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# Three Moment

Equation
Theory of Structure - I

## Department of Civil Engineering

University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila, Pakistan
Lecture Outlines

Introduction

## Proof of Three Moment Equation

Examples

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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.
P1 P2 P3 P4

WL WR

ML MC MC MR
L C R

LL LR

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Conjugate Beam (applied
The formulation will be based on the
conjugate-beam method.
Since the real beam is continuous over the
supports, the conjugate-beam has hinges at
L, C and R.
AL /EIL AR /EIR

L LL CL1 CR1 LR R

XL XR
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Conjugate Beam (internal
moments)
Using the principle of superposition, the M/EI
diagram for the internal moments is shown.

MC /EIL
MR /EIR
ML /EIL MC /EIR

L LL CL2 CR2 LR R

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In particular AL/EIL and AR/EIR represent the
total area under their representative M/EI
diagrams; and xL and xR locate their
centroids.
Since the slope of real beam is continuous
over the center support, we require the shear
forces for the conjugate beam.
C L C L (C R C R )
1 2 1 2

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Summing moments about point L for left
span, we have
1 AL 1 1 M 1 1 M 2
C C ( xL ) L
L L L L C
L L LL
L1 L2
LL EI L
LL 2 EI L 3 2 EI L 3

AL xL M LL M LL

L C

EI L
LL 6 EI L
3 EI L

## Summing moments about point R for the

right span yields
1 AR 1 1 M 1 1 M 2
C C ( xR ) R
L R L R C
L R LR
R1 R2
LR EI R
LR 2 EI R 3 2 EI R 3

AR xR M LR M LR

R C

EI R
LR 6 EI R
3 EI R

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General Equation
Equating

C L C L (C R C R )
1 2 1 2

## and simplifying yields

M L LL LL LR M R LR 6 AL x L 6 AR x R
2M
C
IL IL IR IR I L LL I R LR

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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

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PL PR
w

L KLLL C C KRLR R C R

LL
If the areas and centroidal distances for their
M/EI diagrams are substituted in to 3-Moment
equation,
2 2 3 3
LL LR M R LR
M L LL
2M C

PL L L
k L
kL
3
PR L R
k R
kR
3
wL LL

wR LR
IL IL IR IR IL IR 4IL 4IR

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Special Case:
If the moment of inertia is constant for the
entire span, IL = IR.

3 3

M L LL 2M C
L L LR M R
L R PL L L
2
k L
kL
3
PR L R
2
k R
kR
3
wL LL

wR LR
4 4

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Three-Moment Theorem
Any number of spans
Symmetric or non-symmetric

Procedure:

## 1) Draw a free body diagram of the

first two spans.
2) Label the spans L1 and L2 and the
supports (or free end) A, B and C
as show.
3) Use the Three-Moment equation to
solve for each unknown moment,
either as a value or as an
equation.
4) Move one span further and repeat
the procedure.

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Three-Moment Theorem
Procedure:

## 5) In a 3 span beam, the mid-moment from

step 3 above (B), could now be solved
using the two equations from step 4 and
3 together, by writing 2 equations with 2
unknowns.
6) Repeat as needed, always moving one
span to the right and writing a new set of
moment equations.
7) Solve 2 simultaneous equations for 3
spans, or 3 equations for more than 3
spans, to get the interior moments.
8) Once all interior moments are known,
solve for reactions using free body
diagrams of individual spans.
9) Draw shear and moment diagrams as
usual. This will also serve as a check
for the moment values.
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Three-Moment Theorem
SUMMARY:

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