This section is from the book "The Tinman's Manual And Builder's And Mechanic's Handbook", by Isaac Ridler Butt. Also available from Amazon: The Tinman's Manual And Builder's And Mechanic's Handbook.

[From Grier's Mechanic's Calculator, etc.]

Bar of Iron.-The average breaking weight of a Bar of Wrought Iron, 1 inch square, is 25 tons; its elasticity is destroyed, however, by about two-fifths of that weight, or 10 tons. It is extended, within the limits of its elasticity, .000096, or one-tenthousandth part of an inch for every ton of strain per square inch of sectional area. Hence, the greatest constant load should never exceed one-fifth of its breaking weight, or 5 tons for every square inch of sectional area.

The lateral strength of wrought iron, as compared with cast iron, is as 14 to 9. Mr. Barlow finds that wrought iron bars, 3 inches deep, 1 1-2 inches thick, and 33 inches between the supports, will carry 4 1-2 tons.

Bridges.-The greatest extraneous load on a square foot is about 120 pounds.

Floors.-The least load on a square foot is about 160 pounds.

Roofs.-Covered with slate, on a square foot, 51 1-2 pounds.

Beams.- When a beam is supported in the middle and loaded at each end, it will bear the same weight as when supported at both ends and loaded in the middle; that is, each end will bear half the weight.

Cast Iron Beams should not be loaded to more than one-fifth of their ultimate strength.

The strength of similar beams varies inversely' as their lengths; that is, if a beam 10 feet long will support 1000 pounds, a similar beam 20 feet long would support only 500 pounds.

A beam supported at one end will sustain only one-fourth part the weight which it would if supported at both ends.

When a beam is fixed at both ends, and loaded in the middle, it will bear one-half more than it will when loose at both ends. When the beam is loaded uniformly throughout it will bear double. When the beam is fixed at both ends, and loaded uniformly, it will bear triple the weight.

In any beam standing obliquely, or in a sloping direction, its strength or strain will be equal to that of a beam of the same breadth, thickness, and material, but only of the length of the horizontal distance between the points of support.

In the construction of beams, it is necessary that their form should be such that they will be equally strong throughout. If a beam be fixed at one end, and loaded at the other,and the breadth uniform throughout its length, then, that the beam may be equally strong throughout, its form must be that of a parabola. This form is generally used in the beams of steam engines.

When a beam is regularly diminished towards the points that are least strained, so that all the sections are similar figures, whether it be supported at each end and loaded in the middle, or supported in the middle and loaded at each end, the outline should be a cubic parabola.

When a beam is supported at both ends, and is of the same breadth throughout, then, if the load be uniformly distributed throughout the length of the beam, the line bounding the compressed side should be a semi-ellipse.

The same form should be made use of for the rails of a wagon-way, where they have to resist the pressure of a load rolling over them.

Similar plates of the same thickness, either supported at the ends or all round, will carry the same weight either uniformly distributed or laid on similar points, whatever be their extent.

The lateral strength of any beam, or bar of wood, stone, metal, etc, is in proportion to its breadth multiplied by its depth2. In square beams the lateral strengths are in proportion to the cubes of the sides, and in general of like-sided beams as the cubes of the similar sides of the section.

The lateral strength of any beam or bar, one end being fixed in the wall and the other projecting, is inversely as the distance of the weight from the section acted upon; and the strain upon any section is directly as the distance of the weight from that section.

The absolute strength of ropes or bars, pulled lengthwise, is in proportion to the squares of their diameters. All cylindrical or prismatic rods are equally strong in every part, if they are equally thick, but if not they will break where the thickness is least.

The strength of a tube, or hollow cylinder, is to the strength of a solid one as the difference between the fourth powers of the exterior and interior diameters of the tube, divided by the exterior diameter, is to the cube of the diameter of a solid cylinder,- the quantity of matter in each being the same. Hence, from this it will be found, that a hollow cylinder is one-half stronger than a solid one having the same weight of material.

The strength of a column to resist being crushed is directly as the square of the diameter, provided it is not so long as to have a chance of bending. This is true in metals or stone, but in timber the proportion is rather greater than the square.

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