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8.

1 Introduction

From this point on, all of the methods in this book will be for the analysis of indeterminate systems
exactly. We will not have to make any assumptions in addition to those general assumptions which
underlie all of the analyses that we are doing (i.e. the Bernoulli-Euler beam assumptions -
see Chapter 5). The approximate methods described in Chapter 6 relied on a group of reasonably good
assumptions to convert an indeterminate frame into a determinate frame that we can solve using
equilibrium equations; however, the methods to come will not work this way. They will instead use both
equilibrium and compatibility to solve indeterminate structures (see Chapter 1).

This chapter will introduce the force method which is also often called the method of consistent
deformations. This method relies on the compatibility of the structure to give us extra information that
we need for the analysis. This extra information will make up for the fact that we cannot solve
indeterminate systems using equilibrium alone. It will also make heavy use of the concept
of superposition that was introduced in Chapter 5.

8.2 Force Method using an External Reaction Redundant Force

Let's start with a simple indeterminate system that is only 1°1° indeterminate. Such a system is shown
in Figure 8.1. This system is a beam with a pin support and two roller supports, giving it four reaction
components, but only three equations of equilibrium. We cannot find the moment diagram for this
beam using any of the methods that we have learned so far.

The way that we will deal with the beam in Figure 8.1 is to break the problem up into determinate parts
(using superposition) and then reconciling those parts with each other using compatibility. Recall that,
from the beam's point of view, there is no real difference between a load caused by an external force,
and a load caused by a reaction force. The only difference between the two is that we know that at the
reaction force location, the deformation/rotation associated with that reaction component is zero. The
reaction component keeps the structure in place, either by restraining a displacement, or by restraining
a rotation. This known displacement rotation at the reaction component location gives us some
additional information about how the structure behaves, beyond what we can tell about the structure
from equilibrium alone.

For example, in Figure 8.1 the top diagram shows the beam with the reaction, and the second diagram
from the top shows the associated free body diagram for that beam subjected to the given external
forces. The top diagram gives us additional information that the second diagram (the free body diagram)
doesn't: namely, that the beam is restrained from moving vertically at point A, C, and E. This is a type
of compatibility information. This extra compatibility information is not required when we are analysing
the shears and moments in a determinate beam; however, when we are analysing an indeterminate
beam, we can put it to use.
Figure 8.1: The Force Method - Using Superposition to separate out a Redundant Reaction Force
Component

The way that we will deal with the beam in Figure 8.1 is to break the problem up into determinate parts
(using superposition) and then reconciling those parts with each other using compatibility. Recall that,
from the beam's point of view, there is no real difference between a load caused by an external force,
and a load caused by a reaction force. The only difference between the two is that we know that at the
reaction force location, the deformation/rotation associated with that reaction component is zero. The
reaction component keeps the structure in place, either by restraining a displacement, or by restraining
a rotation. This known displacement rotation at the reaction component location gives us some
additional information about how the structure behaves, beyond what we can tell about the structure
from equilibrium alone. For example, in Figure 8.1 the top diagram shows the beam with the reaction,
and the second diagram from the top shows the associated free body diagram for that beam subjected
to the given external forces. The top diagram gives us additional information that the second diagram
(the free body diagram) doesn't: namely, that the beam is restrained from moving vertically at point A,
C, and E. This is a type of compatibility information. This extra compatibility information is not required
when we are analysing the shears and moments in a determinate beam; however, when we are
analysing an indeterminate beam, we can put it to use.

To take advantage of this extra compatibility information at the reaction supports, we will divide our
free body diagram in Figure 8.1 into two separate systems using superposition. To start with, we will
choose one of the reaction components to be our redundant force. We will treat this reaction
component in a special way, by considering what would happen if the support reaction wasn't there, but
we still had the force of that reaction. For the system shown in Figure 8.1, the roller reaction at point C
has been chosen as the redundant force. So, we remove the support, but keep the equivalent reaction
force CyCy, which we will now call our redundant force (although we don't know the value
of CyCy yet). This means that in our analyses, the beam will be allowed to displace at point C. The
support reactions at points A and E will remain as they were. For this beam, by removing the support
reaction at C and then treating the equivalent reaction force as an external force, we have changed
our 1°1° indeterminate system into a determinate system. This new determinate system, without the
reaction support associated with the redundant force is called the primary system. Later, we will have a
way to bring the compatibility at C (the fact that there is actually a reaction support there) back into
play.

So, without the support at C, and treating the reaction force CyCy as if it was an external force, we can
divide the full behaviour of the beam into two different systems using superposition as shown
in Figure 8.1. One system will have the real external forces PP and QQ ('external forces without
redundant' in the figure), and the other system will have only the redundant force CyCy ('redundant
force only' in the figure). Both of these systems will be allowed to deflect at point C, but not at points A
and E (the supports at A and E are still considered to exist). For each system, the forces on it will cause
reaction forces at A and E. The superposition of these two systems will give us back the full free body
diagram for the beam, and the sum of the reaction forces for the two systems will give us the total
reaction forces for the full beam system.

Why are we doing all of this? Because now we can use the superposition of the deformations of the two
separate systems to find the redundant force (CyCy) which is our true reaction force at point C in the
system. Recall from the previous discussion on superposition (see Chapter 5) that superposition applies
to both forces/moments and deformations of a structure. So, the deformation of the system with only
the external forces (without the redundant force) summed with the deformation of the system with only
the redundant force will equal the full deformation of the real full beam. This is illustrated in Figure 8.2.
Figure 8.2: The Force Method Superposition of Displacements Caused by External forces and the Redundant
Reaction Force Component

The top diagram in Figure 8.2 shows the deformation of the full indeterminate beam with the reaction
at point C still in place. Of course, we know that the vertical deformation at point C (ΔCΔC) is equal to
zero, as shown. Once we eliminate the support at C, giving us our primary system, we can apply the two
components of the superimposed system and measure the deflection at point C. For the first one, we
only apply the external reactions PP and QQ to the primary system. Since the primary system is
determinate, we can easily find the vertical displacement at point C (ΔC0ΔC0) using one of the methods
from Chapter 5, assuming that we are given the magnitudes of the forces PPand QQ. For the second of
the superimposed systems, only the redundant force CyCy is applied to the primary system with the
goal of determining the vertical displacement that the redundant force causes at point C (ΔCCΔCC). Of
course, unlike for PP and QQ, we don't actually know the value of the redundant force, it is what we are
trying to find.
Superposition and compatibility together give us one extra piece of information. The two
superimposed displacements at point C (ΔC0ΔC0 and ΔCCΔCC) must add together to get the total
displacement at point C (ΔCΔC) in the real beam, which we know must be equal to zero since there
is actually a vertical support at that location. This means that:

This equation may be called our compatibility condition for this problem.

We can't directly use this compatibility condition to solve for CyCy because we don't have a
readily available method for calculating the force in a structure that is associated with a known
deflection (all of the methods from Chapter 5 find the deflection caused by a given force). But, we
can find how much deflection at C (part of ΔCCΔCC) would be caused by each unit or
each 1kN1kNpiece of the force CyCy. We find this by applying a unit load at point C in the same
direction as the redundant, and then finding the deflection at C caused by that unit force. This gives
us the amount of deflection at C caused by each 0kN0kN of CyCy and is called the flexibility
coefficient (fCCfCC). This flexibility coefficient has units of length divided by force
(e.g. 0mm/kN0mm/kN). So, the total deflection caused by redundant force CyCy is equal to: