Center of MechanicsStephan Kaufmann



A Mathematica Package Written by Stephan Kaufmann

Version 1.8, May 3, 2004



This package contains a user-friendly exploration program for the bending of thin elastic beams. A beam is "constructed" by defining its supports (fixed or simple), its loads (discrete or distributed forces, moments), as well as its length and its bending stiffness. The shearing force, the bending moment, the deflection and its slope can be calculated and displayed symbolically or graphically.

Three levels of simplicity, from palette selection and input dialogs to normal Mathematica functions, should suit the needs of novice and expert users. Because no experience with Mathematica is necessary, this package can be useful in mechanical engineering courses covering the subject of beams.

If you have a copy of Mathematica or MathReader, you can have a look at the documentation of the package (1493k). I also have converted the documentation to HTML. The result is not perfect, but it can give you a first impression of the features.



The Mathematica files are plattform-independent. The following archive file is available:

MEBeam.zip (222k)



Extract the MEBeam.zip File in the directory <Mathematica installation directory>/AddOns/Autoload and rebuild your help index (use the command Help > Rebuild Help Index).

You can also use the AddOns/Applications directory. In this case, you have to manually load the package before using its functions.

On a multi-user systems, you can use your <personal Mathematica directory> instead of the <Mathematica installation directory>. Your <personal Mathematica directory> is identical to the value of the global Mathematica variable $PreferencesDirectory.

If you are using Mathematica 3.0, you must copy the file FrontEnd/Palettes/BeamPalette.nb to the directory <Mathematica installation directory>/Configuration/FrontEnd/Palettes or to <personal Mathematica directory>/FrontEnd/Palettes.


 Files and Locations

File and Location


MechanicsExplorers/install.txt (2kb)

installation instructions


Palettes/BeamPalette.nb (41k)

palette notebook

MechanicsExplorers/Beam.m (48k)

package file

MechanicsExplorers/init.m (1k)

initialization file (containing stubs to the function names)


English/BeamDocumentation.nb (1493k)

documentation notebook used by the Help Browser


English/Beam.nb (103k)

formatted source from which the package file was generated (visible in the Help Browser)


English/BrowserCategories.m (1k)

configuration file used by the Help Browser



May 3, 2004: Version 1.8 corrects a problem with plots arising in Mathematica 5.


10-Feb-2016 | Stephan Kaufmann | ZfM | ETH