University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila, Pakistan
Three Moment
Equation
Theory of Structure  I
Department of Civil Engineering
University of Engineering and
Technology, Taxila, Pakistan
2
Lecture Outlines
Introduction
Proof of Three Moment Equation
Example
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Introduction
Developed by French Engineer Clapeyron in
1857.
This equation relates the internal moments in
a continuous beam at three points of support
to the loads acting between the supports.
By successive application of this equation
to each span of the beam, one obtains a set
of equations that may be solved
simultaneously for the unknown internal
moments at the support.
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Proof: Real Beam
A general form of three moment equation can
be developed by considering the span of a
continuous beam.
L
C R
M
L
M
C
M
C
M
R
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
4
W
L
W
R
L
L
L
R
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Conjugate Beam (applied
loads)
The formulation will be based on the
conjugatebeam method.
Since the “real beam” is continuous over the
supports, the conjugatebeam has hinges at
L, C and R.
L’
X
L
X
R
L
L
L
R
C
L
1
C
R
1
R’
A
L
/EI
L
A
R
/EI
R
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Conjugate Beam (internal
moments)
Using the principle of superposition, the M /
EI diagram for the internal moments is
shown.
L’ L
L
L
R
C
L
2
C
R
2
R’
M
L
/EI
L
M
C
/EI
L
M
C
/EI
R
M
R
/EI
R
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In particular A
L
/EI
L
and A
R
/EI
R
represent the
total area under their representative M / EI
diagrams; and x
L
and x
R
locate their
centroids.
Since the slope of real beam is continuous
over the center support, we require the shear
forces for the conjugate beam.
) (
2 1 2 1
R R L L
C C C C + ÷ = +
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( ) ( )
L
L C
L
L L
L
L L
L L
L
C
L L
L
L
L
L
L
L
L
L L
EI
L M
EI
L M
EI
x A
L L
EI
M
L L
EI
M
L
x
EI
A
L
C C
3 6
3
2
2
1
3
1
2
1 1
) (
1
2 1
+ + =
(
¸
(
¸

.

\



.

\

+

.

\



.

\

+ = +
Summing moments about point L’ for left
span, we have
Summing moments about point R’ for the
right span yields
( ) ( )
R
R C
R
R R
R
R R
R R
R
C
R R
R
R
R
R
R
R
R
R R
EI
L M
EI
L M
EI
x A
L L
EI
M
L L
EI
M
L
x
EI
A
L
C C
3 6
3
2
2
1
3
1
2
1 1
) (
1
2 1
+ + =
(
¸
(
¸

.

\



.

\

+

.

\



.

\

+ = +
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Equating
and simplifying yields
) (
2 1 2 1
R R L L
C C C C + ÷ = +
¿ ¿
÷ ÷ = +


.

\

+ +
R R
R R
L L
L L
R
R R
R
R
L
L
C
L
L L
L I
x A
L I
x A
I
L M
I
L
I
L
M
I
L M 6 6
2
General Equation
(1)
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Eq. Modification for point load
and uniformly distributed load
Summation signs have been added to the
terms on the right so that M/EI diagrams for
each type of applied load can be treated
separately.
In practice the most common types of
loadings encountered are concentrated and
uniform distributed loads.
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L C C R C R
L
L
K
L
L
L
K
R
L
R
P
L
P
R
w
( ) ( )
R
R R
L
L L
R R
R
R R
L L
L
L L
R
R R
R
R
L
L
C
L
L L
I
L w
I
L w
k k
I
L P
k k
I
L P
I
L M
I
L
I
L
M
I
L M
4 4
2
3 3
3
2
3
2
÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ = +


.

\

+ +
¿ ¿
If the areas and centroidal distances for their
M/EI diagrams are substituted in to 3Moment
equation,
(2)
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Special Case:
If the moment of inertia is constant for the
entire span, I
L
= I
R
.
( ) ( ) ( )
4 4
2
3 3
3 2 3 2
R R L L
R R R R L L L L R R R L C L L
L w L w
k k L P k k L P L M L L M L M ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ = + + +
¿ ¿
(3)
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Example:
Determine the reactions at the supports for
the beam shown. The moment of inertia of
span AB is one half that of span BC.
15k
3 k/ft
I 0.5 I
25 ft 15 ft 5 ft
A C
B
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M
L
= 0
L
L
= 25ft
I
L
= 0.5I
P
L
= 0
w
L
= 3k/ft
k
L
= 0
M
C
= M
B
L
R
= 20ft
I
R
= I
P
R
= 15k
w
R
= 0
k
R
= 0.25
M
R
= 0
Data
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Substituting the values in equation 2,
( )
f t k M
I I I I
M
B
B
. 5 . 177
0
5 . 0 * 4
25 * 3
25 . 0 25 . 0
20 * 15
0 0
20
5 . 0
25
2 0
3
3
2
÷ =
÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ = +

.

\

+ +
¿
Department of Civil Engineering
University of Engineering and
Technology, Taxila, Pakistan
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For span AB:
k V
V
F
k A
A
M
A F
BL
BL
y
y
y
B
x x
6 . 44
0 75 4 . 30
; 0
4 . 30
0 ) 5 . 12 ( 75 5 . 177 ) 25 (
; 0
0 ; 0
=
= + ÷
=
=
= + ÷ ÷
=
= =
¿
¿
¿
75 k
A B
12.5’ 12.5’
V
BL
177.5k.ft
A
y
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For span BC:
k V
V
F
k C
C
M
BR
BR
y
y
y
B
6 . 12
0 15 38 . 2
; 0
38 . 2
0 ) 15 ( 15 5 . 177 ) 20 (
; 0
=
= + ÷
=
=
= + +
=
¿
¿
15 k
B C
15 ft 5 ft
V
BR
177.5k.ft
C
y
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Technology, Taxila, Pakistan
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A free body diagram of the differential
segment of the beam that passes over roller
at B is shown in figure.
k B
B
F
y
y
y
2 . 57
0 6 . 12 6 . 44
0
=
= ÷ ÷
=
¿
B
y
44.6 k
12.6 k
177.5k.ft 177.5k.ft
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Technology, Taxila, Pakistan
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Practice Problems:
Chapter 9
Example 911 to 913 and Exercise
Structural Analysis by R C Hibbeler
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