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SEC. 8.

2] Beams; Flexure of Straight Bars 137

8.2 Composite Beams and Bimetallic Strips

Beams that are constructed of more than one material can be treated by
using an equivalent width technique if the maximum stresses in each of
the several materials remain within the proportional limit. An equiva-
lent cross section is developed in which the width of each component
parallel to the principal axis of bending is increased in the same
proportion that the modulus of elasticity of that component makes
with the modulus of the assumed material of the equivalent beam.

The beam cross section shown in Fig. 8.4(a) is composed of three portions of
equal width and depth. The top portion is made of aluminum for which
EA 10  106 lb=in2 ; the center is made of brass for which EB 15  106 lb=in2 ;
and the bottom is made of steel for which ES 30  106 lb=in2 . Figure 8.4(b)
shows the equivalent cross section, which is assumed to be made of aluminum.
For this equivalent cross section the centroid must be located and the moment
of inertia determined for the centroidal axis.

325 4:523 921

y 2:27 in
6 9 18
323 4:523 923
Ix 65  2:272 93  2:272 182:27  12
12 12 12
89:5 in4

The equivalent stiffness EI of this beam is therefore 10  106 89:5, or

895  106 lb-in2 .
A flexure stress computed by s Mc=Ix will give a stress in the equivalent
beam which can thereby be converted into the stress in the actual composite
beam by multiplying by the modulus ratio. If a bending moment of 300,000 lb-
in were applied to a beam with the cross section shown, the stress at the top
surface of the equivalent beam would be s 300;0006  2:27=89:5, or
12,500 lb=in2 . Since the material at the top is the same in both the actual
and equivalent beams, this is also the maximum stress in the aluminum
portion of the actual beam. The stress at the bottom of the equivalent beam
would be s 300;0002:27=89:5 7620 lb=in2 . Multiplying the stress by the

Figure 8.4
138 Formulas for Stress and Strain [CHAP. 8

modulus ratio, the actual stress at the bottom of the steel portion of the beam
would be s 762030=10 22;900 lb=in2 .

Bimetallic strips are widely used in instruments to sense or control

temperatures. The following formula gives the equivalent properties of
the strip for which the cross section is shown in Fig. 8.5:

wt3b ta Eb Ea
Equivalent EI K 8:2-1
12ta Ea tb Eb 1
 2  3
ta t E t E t
K1 4 6 4 a a a b b 8:2-2
tb tb Eb tb Ea ta

All the formulas in Table 8.1, cases 1 to 5, can be applied to the

bimetallic beam by using this equivalent value of EI. Since a bimetallic
strip is designed to deform when its temperature differs from To , the
temperature at which the strip is straight, Table 8.1, case 6, can be
used to solve for reaction forces and moments as well as deformations
of the bimetallic strip under a uniform temperature T . To do this, the
term gT2  T1 =t is replaced by the term 6gb  ga T  To ta tb =
t2b K1 and EI is replaced by the equivalent EI given by Eq. (8.2-1).
After the moments and deformations have been determined, the
flexure stresses can be computed. The stresses due to the bending
moments caused by the restraints and any applied loads are given by
the following expressions:
In the top surface of material a:
6M t E t
s 2 2 b a a 8:2-3
wtb K1 ta Eb tb

In the bottom surface of material b:

6M t E t
s 2 2 a b b 8:2-4
wtb K1 tb Ea ta

If there are no restraints imposed, the distortion of a bimetallic strip

due to a temperature change is accompanied by flexure stresses in the
two materials. This differs from a beam made of a single material
which deforms free of stress when subjected to a linear temperature

Figure 8.5
SEC. 8.2] Beams; Flexure of Straight Bars 139

variation through the thickness if there are no restraints. Therefore

the following stresses must be added algebraically to the stresses
caused by the bending moments, if any:
In the top surface of material a:
"  2 #
gb  ga T  To Ea ta ta Eb tb
s 3 2  8:2-5
K1 tb tb Ea ta

In the bottom surface of material b:

"  3 #
gb  ga T  To Eb ta Ea ta
s 3 2 8:2-6
K1 tb Eb tb

A bimetallic strip is made by bonding a piece of titanium alloy 14 in wide by
0.030 in thick to a piece of stainless steel 14 in wide by 0.060 in thick. For
titanium, E 17  106 lb=in2 and g 5:7  106 in=in= F; for stainless steel,
E 28  106 lb=in2 and g 9:6  106 in=in= F. It is desired to find the length
of bimetal required to develop a reaction force of 5 oz at a simply supported left
end when the right end is fixed and the temperature is raised 50 F; also the
maximum stresses must be determined.
Solution. First find the value of K1 from Eq. (8.2-2) and then evaluate the
equivalent stiffness from Eq. (8.2-1):
 2  3
0:03 0:03 17 0:03 28 0:06
K1 4 6 4 11:37
0:06 0:06 28 0:06 17 0:03
0:250:063 0:0328  106 17  106
Equivalent EI 11:37 333 lb-in2
120:0317  106 0:0628  106

Under a temperature rise over the entire length, the bimetallic strip curves
just as a single strip would curve under a temperature differential. To use case
6c in Table 8.1, the equivalent to gT2  T1 =t must be found. This equivalent
value is given by

69:6  106  5:7  106 500:03 0:06

0:00257 in1
0:062 11:37

The expression for RA can now be obtained from case 6c in Table 8.1 and,
noting that a 0, the value of the length l can be determined:

3l2  a2 g 3 5
RA EI T2  T1 3330:00257 lb
2l3 t 2l 16

Therefore l 4:11 in.

The maximum bending moment is found at the fixed end and is equal to RA l:
max M 16 4:11 1:285 lb-in
140 Formulas for Stress and Strain [CHAP. 8

Combining Eqs. (8.2-3) and (8.2-5), the flexure stress on the top of the titanium
61:285 0:06 17 0:03
s 2
0:250:062 11:37 0:03 28 0:06
"  2 #
9:6  106  5:7  106 5017  106 0:03 0:03 28 0:06
 3 2 
11:37 0:06 0:06 17 0:03
3242 378 3620 lb=in2

Likewise, the flexure stress on the bottom of the stainless steeel is

61:285 0:03 28 0:06
s 2
0:250:062 11:37 0:06 17 0:03
"  3 #
9:6  10  5:7  10 5028  106
6 6
0:03 17 0:03
3 2
11:37 0:06 28 0:06
4365 1644 2720 lb=in2

8.3 Three-Moment Equation

The three-moment equation, which expresses the relationship between
the bending moments found at three consecutive supports in a contin-
uous beam, can be readily derived for any loading shown in Table 8.1.
This is accomplished by taking any two consecutive spans and eval-
uating the slope for each span at the end where the two spans join.
These slopes, which are expressed in terms of the three moments and
the loads on the spans, are then equated and the equation reduced to
its usual form.

Consider two contiguous spans loaded as shown in Fig. 8.6. In addition to the
loading shown, it is known that the left end of span 1 had settled an amount
y2  y1 relative to the right end of the span, and similarly that the left end of
span 2 has settled an amount y3  y2 relative to the right end. (Note that y1 , y2 ,
and y3 are considered positive upward as usual.) The individual spans with
their loadings are shown in Fig. 8.7(a,b). Determine the relationship between
the applied loads and the moment at the intermediate support.
Solution. Using cases 2e and 3e from Table 8.1 and noting the relative
deflections mentioned above, the expression for the slope at the right end of

Figure 8.6