Beams are often used in precision engineering applications. One common question is “what are the optimal support locations for a beam?” The answer depends on the desired objective. Below we describe some of the most common support locations: Airy points, Bessel points, minimum deflection, and nodal points. It turns out that these points are relatively close to each other for the uniform beam. The basic problem is sketched in the figure below. A uniform beam is supported on two points and the objective is the determine the placement of the supports in the presence of gravity.

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## notes on mechanics, machine design, and analysis