Using MATLAB as a teaching and learning tool for beam bending problems in mechanics

  • SK Shine
  • SEM Sebusang
Keywords: standard beams, MATLAB scripts, numerical solutions, engineering education


This paper presents a MATLAB solution for the shear force, bending moment, and deflection as continuous functions of the distance measured from the left hand support for a simply supported beam carrying concentrated and uniformly distributed loads. The solution has been cast in such a way that it can easily be modified for the beam to carry any number of these loads. The solution provides an easy way of determining the maximum values of the functions and their locations. Using numerical values for a particular loading, the solution and graphs for the above functions are presented as obtained from an actual MATLAB script, which has been included at the end of the paper in Appendix 1. The reader who has access to MATLAB is encouraged to use the script to verify the results presented. Also mechanics lecturers who are involved in engineering undergraduate education will find the script very useful in terms of demonstrating the effect of various concentrated and uniform loads on simply supported beams.

Key Words: standard beams, MATLAB scripts, numerical solutions, engineering education.

Botswana Journal of Technology Vol.13(2) 2004: 12-19

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1019-1593