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Civil-Comp Proceedings
ISSN 1759-3433
CCP: 4/5
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping
Paper VIII.3

Microcomputer Analysis of Simple and Continuous Beams

H.B. Harrison, School of Civil and Mining Engineering

University of Sydney, Australia

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
H.B. Harrison, School of Civil, Mining Engineering, "Microcomputer Analysis of Simple and Continuous Beams", in B.H.V. Topping, (Editor), "Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Civil and Structural Engineering Computing", Civil-Comp Press, Edinburgh, UK, pp 191-197, 1987. doi:10.4203/ccp.4.8.3
The problem addressed is that of teaching the behaviour and analysis of beams to a modern civil engineering class where soon every student will have a microcomputer.

First it is demonstrated that the stiffness method of analysis can be programed in elementary Basic for even 8 bit microcomputers to deal with the elastic analysis of non-uniform beams of from one to ten continuous spans and subjected to the most general types of load distribution. Account is taken of finite support stiffnesses in both settlement and rotation and the presence of internal hinges.

Next it is shown that simple modifications can be made to produce influence coefficient arrays for deflections, moments, shears and reactions. From these it is possible to construct influence lines for all relevent actions. Useful versions of both the analysis and the influence coefficient programs may reside in 8 bit microcomputers and even there the execution times are quite trifling. There are no secrets in the stiffness method and it is well within the programming capability of today's students.

Quite apart from their usefulness in the design office, these developments have a considerable influence on how we set about the education of the present undergraduate generation. The emphasis that we place on some classical methods of analysis needs rethinking and the paper concludes with some thoughts on the places in structural engineering courses in the late eighties of moment distribution, slope deflection, Clapeyron’s Theorem and even plastic theory.

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