Types of Structural Members

A combination of members connected together in such a way to serve a useful purpose is called structure.

Those members that are interconnected in such a way so as to constitute a structure are called structural members.


Beam is a flexure member of the structure. It is subjected to transverse loading such as vertical loads, and gravity loads. These loads create shear and bending within the beam. Beams are horizontal structural members that are used to carry a load.


A long vertical member mostly subjected to compressive loads is called column. Columns are vertical, structural members of a structure.


A compressive member of a structure is called strut. A strut is structural member that is being pushed from opposite ends. It is said that a strut “resists compression.”


A tie is a structural member that is being pulled from opposite ends. It is said that a tie “works in tension.”


A structural member subjected to compression as well as flexure is called beam column


A network of beam intersecting each other at right angles and subjected to vertical loads is called grid.

Cables and Arches

Cables are usually suspended at their ends and are allowed to sag. The forces are then pure tension and are directed along the axis of the cable. Arches are similar to cables except hath they are inverted. They carry compressive loads that are directed along the axis of the arch.

Plates and Slabs

Plates are three dimensional flat structural components usually made of metal that are often found in floors and roofs of structures. Slabs are similar to plates except that they are usually made of concrete.

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