Exploring Intuition: Beams, Trusses, and Cylinders
Physical intuition is really important for successful modeling of structural behavior, and yet good intuition often develops with repeated application of structural models. In this chapter we explore three well-known structural models-elementary beams, trusses, and pressurized cylinders-with the aim of pointing out features to look for to test and develop intuition. First, we will discuss the bending of beams, looking at a variety of issues concerning the distribution of forces, stresses, and displacements. We will also examine a simple truss as an archetypal beam. Then we conclude by examining the displacements in thick cylinders under internal and external pressures to show results that may not be readily anticipated. These analyses provide an opportunity to explore and perhaps enhance our physical intuition.