New in old: Simplified equations for linear-elastic symmetric arches and insights on their behavior

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Closed-form equations for determination of reactions and internal forces of linear-elastic symmetric arches with constant cross-sections are derived. The derivation of the equations was initially made for segmental, three-hinged, two-hinged, and hingeless arches. Not all derived equations are simple, but still not excessively complex to apply, and they reveal several new insights into the structural behavior of arches. The first is an extremely simple approximate equation for horizontal reactions of a hingeless arch under self-weight, which could be also applied with excellent accuracy to catenary and parabolic arches, and with a desirable level of accuracy to two- and three-hinged arches with a relatively wide range of geometries. The second insight is an approximately linear relationship between reactions and between internal forces of arches with different structural systems, which helps understand the global structural behavior of arches in a new way and enables inference of some other insights presented in the paper. The third insight reflects the relationships between normal force distribution and its eccentricity in different types of arches. Finally, the fourth insight regards the comparison of behavior of arches under the self-weight with those loaded with uniformly distributed load along their span.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-240
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Closed-form equations
  • Different structural systems
  • Horizontal reaction
  • Internal forces
  • Parabolic & catenary shapes
  • Segmental (circular) shape
  • Self-weight
  • Symmetric linear-elastic arch


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