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Unit 2b:

Structural Analysis of Trusses


– Method of Sections
Zero-Force Members
• Our analysis can be greatly simplified if one
can identify those members that support no
loads. We call these zero-force members.
• These members can used to increase the
stability of the truss during construction and to
provide support if the applied loading is
change.

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• Rule 1:
If only two members form a truss joint and no
external load or support reaction is applied to the
joint, the members must be a zero-force member.

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• Rule 2:
If three members form a truss joint for which two of
the members are collinear, the third member is a zero-
force member provided no external force or support
reaction is applied to the joint.

FDA & FCA are zero-force members 4


Example 2b-1 (Zero-force members):
Which are the zero-force members?

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Example 2b-1 (Zero-force members) (Continued):

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The Method of Sections
• Based on principle that if a body is in equilibrium
then any (all) parts of the body must be in
equilibrium.
• If a body is in equilibrium, then any parts of the body
is also in equilibrium. We can thus ‘cut’ the body and
analyze the section in isolation.
• Generally, the ‘cut’ should not pass more than three
members in which the forces are unknown

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• To analyze a truss structure using method of sections,
these steps are useful:
1. First draw a line to pass through as many as possible of
the member forces required.
2. Then draw a free body of everything on one side or the
other whichever is simpler (i.e., involve less number of
forces and reactions)
3. Replace all the cut members by the forces acting out from
the joint to denote tension.
4. Then solve by taking the sum of the moments about a
convenient point or by summing forces. Eg. If three
members are cut (a) take moment about the point where 2
forces are concurrent, then third force can be solved, or
(b) sum all the forces in the direction which only 2 forces
contribute to, then third force can be solved.
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Example 2b-2 (Method of Sections):
Determine the force in members GE, GC and BC. Indicate whether
the members are in tension/compression.

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Example 2b-2 (Method of Sections) (Continued):
Step 1: FBD and Calculate the reaction force

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Example 2b-2 (Method of Sections) (Continued):
Step 2: Section
the structure

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Example 2b-3 (Method of Sections – with imaginary point):

Determine the force in member CF.

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Example 2b-3 (Method of Sections – with imaginary point) (Continued):

Step 1: FBD &


Calculate the
reaction forces

Taking moment about A,


∑MA = 0 = Ey(16) – 5(8) – 3(12)
Ey = 4.75 kN
∑Fy = 0 = Ay + 4.75 – 5 – 3
Ay = 3.25 kN
∑Fx = 0 = Ax 14
Example 2b-3 (Method of Sections – with imaginary point) (Continued):

Step 2: Section the structure

From similar
triangles, x can be
obtained:
4 6

4 x 8 x

x=4m

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Example 2b-4 (Method of Sections + Method of Joints) :

Determine the force in member EB


Step 1: FBD &
Calculate the
reaction forces

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Example 2b-4 (Method of Sections + Method of Joints) (Continued):

Step 2: Section the structure


Notice that we cannot
cut through section b-
b. To reduce the
section b-b into 2
unknowns, we have to
cut through section a-
a first.

Taking moments about B,


∑MB = 0
1000(4) + 3000(2) – 4000(4) + FED sin 30° (4) = 0
FED = 3000 N (C) (FED is initially assumed as compression)
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Example 2b-4 (Method of Sections + Method of Joints) (Continued):
Consider now the free-body diagram of section b-b:

Fx = 0
-FEF cos 30- 3000cos30 = 0
FEF = -3000 N
FEF = 3000 N (C)

Fy = 0
FEF sin 30+ 3000sin30 - 1000 - FEB = 0
FEB = 2000 N (T)

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Different Types of Roof Trusses

KING POST

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Types of bridge trusses

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