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Groundwork for Analysis and Design 1:

Elastic Springs

Two Birds Solutions

10.30.2009

Matter

Linear elastic spring/Hook’s Law:

F = k

SPRINGS IN SERIES

kA kB kC Overall spring system:

F

= k

e

total

Each spring (three-spring example):

F = F

F

F

F

A

A

B

C

= k

= k

= k

= F

B

A

B

C

= F

C

Solution for overall spring system stiffness:

 ∆ = F 1 A k A ∆ B = F k B ∆ C = F ∆ total k C = ∆ A + ∆ + ∆ B C ∆ total = F k A + F k B + F k C F = k e ⋅   F   k F + k + F     k A B C 1 1 1 1 = + + k e k A k B k C k = 1 e     1 k + 1 k + 1     k C A B

Force to an individual spring: F
F A =

Displacement of an individual spring:

Discussion

The intent of this document is to provide a basis for performing hand calculations for the analysis of lateral load resisting systems.

Because of simplicity, and to some extent nature, much of fundamental structural mechanics is based on linear elastic springs. Elastic springs follow Hook’s Law where the spring’s resisting force is linearly proportional to the displacement.

ALERT: In LRFD design, linear elastic analysis may only be reliable for approximate results because most materials and structural systems are inelastic at ultimate loads. Linear elastic analysis is usually expected to be quite accurate for serviceability limits such as deflection because material, member and system responses are often linear at the relatively low service loads at which these limits are considered.

Groups of springs may be considered to be in series or in parallel.

Springs in series – all springs resist the same applied force but displace different distances. Common structural examples of springs in series are a column under axial load that changes cross section at intermediate floors, and a shearwall under flexure that changes cross section at doorways.

Matter F
=
A
k
A
SPRINGS IN PARALLEL
kA
kB
kC

Overall spring system:

F

total

=

k

e

Each spring (three-spring example):

F

A

F

B

F

C

=

=

=

k

k

k

A

B

C

Solution for overall spring system stiffness:

F

total

= F

A

F F

k

A

+

B

A +

+

k

B

+ F

F

B

C

=

+

+ F

k

e

C

k

C

=

k

e

k

e = k

A

+ k

B

+ k

C

Force to an individual spring:

=

F total

k

e

 F A = k A ⋅ F total k e F = F ⋅ k A total A + k A k B + k C

Displacement of an individual spring:

A =

=

F total

k

e

F total

A +

k

B

+

k

C

=

A k

Discussion

Springs in parallel – all springs undergo the same displacement but experience different forces. Common structural examples of springs in parallel are lateral-resisting frames as viewed in plan for a rigid diaphragm, and the lateral stiffness of a shearwall due to the combination of shear stiffness and flexural stiffness.

The development of basic spring models for a building-type structure is presented in Groundwork for Analysis and Design 2: Spring Models for a Lateral Load Resisting System.

The determination of spring values for lateral load resisting system elements is presented in Groundwork for Analysis and Design 3: Spring Values for Lateral Load Resisting System Elements.