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It must be reiterated here that there are two type of stresses at a point in general; one is normal
stress and other shear stress. There may be different name given to normal and shear stress.
These name are in general based of the type of loading, deformation pattern etc. The bending
stress at a point in any member is induced due to bending moment. It is a normal stress and
acts along the normal to the plane taken around a point. The computation of stresses due to
bending is entirely different from the tensile and compressive stresses due to direct loading.
We know that in axially loaded members, all the fibers across a cross-section either elongate
or contract with same amount but in case of bending, the deformation is not equal for all the
fiber at a particular section. The variation of elongation and contraction makes the analysis of
determining the stress distribution across cross-section slightly complicated.
Following assumptions simplify the analysis:
 Material is homogeneous, isotropic and obeys Hooke’s law and limit of elasticity does not
exceed during bending.
 Planes of cross-section remain normal to the longitudinal axis before and after bending.
 Beam is initially straight and all the fibers bends in circular arc with common center of
 Each fiber is free to expand and contract. This eliminates the Poisson’s ratio effect which
would develop stresses in other directions as well.
 The beam is subjected to pure bending and the plane in which bending moment is acting
contains the axis of symmetry.
 There is no resultant force normal to the plane of cross-section.

Let us consider a beam subjected to pure bending (shear force is zero at any section) moment,
M. Initially, the beam is straight as shown in Figure 1(a). ab is top fiber and cd is bottom fiber.
The beam bent about center O as shown in Figure 1(b). The deformation of the beam about a
common center is associated with elongation of bottom fiber and contraction of top fiber. This
is in accordance with fact that the circumference of inner circular arc is less as compared to
outer circular arc. This means that axial deformation of fibers varies from contraction to
elongation along top to bottom. It implies that there will a fiber in between where the axial
deformation is zero. This fiber is called neutral fiber. Let, this be along SS in the Figure 1.
There are many such fibers in the beam and if we join all such fibers, it constitutes a
surface/plane known as neutral surface/plane as shown in Figure 1c and 1d.

s s

‘ ‘
‘ ‘ (c)
s' s’
n‘ q‘

Figure 1: Beam before and after bending under pure bending moment

The neutral fires do not undergo any deformation. This longitudinal neutral plane (before
bending) is perpendicular to plane of cross-section (y-z) and plane bending moment (x-y). The
intersection of the plane of neutral fiber and plane of cross-section is line and that line is called
as neutral axis as shown in Figure 2.
Plane of cross section
Centroidal axis Neutral axis
Plane of moment

Plane of neutral fibres or z

neutral layer Plane of neutral
Plane of cross section fibres or neutral

Figure 2: Neutral axis and different planes

Sometimes we may call these planes as transverse plane, longitudinal plane and plane of cross-
section. The neutral axis is different from the centroidal axis and are perpendicular to each
other as evident from the Figure 2. The neutral axis pass through the centroid of the section for
symmetric bending. Moreover, neutral axis is associated with the cross-section whereas
centroid axis is in general associated with the volume of the member.
Let, R be the radius of curvature of the neutral fiber of the deformed beam. We can write
𝑠 ′ 𝑠 ′ = 𝑠𝑠 = 𝑅(𝑑𝜃)
𝑠𝑠 = 𝑒𝑓 = 𝑚𝑝 = 𝑛𝑞 = 𝑅(𝑑𝜃)
Let us consider a fiber ef at a distance y from the neutral axis which after deformation is e’f’.
The strain in the fiber is
𝑒 ′ 𝑓 ′ − 𝑒𝑓
(𝑅 − 𝑦)𝑑𝜃 − 𝑅(𝑑𝜃) 𝑦
𝜀= =−
𝑅(𝑑𝜃) 𝑅
From Hookes law
𝜎 𝑦
𝜎 = −𝑅𝑦 1a

Negative sign representing the compressive stress. Dropping the negative sign with reference
to the fact that a fiber which is under contraction will experience compressive stress and fiber
which elongates is under tension.
𝜎 = 𝑅𝑦 1b

The above equation shows the distribution of longitudinal stress along the depth of the beam.
The depth of the beam is represented by y. This is an equation of line or shows a linear
distribution along y. This equation can not be used for calculation of stress unless the radius of
curvature is known. We are known with load and moment, so now we will develop a relation
in terms of moment action of the beam to find the bending stress at a point.
According to Equation 1, we can represent the stress distribution as below. The orange color
shows compressive stress and the blue one tensile stress. The stress is same for a particular
value of y. It reduces to zero at NA.

𝑦 𝜎𝑥

Figure 3

Let us consider any section and an elemental area dA to show the stress 𝜎𝑥 . There is no other
force is acting on it. The section shown is in static equilibrium and must satisfy the equations
of equilibrium.
∑ 𝐹𝑥 = 0 ; ∑ 𝐹𝑦 = 0; ∑ 𝑀𝑧 = 0
Considering ∑ 𝐹𝑥 = 0, we may write sum of all forces acting on the such elemental areas, this
sum is obtained by integration for continuum.

∫ 𝜎𝑥 𝑑𝐴 = 0

From Equation 1,
−∫ 𝑦𝑑𝐴 = 0

∫ 𝑦𝑑𝐴 = 0

This shows the first moment of area. The first moment of area is zero about centroid. Therefore,
for a symmetric beam, the neutral axis (along z-axis) pass through the centroid.

The normal stress induced is responsible for development of moment of resistance. In other
words, the applied BM on the beam induces the bending stress in the beam. The resisting
moment is obtained by taking the moment of all the elemental forces on the such elemental
areas. Therefore, we may write for the cross-section lamina:

∫ 𝜎𝑥 𝑑𝐴(𝑦) = 𝑀

From Equation 1,
𝐸 2
∫ 𝑦 𝑑𝐴 = 𝑀
𝑀= ∫ 𝑦 2 𝑑𝐴

Where, ∫𝐴 𝑦 2 𝑑𝐴, is second moment of area of the cross-section about NA. It is denoted by I
with subscript to represent the axis.
So, we can write
𝑀 = 𝑅 𝐼𝑁𝐴 2


𝐼𝑁𝐴 = ∫ 𝑦 2 𝑑𝐴

From Equation 1b and 2.

𝑀 𝜎 𝐸
= = = 𝑘𝐸
Curvature k is directly proportional to M and inversely proportional to EI (flexural rigidity) of
the beam. Flexural rigidity is a measure of the resistance of a beam to bending.
The bending equation is derived using the listed assumptions and used to compute the stress at
any point in a member subjected to load producing bending is in general is written

𝑀 𝜎 𝐸
= =
𝐼 𝑦 𝑅

M Bending moment acting at any section; N mm

I Second moment of area of the section about its neutral axis; mm4
 Stress induced due to bending moment M at the section considered at a distance
y from neutral axis; N/mm2.
E Modulus of elasticity of the beam material; N/mm2.
R Radius of curvature of the deformed beam; mm
y Distance from the neutral axis where  is computed; mm

Comments on the assumptions

Let us consider a beam subjected to pure bending and the undeformed and deformed shapes
are shown in Figure 1. The assumption 1 gives that the modulus of elasticity is same for
compression and tension i.e. Ec = Et and also no permanent deformation has taken place. The
second assumption suggests that the strain varies linearly with the distance from neutral fiber
(unchanged in length). The fibers above neutral fiber will undergo compression and fibers
below neutral fiber in tension. Using assumption 1 and 2 we can now draw the strain and stress
distribution (Figure 4a and 4b) curve at any cross-section.
If the assumption 2 does not hold good and 1 and 3 are valid then strain no longer follow
straight line relationship and strain distribution diagram will be as shown in Figure 4c. Now as
  E   and Ec = Et, the stress distribution follows the distribution of strain as shown in Figure

Also note the possible shift in the position of neutral fiber. In another possibility assumption 2
holds good but 1 does not, then the strain distribution will be same as shown in Figure 4e, but
Ec  Et
the stress distribution will change as the .

Figure 4: Strain and stress distributions for different cases of assumptions

Comments on Bending Equation

In machine design, above equation finds maximum application and is used to compute the
stress at point of any section of a member modeled as beam. Taking first two parts of the
equation and rewriting as:
 y

If the bending moment is constant through out the length of the beam as it happens to be
constant for pure bending case, then above equation of stress is a function of only variable y.
Therefore, as y increases, the stress also increases linearly but stress at any cross section for
same value of y will be the same. This case of constant moment throughout the length of the
member is rarely encountered in the actual practice whereas in general, the moment comes due
to the presence of a force as shown in Figure 5 and that is why the moment becomes distance
Figure 5: Bending stress distribution for a cantilever beam

In such cases the stress equation will have two dependent variables. It implies that once the
cross-section in which the stress is to be determined has been fixed the moment appearing in
the equation becomes a constant and value is computed by multiplying the force and the
distance of the cross-section from the line of action of force. The magnitude of bending moment
can also be read directly from the bending moment diagram at that position. As we go away
from the point of application of load, the value of the bending moment increases thereby
increasing the value of stress. It suggests that moment and stresses appearing in the bending
equation should have a subscript system to indicate the position of cross-section and the point
in the cross-section where the stress is to be evaluated. But, in the machine design we are
interested in the maximum value of stress induced in the member under the action of external
loads that is why the subscripts  and M are not used and in general M refers to its maximum
value which will give us the maximum stress induced in the member at a point (or a fiber)
which is located at farthest distance from the neutral axis. The stress distributions at different
planes are shown in the Figure 5c and it is clear that for a particular section, the stress is
maximum at the outermost fiber (farthest from neutral axis) and the plane farthest from the
point of application of load is most severely stressed.
Distribution of stress on different Sections

A crane hook trolley is supported by beam having section shown in figure. The section has
span of 10 m. If allowable stresses in tension and compression are 100 and 120 N/mm2
respectively, calculate the safe load supported by the beam.

150 150



Second moment of area of the section from Example Problem 4.2
I  6108.8 10 5 mm4
The beam is assumed as simply supported and the stresses would be maximum when the load due to
trolley would produce maximum bending moment. Let, the load be W and it will produce maximum
bending moment when it acts at the centre of the beam. The upper fibre will be in tension and lower fibre
in tension due to sagging.
Distance of upper fiber from neutral axis, y c  340  164.9  175.1 mm
Distance of lower fiber from neutral axis, yt  164.9 mm
Wl 10000W
M max    2500W
Maximum bending moment, 4 4 N.mm

Stress in upper fiber

M max 2500W
c  yc  175.1
= 6108.8  10

for safe design  c   dc  120 N/mm2

120  6108.8 10 5
175.1 2500 = W  167.46 kN

Stress in lower fiber

M max 2500W
t  yt  164.9
= 6108.8  10

for safe design  t   dt  100 N/mm2

100  6108.8 10 5
164.9  2500 = W  148.18 kN

Lower of these loads will be load carrying capacity of the beam, hence, recommended load is
W  148 kN

A trolley runs on four wheels mounted on two axles with a maximum load of 20 tonnes. The
trolley is attached to each axle through two bearings 1.4 m apart. The distance of wheels on the
axle is 1000 mm and symmetrically located. Design a hollow axle taking d1 / d2  0.5
if  d  60

MPa. Also obtain the length of the bearing if maximum permissible bearing pressure at the
pb  4
bearing is MPa.

Total load
Load on one axle = 2

Load on axle
F  49050
Load on one wheel, 2 N
Maximum bending moment, M  49050  200  981  104 N.mm

The axle is subjected to bending moment only ( no power transmission of torque to be present),
32  981 104
d 
 3
32 M d2 

Z d 2 (1  K 4 )
or  (1  0.54 )60 d2  121.1 mm

d2  125 d1  62.5
mm mm
Bearing pressure
F 49050
pb  l  98.1
dl 4125  mm take l  100 mm