shear in
one element equals the initial value for the subsequent element (from
Shear Centres for Some Other Sections
Shear Center
How to locate Shear Center?
Doubly symmetric cross sections- Coincides with centroid
Singly symmetric cross sections- Lies on the axis of symmetry
Unsymmetric Cross sections
o Thin-walled open sections
Opposite side of open part
Doubly or singly symmetric section