# Different types of structural members & their functionalities

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This civil engineering article offers good information on several types of structures like beams, columns, tie rods, trusses, pier, steel, surface structures, frames etc. in civil engineering sectors and their functionalities.

Beams – Normally beams are horizontal and straight members to sustain vertical loads. The beams are created to withstand bending moment.

In simply supported beam, both ends are supported by end supports to bear transverse loads. It is also known as determinate beams since they are analyzed with equilibrium equations.

In fixed beam, it is fixed at both ends. This type of beam is indeterminate as it contains moment and post reactions. In this type of beam, there is no rotation like simply supported beam.

In cantilever beam, it is secured at only one end. The beam bears the load to the support where it is forced against with a moment and shear stress. This type of beam is determinate as it contains a fixed end and the reaction becomes moment at support and shear & tension at that support.

In hanging beam, the support is provided from above. It hangs from over. Handing beam sequentially provides support to other beams. This type of beam allows point of contraflexure where bending moment alters at sign.

In continuous beam, there are over two points of support along it’s length. It signifies that this beam contains in excess of one span. The end span of continuous beam can be cantilever. They are fixed supported or may be freely supported. This type of beam is indeterminate beam and it can’t be completely analyzed with equilibrium equations.

### Also Read: Major types of loads on building structures

Often, x-section of beam differs along its length and it is called as tapered beam. A tapered beam exposed to a tip bending load will be evaluated so as to anticipate the allocations of stress and displacement in the beam.

The columns are exposed to both axial loads and bending moment.

The columns are categorized as short column and long column.

Short column: In short column, the proportion of its effective length to its minimum dimension becomes less or equal to 12. The short column generally collapses by crushing.

Buckling propensity of short column is less as compared to long columns. Short column bears greater load with regard to long column with equivalent sectional area.

Long column: In long column, the proportion of its effective length to its minimum dimension remains in excess of 12. Long column collapses due to buckling.

Buckling propensity of long column is greater than short column. Loading strength of long column is less with regard to short column of the equivalent sectional area.

To get more details about other structural members, go through the following video tutorial.

Video Source: SL Khan

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