Beams with discontinuity in the thickness and subjected to an impulse load at a point are analyzed. A beam element with two degrees of freedom per node is used for the analysis. Three beam models are analyzed for possible reduction of maximum displacement and maximum stress by choosing the discontinuity at different locations. Numerical results are presented for clamped-clamped and simply supported end conditions and for various step-ratios in the thickness. The weight of the beam is kept constant for various step-ratios. It is shown that the maximum displacement and maximum stress decrease for a certain type of thickness variations. © 1995 by Academic Press, Inc.