Indeterminate Structures & The Moment Distribution Method

Indeterminate Structures & The Moment Distribution Method

Unlock indeterminate structures using the moment distribution structural analysis method.

⏰ 7 h 48 min | 36 lessons
Published: January 2018, (updated 2 years ago)
After completing this course...
You will have a deep understanding of how structures respond to loading.
You will clearly understand the methods used to analyse statically indeterminate beams and frames.
You will be comfortable determining shear force, bending moment and deflected shape diagrams.
You will be able to analyse both non-sway and sway frames – essential when designing real world structures.

Go Beyond Simple Statically Determinate Structures

Almost all real world civil engineering structures of any significance are indeterminate meaning we can’t simply rely on the trusty equations of static equilibrium. The moment distribution method is one of the most intuitive ways to analyse these structures.

After completing this course you will be well equipped to determine the shear force diagram, bending moment diagram and qualitative deflected shape for any statically determinate or indeterminate structure you’re likely to encounter as a civil engineer.

Having a fast hand-analysis method for indeterminate structures is invaluable for any good engineer! The analysis of indeterminate structures is all too often left to the computer in civil engineering these days. But as an engineer, if you can’t approximate by hand what the computer is telling – you’re on thin ice! By the end of this course you’ll have given yourself an invaluable skill – the ability to make sensible judgements on a computer analyses!

Course Breakdown

Section 1: Establishing the fundamentals

I will start by setting out the fundamental parts of the moment distribution method; explaining each element before using some worked examples to tie them all together. After completing this section you will have a clear analysis procedure to employ. Each worked example concludes with development of a complete shear force and bending moment diagram.

Section 2: Understanding the importance of structural stability

One of the main areas of application for the moment distribution method is the analysis of structural frames. However, before we can start analysing frames, we first need an understanding of structural stability. In this section I will outline some of the common methods employed by civil engineers to ensure lateral stability of their structures. This will equip you for the analysis of frames in the following sections.

Section 3: Applying what you have learned to non-sway frames

Now we will start to really see the power of this analysis technique. We will apply the procedure and techniques from section 1 to the analysis of non-sway or propped structural frames. This will equip you to perform sub-frame analyses commonly required in the design of reinforced concrete frame structures. After completing this section you will be able to analyse some of the most common structural forms employed in civil engineering today.

Section 4: Expanding to consider sway-frames

In this final section we will bring your analysis skills to the next level by introducing you to the analysis of sway frames. Structures expected to undergo significant lateral deflections under loading will experience additional sway moments. Taking proper account of these sway effects is essential for an accurate analysis of the structure. Following an explanation and demonstration of the techniques, you are challenged to complete the analysis of a number of sway frame structures.

Who this course is for

  • Student who want to take their understanding of structural analysis up a level!
  • Engineering students who need to know how to analyse more complex structures without resorting to computer analysis, e.g. continuous beams.
  • Students tired of being limited to analysis of statically determinate structures.
  • Students wishing to analyse structural frames to facilitate design; e.g. reinforced concrete sub-frame analysis.
Section 2
Beam Analysis
2. The moment distribution process 📂
25:48 (Preview)
3. Member stiffness and distribution factors
4. Developing reactions, shear forces and span moments
5. Dealing with pinned ends
6. Dealing with cantilever ends
7. Multi-iteration distributions
8. Test Yourself – Worked Solution #1 📂
9. Test Yourself – Worked Solution #2 📂
10. Test Yourself – Worked Solution #3 📂
Section 3
Lateral Stability
11. Section 2 overview
01:01 (Preview)
12. Lateral stability systems
13. Sway versus non-sway frames
Section 4
Non-sway Frames
14. Section 3 overview
02:46 (Preview)
15. Worked Solution #4: The distribution 📂
16. Worked Solution #4: Free-body diagrams
17. Worked Solution #4: Drawing the solution
18. Worked Solution #5: The distribution 📂
19. Worked Solution #5: Free-body diagrams
20. Worked Solution #5: Drawing the solution
21. Worked Solution #6: The distribution 📂
22. Worked Solution #6: Free-body diagrams
23. Worked Solution #6: Drawing the solution
Section 5
Sway Frame Analysis
24. Section 4 overview
01:22 (Preview)
25. The two-stage analysis
26. Step-by-step demonstration 1 – Stage 1
27. Step-by-step demonstration 1 – Stage 2
28. Step-by-step demonstration 2 – Stage 1
29. Step-by-step demonstration 2 – Stage 2
30. Worked Solution #7: Stage 2 analysis 📂
31. Worked Solution #7: Post-distribution
32. Worked Solution #8: Stage 2 analysis 📂
33. Worked Solution #8: Post-distribution
34. Worked Solution #9: Stage 2 analysis 📂
35. Worked Solution #9: Post-distribution
36. Course wrap-up
Completion certificate
Completion certificate
  • Download your personalised Certificate of Completion once you’ve finished all course lectures.

  • Applying for jobs? Use your Certificate of Completion to show prospective employers what you’ve been doing to improve your capabilities.

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Ready to get started?
Excellent course, for aspiring engineers and those who want to remember structural analysis methods for indeterminate structures.
Lauro Mota
Dr Seán Carroll
BEng (Hons), MSc, PhD, CEng MIEI, FHEA
Hi, I’m Seán, the founder of (formerly I hope you found this tutorial helpful. After spending 10 years as a university lecturer in structural engineering, I started this site to help more people understand engineering and get as much enjoyment from studying it as I do. Feel free to get in touch or follow me on any of the social accounts.

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The Getting Started in Structural Analysis Course Bundle

Lay a solid foundation for your structural analysis journey with these key starter courses.

  • Fundamentals of Structural Analysis
  • Mastering Shear Force & Bending Moment Diagrams
  • Indeterminate Structures & The Moment Distribution Method

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