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University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science


MECE 2420U Solid Mechanics
Laboratory Manual

LAB 2: BENDING EXPERIMENT

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Lab Objectives
In this experiment the concept of bending moment and its calculation along a straight
beam is investigated. Measurements are performed to improve the understanding of the
concept and to gain experience in the use of modern bending moment testing machine.
The bending moment test is performed to study how the bending moment varies with
variation of the
Load magnitude
Load distribution
It also helps students to find out how the bending moment can be measured in a point
along the beam.
Background
Members that are slender and support loadings that are applied perpendicular to their
longitudinal axis are called beams. In general beams are long, straight bars having a
constant cross-sectional area. Because of the applied loadings, beams develop an internal
force called shear force and an internal moment known as bending moment. In general
both shear force and bending moment vary from point to point along the beam, as shown
in Figure 1.

Shear force and bending moment are calculated at each point using the following
procedure.
1. Determine all the reactive forces and couple moments acting on the beam.
2. Section the beam perpendicular to its length at the desired point and draw the free
body diagram of one segment. Make sure that V (Shear Force) and M (Bending
Moment) are shown acting in their positive sense, in accordance with the sign
convention given in Figure 2.
3. The shear force is obtained by summing the forces perpendicular to the beams
axis and the bending moment is obtained by summing the moments about the
sectioned end of the segment.
In order to properly design a beam, it is important to know the variations of the shear
force and the bending moment along its axis in order to find the points in which these
values are maxima.

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Both of these important parameters at each point vary by changing the magnitude and the
distribution of the applied loads. This test is being preformed to study the effects of the
magnitude and distribution of the applied loads on the bending moment value at a
specified point.
Equipment
The bending moment machine, shown in Figure 3, used in this laboratory consists of a
beam fitted into the structure test frame. The structure test frame is a sturdy aluminum
frame, which stands on a workbench. Loads are applied to the beam using hangers, which
hold various masses.
The Digital Force Display electronically measures and displays forces during
experiments. It is conveniently fixed to the test frame. All the equipment connects to a
computer by means of an Automatic Data Acquisition Unit and software (STR2000).

The beam is cut by a pivot. To stop the beam collapsing a moment arm bridges the cut
on to a load cell thus reacting (and measuring) the bending moment force. A digital
display shows the force from the load cell.
The beam geometry and hanger positions are shown in Figure 4. Hanger supports are 20
mm apart, and have a centre slot that positions the hangers. The moment arm is 125 mm
long. The beam hangs from the top member of the test frame, rather than sitting on the
bottom, so the supports do not interfere with loading positions.
Since the load cell has almost zero deflection, no compensation in the level of the beam is
needed for an increase in force. Thus, the beam remains perfectly horizontal regardless of
load. All pivots run on sealed ball races, the left support allows rotational and horizontal
movement while the right support allows rotation only.
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The masses supplied with the equipment give maximum flexibility and ease of use.
Figure 5 shows a hanger loaded with masses. Use the clips provided to hold the masses
on the hangers.
There are one-hundred-and-fifty 10-gram masses and five 10-gram weight hangers. This
allows any load, in increments of 10-grams, to be made up to maximum 500-grams.
Alternatively, one hanger can be made up into 100-grams, 200-grams, 300-grams, 400grams or 500-grams.

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Safety Instructions
There is a risk of electric shock. Always unplug first.
During test do not touch any parts of the test apparatus except the designated
handles.
IMPORTANT! Never attempt any form of machine maintenance.
IMPORTANT! Never attempt to apply any excessive load over than the designed
loads; it may cause damage to the load cell and also plastic deformation in the
beam.

Test Procedure
In order to find out how the bending moment varies with the variation of the magnitude
of the applied load, and its distribution along the beam, two experiments are designed.
The steps of both experiments are illustrated in the following sections.
Bending moment variation at the point of loading (part 1)
In this experiment the bending moment is measured at Cut position when the loading is
applied in the same position (Cut), as shown in Figure 6. The steps of the experiment
are as follows:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Make sure that the beam is load-less and in its horizontal position.
Turn on the load digital force displayer.
Make sure that the digital force displayer displays zero force.
Hang the load hanger exactly in the Cut position (according to Figure 6).
Put proper masses to get loads according to the first column of the following
Table 1.
6. Read the force displayed by the digital force displayer and write it, in the third
column of Table 1, for each case.
7. When you finished recording the data, depart the hanger and prepare for the next
experiment.

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Bending moment variation away from the point of loading (part 2)


In this experiment the bending moment is measured at Cut position and loadings are
applied in some other points along the beam. Three load cases according to Figure 7,
Figure 8, and Figure 9 are considered. The steps of the experiment are as following:
1. Make sure that beam is load less and in its horizontal position.
2. Turn on the load digital force displayer if it is off.
3. Make sure that the digital force displayer displays zero force.
4. Hang the load hanger exactly according to the position shown in Figure 7.
5. Put proper masses to get load according to the load shown in Figure 7.
6. Read the force displayed by the digital force displayer and write it in the first
row forth column of Table 2.
7. Remove the load hanger.
8. Hang the load hangers exactly according to the positions shown in Figure 8.
9. Put proper masses to get loads according to the loads shown in Figure 8.
10. Read the force displayed from the digital force displayer and write it in the
second row forth column of Table 2.
11. Remove the hanger W1 and read the force and then hang W1 and remove the
hanger W2. Check if the summation of these two cases is equal to the force you
read in step 10.
12. Remove the load hangers and hang them according to Figure 9 with the shown
loads.
13. Read the force displayed from the digital force displayer and write it in the third
row forth column of Table 2.
14. Repeat the step 11 similarly.

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Theory for Analysis


Bending moment variation at the point of loading (part 1)
1. Using the obtained readings calculate experimental bending moment by the
following formula: Experimental bending moment = Force x Moment arm length
2. Using the above formula calculate the experimental bending moment for each
case and fill in the forth column of Table 1.
3. Using the equilibrium equations F = 0; M= 0determine the values of RA and
RB for each case.
4. Using the method discussed in Section 2 calculate the bending moment for each
case and fill in the fifth column of Table 1.
5. Draw the load (vertical axis) vs. experimental and theoretical bending moments
(horizontal axis) as it is drawn in for some typical results.

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Bending moment variation away from the point of loading (part 2)


1. Using the obtained readings calculate the experimental bending moment from =
Force x Moment arm length.
2. Using the above formula calculate the experimental bending moment for each
load case and fill in the fifth column of Table 2.
3. Using the equilibrium equations determine RA and RB for each load case and fill in
the sixth and seventh column of Table 2.
4. Using the method discussed in Section 2 calculate the bending moment for each
case and fill in the eighth column of Table 2.
Lab Report
A full report would usually require a brief outline of the steps taken in performing the
experiment and of precautions taken to minimize errors. Your report should contain the
following items:
1. A record of all measurements made on the test specimens
2. Tabulated needed values of Tables 1 and 2 for each load case
3. A figure showing variation of the load vs. bending moment for part 1.
4. Answer of two following questions:
a. What are the probable sources of difference between the theoretical and
experimental values of the bending moment?
b. Concerning to your experience done in part 2, what is your comment
about The bending moment at the cut is equal to the algebraic sum of
the moments caused by the forces acting to the left or right of the cut.?
References:

This document is adopted from a similar lab manual written by Dr. Celal S.
Tufekci of UOIT and edited.
Hibbeler, R. C. Mechanics of Materials, 6/e, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River,
NJ, 2004.

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