What would the ideal thickness of the dump trailer bed be, so it can withstand loading rock from a height of 1 meter?

The spacing of ribs is yet to be decided.

The goal is that the trailer be as light as possible, whilst being strong enough to withstand hauling rock every once in a while.

  • 2
    Welcome to engineering SE. Can you please add to the body of question requirements? Example: expected maximum load weight, dimensions of the desired trailer, any research you have done so far. Also look at Steel selection for building a trailer that was recently posted for guidance. – Mahendra Gunawardena Sep 23 '15 at 12:19
up vote 3 down vote accepted

See this similar-ish question. The ideal thickness will be the thickness >= the thickness required to keep stresses below the yield strength of "the metal."

  1. Pick a metal, find its yield strength.
  2. Pick a factor of safety. Use this and the yield strength to calculate an allowable stress.
  3. Since you're dropping a load onto the trailer, find out spring/damping constants for the suspension as the suspension will affect peak loading.
  4. Pick a rib spacing.
  5. Draw a bending moment diagram, find the peak moment, then use that and your allowable stress to find your thickness.

Note that your scenario will be harder to design for (you should have a large factor of safety) because the rocks will not deform to create a true distributed load. Instead you'll have corners concentrating load in a (relatively) few number of places.

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