Beams and Beam Analysis


Engineering Studies – H1 Civil Engineering – Mechanical Analysis

This topic investigates beams, their types, application and mechanical analysis.  Shear stress calculations and bending moment analysis are key concepts.

Key Concepts

  • Beam shapes
  • Calculating the reaction forces at the beam supports
  • Beam applied loads – point loading
  • Beam uniform distributed loads (UDL)
  • Bending moments
  • Shear stress, calculating shear force values at load points along a beam
  • Shear force diagrams
  • 2nd moment of area

Discussion Questions


  1. Define the difference between a beam and a truss.
  2. Describe common beam shapes and reasons for these shapes.
  3. What is equilibrium?
  4. What type of beam supports are used?
  5. Evaluate pined and roller supports and the force reactions created at these support points.
  6. What reasons might a beam experience applied point loads?
  7. How are the reactions at the supports calculated?

Shear Stress

  1. Define shear stress.
  2. What is the unit of shear stress?
  3. How do you calculate the shear stress at loads points along a loaded beam?
  4. Why is a diagram used to display calculated results for shear stress?

Bending Moments

  1. Define a bending moment.
  2. How do you calculate bending moment at points along a loaded beam?
  3. What are the units of a bending moment?
  4. Why might a beam with a ‘UDL’ have a bending moment when no external loads are being applied?
  5. Explain the concept of the ‘neutral axis’.
  6. The ‘second moment of area’ value indicate what property?


Analysis of a beam using CAD software 1 MB
Download software - draw beam and analysis various shapes.
Shear Force and Bending Moments(p1) 973 KB
Part 1 of 2 - Missing suggested video due to size Courtesy of Mr John Reardon - the video for this Powerpoint
Shear Force and Bending Moments part 2 3 MB
Part 2 of 2 Courtesy of Mr John Reardon


Feature Video - Beams - Bending Moments and Shear Forces by Mr David Jackson - 522 V1
Beams - Shear Forces Calculations - Mr David Jackson - 522 V2
Beams - Bending Moment Calculations - Mr David Jackson - 522 V3
Beams - Bending Stress Calculations - Mr David Jackson - 522 V4
Beams - UDL - Mr David Jackson - 522 V5
Cantilever Beam - Mr David Jackson - Engineering Studies Teacher 522 V6
The Efficient Engineer This video is an introduction to shear force and bending moment diagrams.
The Efficient Engineer EXTENSION CONTENT ONLY after the first few minutes.
Grant Harbor
Internal forces in a beam - Calvin Rans