Engineering Science Fair Project
The effects of the width, depth and cross-section shape of a beam on its strength


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Project Information
Title: The effects of the width, depth and cross-section shape of a beam on its strength
Subject: Engineering
Grade level: Middle School - Grades 7-9
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Low
Awards: 2nd place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (2004)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (VSF)
Year: 2004
Description: The strength of different beams was tested with the help of a Tinius Olsen Testing machine. A load was applied until the beam collapsed.
Link: www.virtualsciencefair.org...
Background

A beam is a structural element that is capable of withstanding load primarily by resisting bending. The bending force induced into the material of the beam as a result of the external loads, own weight and external reactions to these loads is called a bending moment.

Beams generally carry vertical gravitational forces but can also be used to carry horizontal loads (i.e., loads due to an earthquake or wind). The loads carried by a beam are transferred to columns, walls, or girders, which then transfer the force to adjacent structural compression members. In Light frame construction the joists rest on the beam.

Beams are characterized by their profile (the shape of their cross-section), their length, and their material. In contemporary construction, beams are typically made of steel, reinforced concrete, or wood. One of the most common types of steel beam is the I-beam or wide-flange beam (also known as a "universal beam" or, for stouter sections, a "universal column"). This is commonly used in steel-frame buildings and bridges. Other common beam profiles are the C-channel, the hollow structural section beam, the pipe, and the angle.

For More Information: Beam Structure & Theory

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

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