A concrete structural member is a member or part of a building, such as a beam, column, wall, or floor slab. They are designed to take a variety of loads. The elements are typically subjected to bending forces, direct forces, or a combination of these. These primary effects may involve shear forces and sometimes torsion.
The effects of temperature changes, concrete shrinkage and creep on structural elements must also be considered, as well as the potential for damage due to over loading, localized damage, abrasion, vibration, freezing, chemical attack, etc.
There are many different types of structures around us. Each structure has a specific purpose or function. Some structures are simple, while others are complex. However, there are two basic principles that makeup a structure.
- It must be able to support the designed loads without collapsing.
- It must support the various parts of the external load in the correct relative positions.
A structure is a system of connected components used to support loads. Examples relevant to civil engineering include buildings, bridges, and towers. However, the analysis and design of these structures is very complex.
In this book, we first consider simple examples of structures and structural components, such as beams, trusses, and frames. It is important for structural engineers to be able to recognize the different types of elements that make up a structure and to classify them according to form and function.