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ME2113-1

DEFLECTION AND BENDING STRESSES IN BEAMS

Formal Report

INTRODUCTION
Beams are one of the commonest components encountered in structures. In most cases, they
are transversely loaded and thus undergo bending. Bending induces stresses in a beam and
causes it to deflect. In the design and analysis of beam-type structures, the stresses and
deflections generated must be examined to ascertain that they are within acceptable limits.
Simple beam theory provides expressions for the calculation of these quantities. This
experiment provides the means to investigate how beam theory can be applied in practice.
OBJECTIVE AND SCOPE
1) To study the application of beam theory by subjecting a cantilever to various point
loads and examining the resulting stresses and deflection.
2) Use experimental values to determine the Youngs Modulus and Poissons ratio of the
beam material.
3) Investigating the magnitudes and signs of the strains and stresses at the two locations
along the beam in terms of their relation to each other and in accordance with beam
theory.
EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
Part I
1.1

Identify the strain quantity (i.e. xx1 , zz1 ,xx2 or zz2 ) measured by each gauge and the
channel to which it is connected on the switching box.

1.2

With no loads on the hanger, set the dial gauge reading to zero.

1.3

Select a channel on the switching box for the first set of strain gauge readings and zero
the strain meter.

1.4

Load the beam in six steps of 250g weight increments and record the deflection of the
load point and the reading of the strain gauge selected [note whether the strain readings
are positive (tensile) or negative (compressive)]. Record the deflection and strain
readings upon unloading as a check.

1.5

Select the other channels in turn, zero the dial gauge if necessary and repeat the
loading/unloading process together with the recording of deflection and strain readings.

1.6

Tabulate all the readings and plot the following:


Graph 1 -

Load P against vertical deflection v . From the slope of this graph and
Eqn. (7), calculate Youngs modulus E of the beam material.

Graph 2 -

zz1 against xx1 and zz2 against xx2. From the slope of the lines,
calculate Poissons ratio using Eqn. (6).

Graph3 -

Load P against xx1. Calculate the slope of this graph.

Graph 4 -

Determine, using Eqn. (1), the bending moment magnitudes at the two
strain gauge locations, x = d1 and x = d2 , for each of the six applied
loads. Then, use Eqn. (2) or (3) to calculate the theoretical magnitude
of the longitudinal stresses (xx1 and xx2) at the beam surface (y = h/2)
for the six loads. Use these six pairs of stress values to plot six lines
showing the theoretical variation of maximum longitudinal stress with
location along the beam (i.e. xx against x ).
From the magnitudes of the longitudinal strain readings (xx1 and xx2)
corresponding to the four values of applied load, calculate the
corresponding experimental stress magnitudes (xx1 and xx2) using the
value of E derived from Graph 1 and Eqn. (5). Plot these experimental
points on the same graph with the six lines showing the theoretical
variation of maximum stress with beam location.

Part II

Attach the gripper to the end of the beam (Fig. 2) and grip the gripper as tight as possible.

Record the highest reading xx1 of strainmeter, and evaluate your handgrip force.

SAMPLE CALCULATIONS
Details given: b=25.6mm, h=6.06mm, L=250mm

1
I z bh3 = (25.6 x 10-3) (6.06 x 10-3)3 / 12 = 4.7476 x 10-10 m4
12
Using P=250g,
At x= 50mm
Bending Moment, Mxz

= -P(L - x)
= - 2.45 (250 50) 10-3
= -0.490 Nm

Longitudinal stress, xx (theoretical)

M xz
( y ) , (y = h/2: top surface)
Iz

= -(-0.490/(4.7476 10-10)) (6.06/2 10-3)


= 3.127 MPa
Longitudinal stress, xx (experimental) E xx

(From Graph 1, E= 60.691GPa)

= (60.691109) (4810-6)
= 2.913 MPa
At x= 150mm
Bending Moment, Mxz

= -P(L - x)
= - 2.45 (250 150) 10-3
= -0.245 Nm

Longitudinal stress, xx (theoretical)

M xz
( y ) , (y = -h/2: bottom surface)
Iz

= -(-0.245/(4.7476 10-10)) (-6.06/2 10-3)


= -1.564 MPa
Longitudinal stress, xx (experimental) E xx

(From Graph 1, E= 60.691GPa)

= (60.691109) (-22 10-6)


= -1.335MPa

RESULTS
Part I
Please refer to attached Tables and Graphs
From Graph 1,
Gradient of the graph = 563.94 gmm-1
= 563.94 kgm-1
= 5532.25 Nm-1 (g=9.81ms-1)
Using,

1
I z bh3
12
= (25.6 x 10-3) (6.06 x 10-3)3 / 12
= 4.7476 x 10-10 m4

From Equation (7), v L

PL3
, (assuming upwards deflection is positive)
3EI z

E = - (-5532.25) (250 x 10-3)3 / (3 x 4.7476 x 10-10)


= 60.691 GPa
From Graph 2,
Gradient of the graph (x=50mm) = -0.3120
Gradient of the graph (x= 150mm) = -0.3228
Average gradient = [((-0.3120) + (-0.3228))/2] = -0.3174
From Equation (6), zz

Poissons Ratio, =

xx
E

xx ,

zz
= 0.3174
xx

From Graph 3,
Gradient of the graph = 0.0542MN
From Graph 4,
x = L = 250mm, Mxz = 0

xx = 0

Part II
Highest reading xx1 of strain meter = 3010 = 3010 10-6
From Graph 3,
P = xx1 (0.0542 106)
When xx1 = 3010 10-6,
P

= 0.0542 106 3010 10-6


= 163.1N

Handgrip Force = 163.1N


DISCUSSION
1. The signs of the strains are as follows:
xx1 +ve

xx2 -ve

zz1 -ve

zz2 +ve

xx1 is the strain measured from an element on the top surface in the x-direction while
xx2 is the strain measured from an element at the bottom surface in the x-direction.
And zz1 is the strain measured from an element on the top surface in the z-direction
while zz2 is the strain measured from an element at the bottom surface in the zdirection. In the axial direction, since the load P acts in the negative y-direction thus
resulting in a negative bending moment Mxz along the x-axis, the element in the upper
surface (positive y surface) experiences tension and the element in the lower surface
(negative y surface) experiences compression. On the other hand in the transverse
direction, by Poisson ratio zz

xx
E

xx , the element in the upper surface

experiences compression and the element in the lower surface experiences tension. By
sign convention, compression is assigned to the negative sign and tension is assigned
to the positive sign.
2. In general, normal stress decreases linearly as x increases and reaches zero when x =
250mm at the edge of the beam. This can be observed from the graph having all the
lines converge to a point on the axis. This shows that the normal stress is the highest

at the built-in-end and reaches zero at the free end, anywhere after x = 250mm
experiences no stresses. Linearity of the normal stresses against distance from the
built-in-end can also be concluded from the 12 straight lines shown in the graph
which is consistent to the fact that the material is a homogeneous linear-elastic
material. The slopes of the 6 different lines also suggested that the higher the load the
greater the rate of drop in stress value as x increases.
Other than that, the gradient of the theoretical lines are also observed to be
consistently higher than the experimental lines. This is probably due to fact that the
previously loaded beam has yet to recover to its original elevation before the next load
is added. Therefore, slight curvature was present initially resulting in less stress
required to perform the same strain.
3. Handgrip force measurements are not exactly accurate. This is due to the unequal
distribution of strength when you grip the gripper. The amount of strength exerted by
hand varies with the amount exerted by each finger throughout the process and may
lead to inconsistent readings in the strain meter. The fluctuating strain readings also
cause the measurement to be based on estimation rather than precise value. Also, the
way one grips the gripper also affects the actual strength exerted by one on the beam.
Furthermore, different apparatus may have the gripper set up differently which may
affect the actual reading. Hence, experiment will only give rough estimate of the
strength exerted.
CONCLUSION
From this experiment, I have understood how to apply beam theory on a cantilever that is
subjected to various point loads and the relationship of their resulting stresses and deflection.
I have also managed to obtain Youngs Modulus and Poissons ratio of a beam material
through experimental values and graphs. Furthermore, by investigating the magnitudes and
signs of the strains and stresses at the two locations along the beam, I understand the relation
between them and how the beam is loaded. The Orientation and surface by which strain

values are taken also affects the sign and magnitudes of the measured values. All this can be
explain using beam theory. Finally, the experiment also gives us an example by which strain
values obtained might be inaccurate (eg. Handgrip force) and help us understand the slight
deviation of experimental results from the theoretical.