Here you will find informational articles on topics related to the Excel spreadsheets for civil and mechanical engineering calculations available from the DOWNLOADS page. This includes articles in the clickable categories below: pipe flow calculations, open channel flow, heat transfer/heat exchangers, storm water/hydrology, continuous beam analysis and design, open channel flow measurement, and pipe flow measurement topics. Scroll down on each category page to see all of the articles.
Similar blog articles are available at our companion site, www.EngineeringExcelSpreadsheets.com.
Scroll down for the following blog articles in this category:
Where to Find a C Channel Beam Design Spreadsheet
For a C channel beam design spreadsheet, click here to visit our spreadsheet store. Obtain a convenient, easy to use C channel beam design spreadsheet at a reasonable price. Read on for information about calculating combined bending and torsional warping stresses in light-gage steel C-channel bending members.
Background for C Channel Calculations with Combined Bending and Torsional Warping Stresses
The usual calculation of stresses in bending members applies to loads that act along one of the principal axes passing through both the centroid and the shear center. For symmetrical sections, the centroid and the shear center coincide and this requirement is easily accomplished. If this is the case, the beam will deflect in the plane of these applied loads without any rotational displacements. Many light-gage structural bending members are shaped into configurations that have cross sections where the shear center and the centroid do not coincide. In these cases, if the loads do not pass through the shear center, the beam will rotate as well as displace along the direction of the applied loads. C-shaped channel sections fall into this category. A realistic analysis of these shapes must calculate both the usual bending stresses and torsional stresses. The torsional warping stresses act in the same direction as the bending stresses. The bending stresses vary from top to bottom of the section with the maximum stresses equally distributed across the top and bottom flanges .The torsional moments will cause sideways bending of the flanges with maximum warping stresses occurring at the ends of the flanges. This is shown in the figure at the left above. The maximum combined stresses therefore may occur at either of the points A. B or C. a
Calculations for a C Channel Beam Design Spreadsheet
The current edition of the AISI Specification for the Design of Cold-Formed Steel Members includes a requirement that combined bending and warping stresses be calculated in order to determine the maximum combined stress. From these combined stresses a reduction factor is calculated. This factor reduces the moment capacity established by bending alone. This reduction factor assures that the maximum combined stresses will not cause premature failure of the beam.
The calculation of these maximum combined stresses is time consuming. The spreadsheet available at www.EngineeringExcelSpreadsheets.com does these calculations for C-shaped members subject to the common load case of a uniformly distributed load. Three possibilities are considered:
For a C-shape, the centroid of the cross-section is on the same side of the web as the flanges. The shear center is on the opposite side of the web from the flanges and hence the centroid.
Vertical loads applied to the top flange of the channel will not pass through the shear center. The stresses in this case may be calculated by analyzing the member for bending alone then combining these with the torsional warping stresses calculated independently. The torsional warping stresses are in line with the member similar to the bending stresses. They can be combined algebraically.
Equations for a C Channel Beam Design Spreadsheet
Torsional analysis requires calculation of the angle of rotation and its second derivative along the length of the beam. Derivation of this approach may be found in the references. Reference 1 provides formulas for the angle of rotation for 12 loading and boundary support conditions. In this spreadsheet, we assume simple torsional support for the boundary conditions at the end supports of the beam. This means the cross-section can warp freely at the ends of the member and the warping normal stresses are zero. If the member is part of a continuous beam, the user may input the beam end moments from separate analysis. In Reference 1, Case 4 applies to a uniformly distributed applied torsional moment along the span. Case 3 applies to a concentrated applied torsion moment applied anywhere along the length of the beam. These are the basis of this spreadsheet.
The formulas for the angle of rotation, Ɵ, are as follows:
Case 3 Concentrated torsional moment applied at a point αL from the left support with pinned end boundary condition:
Ɵ = TL/GJ [(1.0 – α)(z/L) + ((sinh αL/a)/(tanh L/a) – (cosh αL)) (a/L)sinh z/a)]
Case 4 Uniformly distributed torsional moment along length of beam with pinned end boundary condition:
Ɵ = (t a2/GJ )[(L2/a2)(z/L – z2/L2) + cosh z/a – (tanh L/2a) (sinh z/a – 1.0)]
The terms in these formulas and their units are described in the spreadsheet.
The spreadsheet consists of four sheets. Each is for one of the loadings shown above. Only the first sheet requires input data. The user must place this required data in the amber colored cells. All other cells are locked to protect the integrity of the spreadsheet. The final results for all possible bracing conditions are summarized on the last sheet. The user selects the proper solution for the actual bracing condition. This c channel beam spreadsheet is available at www.EngineeringExcelTemplates.com.
1. Heins, C.P. and P.A. Seaburg, “Torsional Analysis of Rolled Steel Sections”, Bethlehem Steel Design File, 1963.
2. Galambos, T.V., “Structural Members and Frames”, Prentice Hall, 1968.
3. Yu, Wei-Wen, “Cold-Formed Steel Design”, John Wiley & Sons, 1991.
4. Seaburg, P.A., "C-Channel Bending Stress and Torsional Stress Spreadsheet", an online blog article.
For an allowable stress beam design spreadsheet, click here to visit our spreadsheet store. Obtain a convenient, easy to use beam design spreadsheet using allowable stressl design at a reasonable price. Read on for information about the use of deflection limits and serviceability requirements for simply supported beam design.
Design of a simply supported beam with uniform distributed load can be carried out as follows. Based on inputs of span length, elastic modulus, live load, dead load, allowable bending stress, deflection limit for live load and deflection limit for live load and dead load acting simultaneously, the equations in the next section can be used to calculate maximum moment, maximum shear, elastic section modulus, and minimum moments of inertia required to satisfy the constraints on deflection. The equations can also be used to check on whether a known design satisfies strength and deflection requirements.
Equations for the first step in an allowable stress beam design spreadsheet are as follows for a simply supported beam subject to a uniform distributed load:
Mmax = wL2/8, where
Vmax = wL/2, where
Mallow = SFb, where
ymax = 5wL4/(384EI), where
ymax < L/Ld, where
The image below shows a screenshot of an allowable stress beam design spreadsheet. Based on inputs of span length, elastic modulus, live load, dead load, allowable bending stress, deflection limit for live load and deflection limit for dead load, the spreadsheet can be used to calculate maximum moment, maximum shear, elastic section modulus, and minimum moments of inertia required to satisfy the constraints on deflection.
For low cost, easy to use spreadsheets to make these calculations in S.I. or U.S. units, as well as checking with a known design to see if strength and deflection requirements are met, click here to visit our spreadsheet store.
Where to Find Structural Analysis if Beams Spreadsheets
If you want to obtain Excel spreadsheets for structural analysis of beams, click here to visit our download page. Read on for information about performing beam analyses via superposition and how Excel spreadsheets can be used for structural analysis of beams.
The equation giving the deflection of a beam with a complicated loading can often be found relatively easily by superposing two or more deflection equations corresponding to simple loadings. Superposition can be used, however, only if the beam deflections are small, say less than 1/500-th of the beam span. Fortunately the vast majority of beams designed by structural and mechanical engineers involve deflections this small or smaller, and thus superposition is applicable to a wide range of practical problems.
Background on Superposition for Structural Analysis of Beams
The theoretical justification for superposition is straightforward. Consider the differential equation for beam deflection, y(x)
in which w(x) is the load acting on the beam, E isthe elastic modulus of the beam material, I is the moment of inertia of the cross section, and x is a horizontal coordinate, measured from the left end and locating points on the beam. The deflection function y(x) must satisfy Eq. 1 and also the boundary conditions. For example, for a beam fixed at both ends, the boundary conditions would be
in which L is the length of the beam.
Now suppose that a load w1(x) acts on the beam. Then the deflection y1(x) of the beam is governed by Eq.1:
Next, remove the load w1(x) and apply a different load, w2(x). Then the deflection y2(x) of the beam is also governed by Eq.1:
Adding Eqs. 3 and 4 and defining a new function, y3(x) ≡ y1(x) + y2(x), gives
In words, y3(x) satisfies the differential equation for a beam subjected to the combined loading, w1(x) plus w2(x), and, furthermore, y3(x) can be found by simply adding the deflection equations corresponding to w1(x) and w2(x) acting alone (Note that boundary conditions, such as Eq. 2, also are satisfied after superposition).
So why bother with superposition? Why not just solve Eq. 5 directly for y3(x)? Answer: Superposition is in fact not worth bothering about, unless tabulated solutions exist for y1(x) and y2(x). Because if someone else has already solved the differential equations for y1(x) and y2(x) (and the solutions are available to you, typically through a published table of solutions) then all you have to do is add their results—you completely avoid the time-consuming, error-prone process of solving the differential equation for y3(x).
Example Structural Analysis of Beams Calculations
As an illustration, consider the beam shown in the figure below.
For concreteness, let a1 = 2 m, a2 = 3 m, L = 12 m, P1 = 10 kN, P2 = 14 kN, E = 200 GPa, and I = 600 000 cm4.
The general result for a single load is given by equation (6) below, which is found in all tables of beam deflection formulas:
The deflection equation is
This equation can be used to give the deflection equation y(x) for our two-load problem through superposition
y(x) = yo(x, 10 kN, 2 m) + yo(x, 14 kN, 9 m) . (7)
That is, we apply Eq. 6 twice, once for the 10-kN load acting a = 2 m from the left end, and once for the 14-kN load acting a = 12 m − 3 m = 9 m from the left end.
The forms of Eqs. 6 and 7 are well-suited for implementation in a spreadsheet. We only have to program a single formula (with an “If” statement) representing Eq. 6, and then we can superpose the results of that formula once for each concentrated load acting on the beam—no matter how many loads act or where they act. The same superposition approach can be used to calculate the shear and moment diagrams.Obviously, a similar approach can be used for other tabulated solutions, such as those corresponding to a concentrated moment or distributed load acting on the beam.
Structural Analysis of Beams Spreadsheet
The workbook of which this spreadsheet is a part contains tabs for one and two concentrated forces, one and two concentrated moments, one and two linearly varying distributed loads, and a combination of all three types of loadings. The procedure to extend the analysis to other load cases is also presented in a tab. Because all formulas used in each tab are visible and can be unlocked, userspossessing only a basic knowledge of Excel may easily customize the spreadsheet to meet particular needs and recurrent applications. This Excel workbook for structural analysis of beams and additional workbooks for other boundary conditions are available in either U.S. or S.I. units at low cost from our download page.
1. Manual of Steel Construction, Load & Resistance Factor Design, Volume I, Structural Members, Specifications & Codes, 2nd Edition, American Institute of Steel Construction, Chicago, IL, American Institute of Steel Construction (1994).
2. Egor P. Popov, Engineering Mechanics of Solids, 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall, New York, NY (1998).
3. Rossow, Mark, "Using Superposition in a Continuous Beam Analysis Spreadsheet," an online blog article