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II.

PURE Bending
II. PURE BENDING

In this section we will discuss the analysis of structures that are under the action of pure
bending. As such, there will be no transverse shear force along the beam section
considered. The problems of beam bending considered here are based on the EulerBernoulli Beam Theory.
In this section we will examine the problems in which the bending moment is applied
either symmetrically or unsymmetrically on homogeneous or non-homogeneous beams.
In addition, we will discuss the elastic and inelastic bending of beams having symmetric
or unsymmetric cross sections. The determination of neutral axis location for elastic and
inelastic beams will also be discussed. The variation of bending-induced normal stresses
on the beam cross section will be shown in several example problems. Finally, in this
section we will discuss the bending of curved beams including the determination of the
neutral axis and distribution of normal stresses.
II.1 Introduction

II.1-1 Rectangular Moments of Inertia and Product of Inertia

II.1-2 Parallel Axis Theorem

II.2 Elastic Bending of Homogeneous Beams

II.3 Elastic Bending of Non-homogeneous Beams
II.4 Inelastic Bending of Homogeneous Beams
II.5 Elastic Bending of Curved Beams

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Section II.1 Introduction
The straight beam section under consideration is in the state of pure bending (i.e., transverse
shear force is zero along this section). Consequently, as the beam bends, plane sections remain
plane but rotate relative to each other as shown in the figure below.

As illustrated in the figure above, the top surface of the beam is shortened due to
compression, and the bottom surface is elongated due to tension - both as a result of
bending moment M. By examining the figure below, it becomes apparent that at some
location between the top and bottom surfaces of the beam there is a surface whose
length is the same as the original length of the straight beam. This surface is neither in
tension nor in compression, therefore, it is referred to as the "Neutral Surface". The
intersection of the neutral surface with the plane of the beam cross section is called the
"Neutral Axis".

Since the beam cross section only rotates without warping, the slope of the cross
sectional plane is constant, indicating that axial deflection due to bending is linear. This
finding implies that in originally-straight beams in pure bending, the axial strain must
also vary linearly with zero value at the Neutral Axis.

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Note: The linearity of axial strain is a consequence of beam being

(a) originally straight, and
(b) in pure-bending state.

Therefore, no additional restriction such as material property or elasticity is imposed.

(c) bending stresses remain below material's elastic stress limit,
(d) stress-strain relationship is linear.

As a result of restrictions (c) and (d), Hooke's law may be used.

In summary it can be said that in elastic and homogeneous beams, the Neutral Axis, NA
always passes through the centroid of the cross section with its orientation determined
according to the shape of the cross section and the orientation of the bending moment.
The stress and strain variations for some elastic beams are given below.

EXAMPLES

(a) Elastic, homogeneous beam with doubly symmetric cross section.

(b) Elastic, homogeneous beam with symmetric cross section.
(c) Elastic, non-homogeneous beam with doubly symmetric cross section.

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ection II.2 Elastic Bending of Homogeneous Beams

The general bending stress equation for elastic, homogeneous beams is given as

(II.1)

where Mx and My are the bending moments about the x and y centroidal axes, respectively. Ix
and Iy are the second moments of area (also known as moments of inertia) about the x and y
axes, respectively, and Ixy is the product of inertia. Using this equation it would be possible to
calculate the bending stress at any point on the beam cross section regardless of moment
orientation or cross-sectional shape. Note that Mx, My, Ix, Iy, and Ixy are all unique for a given
section along the length of the beam. In other words, they will not change from one point to
another on the cross section. However, the x and y variables shown in the equation correspond
to the coordinates of a point on the cross section at which the stress is to be determined.

Sign Convention on Bending Moment Components Mx and My:

As far as the general bending stress equation is concerned, if a moment component puts
the first quadrant of the beam cross section in compression, it is treated as positive (see
the examples shown below). Notice that this is just a sign convention for the moment
components and should not be confused with the sign associated with the bending
stress.

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Neutral Axis:
When a homogeneous beam is subjected to elastic bending, the neutral axis (NA) will
pass through the centroid of its cross section, but the orientation of the NA depends on
the orientation of the moment vector and the cross sectional shape of the beam.

When the loading is unsymmetrical (at an angle) as seen in the figure below, the NA will
also be at some angle - NOT necessarily the same angle as the bending moment.

Realizing that at any point on the neutral axis, the bending strain and stress are zero, we
can use the general bending stress equation to find its orientation. Setting the stress to
zero and solving for the slope y/x gives
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(II.2)

A positive angle is defined as counter clockwise from the horizontal centroidal axis.

Notice that we can use the equation for orientation of NA to examine special cases. For
example, if the cross section has an axis of symmetry, Ixy = 0. In addition if only Mx is
applied, then NA will have angle of zero which is consistent with what we would expect
from mechanics of materials.
From this equation, we see that the orientation of NA is a function of both loading
condition as well as cross sectional geometry.

EXAMPLE PROBLEMS

Example 1* Thin-walled beam with horizontally symmetric cross section under a

horizontal bending moment
Example 2* Thin-walled beam with horizontally symmetric cross section under an
oblique bending moment
Example 3* Thin-walled beam with unsymmetric cross section under an oblique bending
moment
Example 4 Skin-stringer beam with unsymmetric cross section under horizontal bending
moment

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(a) Neutral axis location and orientation,

(b) Bending stress distribution,
(c) Location and magnitude of the maximum bending stress.

Assume that the stresses due to the applied load do not exceed the elastic limit.

Use the Java screen shown below to modify this example and see the results.

EQUATION USED: Eq. A13.13

SOLUTION

(a) As seen in the figure above, the cross section is symmetric about the horizontal axis,
therefore, the product of inertia is zero in this case. Furthermore, with the bending
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moment applied about the x axis, the y component of moment is zero. As a result of the
previous two conditions, the NA orientation according to eqn. A13.15 will be horizontal passing through the centroid as expected. This problem is an example of symmetric
bending.
NOTE: There is no need to find the horizontal position of centroid because there is no
need to calculate the moment of inertia about the y axis as y component of bending
moment is zero.
(b) Because of the conditions stated in part (a) of solution, eq. A13.13 reduces to

The bending stress distribution will be linear with a zero value at the NA.

(c) In this case, the maximum stress is at the farthest point from the NA. Because of
horizontal symmetry about the NA, the stress at the top and bottom of the section will
have equal magnitude with the one on top being compressive. To get the maximum
value of stress, the reduced equation given previously will be used.
The moment of inertia about the x axis is

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(a) Neutral axis location and orientation,

(b) Location and magnitude of the maximum bending stress.

Assume that the stresses due to the applied load do not exceed the elastic limit. Also assume that
each lenght shown is measured to the middle of the adjacent member.

Use the Java screen shown below to change the problem data and see the results.

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SOLUTION

(a) As seen in the figure above, this is a symmetric cross section with unsymmetric

With the product of inertia being zero due to cross-sectional symmetry, we need to
calculate the components of the applied bending moment and the rectangular moments
of inertia in order to determine the orientation of NA.
The components of bending moment are:

By examinning the applied moment, it is clear that both of its components will produce
compression on the first quadrant, hence, they are both positive.
To calculate the rectangular moments of inertia, it is necessary to know the location of
the centroid. Due to horizontal symmetry only the horizontal coordinate of centroid
need to be calculated as its vertical coordinate is known due to symmetry.

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The neutral axis will pass through the centroid with an angle of

(b) The maximum axial stress is at the farthest point from the NA, either at point A, B, C,
or D. To get the stress values, use equation A13.13 at all four points. With the product of
inertia equal to zero A13.13 reduces to

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The bending stresses at point A, B, C, and D are

(a) Neutral axis location and orientation,

(b) Location and magnitude of the maximum bending stress.

Assume that the stresses due to the applied load do not exceed the elastic limit. Also assume that
each length shown is measured to the middle of the adjacent member.

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Use the Java screen below to change problem data and see the results.

EQUATIONS USED: Eq. A13.13 and Eq. A13.15

SOLUTION

This problem requires more analysis as both the loading and cross-sectional shape are
unsymmetric. The procedure is similar to the previous example. First need to find the
centroid, moments of inertia about the x and y axes, and the product of inertia.
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The centroid is at

The x component is negative because it causes tension in the first quadrant.

(a) Since this is a homogeneous section, and it is assumed to be within its elastic limits,
the neutral axis will pass through the centroid. Its angle with respect to the x axis is
(b) The maximum bending stress occurs at the farthest point from the NA, either at point
A or B.

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Section II.3 Elastic Bending of NON-Homogeneous Beams
Recall that in pure bending the normal strain variation is linear with a value of zero at the
neutral axis. Before we discuss the relationship between stress and bending moment, let's first
determine the location of NA. The equilibrium condition requires the sum of normal forces to go
to zero. Mathematically, this is expressed as

Considering a section made of two different materials with Young's moduli identified by
E1 and E2 and with stresses below the elastic limit of each material, we can write

Where yB is the distance from the NA to the bottom surface, yi is the distance from the
NA to the material interface and yT is the distance to the top surface. Using the linear
equation for strain variation gives

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A close examination of this equation reveals that the bracketed term must be equal to
zero. However, the ratio of E2 to E1 in front of the second term inside the brackets
indicates that neutral axis will pass through the centroid of the modified homogeneous
section, one with material 2 replaced with an equivalent material 1. This fact is captured
in the figure below with the condition that E2 > E1.

Notice that only the width of the section is modified while its height is kept the same.
This condition would have been reversed if the bending moment was applied about the
vertical axis.
The moment equation is written as

For the case of a section made of two different materials, as shown above, the integral is
divided into two parts, one for each elastic material. Notice that y is measured from the
neutral axis.

Using the linear normal strain variation we get

Factoring out the constant terms and normalizing with respect to E1 we get
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The terms inside the brackets represent the moment of inertia of the modified
homogeneous section about the neutral axis, and can be expressed as

Substituting this into the previous equation and solving for the stress gives

This equation can be used to calculate the bending stress only for the portion that is
made of material 1. To calculate the bending stress in the portion that is made of
material 2, it should be multiplied by the ratio of Young's moduli of the two materials as

The procedure described above is known as the Modified Section Method, and is used in
the analysis of elastic non-homogeneous beam sections in bending.

EXAMPLE PROBLEMS

moment

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SECTION II.3 EXAMPLE 1

A bending moment of 74,734 N-m is applied to a uniform composite beam shown in the
figure below. If the allowable stress for steel is 250 MPa and the allowable stress for
aluminum is 100 MPa, what is the minimum width of the 5-mm thick steel plates
attached to the aluminum I-beam. Also determine the neutral axis location and bending
stress distribution.

EQUATIONS USED:
SOLUTION

Since this is a doubly symmetric cross section, the centroid will be located at the center.
This is true for both the original and the modified cross sections. With the applied
moment acting about the horizontal axis, the NA will be horizontal in this case. From
inspection, it is known that the maximum strain will occur in the steel plates. Also, with
steel being the stiffest of the two materials it is very likely that it will carry more stress.

To calculate the modified moment of inertia, the entire section is modified to all
aluminum. The modified moment of inertia in terms of w is
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Let the steel plates be stressed to their limit. The top plate will have the same stress and
strain as the bottom plate because of symmetry.

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ALTERNATE SOLUTION

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Section II.4 Inelastic Bending of Homogeneous Beams
In this section we will first dicuss the inelastic behavior of beams in pure bending, and then
elaborate on the method of analysis that we can use in such problems.

Inelastic behavior is possible in beams that are made of ductile materials, and as such can be
loaded beyond the elastic limit or proportional limit of the material. This implies that the
ultimate load carrying capability of a ductile beam is higher than its maximum elastic load. How
much higher depends on mechanical properties of the beam material.

Naturally, the behavior of a beam in inelastic bending depends upon the shape of the
material's stress-strain diagram. If the stress-strain diagram is known, it is possible to
determine stress corresponding to a particular value of strain.

As in previous discussions we will assume that the material can be idealized as an

elastoplastic material with maximum stress being the elastic limit stress, and the
maximum strain being considerably higher than the elastic limit strain. It is possible for
the elastoplastic material to have different characteristics in tension and in compression.
For instance the corresponding elastic limit values and even the Young's moduli may be
different. This tends to complicate the analysis to a certain degree.
Assumptions:
The analysis of an inelastic beam is based on the assumption that plane cross sections of
a beam remain plane under pure bending, a condition that is valid for both nonlinear
and linear materials. Therefore, normal strain in an inelastic beam varies linearly over
the cross section of the beam.
Restrictions:
a. Beam has a symmetric cross section. It is not necessary for it to be doubly symmetric.
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b. Beam is loaded symmetrically, moment is acting about either the x or the y centroidal
axis.
Neutral Axis Location:
The neutral axis of beams in inelastic bending may or may not pass through the centroid
of the cross section.
The following diagrams show the variations of bending strain and stress across a
rectangular beam section ranging from fully elastic to fully plastic condition. Notice that
the material is assumed to be elastoplastic with elastic limit in tension equal in
magnitude to that in compression.

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Notice that the N.A. conicides with the horizontal centroidal axis even as the beam becomes fully
plastic.

If in the previous example the stress-strain variation in compression was different from
that in tension, then the position of N.A. would no longer coincide with the horizontal
centroidal axis as beam is loaded beyond its elastic limit.

Notice that the resultant axial force is zero as the net compression force balances against the net
tension force acting on the cross section.

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In such beam problems, the location of N.A. coincides with the horizontal centroidal axis
when the beam is elastic. However, as it is loaded beyond the elastic limit, N.A. shift
either up or down relative to the centroid depending on whether the material can carry
more tension or compression. The farthest position of N.A. is determined by checking
the cross-sectional stress variation for a fully plastic condition.

1. If the stress-strain variations in tension and compression are the same, then
a. N.A. coincides with the centroidal axis (same as moment axis) if the cross section is
b. N.A. does not conicide with the centroidal axis if the cross section is unsymmetric

2. If the stress-strain variations in tension and compression are different, then

N.A. does not coincide with the centroidal axis regardless of cross-sectional symmetry
Determination of a Beam's Moment Capacity:

1. Check the stress-strain variations in compression and tension. Is there a difference

between elastic limit stress in tension from that in compression?
2. Is the moment acting about the axis of symmetry or not?
3.

Case A. Moment is acting about the axis of symmetry and material properties in
compression and tension are the same.

Maximum elastic moment is determined from the simplified form of Eq. (II.1)
Inelastic moment for some given value of maximum strain less than fully-plastic strain is
found from the moment equilibrium equation. First determine the strain variation
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(remember it is linear in linearly elastic materials) across the beam. Then relate the
strain variation to stress variation by checking the stress-strain diagram. Finally write
the integral relating the bending moment to the stress distribution across the beam, and
solve for the bending moment.
Fully-plastic bending moment is obtained by drawing the stress pattern over the beam
cross section. Keep in mind that in this case the location of N.A. is the same as centroidal
axis or axis of symmetry in this case. Calculate the resultant force in compression, and
resultant force in tension. Sum moments about the N.A. and find the total bending
moment on the beam.

Case B. Moment is acting about the axis of symmetry but material properties in
compression and tension are different.

Maximum elastic moment is determined from the simplified form of Eq. (II.1).
Inelastic moment for some given value of maximum strain less than fully-plastic strain is
found from the moment equilibrium equation. However, in this case the N.A. position is
unknown. Therefore, an iterative solution based on a guessed position of N.A. is required.
Guess a position for N.A. relative to the centroidal axis moment is acting about. From
linearity of strain, determine the strain variation, then relate the strains to stresses and
use the axial force equilibrium equation, and see whether the sum of forces goes to zero
or not. If it goes to zero, then the location of N.A. is correct. Otherwise, guess again, and
repeat the procedure. Once the location of N.A. is found, go to the moment-stress integral
equation and solve for the value of moment.
Fully-plastic bending moment is obtained by drawing the stress pattern over the beam
cross section. Here once again the location of N.A. is unknown. However, we know the
maxium stress in compression as well as in tension. With the stress being constant in the
tension side and constant in the compression side. No iteration is necessary here as the
location of N.A. can be determined by summing the axial forces to zero and determining
the height of compression and tension portions of the cross section. Once N.A. position is
known, then proceed with determining the moment summation about the N.A. to obtain
the fully-plastic bending moment.

Case C. Moment is acting about a centroidal axis which is not an axis of symmetry, and
material properties in compression and tension are different. Example 1 below deals
with such a problem.

EXAMPLE PROBLEMS

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(a) the maximum elastic bending moment that can be applied

(b) the inelastic bending moment resulting in a strain of 0.003 at the bottom edge
(c) the maximum (or fully-plastic) bending moment.

EQUATIONS USED

SOLUTION

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We must first find the location of centroid and the moment of inertia about the
horizontal centroidal axis (x axis)

The moment of inertia about the x axis is all that is needed because with the product of
inertia Ixy equal to zero and no moment about the y axis, the general elastic bending
formula reduces to

(a) Because the elastic-limit stress in the tension side of the stress-strain diagram is less
than that in the compression side, the tensile limit will be the maximum stress allowable.
Since the bottom side is in tension, let the stress at that location be equal to the limit of
45,000 Pa. This gives a maximum moment of

Now, check the top to make sure the compressive stress doesn't exceed its limit (60,000
Pa).

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The strain and stress diagrams corresponding to the maximum elastic moment are
shown below. Notice that the NA in this case coincides with the horizontal centroidal
axis (x axis).

(b) We know the elastic-limit strain in tension and compression to be

With the strain at the bottom now at 0.003, the elastic-inelastic interface, so to speak, is
at some location between the NA and the bottom surface. Since stress-strain variations
in tension and compression are different in the inelastic region, the NA will not pass
through the centroid. Therefore, NA will not coincide with the x axis in this case.
However, the NA will be parallel to the x axis. So we know its orientation but not its
location. The location of NA is found through an iterative process.
Assume NA is @ 68.333 mm from the bottom. Through similar triangles, the elasticinelastic interface can be found

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If the location of NA is correct, then the summation of forces in the normal direction
must be zero.

Based on the stress diagram shown above, the force equation is written as

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Since the sum of axial force components is not zero, the assumed location of NA is
incorrect. The negative value indicates that the NA must be moved in the compression
side as to reduce the area which is in compression or to increase the area in tension. For
the second guess, assume NA to be @ 80 mm from the bottom surface and repeat the
procedure.

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The force sum is now positive indicating that the correct location of NA is somewhere between
the two locations assumed previously. Using linear interpolation, we come up with the third
guess

Using linear interpolation again and finding the summation of forces yields
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The result is satisfactory. Now with the location of the NA known, the moment corresponding to
the strain of 0.003 at the bottom side can be calculated.

(c) To find the fully-plastic moment, we must first determine the location of NA resulting in the
total axial force to go to zero. In this case, there is no linear stress region. The compression and
tension sides are under the state of constant stress equal to the corresponding maximum stress
values.

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Using the stress variation shown above and the corresponding force summation, we find
the location of NA as follows

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The results indicate that in this case the fully-plastic moment is 57% larger than the maximum
elastic bending moment. We also saw in this problem that the location of neutral axis changed
depending on the magnitude of M. The two factors having the most influence on the results are:
(a) Different material elastic limits in tension and compression, and (b) Unsymmetric cross
section with respect to the moment axis.

To Section II.4

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