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ARCHES AND CABLES

Arches
Parabolic Cables
Catenary Cables

ARCHES

May resist bending and shear depending on its

TYPES OF ARCHES

PROBLEM

Determine the reaction components for the threehinged arch shown. Support B is 5m below
support A.

CABLES

Support loads over long spans for structures

such as suspension bridges, cable car systems
Internal forces always acts under tension

ASSUMPTIONS

Cable is perfectly flexible. Resistance to

bending is very small and negligible
Cable is inextensible. Change in length is
negligible and the original length is somewhat
restored after the application of load.
Weight of cable is negligible compared to

Methods of analysis:
1.
2.

Method of Joints and Sections

General Cable Theorem
At any point in the cable acted upon by vertical loads,
the product of the horizontal component of the
cable tension and the vertical distance from the
point to the cable is equal to the bending moment
that would occur at that section if the loads carried by
the cable were acting on an end-supported beam of the
same span.

H x sag = M

PROBLEM

Determine the tension in each segment of the

cable shown. What is the dimension of h?

PARABOLIC CABLES

horizontal.

EQUATIONS (SYMMETRIC)

PROBLEM
A cable carrying 200 N/m along the horizontal is suspended
at two points A and B, A being 20 m lower than B. The two
points are 200 m apart horizontally. If the lowest point C of
the cable is 8m below the level of A, determine the tensions A,
B and C, the sag at the vertex with imaginary chord AB and
the total length of the cable.

Ans.

TA = 62246.85 N, TB = 66030.34 N,
TC = 60667.41 N, h = 14.967 m,
STOTAL = 204.51 m

PROBLEM
The cable of a suspension bridge is tied from two supports of
equal elevation at a Z distance apart. Based from design load
criteria, the cable will carry a dead load of 2000 lb/ft and a
live load of 1600 lb/ft. The elevation of the supports and the
lowest point on the cable differs by 9ft. What must be the
value of Z in order to withstand a maximum tension of
100000 lb?

Ans.

Z = 38.136 ft.

PROBLEM
The suspension bridge in the figure is constructed using two
stiffening trusses that are pin connected at their ends C and
supported by a pin at A and a rocker at B. Determine the
maximum tension in the cable IH. The cable has a parabolic
shape and the bridge is subjected to a single load of 50 kN.

Ans.

TMAX = 46.9 kN

CATENARY CABLE
Example: cable subjected only to its weight

Derivation of equations
for catenary cable

EQUATIONS

PROBLEM
A wire weighing 7.5 kN/m is suspended between
two supports at the same level and 45 m apart. If
the sag of the cable is 15m, what is the maximum
tension in the cable. What is the total length of the
cable?

Ans. TMAX = 254.64 kN, STOTAL = 56.34 m

PROBLEM
A guy wire is hung from two posts of the same
elevation 110 m apart. Compute the total length of
the cable, the sag at the lowest point and the
maximum tension if the cable can support a
minimum tension of 900 N. The wire weighs
kg/m.

Ans. STOTAL = 113.74 m, sag = 12.57 m,

TMAX = 992.52 N

PROBLEM
A uniform flexible cable 200m long weighs 5000 N.
The resultant tensions at the ends of the cable are
8000 N and 8800 N, respectively. What is the
difference in elevation of the two ends? How far is
the lowest point of the cable below the lower end?
What is the horizontal distance between ends?
Ans. Z = 32 m, d = 3.36 m, L = 194.36 m

PROBLEM
A uniform flexible cable weighing 50 N/m has a
span of 180m and a sag of 30 m. Find the
maximum tension and the length of the cable.