Beam Bending Lab

Discussion Questions

Answer the questions asked in the lab procedure


  1. Identify the impact of the various materials and shape configurations (How is a box beam different from a rectangular beam? How does aluminum copper affect deflection? Etc.)
  2. Discuss the difference between measured and theoretical deflection values (% error)
  3. The mathematical definition for Area Moment of Inertia is I = ∫ y2 * dA .

Based on your experimental work in beam bending, give a qualitative definition or explanation for the Area Moment of Inertia.

  1. If you needed to reduce deflection in a loaded aluminum rectangular box beam in your structural design, which of the following variables would you INCREASE? Which would be the MOST effective in reducing deflection?


w t T

  1. For question 2 above, what material could you substitute for aluminum in your design to decrease the deflection? Why?
  2. The mathematical definition for the Modulus of Elasticity or Young’s Modulus is E = Stress / strain. Based on your experimental work in beam bending, give a qualitative definition or description for the Young’s Modulus or the Modulus of
  3. Which has the larger Area Moment of Inertia, a 2” x 2” square beam of high strength stainless steel or a 2” x 2” square beam of balsa wood? Support your answer qualitatively or
  4. Should the Elastic modulus of a beam change if the unsupported length of the beam is changed? Why?
  5. What would be the percent change in deflection if a solid rectangular beam has its unsupported length changed from 30 inches to 36 inches? SHOW YOUR CALCULATION. What does this tell you about the importance of unsupported beam length in structural design?
  6. Is the Modulus of Elasticity indicative of what the failure load of a beam would be? Why?
  7. Which has a higher resistance to deflection (that is, a smaller ratio of deflection/F which is the slope on your graph), a solid square, 1”x1” beam, or a square box beam with outer dimensions of 1”x1” and inner dimensions of 0.95”x0.95”? (Assume that L and E are the same for both.) What advantages are there to using the box beam instead of the solid beam?
  8. In how many significant figures do you think the final value of the modulus of elasticity

for each of the beams should be reported? Why?

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