Types of Structural Elements

The basic types of structural elements are defined in terms of how they carry load.

Tension Members

Tension members carry load by elongating for stretching in response to applied loads


Columns carry load by shortening in in compression and columns air, also characterized by unique failure mode called Buckling, in which the element suddenly displaces laterally in an unstable failure mode that actually is the cause of a number of important structural failures that would be talking about later on.


In the course, beams carry load by bending or by experiencing Fletcher


Are structural frameworks that are composed entirely of interconnected triangles. Its members, it turns out, carry load entirely in either tension or compression.

Cable Type structures

Cables are flexible structural elements that carry load, principally in tension and change their shape in response to changes in applied load


 These elements can span horizontal distances, but because of the unique shape and unique supports, they carry load primarily in compression. But in that mode, they’re capable of carrying tremendous amounts of load and therefore are the basis for a number of great structures that will be looking at in this course.