How To Use a Beam Deflection Calculator

Beam deflection is a mechanical engineering term used to describe the amount of stress that a support beam is put under.  Beam deflection is related to the slope of the beam that is under stress from the weight it is supporting.  Knowing beam deflection is very important, it has a huge impact on the structural stability of a building.  Most building codes require a certain minimum beam deflection, which is calculable.  Beam deflection is a very complex formula, and it is best if you use a calculator when calculating beam deflection.  Beam deflection calculators are available online, but can be difficult to use.  This article will tell you how to use a beam deflection calculator.
To use a beam deflection calculator, you will need various pieces of information that will need to be inputted in to the beam deflection calculator.  The pieces of information are listed below.

  • You will need your unit of measure.  It will either be inches, or SI metric units.
  • Modulus of Elasticity will need to be known.  Types of modulus of elasticity include structural steel, titanium, aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron beams, concrete, brass, and magnesium.  You need to know this because the tension and compression in each type of beam is different and has an impact on beam deflection.
  • You will also need the dimensions of the beam.
  • You will need the distance the beam runs from support to support, as well as the distance from the neutral axis.  The distances are either measured in inches or millimeters.
  • You will need the applied load, which is either measured in inches or SI metric units.

Without all of the above referenced pieces of information, you will not be able to use the beam deflection calculator, which will calculate the beam deflection stress.  After you have inputted all of the necessary information, the online beam deflection calculator will automatically give you three different results.
The first result of the beam deflection calculator is the deflection at the center of the beam.  The deflection of the center of the beam is usually less than one four hundredth and is reported in the same unit of measure as you selected in the input screen.
The next result for the beam deflection calculator is moment of inertia, or second moment of area.  This result is a prediction of the resistance that the beam has when it comes to bending and deflection.
Stress at point is the last result you will get from using the online beam deflection calculator. This will give you the amount of stress that is on the beam at certain locations.  The stress is reported in the same unit of measure as selected.


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