I have to design a beam for my Materials Class design project to be tested on a univ. bending machine. We have to be within 2.5" by 5" in max size, and 24" long. I wrote a matlab prog to calculate every possible configuration to optimize what sizes to pick for a block, a T beam and an I beam, but Im having trouble calculating Q for certain members to see what type of nail spacing I need. Here is a Pic of what im not sure. What would be my effective area, for the horizontal members? Would it be everything above where the nail is, would it be from that nail to the next nail directly above it? Im thinking its everything above but my book is horrible in explaining it. The red are nails. So, for example, what is the Q for each of the verticle boards? Likewise, what about the horizontal ones? The top board is simple, but any board below it is a problem. Thanks!