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University of Ottawa

Faculty of Engineering
Department of Civil Engineering

Mechanics of Materials I
LAB 2: Trusses

Mohamed Kudeih
3950512 Grp. 44

Objective:
The purpose of this experiment is to determine the truss member forces of various
loading conditions.

Theoretical Background:
In this experiment we will calculate the internal forces in five different members of
the truss using the relationship between strain () and elongation () ( = . L). Then, we
will use this relationship between elongation () and force (P) for axially loaded members
( = PL/ AE) to solve for the axial force (P) and its direction (Tension or Compression).
Strain is defined as elongation per unit length and it is unit less. If the member is in
tension the strain is to be called tensile strain; otherwise, it is to be called compressive
strain if the member is under compression.

Materials:

A two plane Warren truss model


Static Loads
Wire-resistance strain gauges
Strain indicator
Switching and balancing unit
Rulers

Procedure:
As described in the laboratory manual.

Analysis of Data and Results:


2

1- Calculating the reactions at supports A and B:


TABLE 1: REACTIONS AT SUPPORTS*
Loaded Joint
9
11
13

RA (N)
228.86
152.57
76.29

RB (N)
305.14
381.43
457.71

External load P = 534 N

Sample Calculations of reactions:


Reaction when load is applied at joint 9:
MA = 0 (534) (0.8) = (RB) (1.4)
RB = [(534)(0.8)] /[(1.4)] = 305.14 N
FY = 0 RA + 305.14 = 534
RA = 228.86 N
2- Analysis of Warren truss:
TABLE 2: MEMBER FORCES AT LOAD ON JOINT 9
Member
Force (N)
Force / 2 (N)
U3
802.85
403.92
U4
1077.10
538.55
D6
265.21
132.61
D9
353.58
176.79
L4
942.28
471.14

Direction
C
C
T
T
T

Sample Calculations of forces:


By section method,
FY = 0 228.86 = D6 (0.170/0.197)
D6 = 228.86 (0.197/0.170) = 265.208 N (T)
M5 = 0 -(228.86)(0.4)-(0.17)U3-(265.208)(0.508)(0.170)-(265.208)(0.863)(0.1) = 0
U3 = - 802.85 = 403.92 N (C)
M7 = 0 - (228.86)(0.6)-U4(0.17)-(265.191)(0.508)(0.17)-(265.191)(0.863)(0.1) = 0
U4 = - 1077.10 N = 1077.10 N (C)
FX = 0 L4 = 942.28 N (T)
FY = 0 228.86 + D9 (0.863) = 534
D9 = 353.58 N (T)
TABLE 3: MEMBER FORCES AT LOAD ON JOINT 11

Member
U3
U4
D6
D9
L4

Force (N)
542.55
718.02
176.79
177.13
628.21

Force / 2 (N)
271.27
359.01
88.40
88.56
314.11

Direction
C
C
T
C
T

TABLE 4: MEMEBR FORCES AT LOAD ON JOINT 13


Member
Force (N)
Force / 2 (N)
U3
269.29
134.65
U4
352.82
176.41
D6
88.40
44.20
D9
88.40
44.20
L4
307.91
153.96

Direction
C
C
T
C
T

3- Experimentally acquired forces:


TABLE 5: MEMBER L4 FORCES AT DIFFERENT LOADING CONDITIONS
Load (lb)
Load (N)
Strain
Abs. Strain
Force (N)
Load at Joint 9

0
40
60
80
100
120

0.00033

178

0.000343

0.000013

79.04

267

0.000351

0.000021

127.68

356

0.000355

0.000025

152

445

0.000364

0.000034

206.72

534

0.000369

0.000039

237.12

Load at Joint 11

0
40
60
80
100
120

0.000331

178

0.000349

0.000018

109.44

267

0.000357

0.000026

158.08

356

0.000364

0.000033

200.64

445

0.000371

0.00004

243.2

0.000376

0.000045

273.6

534

Load at Joint 13

0
40
60
80
100
120

0.000335

178

0.000344

0.000009

54.72

267

0.000348

0.000013

79.04

356

0.000351

0.000016

97.28

445

0.000355

0.00002

121.6

534

0.000358

0.000023

139.84

TABLE 6: MEMBER D6 FORCES AT DIFFERENT LOADING CONDITIONS


4

Load (lb)

Load (N)

Strain
Load at Joint 9

Abs. Strain

Force (N)

0
40
60
80
100
120

-0.00577

178

-0.00576

1E-05

60.8

267

-0.00575

2E-05

121.6

356

-0.00574

3E-05

182.4

445

-0.00573

4E-05

243.2

534

-0.00572

5E-05

304

Load at Joint 11

0
40
60
80
100
120

-0.00577

178

-0.00576

1E-05

60.8

267

-0.00576

1E-05

60.8

356

-0.00575

2E-05

121.6

445

-0.00574

3E-05

182.4

534

-0.00574

3E-05

182.4

Load at Joint 13

0
40
60
80
100
120

-0.00577

178

-0.00577

267

-0.00576

1E-05

60.8

356

-0.00576

1E-05

60.8

445

-0.00576

1E-05

60.8

534

-0.00575

2E-05

121.6

TABLE 7: MEMBER D9 FORCES AT DIFFERENT LOADING CONDITIONS

Load (lb)

Load (N)

Strain
Load at Joint 9

Abs. Strain

Force (N)

0
40
60
80
100
120

0.000472

178

0.000489

0.000017

103.36

267

0.000499

0.000027

164.16

356

0.000506

3.4E-05

206.72

445

0.000518

0.000046

279.68

534

0.00053

0.000058

352.64

Load at Joint 11

0
40
60
80
100
120

0.000475

178

0.000466

-9E-06

-54.72

267

0.000461

-1.4E-05

-85.12

356

0.000456

-1.9E-05

-115.52

445

0.00045

-2.5E-05

-152

534

0.000445

-0.00003

-182.4

Load at Joint 13

0
40
60
80
100
120

0.000476

178

0.000473

-3E-06

-18.24

267

0.000471

-5E-06

-30.4

356

0.000469

-7E-06

-42.56

445

0.000467

-9E-06

-54.72

534

0.000465

-1.1E-05

-66.88

TABLE 8: MEMBER U3 FORCES AT DIFFERENT LOADING CONDITIONS

Load (lb)

Load (N)

Strain
Load at Joint 9

Abs. Strain

Force (N)

0
40
60
80
100
120

-0.00333

178

-0.00334

-0.00001

-60.8

267

-0.00335

-2E-05

-121.6

356

-0.00336

-3E-05

-182.4

445

-0.00337

-4E-05

-243.2

534

-0.00338

-5E-05

-304

Load at Joint 11

0
40
60
80
100
120

-0.00332

178

-0.00333

-0.00001

-60.8

267

-0.00334

-2E-05

-121.6

356

-0.00335

-3E-05

-182.4

445

-0.00335

-3E-05

-182.4

534

-0.00336

-4E-05

-243.2

Load at Joint 13

0
40
60
80
100
120

-0.00332

178

-0.00333

-0.00001

-60.8

267

-0.00333

-0.00001

-60.8

356

-0.00333

-0.00001

-60.8

445

-0.00334

-2E-05

-121.6

534

-0.00334

-2E-05

-121.6

TABLE 9: MEMBER U4 FORCES AT DIFFERENT LOADING CONDITIONS

Load (lb)

Load (N)

Strain
Load at Joint 9

Abs. Strain

Force (N)

0
40
60
80
100
120

0.003322

178

0.003315

-7E-06

-42.56

267

0.003314

-8E-06

-48.64

356

0.003311

-1.1E-05

-66.88

445

0.003308

-1.4E-05

-85.12

534

0.003311

-1.1E-05

-66.88

Load at Joint 11

0
40
60
80
100
120

0.003325

178

0.003316

-9E-06

-54.72

267

0.00331

-1.5E-05

-91.2

356

0.003305

-2E-05

-121.6

445

0.0033

-2.5E-05

-152

534

0.003293

-3.2E-05

-194.56

Load at Joint 13

0
40
60
80
100
120

0.003326

178

0.003322

-4E-06

-24.32

267

0.003319

-7E-06

-42.56

356

0.003317

-9E-06

-54.72

445

0.003315

-1.1E-05

-66.88

534

0.003313

-1.3E-05

-79.04

Sample Calculations of forces:


For table 9 and load at joint 9:
=E
F = A = -1.1E-05 200,000 30.4 = -66.88 N

Discussion:
The experiment demonstrate the relationship between strain and applied loads, as the
load increases the forces in each member increase causing an elongation or shortening in
the member depending on the direction of the force. The forces calculated theoretically had
to be divided by two because the Truss is a two plane truss. It should be noticed from the
experimental data that some members become zero, members you will notice that by
looking at the member forces when joint 13 is loaded.
The process of measuring the strain at different members of the truss proved that
strains in a loaded truss vary linearly with the load applied and their direction (compression
or tension depend on the location of loading of the truss.
By finding the forces in the truss we will be able to find other important
characteristics such as stress and using it to find the required cross section needed for the
Truss to withstand a certain loading. The values we obtained for member forces are not
exact but, that variation can be contributed to some errors in the reading of the strains in the
lab.
There are few important sources of error that may have a great effect on the results
and the accuracy of the stress calculations. The most important source of error is the gauge
readings. Factors such as age of gauges and its precision may have contributed to the
varying values of Strain.

Conclusion:
The determination of member forces in a truss subjected to concentrated loads at
different conditions was successfully completed. The measurement of strain at different
locations of the beam was measured by strain gauges to find the elongation in each member
and then calculating the force in each member. It was determined that strain increase
linearly within the load applied.

References
1) Laboratory Hand Out
2) Mechanics of Materials 6th Edition, James M. Gere, Brooks/Cole CA, 2002.