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How to Calculate Shear Load

Shear load is a measurement used by engineers to determine the force that is being placed on a structure perpendicularly, as two objects slide across one another. This is an important distinction from normal load, which is the force that is being placed on the structure by simply the weight of the object and gravity. Engineers must know both measurements to make sure the structure does not collapse. To figure out the shear load, you will need to figure out the specifications of the structure you are working with.


    • 1

      Determine the normal load that will be on the structure. This means adding up the weight that will be sitting on the structure without moving. For example, if a block sitting on a structure weights 50 pounds, that is your normal load.

    • 2

      Measure the parts of the structure that the normal load will be distributed on. For example, if you are going to be pushing the block on a structure with three beams, you will need to measure the three beams.

    • 3

      Divide the weight of the normal load by the area that the load will be traveling across. This is the shear load (or shear stress) of the object as it travels across the structure.