This scenario is designed to lead students to discover a differential equation that models the vertical deflection of a horizontal beam under different boundary conditions. Vertical deflection occurs as a result of the weight of the beam alone, with no compressive force at the ends or distributed loads other than the mass of the beam. Data is collected to measure the vertical deflection from horizontal against the distance from one end for several boundary condition situations, and a mathematical model is arrived at for the vertical deflection. From this model the general form of the governing ODE can be inferred.
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