Bending in beams

When a beam carries loads, complex stresses build up in the material of the beam. The bending that results from the loading causes some beam fibres to:

  • carry tension - these are called tensile forces
  • carry compression - these are called compressive forces
  • take shear forces.

These all occur simultaneously.

Bending theory is complex and relies on mathematical modelling for solutions. The theory includes the concepts of bending moments and shear forces.

When a structural engineer designs a beam the key concerns are:

  • bending
  • shear
  • deflection.