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1. Basic Equations

1.1 Deﬁnitions, conventions and basic relations

Before we can start throwing around equations, we have to deﬁne some variables and state some conven-

tions. That is what we will be doing in this part.

1.1.1 Deﬁnitions

Let’s suppose we have an object, that’s subject to forces. There can be two kinds of forces it is subject

to. First there are surface forces acting on the outside of the object. An example of a surface force

is pressure. We can resolve surface forces into three components, along the axes. These components are

denoted as X, Y and Z. There are also body forces, acting on every particle of the object. An example

is the gravitational force. When we resolve body forces into three components, we write it as X, Y and

Z.

The forces acting on the object cause internal stresses. (Stress is force per unit area.) Let’s suppose we

make a cut through the object and examine a point O on the cut. There is a component of the stress

normal to the cut, called the direct (tensile) stress. This is denoted by the sign σ. There are also

two components of the stress parallel to the cut. These components are called shear stresses and are

denoted by τ.

1.1.2 Notation and sign conventions

Now let’s discuss some notation and sign conventions. Often direct stresses are examined along the three

basic axes. (The x, y and z-axes.) We then say that σ

x

is the direct stress along the x-axis, σ

y

is the

stress along the y-axis and σ

z

is the stress along the z axis. If a certain stress is directed away from its

related surface, then we deﬁne it as a positive stress. Otherwise it is negative.

We can have a similar notation for shear stresses. However, shear stresses don’t only have a direction.

They also have a plane in which they act. They therefore have two subscript, like τ

xy

. The x (the

ﬁrst part of the subscript) denotes the plane in which the shear stress acts. In this case it is the plane

orthogonal to the x-axis. The y (the second part of the subscript) then denotes the direction of the shear

stress.

The sign convention of shear stress is also a bit diﬃcult. We have to examine two arrows for that. First

there is the direction of the shear stress itself. Then there is also the normal vector to the plane on which

the shear stress is acting. (This normal vector always points outward.) If they both point in a positive

direction, or both in a negative direction, then we say that the shear stress is positive. If one points in a

positive direction, and the other in a negative direction, then it is negative.

1.1.3 Basic equations

We can examining the stresses acting on a small part inside an object. By doing so, we can derive a few

relations. First, by taking moments, we can derive relations for the shear stresses. These relations are

τ

xy

= τ

yx

, τ

xz

= τ

zx

and τ

yz

= τ

zy

. (1.1.1)

1

By examining forces in certain directions, we can derive three equilibrium equations, being

∂σ

x

∂x

+

∂τ

xy

∂y

+

∂τ

xz

∂z

+X = 0, (1.1.2)

∂σ

y

∂y

+

∂τ

yz

∂z

+

∂τ

yx

∂x

+Y = 0, (1.1.3)

∂σ

z

∂z

+

∂τ

zx

∂x

+

∂τ

zy

∂y

+Z = 0. (1.1.4)

Instead of examining a particle on the inside of an object, we can also examine a particle on the edge.

Now surface forces come into play. We can once more derive three equilibrium equations, being

X = σ

x

l +τ

yx

m+τ

zx

n, (1.1.5)

Y = σ

y

m+τ

zy

n +τ

xy

l, (1.1.6)

Z = σ

z

n +τ

xz

l +τ

yz

m. (1.1.7)

The three parameters l, m and n are direction cosines. They are added to the equation to compensate

for the direction of the surface. To ﬁnd their values, examine the normal vector of the surface (still

pointing outward). l, m and n are the cosines of the angles which this normal vector makes with respect

to the x, y and z axis, respectively.

1.2 Stresses in diﬀerent coordinate systems

We don’t always evaluate stresses along the x, y and z-axes. We can also examine them in diﬀerent

coordinate systems. What happens when we start shifting coordinate systems?

1.2.1 Mohr’s circle

Let’s suppose we know all the stresses in the normal (x, y, z)-coordinate system. When we shift the

coordinate system, the normal stresses and the shear stresses change. The way in which this occurs is

described by Mohr’s circle. Mohr stated that if you plot the direct stresses and the shear stresses, you

would get a circle. Such a circle is shown in ﬁgure 1.1.

Figure 1.1: Mohr’s Circle

How does this work? Suppose we know the stress in x-direction σ

x

, the stress in y-direction σ

y

and the

shear stress τ

xy

. Let’s draw the points (σ

x

, τ

xy

) and (σ

y

, −τ

xy

) in a coordinate system. We then draw a

2

line between them. The point where this line crosses the x-axis denotes the average stress σ

av

. It can

be found using

σ

av

=

σ

x

+σ

y

2

. (1.2.1)

The radius of the circle is

R =

σ

x

−σ

y

2

2

+τ

2

xy

. (1.2.2)

Now if we rotate our coordinate system by an angle θ, then the line in our circle rotates by an angle 2θ.

From this, the new stresses can be found.

1.2.2 Directions of maximum stress

It would be nice to know when maximum stress occurs. Maximum normal (direct) stress occurs when

we rotate our coordinate system over an angle θ

mσ

. θ

mσ

can be found using

tan 2θ

mσ

=

2τ

xy

σ

x

−σ

y

. (1.2.3)

The corresponding stresses are called principal stresses. The planes on which they act are the principal

planes. The maximum stress (also called the major principal stress) σ

I

and the minimum stress

(also called the minor principal stress) σ

II

can now be found using

σ

I

= σ

av

+R and σ

II

= σ

av

−R. (1.2.4)

Similarly, maximum shear stress occurs when we rotate our coordinate system by an angle θ

mτ

, where

θ

mτ

now satisﬁes

tan 2θ

mτ

= −

σ

x

−σ

y

2τ

xy

. (1.2.5)

This angle will always be 45

◦

bigger or smaller than the angle at which maximum direct stresses occur.

(This can also be seen from Mohr’s circle.) The corresponding maximum shear stress now is

τ

max

= R =

σ

I

−σ

II

2

. (1.2.6)

1.3 Strains

When an object is subject to forces, there will be displacements. These displacements relate to strains.

Let’s take a look at what kind of strains there are, and how we can ﬁnd them.

1.3.1 Strain relations

We generally distinguish two types of strains. The longitudinal or direct strains (denoted by ε) relate

to changes in length. Shear strains (denoted by γ) relate to changes in angles.

Let’s examine a point O of an object. Due to the deformation of this object, this point O moves. It

moves a distance u along the x-axis, a distance v along the y-axis and a distance w along the z-axis. It

can now be shown that the direct strains in x, y and z-direction satisfy

ε

x

=

∂u

∂x

, ε

y

=

∂v

∂y

and ε

z

=

∂w

∂z

. (1.3.1)

The orientations of lines passing through point O have also changed. For example, let’s consider two lines

in the xy-plane that were perpendicular. (There was an angle of π/2 between them.) Now they aren’t

3

perpendicular anymore. Their relative angle now is π/2 −γ

xy

. This works the same for the xz-plane and

the yz-plane. So we have three shear strains γ

xy

, γ

xz

and γ

yz

. If the displacements are small, then it can

be shown that

γ

xy

=

∂w

∂x

+

∂u

∂z

, γ

xz

=

∂v

∂x

+

∂u

∂y

and γ

yz

=

∂w

∂y

+

∂v

∂z

. (1.3.2)

Now we have six kinds of displacements. It seems like a lot of unknowns. Luckily there are relations

between them. There are 6 compatibility equations. These equations are

∂

2

γ

xy

∂x∂y

=

∂

2

ε

x

∂y

2

+

∂

2

ε

y

∂x

2

, 2

∂

2

ε

x

∂y∂z

=

∂

∂x

−

∂γ

yz

∂x

+

∂γ

xz

∂y

+

∂γ

xy

∂z

, (1.3.3)

∂

2

γ

yz

∂y∂z

=

∂

2

ε

y

∂z

2

+

∂

2

ε

z

∂y

2

, 2

∂

2

ε

y

∂z∂x

=

∂

∂y

−

∂γ

zx

∂y

+

∂γ

yx

∂z

+

∂γ

yz

∂x

, (1.3.4)

∂

2

γ

zx

∂z∂x

=

∂

2

ε

z

∂x

2

+

∂

2

ε

x

∂z

2

, 2

∂

2

ε

z

∂x∂y

=

∂

∂z

−

∂γ

xy

∂z

+

∂γ

zy

∂x

+

∂γ

zx

∂y

. (1.3.5)

1.3.2 Relations between stress and strain

Currently, we’ve got quite a couple of equations. But we got even more unknowns. So we need more

equations. Where do we get those equations from?

We can try to describe the relationship between stress and strain. For that, we ﬁrst have to make a

few assumptions. First, we assume that the object we’re looking at is homogeneous. This means that

the material properties are the same at every point in the object. We also assume that the object is

isotropic, meaning that the properties are the same in every direction. It also means that the stress and

the strain are proportional.

From these assumptions we can derive that

ε

x

=

σ

x

−ν (σ

y

+σ

z

)

E

, ε

y

=

σ

y

−ν (σ

z

+σ

x

)

E

and ε

z

=

σ

z

−ν (σ

x

+σ

y

)

E

. (1.3.6)

Here ν is the Poisson ratio. There are also a relations between the shear stresses and shear strains.

These relations are

γ

xy

=

τ

xy

G

, γ

yz

=

τ

yz

G

and γ

zx

=

τ

zx

G

. (1.3.7)

The variable G is called the modulus of rigidity. It is related to E and ν according to

G =

E

2 (1 +ν)

. (1.3.8)

1.3.3 Changes of volume

When an object deforms, its volume changes. It would be interesting to know at what rate this happens.

If V is the volume of a particle, then the volumetric strain e of that particle is

e =

∆V

V

= ε

x

+ε

y

+ε

z

=

1 −2ν

E

(σ

x

+σ

y

+σ

z

) . (1.3.9)

If an object is compressed at a constant pressure p, then σ

x

= σ

y

= σ

z

= −p. We then have

e = −

3 (1 −2ν)

E

p = −

p

K

, with K =

E

3 (1 −2ν)

. (1.3.10)

The constant K is known as the bulk modulus or the modulus of volume expansion.

4

1.3.4 Thermal eﬀects

When an object is heated, it expands. It does this according to

ε = α∆T, (1.3.11)

where α is the coeﬃcient of thermal expansion. If also stresses are involved, then we get new

equations for the strains. We simply add α∆T up to the old equations. We then get

ε

x

=

σ

x

−ν (σ

y

+σ

z

)

E

+α∆T, (1.3.12)

ε

y

=

σ

y

−ν (σ

z

+σ

x

)

E

+α∆T, (1.3.13)

ε

z

=

σ

z

−ν (σ

x

+σ

y

)

E

+α∆T. (1.3.14)

5

2. Stress Functions

2.1 The Airy Stress Function

Previously we have examined general equations. However, solving them can be very hard. So let’s look

for tools with which we can apply them. In this chapter, we’ll be looking at stress functions. The ﬁrst

one to introduce is the Airy stress function.

2.1.1 Stress state conditions

Before we start deﬁning things, we will make some simpliﬁcations. First of all, we assume there are no

body forces, so X = Y = Z = 0. Second, we will only deal with two-dimensional problems. For that, we

have to assume that σ

z

= 0. If this is the case, we have plane stress (the stress only occurs in a plane).

Together, these two assumptions turn the equilibrium conditions of the previous chapter into

∂σ

x

∂x

+

∂τ

xy

∂y

= 0 and

∂σ

y

∂y

+

∂τ

xy

∂x

= 0. (2.1.1)

Next to equilibrium conditions, we also had compatibility conditions. Based on our assumptions, we can

simplify those as well. We then get only one equation, being

∂

2

∂x

2

+

∂

2

∂y

2

(σ

x

+σ

y

) = 0. (2.1.2)

And ﬁnally there were the boundary conditions. Adjusting those will give

X = σ

x

l +τ

xy

m and Y = σ

y

m+τ

xy

l. (2.1.3)

Now we have derived the new conditions for the stress state. Let’s see how we can apply them.

2.1.2 The Airy stress function

It is time to talk about stress functions. A stress function is a function from which the stress can be

derived at any given point x, y. These stresses then automatically satisfy the equilibrium conditions.

Now let’s examine such a stress function. The Airy stress function φ is deﬁned by

σ

x

=

∂

2

φ

∂y

2

, σ

y

=

∂

2

φ

∂x

2

and τ

xy

= −

∂

2

φ

∂x∂y

. (2.1.4)

We can insert these stresses in the equilibrium conditions (2.1.1). We then directly see that they are

satisﬁed for every φ! How convenient... However, if we insert the above deﬁnitions into the compatibility

condition (2.1.2), we get

∂

4

φ

∂x

4

+ 2

∂

4

φ

∂x

2

∂y

2

+

∂

4

φ

∂y

4

= 0. (2.1.5)

This equation is called the biharmonic equation. It needs to be satisﬁed by every valid Airy stress

function as well.

2.1.3 Applying the Airy stress function

Now you may be wondering, how can we apply the Airy stress function? To be honest, that is kind of a

problem. Given the loading condition of an object, it’s rather diﬃcult to determine a corresponding stress

6

function. On the other hand, if we have a stress function φ, it is often possible to ﬁnd a corresponding

loading condition. This idea is called the inverse method.

So how do we apply this inverse method? We ﬁrst have to assume a certain form of φ with a number

of unknown coeﬃcients A, B, C, . . .. We know φ has to satisfy the biharmonic equation (2.1.5) and the

boundary conditions (2.1.3). From these conditions, the unknown coeﬃcients can (hopefully) be solved.

The most diﬃcult step in this process is to choose a form for φ. Sadly, that part is beyond the scope of

this summary.

2.1.4 St. Venant’s principle

Sometimes a problem occurs when applying the boundary conditions. For example, if the object we are

considering is subject to a concentrated (local) force, there will be huge local variations in the stress. It

is hard to adjust the boundary conditions to these local eﬀects.

In this case, use can be made of St. Venant’s principle. It states that local variations eventually

average out. You just ‘cut’ the part with local eﬀects out of your object. For the rest of the object, you

can then assume loading conditions with which you are able to make calculations.

2.1.5 Displacements

Let’s suppose we have found the stress function φ for an object. We can now ﬁnd the stresses σ

x

, σ

y

and

τ

xy

at every position in the object. These stresses will thus be functions of x and y.

Using these stresses, we can ﬁnd the displacements u, v and γ

xy

. To do this, we ﬁrst need to adjust the

stress-strain relations from the previous chapter to the two-dimensional world. For the direct strain we

ﬁnd

ε

x

=

∂u

∂x

=

σ

x

−νσ

y

E

and ε

y

=

∂v

∂y

=

σ

y

−νσ

x

E

. (2.1.6)

So ﬁrst we can ﬁnd ε

x

and ε

y

, as functions of the position x, y. We then integrate those strains to ﬁnd

the displacements u and v. Don’t underestimate these integrals. They are often quite diﬃcult, since ε

x

and ε

y

are functions of both x and y.

After we have found u and v, we can use them to ﬁnd γ

xy

. This goes according to

γ

xy

=

∂u

∂y

+

∂v

∂x

=

τ

xy

G

. (2.1.7)

And now everything is known about the object!

2.2 The Prandtl stress function

The Airy stress function is quite suitable when a force is applied to a two-dimensional object. Similarly,

the Prandtl function is useful when torsion is present. Let’s take a look at it.

2.2.1 Conditions

Let’s examine a rod with a constant cross-section. Its axis lies on the z-axis. We can apply a torsion

T to both its sides. This torsion T is said to be positive when it is directed counterclockwise about the

z-axis (according to the right-hand rule). Since we only apply torsion, we can assume there are no normal

(direct) stresses, so σ

x

= σ

y

= σ

z

= 0. The same goes for the shear stress τ

xy

, so τ

xy

= 0. From this

follows that also ε

x

= ε

y

= ε

z

= γ

xy

= 0. We also assume no body forces are present.

7

So most of the stresses are zero. We only have two non-zero stresses left, being τ

zy

and τ

zx

. The Prandtl

stress function φ is now deﬁned by

τ

zy

= −

∂φ

∂x

and τ

zx

=

∂φ

∂y

. (2.2.1)

It can be shown that τ

zy

and τ

zx

only depend on the x and y-coordinates. They don’t vary along the

z-axis.

We know that φ should satisfy the conditions from the ﬁrst chapter. We can ﬁnd that φ automatically

satisﬁes the equilibrium equations. We can reduce all compatibility equations to one equation, being

∇

2

φ =

∂

2

φ

∂x

2

+

∂

2

φ

∂y

2

= constant, (2.2.2)

where ∇

2

= ∂

2

/∂x

2

+∂

2

/∂y

2

is the two-dimensional Laplace operator.

Finally there are the boundary conditions. We can derive two things from that. First, we can derive

that, along the outer surface of the rod, we have ∂φ/ds = 0. So φ is constant along the rod surface. Since

this constant doesn’t really matter, we usually assume that φ = 0 along the outer surface of the rod.

Second, we can also look at the two rod ends, where the torsion T is being applied. If we sum up the

shear stresses in this region, we can ﬁnd the relation between the torsion T and the function φ. This

relation states that

T = 2

φdxdy. (2.2.3)

2.2.2 Displacements

With all the conditions we just derived, we often can’t ﬁnd φ just yet. We also need to look at the

displacements. Let’s call θ the angle of twist and dθ/dz the rate of twist. It follows that, for the

displacements u and v, we have

u = −θy and v = θx. (2.2.4)

Previously we have also seen that ∇

2

φ is constant. However, we didn’t know what constant it was equal

to. Now we do. It can be shown that

∇

2

φ =

∂

2

φ

∂x

2

+

∂

2

φ

∂y

2

= −2G

dθ

dz

. (2.2.5)

And ﬁnally we have all the equations that φ must satisfy. That’s great! However, we can simplify matters

slightly. Let’s introduce the torsion constant J. It is deﬁned by

T = GJ

dθ

dz

. (2.2.6)

By the way, the product GJ is called the torsional rigidity. From the above two equations, and the

relation between T and φ, we can ﬁnd that

GJ = −

4G

∇

2

φ

φdxdy. (2.2.7)

2.2.3 Finding the Prandtl stress function

We now know all the conditions which φ must satisfy. However, ﬁnding φ is still a bit diﬃcult. Just

like for the Airy stress function, we ﬁrst have to assume a form for φ. This form should be such that it

satisﬁes all the above conditions.

8

The ﬁrst condition you should pay attention to, is the condition that φ = 0 around the edge. Then we

multiply this relation by a constant, to ﬁnd our stress function. Using the other conditions, we can then

ﬁnd the value of our constant. For example, if our cross-section is a circle, we would have x

2

+ y

2

= R

2

around the edge. A suitable function for φ would then be φ = C

x

2

+y

2

−R

2

**. Find C using the
**

remaining conditions, and you’ve found φ.

2.2.4 Warping

We know that the rod will twist. But that’s not the only way in which it will deform. There is also

warping, being the displacement of points in the z-direction. To know how an object warps, we have to

ﬁnd an expression for w. For that, we have to use the relations

∂w

∂x

=

τ

zx

G

+

dθ

dz

y and

∂w

∂y

=

τ

zy

G

−

dθ

tz

x. (2.2.8)

Integrating the above expressions should give you w: the displacement in z-direction.

2.2.5 The membrane analogy

Let’s consider the lines along the cross-section for which φ is constant. These special lines are called lines

of shear stress or shear lines. You may wonder, why are they special? Well, to see that, let’s look at

the shear stresses τ

zx

and τ

zy

at some point. We ﬁnd that the resultant shear stress (the sum of τ

zx

and

τ

zy

) is tangential to the shear line. Furthermore, the magnitude of this stress is equal to −∂φ/∂n, where

the vector n is the normal vector of the shear line (pointing outward).

This may be a bit hard to visualize. Luckily, there is a tool that can help you. It’s called the membrane

analogy (also called the soap ﬁlm analogy). Let’s suppose we have a membrane (or a soap ﬁlm)

with as shape the cross-section of our rod. We can apply a pressure p to this membrane from below. It

then deﬂects upwards by a distance w. This deﬂection w now corresponds to our stress function φ, so

w(x, y) = φ(x, y). Note that we have w = 0 at the edges of our membrane, just like we had φ = 0 at the

edges of our rod.

We can also look at the volume beneath our soap bubble. We then ﬁnd that

Volume =

**wdxdy, which implies that T = 2 ×Volume. (2.2.9)
**

2.2.6 Torsion of narrow rectangular strips

Let’s examine a narrow rectangular strip. Its height (in y-direction) is s, while its thickness (in x-

direction) is t. Normally it is very hard to ﬁnd the Prandtl stress function φ for this rod. However, if t

is much smaller than s, we can simplify things. In this case, we can assume that φ doesn’t vary with y.

So we ﬁnd that

∇

2

φ =

d

2

φ

dx

2

= −2G

dθ

dz

. (2.2.10)

By integrating this twice, the stress function φ can be obtained relatively easily. (Okay, you still have to

ﬁnd the two constants that show up in the integration, but that isn’t very hard.) And once the stress

function is known, all the other data will follow.

9

3. Bending, Shear and Torsion

It is time to examine some basic loads that beams can be subject to. We especially look at thin-walled

beams, as they frequently occur in Aerospace Engineering. We can then derive general methods and

equations. With those, we can ﬁnd the stresses that are present in the beam.

3.1 Bending of Beams

We start by examining bending. This is because we need the bending equations when we examine shear.

3.1.1 Deﬁnitions and conventions for bending

Let’s examine a beam of any shape. Just like in the previous chapter, its longitudinal axis lies on the

z-axis. Now the beam is subject to a bending moment M. We can dissolve this bending moment M into

a component M

x

about the x-axis and a component M

y

about the y-axis.

Let’s discuss the sign convention of these moments. We say a moment M

x

is positive, if it causes (positive)

tensile stresses in the region y > 0. Similarly, M

y

is positive, if it causes tensile stresses in the region

x > 0. We can see that M

x

satisﬁes the right hand rule (it is directed counterclockwise if you look at it

from the positive x-direction). However, the moment M

y

does not satisfy this rule. If you look at it from

the positive y-axis, it is directed clockwise.

When evaluating bending, we will have to use moments of inertia. There are the moment of inertia

about the x-axis I

xx

, the moment of inertia about the y-axis I

yy

and the product of inertia

I

xy

. They are deﬁned as

I

xx

=

A

y

2

dA, I

yy

=

A

x

2

dA and I

xy

=

A

xy dA. (3.1.1)

3.1.2 The general bending equation

The bending moments M

x

and M

y

cause the beam to bend. Now let’s look at the cross-section of the

beam. Part of the beam is subject to tensile stresses, while the other part is in compression. The line

separating these two regions is called the neutral axis. It can be shown that this is a straight line. It

always goes through the center of gravity of the cross-section.

It would be great to know what stresses are present in the beam. And the good part is, a general equation

can be derived for that. What we wind up with is

σ

z

=

M

y

I

xx

−M

x

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

x+

M

x

I

yy

−M

y

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

y =

I

yy

y −I

xy

x

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

M

x

+

I

xx

x −I

xy

y

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

M

y

. (3.1.2)

In the above equation, you ﬁnd two relations for σ

z

. As you can see, they are equivalent. You can use

either one of them. Which one is the most convenient depends on the circumstances.

If the cross-section of the beam is symmetric about the x-axis or about the y-axis (or both), then we

have I

xy

= 0. This simpliﬁes the above equation drastically. We then remain with

σ

z

=

M

x

I

xx

y +

M

y

I

yy

x. (3.1.3)

10

3.1.3 Beams of multiple materials

Sometimes beams are made of multiple materials. Diﬀerent materials generally have diﬀerent stiﬀnesses,

so also diﬀerent values of E. How do we take this into account? Well, to do that, we deﬁne the weighted

cross-sectional area A

∗

as

dA

∗

=

E

E

ref

dA, which implies that A

∗

=

A

E

E

ref

dA. (3.1.4)

Here E

ref

is just some reference E-modulus. Although it can be anything, it’s usually taken to be the

E-modulus of one of the present materials. We can now also deﬁne the weighted moment of inertias as

I

∗

xx

=

A

y

2

dA

∗

, I

∗

yy

=

A

x

2

dA

∗

and I

∗

xy

=

A

xy dA

∗

. (3.1.5)

Based on these deﬁnitions, we can derive a new expression for σ

z

. We ﬁnd that

σ

z

=

E

E

ref

M

y

I

∗

xx

−M

x

I

∗

xy

I

∗

xx

I

∗

yy

−I

∗2

xy

x +

M

x

I

∗

yy

−M

y

I

∗

xy

I

∗

xx

I

∗

yy

−I

∗2

xy

y

. (3.1.6)

Note that E in the above equation is the E-modulus at the position where you want to know σ

z

.

3.1.4 The neutral axis

We already know that the neutral axis is a straight line that passes through the COG of the cross-section.

What we don’t know, is its orientation. We deﬁne α as the clockwise angle between the x-axis and the

neutral axis. (So if the neutral axis is pointing 30

◦

upwards, then α = −30

◦

.)

Let’s ﬁnd α. We know that for every point on the neutral axis x

na

, y

na

we have σ

z

= 0. We can insert

this into the previously derived equation for σ

z

. We then ﬁnd that

y

na

x

na

= −

M

y

I

xx

−M

x

I

xy

M

x

I

yy

−M

y

I

xy

. (3.1.7)

We can also see that tan α = −y

na

/x

na

. It follows that

α = arctan

M

y

I

xx

−M

x

I

xy

M

x

I

yy

−M

y

I

xy

. (3.1.8)

We haven’t considered the case where the beam consists of multiple materials. However, that case works

exactly the same. Just add stars (

∗

) to the I

xx

, I

yy

and I

xy

in the above equation.

3.2 Shear Forces and Thin-Walled Beams

In aerospace engineering, thin-walled beams often occur. Just think of stringers, stiﬀeners, or even whole

fuselages. How do those beams cope with shear stresses? Let’s see if we can ﬁnd that out.

3.2.1 Conditions for thin-walled beams

Let’s examine a thin-walled beam (a beam with very small thickness). Its cross-section is just a curving

line with thickness t. It can be either a closed curve (giving a closed section beam) or an open curve

(resulting in an open section beam).

A shear force S is acting on our beam. We can split this force S up in a part S

x

(pointing in the x-

direction) and a part S

y

(pointing in the y-direction). This shear force causes stresses in the beam. First

11

of all, there is the stress in z-direction σ

z

. There are also stresses in x and y-direction. However, this

time we don’t write them as such. Instead, we only consider the so-called hoop stress σ

s

. This is the

stress in circumferential direction (so the stress along the curve). Similarly, we only deal with one shear

stress, being τ

zs

= τ

sz

= τ. So the only stresses we are considering are σ

z

, σ

s

and τ.

We’re almost ready to examine stresses in the beam. But ﬁrst we need to make another deﬁnition. The

shear ﬂow q is deﬁned as q = τt. Now it’s time to derive the equilibrium equations for our beam. We

ﬁnd that

∂q

∂s

+t

∂σ

z

∂z

= 0 and

∂q

∂z

+t

∂σ

s

∂s

= 0. (3.2.1)

We can also examine the displacements. The displacement of a point in z-direction is denoted by w.

There are also the displacement in circumferential (tangential) direction v

t

and the displacement in

normal direction v

n

. Corresponding to these displacements are the strains ε

z

, ε

s

and γ. The strain ε

s

isn’t important, so we ignore that one. The relations for the remaining strains are

ε

z

=

∂w

∂z

and γ =

∂w

∂s

+

∂v

t

∂z

. (3.2.2)

3.2.2 Deriving an equation for the shear ﬂow

Let’s see if we can ﬁnd the shear ﬂow q caused by the shear forces S

x

and S

y

. In equation (3.2.1) we saw

q. However, we also saw ∂σ

z

/∂z. Let’s examine this σ

z

a bit closer. What causes it?

The shear force S

x

causes a bending moment M

y

. Similarly, S

y

causes M

x

. These bending moments

then cause the stress σ

z

. From basic mechanics we know that S

x

= ∂M

y

/∂z and S

y

= ∂M

x

/∂z. If we

apply this to the bending equation (3.1.2), we ﬁnd that

∂σ

z

∂z

=

S

x

I

xx

−S

y

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

x +

S

y

I

yy

−S

x

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

y. (3.2.3)

By inserting this relation into the equilibrium equation (3.2.1), and by integrating, we ﬁnd that

q(s) −q

0

= −

S

x

I

xx

−S

y

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

s

0

txds −

S

y

I

yy

−S

x

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

s

0

ty ds. (3.2.4)

Here s is the (counterclockwise) distance along the cross-section, from some point 0 with shear ﬂow q

0

.

This expression for q(s) is quite important, so keep it in mind.

3.2.3 Finding the shear center

When we apply a shear force S somewhere on the cross-section, then the beam will most likely twist.

There is only one point where we can apply S such that the beam does not twist. This point is called

the shear center, and has coordinates ξ

s

, η

s

. How do we ﬁnd the position of this shear center? Let’s

look at that now. (We will only discuss how to ﬁnd the x-coordinate ξ

s

, since ﬁnding the y-coordinate

η

s

goes similar.)

To ﬁnd ξ

s

, we assume a certain position where the shear force S

y

applies. If S

y

is actually acting on the

shear center, then the rate of twist dθ/dz must be zero. This is the condition we need to calculate the

shear ﬂow q(s).

We can now evaluate moments about any point. The moment caused by the force S

y

should then be

equal to the moment caused by the shear ﬂow. From this the position of S

y

(and thus also ξ

s

) can be

derived.

You may be wondering, how do we ﬁnd the moment caused by the shear ﬂow? To do that, we replace

the shear ﬂow by forces.

12

If the cross-section consists of straight lines, we can split it up in parts. For every part i of the cross-

section, we can evaluate the integral

F

qi

=

si

0

q(s

i

) ds

i

. (3.2.5)

This F

qi

is then the resultant force of the shear ﬂow in part i. Once we have replaced the shear ﬂow by

the forces F

qi

, it isn’t hard to calculate the moment anymore.

Things are slightly more diﬃcult if the cross-section is curved. Splitting the cross-section up in parts

isn’t possible anymore. However, we can also ﬁnd the moment caused by the shear forces directly. Let’s

suppose we take moments about some point B. We then have

M

q

=

s

0

q(s)p ds, (3.2.6)

where the variable p is the shortest distance between point B and the line tangential to the part ds of

the cross-section.

3.2.4 Shear ﬂow

Let’s suppose we have an open section beam. We can now ﬁnd q(s) quite easily. Since the cross-section

is not a closed curve, it must have two edges. At those two edges the shear ﬂow q is zero. We can now

apply equation (3.2.4). If we take one of the edges as point 0, we have q

0

= 0. Since we also know the

shape of our cross-section, we can solve for q(s). And from this we can ﬁnd the shear stress τ. Sounds

simple, doesn’t it?

There is one small addition we have to make though. When you apply a shear stress S to a beam, it

can also twist. (Like it does when it is subject to torsion.) Open section beams can’t support twist. So

to prevent them from twisting, you must apply the shear force S in the shear center. Then the above

method works. And luckily, we already know how ﬁnd this shear center.

3.2.5 Shear of closed section beams

Now let’s look at closed section beams. This time we run into a problem. There isn’t any point 0 for

which we know the shear ﬂow q

0

. To solve this problem, we ﬁrst rewrite the shear ﬂow q(s) as

q(s) = q

b

+q

0

, where q

b

= −

S

x

I

xx

−S

y

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

s

0

txds −

S

y

I

yy

−S

x

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

s

0

ty ds. (3.2.7)

We now examine the rate of twist dθ/dz. It can be shown that

2A

dθ

dz

=

q(s)

Gt

ds =

q

b

+q

0

Gt

ds, (3.2.8)

where A is the area enclosed by the cross-section. The integral

means we integrate over the entire

curved cross-section. Solving the above equation for q

0

gives

q

0

=

2A

dθ

dz

−

q

b

Gt

ds

1

Gt

ds

. (3.2.9)

Often the above integral can be simpliﬁed. If the shear force S acts in the shear center, then the rate

of twist dθ/dz is zero. It also often occurs that G or t (or both) are constant. In both cases the above

equation simpliﬁes greatly.

13

3.3 Torsion and Thin-Walled Beams

Previously we saw that a shear force can cause twist in beams. Torsion causes twist as well. How do

thin-walled beams react to pure torsion? Let’s ﬁnd that out.

3.3.1 The center of twist

Let’s suppose we have a thin-walled beam (open section or closed section). We can apply a torsion T to

both its sides. The beam will then twist by an angle θ. Every point of the beam will have a displacement

u in x-direction and v in y-direction.

Now comes the interesting part. The beam will always twist in such a way, that it appears to be rotating

about some point R. This point R is called the center of twist. If u, v and θ are known for the

cross-section, then its position x

R

, y

R

can be found using

x

R

= −

dv/dz

dθ/dz

and y

R

=

du/dz

dθ/dz

. (3.3.1)

There is one surprising thing though. If the beam is only subject to torsion, then the center of twist is

equal to the shear center! So if we know the shear center, we also know the center of twist when the

beam is subject to torsion.

3.3.2 Torsion of closed section beams

Now let’s look at a closed section beam. Since we only apply torsion, no direct stresses are present.

This reduces the equilibrium equations to ∂q/∂z = 0 and ∂q/∂s = 0. This means that q is constant

everywhere. It now follows that the torsion T is

T = 2Aq, (3.3.2)

with A still the area enclosed by the cross-section. The above equation is known as the Bredt-Bahto

formula.

What about displacements? Well, it can be shown that both θ, u and v vary linearly with z. So the rate

of twist dθ/dz is constant. And the nice part is, we even got an equation for dθ/dz. This equation is

dθ

dz

=

q

2A

1

Gt

ds =

T

4A

2

1

Gt

ds. (3.3.3)

3.3.3 Warping in closed section beams

When a beam twists, there is usually also warping (meaning w = 0). It can be shown that the warping

w stays constant for diﬀerent z. However, within a cross-section the warping w is generally not constant.

But, calculating it requires a couple of diﬃcult integrations, so we won’t elaborate on it further in this

summary.

However, there is one important rule you do need to know. Let’s deﬁne p

R

as the shortest distance

between the center of twist R, and the line tangential to some part ds of the beam. If we have

p

R

Gt = constant, (3.3.4)

then the beam does not warp under pure torsion. Such kind of beams are known as Neuber beams.

Examples are circular beams of constant thickness and triangular beams of constant thickness. But there

are plenty more Neuber beams.

14

3.3.4 Torsion of open section beams

We have previously said that open section beams can’t take torsion. This wasn’t entirely true. They can

take a bit of torsion. However, the stresses and deformations are, in this case, usually quite big.

When a closed-section beam is subject to torsion, the shear ﬂow can ﬂow all around the cross-section.

We saw that in this case the shear ﬂow q was constant. Along the thickness, also the shear stress τ

zs

was

constant. However, this doesn’t work for open section beams. Instead, for open section beams, q = 0

everywhere. But now the shear stress τ

zs

varies (linearly) along the thickness of the cross-section.

Let’s examine a small piece ds of the cross-section. Let’s look at the line in the middle of this piece. We

call n the distance from this line. It can now be shown that the shear stress τ

zs

varies according to

τ

zs

=

2n

J

T = 2Gn

dθ

dz

. (3.3.5)

The maximum shear stress occurs at maximum n. So this occurs at the edge of the cross-section, where

n = t/2. By the way, the torsion constant J can be found using

J =

1

3

t

3

ds, where also T = GJ

dθ

dz

. (3.3.6)

3.4 Combined open and closed section beams

Previously we have only considered beams that were either open or closed. But what do we do if a beam

has both an open and a closed part?

3.4.1 Shear

Let’s suppose we have a thin-walled beam which is both open and closed. On it is acting a shear force

S, acting in the shear center. To ﬁnd the shear ﬂow q in the beam, we can still use the known equation

q(s) −q

0

= −

S

x

I

xx

−S

y

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

s

0

txds −

S

y

I

yy

−S

x

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

s

0

ty ds. (3.4.1)

However, we will often have to evaluate this equation multiple times, for diﬀerent parts. And every time,

a new value q

0

shows up. But, if we are clever, we choose point 0 such that every time q

0

= 0. We can

then use the above equation to ﬁnd the shear force q(s) at every point in the beam.

You might be wondering, how do you know where q = 0? Well, we always have q = 0 at the end of a

cross-section. We can often also deduce points of q = 0 from symmetry. Let’s look at the line L through

which the force S is acting. It often occurs that L is an axis of symmetry of the cross-section. In this

case every point on L generally also has q = 0.

3.4.2 Torsion

Now suppose we have a thin-walled beam that is subject to torsion. In this case it is often wise to ﬁrst

ﬁnd the total torsional rigidity GJ

tot

. To ﬁnd this, we ﬁrst need to ﬁnd the torsional rigidity GJ

i

of every

sub-part i. We can ﬁnd this using

GJ

i

=

4A

2

G

1

t

ds

for closed sections, and GJ

i

=

G

3

t

3

ds for open sections. (3.4.2)

To ﬁnd the total torsional rigidity GJ

tot

, just add up all the separate torsional rigidities GJ

i

. The

torsional rigidity of closed sections is generally much bigger than that of open sections. So often the

value GJ of open sections can be neglected.

15

The rate of twist now follows from

dθ

dz

=

T

GJ

tot

. (3.4.3)

To ﬁnd the shear ﬂow (and thus also the shear stress) for a closed section i, we can use

q =

GJ

i

2A

dθ

dz

, (3.4.4)

where GJ

i

is the torsional rigidity of that closed section i. To ﬁnd the shear stress in an open section,

we still have

τ =

2n

J

T = 2Gn

dθ

dz

. (3.4.5)

16

4. Application of Theory to Aircraft

4.1 Structural Idealization

It’s time to apply some of our theory into practice. Let’s look at airplanes. In an airplane are many parts

that have a rather complicated shape. Let’s ﬁnd a way to examine them.

4.1.1 Simplifying a shape

Let’s examine an aircraft fuselage. It often consists of a shell with a couple of stringers. Altogether, we

have got a complicated shape. We need to make some assumptions and simpliﬁcations, such that we can

evaluate it.

First we do something about the stringers. We replace them by concentrations of area (so-called booms).

These booms have the same cross-sectional area as the original stringer.

Now let’s look at a piece of fuselage skin with width b and (eﬀective) thickness t

D

. The normal stress σ

varies along this piece. On the left side is a stress σ

1

and on the right a stress σ

2

. We want to replace

this piece of skin by two booms at the edges. This should be done, such that the eﬀects are the same.

So the two booms should take the same force and the same moment as the piece of skin. From this, we

can derive that these two booms have area B

1

(left) and B

2

(right), where

B

1

=

t

D

b

6

2 +

σ

2

σ

1

and B

2

=

t

D

b

6

2 +

σ

1

σ

2

. (4.1.1)

Since we have replaced the skin by two booms, the remaining eﬀective thickness t

D

of the skin is 0.

Let’s take a closer look at the ratio σ

2

/σ

1

in the above equation. This ratio depends on the loads which

our fuselage is subject to. And thus so do B

1

and B

2

. This means that if we load our fuselage diﬀerently,

our booms will have diﬀerent areas.

We now make an important assumption. We assume that the booms take all the normal stresses, while

the skin takes all the shear stresses. This makes our analysis a lot simpler. To examine normal stresses,

we only have to evaluate a set of points with known areas. Also examining shear stress is a bit easier

now.

4.1.2 Normal stress

In our new fuselage, how do we calculate the normal stress? For that, we can still use the general equation

we derived for bending. Let’s just repeat it. It was

σ

z

=

M

y

I

xx

−M

x

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

x+

M

x

I

yy

−M

y

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

y =

I

yy

y −I

xy

x

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

M

x

+

I

xx

x −I

xy

y

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

M

y

. (4.1.2)

Finding the moments of inertia is now quite easy. For the booms B

1

, . . . , B

n

, just use

I

xx

=

n

¸

i=1

y

2

i

B

i

, I

yy

=

n

¸

i=1

x

2

i

B

i

and I

xy

=

n

¸

i=1

x

i

y

i

B

i

. (4.1.3)

4.1.3 Shear ﬂow

Let’s examine a beam subject to shear stresses S

x

and S

y

. We have assumed that the skin takes all the

shear stresses. We stick to this assumption. However, it turns out that the booms do eﬀect the shear

17

stress. Let’s suppose we have two pieces of skin with shear ﬂow q

1

and q

2

. In between these pieces is a

boom with area B

r

, coordinates x

r

, y

r

and direct stress σ

z

. It can now be shown that

q

2

−q

1

= −

∂σ

z

∂z

B

r

= −

S

x

I

xx

−S

y

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

B

r

x

r

−

S

y

I

yy

−S

x

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

B

r

y

r

. (4.1.4)

From this, we can derive that the shear stress q(s) = q

b

+q

0

is given by

q(s) = −

S

x

I

xx

−S

y

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

s

0

t

D

xds +

n

¸

i=1

B

r

x

r

−

S

y

I

yy

−S

x

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

s

0

t

D

y ds +

n

¸

i=1

B

r

y

r

+q

0

.

(4.1.5)

The two sums in the above equation sum over all the booms between point 0 and s. Also note that if we

have replaced our skin by booms as well, then the remaining eﬀective thickness t

D

is zero. This would

mean that the integrals in the above equation vanish.

For open section beams, we should take point 0 as some point where q

0

= 0, just like we’re used to. For

closed section beams, we have to ﬁnd the value for q

0

. This can still be done using known methods. Just

take moments about some point. The moment caused by the shear stresses should then be equal to the

moment caused by the shear force S.

4.2 Tapered Sections

We have previously always assumed that the cross-section of a beam stays constant for varying z. What

happens if it doesn’t? Let’s ﬁnd that out.

4.2.1 Tapered wing spars

Let’s consider an I-shaped wing spar, whose height h changes. We assume that the web takes all the

shear stress. Similarly, the ﬂanges take all the direct stresses. We thus replace these ﬂanges by two booms

with areas B

1

(top) and B

2

(bottom).

When the beam is subject to a shear force S

y

(and thus also a bending moment M

x

), the ﬂanges will

be subject to forces P

1

and P

2

. However, only the components in z-direction (P

z,1

and P

z,2

) counteract

the bending moment M

x

. This goes according to P

z,1

= σ

1

B

1

. (σ

1

can be found by using the bending

equation.)

But now comes the surprising part, the part of P

1

acting in y-direction (being P

y,1

) eﬀects the shear ﬂow

in the web. In fact, the eﬀective shear force S

y,w

acting on the web can be found using

S

y,w

= S

y

−P

y,1

−P

y,2

= S

y

−P

z,1

δy

1

δz

−P

z,2

δy

2

δz

. (4.2.1)

Here the parameters y

1

and y

2

denote the y-coordinate of the ﬂanges. When using the above equation,

special care should be payed to the direction of the forces P

y,1

and P

y,2

. Using the eﬀective shear force,

the shear ﬂow in the web can be calculated, exactly in the way you are normally used to.

It is sometimes sligthly diﬃcult to see whether the eﬀective shear stress increases, or whether it decreases.

There is a rule of thumb for that. If the cross-section is widening, then the eﬀective shear stress is usually

lower than the actual shear stress. And similarly, if the cross-section is getting smaller, then the eﬀective

shear stress is higher than the actual shear stress.

4.2.2 General shapes

In the previous paragraph we considered a vertical web, with two booms at the ends. Now let’s consider

a general (thin-walled) shape, consisting of a skin with booms. Every boom r with coordinates x

r

, y

r

has

18

an internal force P

r

, with components P

x,r

, P

y,r

and P

z,r

. These relate to each other according to

P

x,r

= P

z,r

δx

r

δz

, P

y,r

= P

z,r

δy

r

δz

and also P

r

= P

z,r

δx

2

r

+δy

2

r

+δz

2

r

δz

. (4.2.2)

The eﬀective shear forces in x and y-direction can now be found using

S

x,w

= S

x

−

n

¸

r=1

P

z,r

δx

r

δz

and S

y,w

= S

y

−

n

¸

r=1

P

z,r

δy

r

δz

. (4.2.3)

Again, the rest of the analysis goes exactly as you’re used to. There’s one slight exception though.

Suppose you have a closed cross-section. Then at some time you need ﬁnd a function q(s) = q

b

+ q

0

.

To ﬁnd q

0

, you can take moments about a certain point. These moments should then be equal to the

moment caused by S

x

and S

y

. However, this time the moments caused by P

x,r

and P

y,r

should also be

taken into account. Do not forget that.

4.3 Aircraft Wings

Aircaft wings often have a rather characteristic shape. Examining wings is therefore an art itself — An

art we will delve into now.

4.3.1 The wing shape

Let’s consider the cross-section of a wing. It consists of the top and bottom skin of the wing, plus several

vertical spars. The wing thus consists of a number N ”boxes.” Due to the (sometimes large) amount of

spars, we have a high amount of redundancy. That is why wings are diﬃcult to analyze.

Soon we will be putting torsion and shear forces on the wing. This causes a certain amount of counter-

clockwise (assumed) shear ﬂow q

R

in box R. In this case the top of box R has a shear ﬂow q

R

, pointed

to the left. The bottom has q

R

pointed to the right.

But what about the shear stress in the spar to the right of box R? (We call it spar R.) Box R causes

a shear ﬂow q

R

upward. However, box R + 1 causes a shear ﬂow q

R+1

downward. So the shear ﬂow in

spar R is q

R

−q

R+1

(upward). In this way the shear ﬂow in every spar can be determined.

4.3.2 Torsion

Let’s subject a wing to a torsion T. The torsion T will be divided over the several boxes. Every box R

now supports an amount of torsion T

R

, where

T

R

= 2A

R

q

R

, with also

N

¸

R=1

T

R

= T. (4.3.1)

The area A

R

is the area enclosed by box R. There is just one slight problem. In the above equation, we

don’t know q

R

, nor T

R

. So we have N + 1 equations, but 2N unknowns. We need more equations.

We now assume that the rate of twist dθ/dz of the boxes are all equal. We can ﬁnd the rate of twist of

box R using

dθ

dz

=

1

2A

R

G

R

q

t

ds, (4.3.2)

where we integrate around the entire box. (Note that in this case q is not always q

R

. Previously we saw

that the shear ﬂow in spar R isn’t q

R

.) Although we have one extra unknown (being dθ/dz), we have N

extra equations. So we can solve our system of 2N + 1 equations.

19

Sometimes the spars have diﬀerent shear moduli G. In this case we set a reference modulus G

ref

and

deﬁne the modulus-weighted thickness t

∗

, such that

t

∗

=

G

G

ref

t, after which we use

dθ

dz

=

1

2A

R

G

ref

q

t

∗

ds. (4.3.3)

4.3.3 Shear

Now let’s apply a shear stress S to our wing. This makes things a bit more complicated. The shear

stress q

R

(s) in every box is now given by q

R

(s) = q

b,R

+ q

0,R

. The value of q

b,R

around the box can be

determined from

q

b,R

= −

S

x

I

xx

−S

y

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

s

0

t

D

xds +

n

¸

i=1

B

r

x

r

−

S

y

I

yy

−S

x

I

xy

I

xx

I

yy

−I

2

xy

s

0

t

D

y ds +

n

¸

i=1

B

r

y

r

.

(4.3.4)

So q

b,R

is known. However, q

0,R

is not. To ﬁnd it, we once more look at the rate of twist dθ/dz, which

is (assumed) equal for all boxes. It is now given by

dθ

dz

=

1

2A

R

G

R

q

t

ds =

1

2A

R

G

R

q

b,R

+q

0,R

t

ds (4.3.5)

This gives us N extra equations, but also one extra unknown. We thus need one more equation. We now

look at moments. All the shear ﬂows together cause a moment (about a certain point). This moment

must be equal to the moment caused by the shear force S (about that same point).

4.3.4 Cut-outs in wings

The last subject in this summary is a rather diﬃcult problem. Let’s look at a simple wing box, consisting

of two spars with two pieces of skin in between. (If we look at the idealized cross-section, we simply see a

rectangle, with booms at the corners.) If we look at the 3D wing box, we can split it up in three identical

parts. Now we make a cut-out in the middle part (part 2). We remove the entire bottom skin of this

part. This severely weakens the structure. We can now ask ourselves, what will happen if the wing box

is subjected to loads?

This is, in fact, quite a diﬃcult problem. Many things happen at the same time. In part 1, the shear

forces are gradually being transferred (as normal forces) into the spar ﬂanges (the booms). This causes

normal forces P in the ﬂanges.

Let’s now look at the cross-section between parts 1 and 2. At this cross-section, the torsion has ”trans-

lated” itself into two shear forces S. These forces are positioned at (and also supported by) the spars.

They result in the same moment as the torsion T. Using this fact, you can ﬁnd the magnitude of S.

The shear forces S cause certain shear ﬂows q in the spars of part 2. These shear ﬂows change the

magnitude of the normal forces P in the ﬂanges. By evaluating moments about certain points, the

magnitude of these forces P can be determined at certain positions. Once the normal forces P are

known, also the shear ﬂows in part 1 can be found.

The above plan of approach might sound a bit short. However, this is a problem of which the solution

can’t be explained brieﬂy in a summary. For a clear explanation of the problem, you would have to

consult a book on this subject.

20

By examining forces in certain directions, we can derive three equilibrium equations, being ∂σx ∂τxy ∂τxz + + +X ∂x ∂y ∂z ∂σy ∂τyz ∂τyx + + +Y ∂y ∂z ∂x ∂σz ∂τzx ∂τzy + + +Z ∂z ∂x ∂y = = = 0, 0, 0. (1.1.2) (1.1.3) (1.1.4)

Instead of examining a particle on the inside of an object, we can also examine a particle on the edge. Now surface forces come into play. We can once more derive three equilibrium equations, being X Y Z = σx l + τyx m + τzx n, = σy m + τzy n + τxy l, = σz n + τxz l + τyz m. (1.1.5) (1.1.6) (1.1.7)

The three parameters l, m and n are direction cosines. They are added to the equation to compensate for the direction of the surface. To ﬁnd their values, examine the normal vector of the surface (still pointing outward). l, m and n are the cosines of the angles which this normal vector makes with respect to the x, y and z axis, respectively.

1.2

Stresses in diﬀerent coordinate systems

We don’t always evaluate stresses along the x, y and z-axes. We can also examine them in diﬀerent coordinate systems. What happens when we start shifting coordinate systems?

1.2.1

Mohr’s circle

Let’s suppose we know all the stresses in the normal (x, y, z)-coordinate system. When we shift the coordinate system, the normal stresses and the shear stresses change. The way in which this occurs is described by Mohr’s circle. Mohr stated that if you plot the direct stresses and the shear stresses, you would get a circle. Such a circle is shown in ﬁgure 1.1.

Figure 1.1: Mohr’s Circle How does this work? Suppose we know the stress in x-direction σx , the stress in y-direction σy and the shear stress τxy . Let’s draw the points (σx , τxy ) and (σy , −τxy ) in a coordinate system. We then draw a 2

2) 2 Now if we rotate our coordinate system by an angle θ. Shear strains (denoted by γ) relate to changes in angles.2. σx − σy (1. (1. It can now be shown that the direct strains in x.2.1 Strain relations We generally distinguish two types of strains. For example.) Now they aren’t 3 . the new stresses can be found.1) The orientations of lines passing through point O have also changed.2. Let’s take a look at what kind of strains there are. It moves a distance u along the x-axis.line between them.) The corresponding maximum shear stress now is τmax = R = σI − σII . where θmτ now satisﬁes σx − σy tan 2θmτ = − .2 Directions of maximum stress It would be nice to know when maximum stress occurs. then the line in our circle rotates by an angle 2θ.1) 2 The radius of the circle is 2 σx − σy 2 R= + τxy . (1. 1.3 Strains When an object is subject to forces.4) Similarly. ∂x εy = ∂v ∂y and εz = ∂w . (1. 2 (1. y and z-direction satisfy εx = ∂u . The planes on which they act are the principal planes. Maximum normal (direct) stress occurs when we rotate our coordinate system over an angle θmσ . maximum shear stress occurs when we rotate our coordinate system by an angle θmτ . Let’s examine a point O of an object. this point O moves. ∂z (1. The point where this line crosses the x-axis denotes the average stress σav . Due to the deformation of this object.2. These displacements relate to strains. there will be displacements. (This can also be seen from Mohr’s circle. The longitudinal or direct strains (denoted by ε) relate to changes in length. θmσ can be found using tan 2θmσ = 2τxy . and how we can ﬁnd them.2.3) The corresponding stresses are called principal stresses. It can be found using σx + σy σav = .2. (1. The maximum stress (also called the major principal stress) σI and the minimum stress (also called the minor principal stress) σII can now be found using σI = σav + R and σII = σav − R.6) 1. a distance v along the y-axis and a distance w along the z-axis. (There was an angle of π/2 between them.5) 2τxy This angle will always be 45◦ bigger or smaller than the angle at which maximum direct stresses occur. let’s consider two lines in the xy-plane that were perpendicular. 1. From this.2.3.3.

3. 3 (1 − 2ν) (1. = ∂z∂x ∂x2 ∂z 2 ∂ 2 εx ∂ = ∂y∂z ∂x ∂ 2 εy ∂ 2 = ∂z∂x ∂y ∂ 2 εz ∂ 2 = ∂x∂y ∂z 2 ∂γyz ∂γxz ∂γxy + + ∂x ∂y ∂z ∂γzx ∂γyx ∂γyz − + + ∂y ∂z ∂x ∂γxy ∂γzy ∂γzx − + + ∂z ∂x ∂y − . γxz and γyz .3) (1. then it can be shown that ∂w ∂u ∂v ∂u ∂w ∂v γxy = + .3.3.2) ∂x ∂z ∂x ∂y ∂y ∂z Now we have six kinds of displacements. . It is related to E and ν according to G= E .3. So we need more equations.5) 1. we assume that the object we’re looking at is homogeneous. These equations are ∂ 2 εy ∂ 2 εx ∂ 2 γxy + . First. = ∂y∂z ∂z 2 ∂y 2 ∂ 2 γzx ∂ 2 εx ∂ 2 εz + . γyz = and γzx = .6) Here ν is the Poisson ratio.perpendicular anymore. This means that the material properties are the same at every point in the object. 4 . These relations are τxy τyz τzx γxy = . It also means that the stress and the strain are proportional. It seems like a lot of unknowns.3.3. Their relative angle now is π/2 − γxy . From these assumptions we can derive that εx = σx − ν (σy + σz ) . Where do we get those equations from? We can try to describe the relationship between stress and strain. meaning that the properties are the same in every direction. E εy = σy − ν (σz + σx ) E and εz = σz − ν (σx + σy ) .9) If an object is compressed at a constant pressure p. It would be interesting to know at what rate this happens. (1. (1. . For that. its volume changes.7) G G G The variable G is called the modulus of rigidity.3. We then have e=− p 3 (1 − 2ν) p=− . We also assume that the object is isotropic. (1.2 Relations between stress and strain Currently. = 2 ∂x∂y ∂y ∂x2 ∂ 2 γyz ∂ 2 εz ∂ 2 εy + . But we got even more unknowns. E (1. This works the same for the xz-plane and the yz-plane. E K with K = E . V E (1. then the volumetric strain e of that particle is e= ∆V 1 − 2ν = εx + εy + εz = (σx + σy + σz ) . There are 6 compatibility equations. If the displacements are small. we’ve got quite a couple of equations. γxz = + and γyz = + . then σx = σy = σz = −p.3. we ﬁrst have to make a few assumptions.8) 1.3 Changes of volume When an object deforms. Luckily there are relations between them.3. If V is the volume of a particle.3. 2 (1 + ν) (1. So we have three shear strains γxy .3.4) (1. There are also a relations between the shear stresses and shear strains.10) The constant K is known as the bulk modulus or the modulus of volume expansion.

E σy − ν (σz + σx ) + α ∆T.3. It does this according to ε = α ∆T.12) (1.11) where α is the coeﬃcient of thermal expansion. We simply add α ∆T up to the old equations. E σz − ν (σx + σy ) + α ∆T. E (1.3. We then get εx εy εz = = = σx − ν (σy + σz ) + α ∆T. If also stresses are involved. (1.14) 5 .1.4 Thermal eﬀects When an object is heated.13) (1.3.3.3. then we get new equations for the strains. it expands.

2. Let’s see how we can apply them. We then get only one equation.1.1. (2. Together. (2. it’s rather diﬃcult to determine a corresponding stress 6 . However.2) And ﬁnally there were the boundary conditions. being ∂2 ∂2 + 2 ∂x2 ∂y (σx + σy ) = 0. Now let’s examine such a stress function.1.1. If this is the case. we can simplify those as well. we have to assume that σz = 0.. solving them can be very hard. (2. we’ll be looking at stress functions. ∂y ∂x (2. However.1.1.5) ∂x4 ∂x ∂y ∂y This equation is called the biharmonic equation. so X = Y = Z = 0.3) Now we have derived the new conditions for the stress state.1.1. Based on our assumptions. ∂y 2 σy = ∂2φ ∂x2 and τxy = − ∂2φ . We then directly see that they are satisﬁed for every φ! How convenient. we get ∂4φ ∂4φ ∂4φ + 2 2 2 + 4 = 0. we have plane stress (the stress only occurs in a plane). y. we assume there are no body forces. First of all.1 Stress state conditions Before we start deﬁning things.1) Next to equilibrium conditions. 2.1.3 Applying the Airy stress function Now you may be wondering..4) We can insert these stresses in the equilibrium conditions (2. 2. These stresses then automatically satisfy the equilibrium conditions. Second. A stress function is a function from which the stress can be derived at any given point x. how can we apply the Airy stress function? To be honest. Adjusting those will give X = σx l + τxy m and Y = σy m + τxy l. we also had compatibility conditions.2). ∂x∂y (2. For that.2.2 The Airy stress function It is time to talk about stress functions. we will make some simpliﬁcations. So let’s look for tools with which we can apply them. The Airy stress function φ is deﬁned by σx = ∂2φ . if we insert the above deﬁnitions into the compatibility condition (2.1). we will only deal with two-dimensional problems.1 The Airy Stress Function Previously we have examined general equations. Given the loading condition of an object. It needs to be satisﬁed by every valid Airy stress function as well. that is kind of a problem. In this chapter.1. The ﬁrst one to introduce is the Airy stress function. these two assumptions turn the equilibrium conditions of the previous chapter into ∂τxy ∂σx + =0 ∂x ∂y and ∂σy ∂τxy + = 0. Stress Functions 2.

use can be made of St. We know φ has to satisfy the biharmonic equation (2. Venant’s principle. They are often quite diﬃcult. To do this. if the object we are considering is subject to a concentrated (local) force. We then integrate those strains to ﬁnd the displacements u and v. These stresses will thus be functions of x and y.1. Its axis lies on the z-axis. On the other hand. B. σy and τxy at every position in the object. Using these stresses. 7 .7) And now everything is known about the object! 2. as functions of the position x. you can then assume loading conditions with which you are able to make calculations. the Prandtl function is useful when torsion is present.1. Let’s take a look at it. For example. Don’t underestimate these integrals. ∂y ∂x G (2. Sadly. so τxy = 0. . there will be huge local variations in the stress. We can now ﬁnd the stresses σx . v and γxy . since εx and εy are functions of both x and y.1. if we have a stress function φ. The most diﬃcult step in this process is to choose a form for φ. we can assume there are no normal (direct) stresses. From these conditions. We can apply a torsion T to both its sides. y.1. 2. Venant’s principle Sometimes a problem occurs when applying the boundary conditions. Similarly.. .5) and the boundary conditions (2. This idea is called the inverse method. Since we only apply torsion. It is hard to adjust the boundary conditions to these local eﬀects. 2. (2.5 Displacements Let’s suppose we have found the stress function φ for an object. the unknown coeﬃcients can (hopefully) be solved. we can ﬁnd the displacements u. In this case. we ﬁrst need to adjust the stress-strain relations from the previous chapter to the two-dimensional world. that part is beyond the scope of this summary. It states that local variations eventually average out. C.2. so σx = σy = σz = 0. You just ‘cut’ the part with local eﬀects out of your object. 2.1.3).function. For the direct strain we ﬁnd σx − νσy ∂v σy − νσx ∂u = and εy = = . For the rest of the object.1.1 Conditions Let’s examine a rod with a constant cross-section. This torsion T is said to be positive when it is directed counterclockwise about the z-axis (according to the right-hand rule). We also assume no body forces are present. So how do we apply this inverse method? We ﬁrst have to assume a certain form of φ with a number of unknown coeﬃcients A. it is often possible to ﬁnd a corresponding loading condition. From this follows that also εx = εy = εz = γxy = 0.2 The Prandtl stress function The Airy stress function is quite suitable when a force is applied to a two-dimensional object. The same goes for the shear stress τxy . After we have found u and v.4 St. we can use them to ﬁnd γxy .6) εx = ∂x E ∂y E So ﬁrst we can ﬁnd εx and εy . . This goes according to γxy = ∂u ∂v τxy + = .

They don’t vary along the z-axis.7) 2. Let’s call θ the angle of twist and dθ/dz the rate of twist.5) And ﬁnally we have all the equations that φ must satisfy. It follows that. If we sum up the shear stresses in this region.2. (2. It can be shown that 2 φ= ∂2φ ∂2φ dθ + 2 = −2G . being 2 φ= ∂2φ ∂2φ + 2 = constant.2. The Prandtl stress function φ is now deﬁned by τzy = − ∂φ ∂x and τzx = ∂φ . being τzy and τzx . From the above two equations. However. (2.2. We also need to look at the displacements. ∂y (2. So φ is constant along the rod surface.4) Previously we have also seen that 2 φ is constant. dz (2. First. We can ﬁnd that φ automatically satisﬁes the equilibrium equations. and the relation between T and φ. This form should be such that it satisﬁes all the above conditions. Finally there are the boundary conditions.2. Just like for the Airy stress function. (2. along the outer surface of the rod.2.6) By the way. This relation states that T =2 φ dx dy. where the torsion T is being applied. We can reduce all compatibility equations to one equation. ∂x2 ∂y (2. We only have two non-zero stresses left. we can ﬁnd the relation between the torsion T and the function φ. Since this constant doesn’t really matter.2 Displacements With all the conditions we just derived. we can derive that.2) where 2 = ∂ 2 /∂x2 + ∂ 2 /∂y 2 is the two-dimensional Laplace operator. ﬁnding φ is still a bit diﬃcult.1) It can be shown that τzy and τzx only depend on the x and y-coordinates. we can ﬁnd that GJ = − 4G 2φ φ dx dy. we often can’t ﬁnd φ just yet. It is deﬁned by T = GJ dθ . the product GJ is called the torsional rigidity. 8 . Now we do. we ﬁrst have to assume a form for φ.2. we usually assume that φ = 0 along the outer surface of the rod. Second. However. for the displacements u and v. we have ∂φ/ds = 0.2. 2 ∂x ∂y dz (2.So most of the stresses are zero. we didn’t know what constant it was equal to.3 Finding the Prandtl stress function We now know all the conditions which φ must satisfy. we can simplify matters slightly. we can also look at the two rod ends.2.2. Let’s introduce the torsion constant J.3) 2. we have u = −θy and v = θx. We can derive two things from that. That’s great! However. We know that φ should satisfy the conditions from the ﬁrst chapter.

we would have x2 + y 2 = R2 around the edge. 2. y).2. to ﬁnd our stress function. to see that.4 Warping We know that the rod will twist. which implies that T = 2 × Volume. 2. there is a tool that can help you. Using the other conditions. you still have to ﬁnd the two constants that show up in the integration. we have to use the relations τzx dθ ∂w = + y ∂x G dz and ∂w τzy dθ = − x. It’s called the membrane analogy (also called the soap ﬁlm analogy). Luckily. let’s look at the shear stresses τzx and τzy at some point. Let’s suppose we have a membrane (or a soap ﬁlm) with as shape the cross-section of our rod. It then deﬂects upwards by a distance w.2. This may be a bit hard to visualize. the stress function φ can be obtained relatively easily. we have to ﬁnd an expression for w.5 The membrane analogy Let’s consider the lines along the cross-section for which φ is constant. if our cross-section is a circle. For example. we can simplify things. But that’s not the only way in which it will deform. and you’ve found φ. So we ﬁnd that d2 φ dθ 2 φ= = −2G .2. is the condition that φ = 0 around the edge. Find C using the remaining conditions. y) = φ(x.) And once the stress function is known. There is also warping. This deﬂection w now corresponds to our stress function φ. ∂y G tz (2. For that. just like we had φ = 0 at the edges of our rod.10) dx2 dz By integrating this twice. 9 . In this case. We then ﬁnd that Volume = w dx dy. We ﬁnd that the resultant shear stress (the sum of τzx and τzy ) is tangential to the shear line. However. (2. Normally it is very hard to ﬁnd the Prandtl stress function φ for this rod.8) Integrating the above expressions should give you w: the displacement in z-direction.2. You may wonder. Then we multiply this relation by a constant. Its height (in y-direction) is s.2. so w(x. if t is much smaller than s. we can assume that φ doesn’t vary with y. (Okay. being the displacement of points in the z-direction.6 Torsion of narrow rectangular strips Let’s examine a narrow rectangular strip. (2. We can apply a pressure p to this membrane from below. while its thickness (in xdirection) is t. We can also look at the volume beneath our soap bubble. These special lines are called lines of shear stress or shear lines.2. the magnitude of this stress is equal to −∂φ/∂n. but that isn’t very hard. we can then ﬁnd the value of our constant. why are they special? Well. To know how an object warps. Note that we have w = 0 at the edges of our membrane. Furthermore. all the other data will follow. A suitable function for φ would then be φ = C x2 + y 2 − R2 .9) 2. where the vector n is the normal vector of the shear line (pointing outward).The ﬁrst condition you should pay attention to.

while the other part is in compression. The line separating these two regions is called the neutral axis. then we have Ixy = 0. Which one is the most convenient depends on the circumstances. This simpliﬁes the above equation drastically. We especially look at thin-walled beams. as they frequently occur in Aerospace Engineering. (3. Iyy = A x2 dA and Ixy = A xy dA. If the cross-section of the beam is symmetric about the x-axis or about the y-axis (or both). It can be shown that this is a straight line. Just like in the previous chapter. Now let’s look at the cross-section of the beam. We can then derive general methods and equations.1 Deﬁnitions and conventions for bending Let’s examine a beam of any shape.3. the moment of inertia about the y-axis Iyy and the product of inertia Ixy . Similarly. you ﬁnd two relations for σz . Bending. My is positive. And the good part is.2 The general bending equation The bending moments Mx and My cause the beam to bend. Ixx Iyy (3. 3.1. Now the beam is subject to a bending moment M .1) 3. When evaluating bending. There are the moment of inertia about the x-axis Ixx . You can use either one of them. Let’s discuss the sign convention of these moments. As you can see. This is because we need the bending equations when we examine shear. It always goes through the center of gravity of the cross-section. It would be great to know what stresses are present in the beam. We then remain with σz = Mx My y+ x. We say a moment Mx is positive. it is directed clockwise. a general equation can be derived for that.1. Shear and Torsion It is time to examine some basic loads that beams can be subject to. (3. we will have to use moments of inertia. if it causes (positive) tensile stresses in the region y > 0.1 Bending of Beams We start by examining bending. However. They are deﬁned as Ixx = A y 2 dA.1.3) 10 . 3. If you look at it from the positive y-axis.1. What we wind up with is σz = My Ixx − Mx Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy x+ Mx Iyy − My Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy y= Iyy y − Ixy x 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy Mx + Ixx x − Ixy y 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy My .1.2) In the above equation. With those. if it causes tensile stresses in the region x > 0. we can ﬁnd the stresses that are present in the beam. they are equivalent. Part of the beam is subject to tensile stresses. We can dissolve this bending moment M into a component Mx about the x-axis and a component My about the y-axis. its longitudinal axis lies on the z-axis. We can see that Mx satisﬁes the right hand rule (it is directed counterclockwise if you look at it from the positive x-direction). the moment My does not satisfy this rule.

6) Note that E in the above equation is the E-modulus at the position where you want to know σz .1. then α = −30◦ .1.1. we can derive a new expression for σz .3. What we don’t know. or even whole fuselages. We can now also deﬁne the weighted moment of inertias as ∗ Ixx = A y 2 dA∗ . Just add stars (∗ ) to the Ixx .8) (3. A shear force S is acting on our beam.1 Conditions for thin-walled beams Let’s examine a thin-walled beam (a beam with very small thickness). (3. We deﬁne α as the clockwise angle between the x-axis and the neutral axis. 3. yna we have σz = 0.3 Beams of multiple materials Sometimes beams are made of multiple materials. 3.1.2 Shear Forces and Thin-Walled Beams In aerospace engineering. we deﬁne the weighted cross-sectional area A∗ as dA∗ = E dA. We can insert this into the previously derived equation for σz . It can be either a closed curve (giving a closed section beam) or an open curve (resulting in an open section beam). However.1. (So if the neutral axis is pointing 30◦ upwards. We know that for every point on the neutral axis xna .) Let’s ﬁnd α. How do we take this into account? Well. xna Mx Iyy − My Ixy We can also see that tan α = −yna /xna . stiﬀeners. Eref which implies that A∗ = A E dA.7) We haven’t considered the case where the beam consists of multiple materials.1.1. It follows that α = arctan My Ixx − Mx Ixy Mx Iyy − My Ixy . (3. This shear force causes stresses in the beam. We then ﬁnd that yna My Ixx − Mx Ixy =− . First 11 . is its orientation. Diﬀerent materials generally have diﬀerent stiﬀnesses. Although it can be anything. We can split this force S up in a part Sx (pointing in the xdirection) and a part Sy (pointing in the y-direction). thin-walled beams often occur. ∗ Iyy = A x2 dA∗ and ∗ Ixy = A xy dA∗ . to do that. Its cross-section is just a curving line with thickness t. so also diﬀerent values of E.2. it’s usually taken to be the E-modulus of one of the present materials. Just think of stringers.5) Based on these deﬁnitions. Eref (3. that case works exactly the same. Iyy and Ixy in the above equation. (3.4) Here Eref is just some reference E-modulus. How do those beams cope with shear stresses? Let’s see if we can ﬁnd that out. 3.4 The neutral axis We already know that the neutral axis is a straight line that passes through the COG of the cross-section. We ﬁnd that σz = E Eref ∗ ∗ My Ixx − Mx Ixy ∗ ∗ ∗2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy x+ ∗ ∗ Mx Iyy − My Ixy ∗ ∗ ∗2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy y .

There are also the displacement in circumferential (tangential) direction vt and the displacement in normal direction vn . we also saw ∂σz /∂z. we only deal with one shear stress. we replace the shear ﬂow by forces. The strain εs isn’t important. But ﬁrst we need to make another deﬁnition. then the rate of twist dθ/dz must be zero.2. we ﬁnd that ∂σz = ∂z Sx Ixx − Sy Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy x+ Sy Iyy − Sx Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy y.2.2 Deriving an equation for the shear ﬂow Let’s see if we can ﬁnd the shear ﬂow q caused by the shear forces Sx and Sy . What causes it? The shear force Sx causes a bending moment My .2) 3. Instead. (We will only discuss how to ﬁnd the x-coordinate ξs .) To ﬁnd ξs . There are also stresses in x and y-direction. how do we ﬁnd the moment caused by the shear ﬂow? To do that. We can now evaluate moments about any point. This is the condition we need to calculate the shear ﬂow q(s). From this the position of Sy (and thus also ξs ) can be derived. since ﬁnding the y-coordinate ηs goes similar. we only consider the so-called hoop stress σs .of all. (3. 3. Sy causes Mx . We ﬁnd that ∂σz ∂q ∂σs ∂q +t =0 and +t = 0.3 Finding the shear center When we apply a shear force S somewhere on the cross-section.2. Corresponding to these displacements are the strains εz . However. Similarly. If Sy is actually acting on the shear center. we assume a certain position where the shear force Sy applies. and by integrating. These bending moments then cause the stress σz . so keep it in mind. This point is called the shear center.4) Here s is the (counterclockwise) distance along the cross-section. this time we don’t write them as such. The displacement of a point in z-direction is denoted by w. and has coordinates ξs .2. We’re almost ready to examine stresses in the beam. From basic mechanics we know that Sx = ∂My /∂z and Sy = ∂Mx /∂z. Now it’s time to derive the equilibrium equations for our beam.1. The moment caused by the force Sy should then be equal to the moment caused by the shear ﬂow.1) ∂s ∂z ∂z ∂s We can also examine the displacements.1). If we apply this to the bending equation (3. so we ignore that one. σs and τ . The relations for the remaining strains are εz = ∂w ∂z and γ= ∂w ∂vt + . 0 (3. 12 . there is the stress in z-direction σz . ηs . we ﬁnd that q(s) − q0 = − Sx Ixx − Sy Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy s tx ds − 0 Sy Iyy − Sx Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy s ty ds.2. This expression for q(s) is quite important.2. being τzs = τsz = τ . You may be wondering. from some point 0 with shear ﬂow q0 .2. ∂s ∂z (3.2.1) we saw q. Let’s examine this σz a bit closer.2). εs and γ. Similarly. There is only one point where we can apply S such that the beam does not twist. However. (3. The shear ﬂow q is deﬁned as q = τ t. This is the stress in circumferential direction (so the stress along the curve). then the beam will most likely twist.3) By inserting this relation into the equilibrium equation (3. How do we ﬁnd the position of this shear center? Let’s look at that now. In equation (3. So the only stresses we are considering are σz .

where qb = − Sx Ixx − Sy Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy s tx ds − 0 Sy Iyy − Sx Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy s ty ds.2. If the shear force S acts in the shear center.6) where the variable p is the shortest distance between point B and the line tangential to the part ds of the cross-section. you must apply the shear force S in the shear center. we already know how ﬁnd this shear center. In both cases the above equation simpliﬁes greatly. Since the cross-section is not a closed curve.5) This Fqi is then the resultant force of the shear ﬂow in part i.2.5 Shear of closed section beams Now let’s look at closed section beams.7) We now examine the rate of twist dθ/dz. it can also twist. Since we also know the shape of our cross-section. then the rate of twist dθ/dz is zero.2.2. It also often occurs that G or t (or both) are constant. The integral curved cross-section. For every part i of the crosssection. it must have two edges. we can solve for q(s). There isn’t any point 0 for which we know the shear ﬂow q0 . 3. This time we run into a problem. we have q0 = 0. doesn’t it? There is one small addition we have to make though. And from this we can ﬁnd the shear stress τ . It can be shown that 2A dθ = dz q(s) ds = Gt qb + q0 ds.4 Shear ﬂow Let’s suppose we have an open section beam. we can evaluate the integral si Fqi = 0 q(si ) dsi . Once we have replaced the shear ﬂow by the forces Fqi . (3. Solving the above equation for q0 gives q0 = dθ 2A dz − qb Gt ds 1 Gt ds means we integrate over the entire . (3. At those two edges the shear ﬂow q is zero.) Open section beams can’t support twist.2. 13 .4). 3.8) where A is the area enclosed by the cross-section. Gt (3. we can split it up in parts. If we take one of the edges as point 0.9) Often the above integral can be simpliﬁed.2. However. When you apply a shear stress S to a beam. (3. 0 (3. Splitting the cross-section up in parts isn’t possible anymore. Then the above method works. We can now apply equation (3. To solve this problem. we can also ﬁnd the moment caused by the shear forces directly. Let’s suppose we take moments about some point B. And luckily. we ﬁrst rewrite the shear ﬂow q(s) as q(s) = qb + q0 . Things are slightly more diﬃcult if the cross-section is curved.2. it isn’t hard to calculate the moment anymore.2. We can now ﬁnd q(s) quite easily. So to prevent them from twisting. Sounds simple.If the cross-section consists of straight lines. (Like it does when it is subject to torsion. We then have s Mq = 0 q(s)p ds.

no direct stresses are present. calculating it requires a couple of diﬃcult integrations. If u. 14 . u and v vary linearly with z. This means that q is constant everywhere. Torsion causes twist as well.1) There is one surprising thing though. If the beam is only subject to torsion. and the line tangential to some part ds of the beam. How do thin-walled beams react to pure torsion? Let’s ﬁnd that out. Examples are circular beams of constant thickness and triangular beams of constant thickness.1 The center of twist Let’s suppose we have a thin-walled beam (open section or closed section). The beam will always twist in such a way. (3. 3.4) then the beam does not warp under pure torsion.3.3.3. so we won’t elaborate on it further in this summary. If we have pR Gt = constant.3. The above equation is known as the Bredt-Bahto formula. So the rate of twist dθ/dz is constant. It can be shown that the warping w stays constant for diﬀerent z. We can apply a torsion T to both its sides. 3.3. within a cross-section the warping w is generally not constant. Every point of the beam will have a displacement u in x-direction and v in y-direction.3 Warping in closed section beams When a beam twists. However. it can be shown that both θ. there is one important rule you do need to know. yR can be found using xR = − dv/dz dθ/dz and yR = du/dz .3. Since we only apply torsion. we also know the center of twist when the beam is subject to torsion. This point R is called the center of twist. However. then the center of twist is equal to the shear center! So if we know the shear center. we even got an equation for dθ/dz. then its position xR . that it appears to be rotating about some point R.3 Torsion and Thin-Walled Beams Previously we saw that a shear force can cause twist in beams. Gt (3. Now comes the interesting part. Let’s deﬁne pR as the shortest distance between the center of twist R. But. dθ/dz (3. What about displacements? Well.3.2) with A still the area enclosed by the cross-section. The beam will then twist by an angle θ. This reduces the equilibrium equations to ∂q/∂z = 0 and ∂q/∂s = 0.3) 3. This equation is dθ q = dz 2A 1 T ds = Gt 4A2 1 ds. It now follows that the torsion T is T = 2Aq.3. And the nice part is. But there are plenty more Neuber beams. v and θ are known for the cross-section.2 Torsion of closed section beams Now let’s look at a closed section beam. there is usually also warping (meaning w = 0). (3. Such kind of beams are known as Neuber beams.

4.3. (3. Let’s examine a small piece ds of the cross-section.1) However. Let’s look at the line L through which the force S is acting.4. we ﬁrst need to ﬁnd the torsional rigidity GJi of every sub-part i. we always have q = 0 at the end of a cross-section.6) 3. we can still use the known equation q(s) − q0 = − Sx Ixx − Sy Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy s tx ds − 0 Sy Iyy − Sx Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy s ty ds. usually quite big. if we are clever. So often the value GJ of open sections can be neglected. also the shear stress τzs was constant. And every time.5) J dz The maximum shear stress occurs at maximum n. this doesn’t work for open section beams. It often occurs that L is an axis of symmetry of the cross-section. how do you know where q = 0? Well. we will often have to evaluate this equation multiple times. In this case every point on L generally also has q = 0.4 Torsion of open section beams We have previously said that open section beams can’t take torsion. However. for diﬀerent parts. However. In this case it is often wise to ﬁrst ﬁnd the total torsional rigidity GJtot .2 Torsion Now suppose we have a thin-walled beam that is subject to torsion. To ﬁnd this. in this case. You might be wondering. for open section beams. To ﬁnd the shear ﬂow q in the beam. just add up all the separate torsional rigidities GJi . We call n the distance from this line.3. the torsion constant J can be found using τzs = J= 1 3 t3 ds. where n = t/2. where also T = GJ dθ . But now the shear stress τzs varies (linearly) along the thickness of the cross-section. We saw that in this case the shear ﬂow q was constant. q = 0 everywhere. Instead.2) To ﬁnd the total torsional rigidity GJtot .3. This wasn’t entirely true.1 Shear Let’s suppose we have a thin-walled beam which is both open and closed.3. On it is acting a shear force S. acting in the shear center. The torsional rigidity of closed sections is generally much bigger than that of open sections. By the way. 3. We can then use the above equation to ﬁnd the shear force q(s) at every point in the beam. we choose point 0 such that every time q0 = 0. It can now be shown that the shear stress τzs varies according to dθ 2n T = 2Gn . the shear ﬂow can ﬂow all around the cross-section. But what do we do if a beam has both an open and a closed part? 3.4 Combined open and closed section beams Previously we have only considered beams that were either open or closed. the stresses and deformations are. But. (3. Let’s look at the line in the middle of this piece. 0 (3. When a closed-section beam is subject to torsion. So this occurs at the edge of the cross-section. Along the thickness. They can take a bit of torsion. We can ﬁnd this using GJi = 4A2 G 1 t ds for closed sections. and GJi = G 3 t3 ds for open sections. a new value q0 shows up.4. dz (3. We can often also deduce points of q = 0 from symmetry. 15 .4.

To ﬁnd the shear stress in an open section. we can use q= GJi dθ .3) To ﬁnd the shear ﬂow (and thus also the shear stress) for a closed section i. we still have 2n dθ τ= T = 2Gn . 2A dz (3.5) J dz 16 .4) where GJi is the torsional rigidity of that closed section i. (3.4.4. dz GJtot (3.4.The rate of twist now follows from dθ T = .

Let’s just repeat it. This means that if we load our fuselage diﬀerently. where B1 = tD b 6 2+ σ2 σ1 and B2 = tD b 6 2+ σ1 σ2 . just use n n 2 yi Bi .3) 4. (4. We assume that the booms take all the normal stresses. These booms have the same cross-sectional area as the original stringer.1.1. while the skin takes all the shear stresses. we can derive that these two booms have area B1 (left) and B2 (right). Now let’s look at a piece of fuselage skin with width b and (eﬀective) thickness tD . how do we calculate the normal stress? For that. This should be done.1 Simplifying a shape Let’s examine an aircraft fuselage.1. The normal stress σ varies along this piece.1 Structural Idealization It’s time to apply some of our theory into practice. our booms will have diﬀerent areas. From this.1. We have assumed that the skin takes all the shear stresses. Let’s look at airplanes. . This makes our analysis a lot simpler. Bn . Altogether. .2 Normal stress In our new fuselage. Let’s ﬁnd a way to examine them. it turns out that the booms do eﬀect the shear 17 . (4. First we do something about the stringers.1. So the two booms should take the same force and the same moment as the piece of skin. We want to replace this piece of skin by two booms at the edges. 4. we can still use the general equation we derived for bending.3 Shear ﬂow Let’s examine a beam subject to shear stresses Sx and Sy . We stick to this assumption.4. . However. Let’s take a closer look at the ratio σ2 /σ1 in the above equation. In an airplane are many parts that have a rather complicated shape. And thus so do B1 and B2 . 4. we only have to evaluate a set of points with known areas.2) Finding the moments of inertia is now quite easy. Also examining shear stress is a bit easier now. This ratio depends on the loads which our fuselage is subject to. We replace them by concentrations of area (so-called booms). Application of Theory to Aircraft 4. i=1 n Ixx = Iyy = i=1 x2 Bi i and Ixy = i=1 xi yi Bi .1) Since we have replaced the skin by two booms. To examine normal stresses. It often consists of a shell with a couple of stringers. . the remaining eﬀective thickness tD of the skin is 0. For the booms B1 . It was σz = My Ixx − Mx Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy x+ Mx Iyy − My Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy y= Iyy y − Ixy x 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy Mx + Ixx x − Ixy y 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy My . such that the eﬀects are the same. such that we can evaluate it. On the left side is a stress σ1 and on the right a stress σ2 .1. We need to make some assumptions and simpliﬁcations. We now make an important assumption. (4. we have got a complicated shape.

1 Tapered wing spars Let’s consider an I-shaped wing spar. we should take point 0 as some point where q0 = 0.w acting on the web can be found using δy2 δy1 − Pz. The moment caused by the shear stresses should then be equal to the moment caused by the shear force S. This would mean that the integrals in the above equation vanish. then the eﬀective shear stress is higher than the actual shear stress. the part of P1 acting in y-direction (being Py. (4.1 and Py.4) From this. This can still be done using known methods. Just take moments about some point.2 General shapes In the previous paragraph we considered a vertical web. then the remaining eﬀective thickness tD is zero. Also note that if we have replaced our skin by booms as well. the shear ﬂow in the web can be calculated.2 Tapered Sections We have previously always assumed that the cross-section of a beam stays constant for varying z.w = Sy − Py.1) δz δz Here the parameters y1 and y2 denote the y-coordinate of the ﬂanges. 4. There is a rule of thumb for that.1 and Pz. (4. (σ1 can be found by using the bending equation. Let’s suppose we have two pieces of skin with shear ﬂow q1 and q2 . yr has 18 .2 . if the cross-section is getting smaller. Every boom r with coordinates xr . What happens if it doesn’t? Let’s ﬁnd that out. For closed section beams. whose height h changes.2 .1 It is sometimes sligthly diﬃcult to see whether the eﬀective shear stress increases. with two booms at the ends. If the cross-section is widening. When the beam is subject to a shear force Sy (and thus also a bending moment Mx ). only the components in z-direction (Pz. Now let’s consider a general (thin-walled) shape. 4. the ﬂanges take all the direct stresses. Using the eﬀective shear force.2. we can derive that the shear stress q(s) = qb + q0 is given by q(s) = − Sx Ixx − Sy Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy s tD x ds + 0 i=1 Br xr − Sy Iyy − Sx Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy s n tD y ds + 0 i=1 B r yr + q0 . Sy.1. the ﬂanges will be subject to forces P1 and P2 . In between these pieces is a boom with area Br . or whether it decreases. And similarly.5) The two sums in the above equation sum over all the booms between point 0 and s. just like we’re used to. We thus replace these ﬂanges by two booms with areas B1 (top) and B2 (bottom). 4.1 ) eﬀects the shear ﬂow in the web. special care should be payed to the direction of the forces Py. For open section beams.1 − Py. Similarly. However. It can now be shown that q2 − q1 = − ∂σz Br = − ∂z Sx Ixx − Sy Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy n Br xr − Sy Iyy − Sx Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy B r yr . yr and direct stress σz . In fact.stress.2 = Sy − Pz. we have to ﬁnd the value for q0 .1 = σ1 B1 .) But now comes the surprising part.2. This goes according to Pz.1.2 ) counteract the bending moment Mx . exactly in the way you are normally used to. (4. When using the above equation. coordinates xr . We assume that the web takes all the shear stress. then the eﬀective shear stress is usually lower than the actual shear stress.2. the eﬀective shear force Sy. consisting of a skin with booms.

r δxr δz n and Sy. but 2N unknowns.3. box R + 1 causes a shear ﬂow qR+1 downward. In this way the shear ﬂow in every spar can be determined.r δyr .an internal force Pr .r . nor TR . The wing thus consists of a number N ”boxes. So we have N + 1 equations.2) The eﬀective shear forces in x and y-direction can now be found using n Sx. There’s one slight exception though. δz (4. There is just one slight problem. Do not forget that. with components Px. this time the moments caused by Px. So we can solve our system of 2N + 1 equations. That is why wings are diﬃcult to analyze. plus several vertical spars. 4.2) dz 2AR G R t where we integrate around the entire box. We can ﬁnd the rate of twist of box R using 1 q dθ = ds.) Box R causes a shear ﬂow qR upward. 19 .r δxr .r . we have N extra equations. To ﬁnd q0 .3. we don’t know qR .w = Sy − r=1 Pz. The torsion T will be divided over the several boxes. with also R=1 TR = T.1 The wing shape Let’s consider the cross-section of a wing. (Note that in this case q is not always qR . However.) Although we have one extra unknown (being dθ/dz). This causes a certain amount of counterclockwise (assumed) shear ﬂow qR in box R. It consists of the top and bottom skin of the wing.r and Py. (4.2.r = Pz. We now assume that the rate of twist dθ/dz of the boxes are all equal.” Due to the (sometimes large) amount of spars. Suppose you have a closed cross-section. However.r = Pz. But what about the shear stress in the spar to the right of box R? (We call it spar R. we have a high amount of redundancy.r should also be taken into account.3. (4. pointed to the left. Soon we will be putting torsion and shear forces on the wing.1) The area AR is the area enclosed by box R.3) Again. where N TR = 2AR qR . Previously we saw that the shear ﬂow in spar R isn’t qR . 4.r and Pz. These relate to each other according to Px.2 Torsion Let’s subject a wing to a torsion T . the rest of the analysis goes exactly as you’re used to.r δyr δz and also Pr = Pz. δz (4. In this case the top of box R has a shear ﬂow qR . In the above equation. These moments should then be equal to the moment caused by Sx and Sy . We need more equations.2. Every box R now supports an amount of torsion TR . 4. Examining wings is therefore an art itself — An art we will delve into now.w = Sx − r=1 Pz. The bottom has qR pointed to the right.3 Aircraft Wings Aircaft wings often have a rather characteristic shape.r 2 2 δx2 + δyr + δzr r . So the shear ﬂow in spar R is qR − qR+1 (upward). δz Py. Py. Then at some time you need ﬁnd a function q(s) = qb + q0 .3. you can take moments about a certain point.

The shear stress qR (s) in every box is now given by qR (s) = qb. Gref after which we use dθ 1 = dz 2AR Gref q ds. We remove the entire bottom skin of this part. This makes things a bit more complicated. quite a diﬃcult problem. Once the normal forces P are known. This moment must be equal to the moment caused by the shear force S (about that same point). Many things happen at the same time.3 Shear Now let’s apply a shear stress S to our wing.3. This causes normal forces P in the ﬂanges. All the shear ﬂows together cause a moment (about a certain point). However. Now we make a cut-out in the middle part (part 2).3) 4. By evaluating moments about certain points. (4. we simply see a rectangle. consisting of two spars with two pieces of skin in between. such that t∗ = G t. In this case we set a reference modulus Gref and deﬁne the modulus-weighted thickness t∗ . what will happen if the wing box is subjected to loads? This is. you can ﬁnd the magnitude of S. but also one extra unknown.R ds t (4. we once more look at the rate of twist dθ/dz.R is not. Using this fact.R + q0. the shear forces are gradually being transferred (as normal forces) into the spar ﬂanges (the booms). with booms at the corners. In part 1. It is now given by 1 dθ = dz 2AR G q 1 ds = t 2AR G qb.5) R R This gives us N extra equations.R = − Sx Ixx − Sy Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy s n tD x ds + 0 i=1 Br xr − Sy Iyy − Sx Ixy 2 Ixx Iyy − Ixy s n tD y ds + 0 i=1 B r yr .R around the box can be determined from qb. you would have to consult a book on this subject.4) So qb.) If we look at the 3D wing box. the magnitude of these forces P can be determined at certain positions.3. This severely weakens the structure.R . We thus need one more equation. in fact. We now look at moments. also the shear ﬂows in part 1 can be found. 4. Let’s look at a simple wing box. The above plan of approach might sound a bit short. However. These forces are positioned at (and also supported by) the spars. For a clear explanation of the problem.R is known.R + q0. To ﬁnd it. They result in the same moment as the torsion T . Let’s now look at the cross-section between parts 1 and 2.Sometimes the spars have diﬀerent shear moduli G. q0.3. t∗ (4.4 Cut-outs in wings The last subject in this summary is a rather diﬃcult problem.3.3. which is (assumed) equal for all boxes. the torsion has ”translated” itself into two shear forces S. These shear ﬂows change the magnitude of the normal forces P in the ﬂanges. The value of qb. (If we look at the idealized cross-section. We can now ask ourselves. this is a problem of which the solution can’t be explained brieﬂy in a summary. The shear forces S cause certain shear ﬂows q in the spars of part 2. 20 . we can split it up in three identical parts. At this cross-section.

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