In this project, we’ll build a beam deflection calculator that can generate beam deflections by directly integrating the bending moment diagram. The technique we’ll use for calculating deflection in this project is not limited to statically determinate structures, although you will need a complete bending moment diagram to integrate. This project builds on our previous Shear Force and Bending Moment Calculator project. So at the end of this project, the final result will be a complete beam analysis code that calculates beam reactions, shear forces, bending moments and deflections.
In this tutorial we’re going to revisit the topic of deflection calculation and introduce Macauley’s Method. We’ll again rely on integrating the differential equation of the deflection curve, except this time we’ll speed the whole process up considerably by using Macauley’s method. This technique is also sometimes known as the Singularity Function method. We’ll work our way through some examples that will leave you well placed to apply Macauley’s Method on your own. We’ll also write a couple of helper Python scripts along the way to make our lives a little easier.
In this tutorial we’re going to explore beam deflection and see how we can calculate the deflection of any beam from first principles using the differential equation of the deflection curve. We’ll work our way through a numerical example before discussing how we can use superposition along with tabulated formulae to speed up the process of calculating beam deflection.