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What is a structure?

A structure is a system, consisting of elements or members, for transferring loads (forces) from one
place to another.

What is analysis?
It is a process whereby a particular structure with known or assumed loads (codes of practice) is
assessed to determine the distribution of loads throughout the various members that make up the

The analysis is necessary to prove that the structure is strong enough to support a given set of loads.

The analysis is based on the principles of physics and mathematics.

2D Coordinate system
We have 3 equations of equilibrium in a 2D system.

1. Sum of forces in x-direction = 0

∑ 𝑭𝒙 = 𝟎

-ve forces +ve forces

2. Sum of forces in y-direction = 0

∑ 𝑭𝒚 = 𝟎

+ve forces -ve forces

3. Sum of moments about the z-axis = 0

∑ 𝑴𝒛 = 𝟎 +ve moments

-ve moments

Equivalent force and moment diagram

Coplanar (on the same plane) forces and moments
Concurrent forces are forces whose lines of action intersect at a single point.

Types of loadings
1. A structure is subjected to its own weight and the weight are all fixed objects acting
permanently on it. This is known as dead loads.
2. Loads imposed by occupants/vehicles. These are known as live/imposed loads.
3. Loads resulting from natural forces.
e.g. wind load, earthquake load

For the purpose of structural analysis, loads are idealised as one of 3 kinds:

1. Concentrated/point loads (kN)

2. Line loads (kN/m)
3. Distributed loads over a surface area (kN/m2)

Types of support
Common Types
 Pinned/hinged support
 Roller support
 Fully fixed (encastré/built-in) support

The support provides reactions (forces and moments) to actions from members so that equilibrium can
be achieved.

Pinned/hinged support
 Does not provide resistance to moments.
 Provides resistance to vertical and horizontal components of the forces.

Roller support

 Does not provide resistance to moments.

 Only provides resistance perpendicular to the axis of the roller.

Fixed Support

 Provides resistance to vertical and horizontal components of forces as well as resistance to