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CE560 Advanced Mechanics of Solids

Shear-stress in Multiply-Connected, Thin-Wall Beams

dM
dz

t = 1 unit

h = 18 units

Consider a beam with the cross-section shown.


Assume it is subjected to a positive bending
moment (compression in the upper half of the
beam) and that this moment is increasing in
magnitude out of the page. We know that the
rate of change of the moment out of the page is
the total shear force acting at the cross-section
being considered, i.e.

t =1

t = 2 units
x

=V

t =1

Our problem is to determine the shear ow in


the walls at this cross-section.
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b = 12 units

Elementary theory related to shear ow is still


valid. Hence, for the cross-hatched section
shown, the total unbalanced force per unit
length of beam that is acting into the page due
to increasing bending moment out of the page is

NA

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q1

VQ
I

where Q is the moment of area of the crosshatched area about the neutral axis (and centroidal axis) and I is the moment of inertia
about the neutral axis. This unbalanced force
must be balanced by shear forces acting at the
cuts de ning the cross-hatched area, hence
q2

VQ/I

= q1 + q2 =

VQ
I

However, we do not know how the unbalanced force is distributed between the two
walls. If the beam were symmetrical about the y-axis, then a reasonable assumption
would be that
q1 = q2
Unfortunately, the beam shown in not symmetrical about the y-axis and such an assumption is not logical.

We conduct our analysis, therefore, by picking


an arbitrary (but convenient) point in the crosssection and use the shear- ow at that point as
a reference value for the shear- ow at any other
point. Let the selected point be A and the the
shear- ow at that point be designated as qa . Let
the shear- ow at any other point be designated
as qs . Then, at any point such as that shown we
can write:
VQ
qs + qa =

A
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VQ/I
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qs

which gives us

qa
qs

VQ
I

qa

qa

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qa

Note that for a section very close to point A,


Q  0 and then qs !
qa . This situation is
shown on the right.
The following gure shows a plot of Q as de ned above for all points along the walls of
the cross-section. When multiplied by V =I , it is equal to the total unbalance force, q,
on these sections. If qa is then subtracted from this total q, the remainder would equal
the shear- ow at the corresponding point, i.e. qs.

(+)
A

(+)

(-)

(+)

Plot of Q around wall centerline starting at point A.

The gure on the previous page would be sucient to determine the shear ow at
any point if we knew the value of qa . Our next task, therefore, is to determine this
value. We do this by noting that the shear ow will cause deformations of the walls
in the z-direction. If the wall was continuous before the loads were applied, then this
deformation must be singled valued. That is, if we begin at any point along the wall
and move around the wall, adding (integrating) the increments of displacements in the
z-direction, we must end with a net change of zero if we come back to the point where
we started. Hence,
I
I
dw
ds = 0
dw =
C
C ds
where C is a complete path that comes back to its starting point, w is the displacement
in the z-direction, and ds is an increment of length along the path C . To perform this
integration we will assume:
Deformations in the plane of the cross-section due to the shear V produce
only rigid-body translation of the cross-section. (No rotation and no distortion in the plane of the cross-section). Hence, the displacements in the
x-direction, u, and the y-direction, v , are functions only of z.

With this assumption we can write




@u(z )
@w(x; y; z )
zx = 1
+
= 21G zx
2
@z
@x


@v (z )
@w(x; y; z )
1
zy =
+
= 21G zy
2
@z
@y
We now note that
dw

and that we can write

@w dx + @w dy
@x
@y

@w
@x

1 zx

@u
@z

@w
@y

1 zy

@v
@z

Because the displacements u and v are functions only of z , the last terms in these
expressions are constant at any given cross-section. With this in mind, we can write
dw

Integration of

dx

and

dy

1
G

(zx dx + zy dy)

C1 dx

C2 dy

along any closed path is zero. Hence:


I
I
C2 dx = C2
dx = 0

We now have

dw

(zx dx + zy dy) =

 ds

where  is the resultant shear stress in the direction of integration. Hence, because this
integration must be zero, we conclude
I
 ds = 0
For thin-wall sections, we can assume that the shear stress is uniformly distributed
across the thickness of the wall and equal to the shear ow divided by the wall thickness.
We therefore have:
I  
qs
ds = 0
t

Finally, this gives us

I 

0 VQ
(
@ I

VQ

It

1
A ds = 0

I 
ds

or, because V; Q and qa are constant


I  
V

qa )

ds

qa


ds

qa

I  
1
t

=0

ds

=0

This is one equation for the one unknown, qa . Hence its solution provides us with the
information necessary to determine the shear ow at each point in the walls of our
beam.

Numerical Example
We now calculate qa using the nominal dimensions (the dimensions to the centerlines
of the walls) of the cross-section shown on the rst page. The integration of
I  
Q
t

ds

is simply the sum of the areas under each of the curves shown on page 3 divided by the
their corresponding wall thickness. Thus
H Q
1
top
t ds = + 2 (10:5) [8:5(10:5)(1)] =1
+ 23 (17) [4:25(8:5)(1)] =1 + (17) [8:5(10:5)(1)] =1

left side

+ 12 (10:5) [8:5(10:5)(1)] =1

bottom

2
3 (17) [4:25(8:5)(2)] =2

right side

= 2454
The next integral is simply the length of each side divided by its thickness. Hence
H 1
top
t ds = +10:5=1
+17=1
left side
+10:5=1

bottom

+17=2

right side

= 46:5
With these values our equation is simply
V
I

(2454)

qa (46:5)

which gives
qa

= 52:8

=0

V
I

With this value, the shear ow at any point in the cross section is given as
qs

V
I

(Q

52:8)

where Q is the the moment of area with respect to the neutral axis of the area between
point A and whatever point is being considered. When qs is positive it has the direction
shown in the gures on page 2. The shear ow thus calculated is
6

36.5
-52.8

125.

72.6

-52.8
36.5
Note: shear flow equals numbers shown times (V/I)
Location of Resultant (The Center of Shear)

We now locate the line of action of the resultant of the shear ows shown. We select
an arbitrary but convenient point to take moments - in our case, point A. The total
shear force in each each segment of boundary is simply the area of the corresponding
curve shown in the gure. Hence, we have:
n
o
52:8)
F 1 = VI + 21 (10:5)(36:5
=
85:6
top
n
o
F 2 = VI 23 (17)(36:1) + (17)(36:5)
= 1030 VI
left side
n
o
F 3 = VI 12 (10:5)(36:5
52:8)
bottom
=
85:6 VI
n
o
2
F 4 = VI
17(52:8)
3 (17)(72:5)
=
1719 VI
right side
Because we have taken shear ow counter-clockwise as positive, the above values have
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the directions shown below

F1=85.6 (V/I)
A

F4=1719 (V/I)

F2=1030 (V/I)

F3=85.6 (V/I)

Moments about point A gives us:


MA =

V
I

f1030(10:5)

85:6(17)g = 9360

V
I

The total downward shear is


V

V
I

(1030 + 1719) =

V
I

(2749)

Hence, the line of action of the resultant must be a distance e away from point A given
by
Ma 9360
e=
=
= 3:40
V
2749
NOTE: According to the above equation for total shear, V , what must be the value for
the moment of inertia? Check your answer.