Beams are integral to many structures, from bridges to skyscrapers. As such, analysing them is very important for you budding engineers to design safe beam structures.

Beams are integral to many structures, from bridges to skyscrapers. As such, analysing them is very important for you budding engineers to design safe beam structures.

Generally beams are used to form structural frames for other structural elements to sit on. A good example is the concrete slabs for floors/roads. These do not act as point loads on the beam, but rather as *distributed loads*.

Distributed loads can come in different forms:

Distributed loads are represented by the letter “w”, and have the *unit of N/m*. To find the *equivalent force*, you calculate the area under the distributed load,
by multiplying the w (N/m) by the length of the load (m) to yield the force (N/m × m = N).
The equivalent force acts at the *centroid* of the area under the distributed load.

Let’s look at an example of how we analyse beams with distributed forces.

Generally beams are used to form structural frames for other structural elements to sit on. A good example is the concrete slabs for floors/roads. These do not act as point loads on the beam, but rather as *distributed loads*.

Distributed loads can come in different forms:

Distributed loads are represented by the letter “w”, and have the *unit of N/m*. To find the *equivalent force*, you calculate the area under the distributed load,
by multiplying the w (N/m) by the length of the load (m) to yield the force (N/m × m = N).
The equivalent force acts at the *centroid* of the area under the distributed load.

Let’s look at an example of how we analyse beams with distributed forces.