En cada apartado tienes el audio para oir la pronunciación.

Al final de la página tienes el vocabulario esencial para el tema de estructuras.

Tienes el tema en Español en el siguiente enlace: Estructuras y Tipos de Estructuras

What is a Structure?

"A structure is a set of elements united with each other, with the mission of supporting the forces acting on them."

As we see, Structures are built to support forces.

Force = Everything that can deform a body (static effect) or modify its state of rest or movement (dynamic effect).

The forces that act on astructure are called Loads.

Main Elements of a Structure

parts of structure

- Beam: Horizontal element in the structure.

- Pillar: Vertical element in the structure. It is called a column if its shape is round.

- Joist: Small beam that is supported between two beams to form the ceiling or floor.

- Foundations: It is the element of a structure which is connected with the ground, and transfers the loads from the structure to the ground.

Types of Loads

- Fixed Loads: they are what do not change on the structure. They always have the same value. For example the weight of the structure and any element that are always in the structure.

- Variable loads: those that can change on the structure with the over time. Examples: air force, people's weight, snow, etc.

An effort is the internal force that the elements of a structure experience when they are subjected to external forces. The elements of a structure must withstand these stresses or efforts without breaking or deforming.

Types of Efforts or Stresses

There are main 5 types of Efforts or Stresses.

- Traction Effort: An element is subjected to a traction effort, when the forces acting on it, they try to stretch it.

An example would be the cable of a crane. Watch out, They will try to stretch it, but in an element of a structure, the forces should never get it, at least visually (with the naked eye).

This should happen for all the efforts that we are going to explain.

The forces will try it but they must not get it.

- Compression Effort: An element is subjected to a compressive effort, when the forces acting on it, they tend or try to compress it.

Example the legs of a chair.

- Flexing Effort or Bending effort: An element is subjected to a bending stress, when the forces acting on it, they try to bend it.

An example it's the board of a table.

- Torsion Effort: An element is subjected to a torsion effort, when the forces acting on it, they try to twist it.

Example: a key opening a lock.

- Cutting Effort or Sliding Effort: An element is subjected to a cutting effort, when the forces acting on it, they try to cut it.

Example: a scissor.

types of stresses

Conditions of the Structures

1ª) The structure must be rigid: means that it does not deform when it is subjected to external forces. we get it triangulating, or what is the same, it is built with the shape of a triangle or with its parts in triangle shape.

2ª) The structure must be stable: means that the structure does not overturn when it is subjected to external forces. You can get it by making the base wider, or putting up braces or cables.

3ª) Must be resistant: means that each element of the structure is able to withstand the stresses or forces to which the element is going to be subjected. The size and shape of each element is what will make them to withstand the efforts and the forces.

conditions of structures

The shape of the beams is called Profile.

Here you have some examples of the profiles of the different types of metal beams more common:

types of profiles

Types of Structures

Triangulated Structures

They are formed by bars united together in the form of a triangle. For example construction cranes.

Frame Structure

They are the structures that are used in our buildings today. They are structures built with bars and beams of reinforced concrete (with steel bars inside).

Hanging Structures

Cables are used for hanging part of the structure. The cables are called braces. For example the hanging bridges.

Laminated Structures

They are formed by laminae. An example with the body of the cars, the housings of the televisions, the mobiles, etc.

Massive Structures

They are structures that they are constructed by accumulating material, without leaving gaps between them.

An example is the pyramids.

Vaulted Structures

They are structures that have arches and vaults. The arches allow to increase the voids in the structure and the vaults are arches one after another.

They were used a lot in churches, cathedrals and bridges.

types of structures


1) What is a structure?

2) What is a force?

3) What is a load?

4) What types of loads do structures have?

5) What is an effort?

6ª) Make a drawing with arrows that represents the types of efforts to which the elements of a structure can besubjected.

7) What are the 3 conditions that a structure must have? How do you get them?

8) Types of structures and an example of each type.

En el siguiente enlace tienes un juego para repasar las Structures: Structures Exercises.

Structures Vocabulary



Triangulated Structures-Estructuras Trianguladas;

Hanging Structures-Estructuras colgantes;

Frame structures-Estructuras Entramadas;

Vaulted Structures-Estructuras Abovedadas;

Laminated Structures- Estructuras Laminadas;






Force or strength-Fuerza;


Withstand forces-Soportar Fuerzas;

Dynamic forces-Fuerzas dinámicas;

Static forces-Fuerzas estáticas;

Fixed Loads-Cargas Fijas:

Variable loads-Cargas Variables;




Common-Común o corriente

Parts of a structure-Partes de Una Estructura

Foundations- Cimientos;




Secondary beams or joists-Viguetas;

Girder-Viga de acero;





Steel profiles;-Perfiles de Acero;





Ties or brace-Tirante;


A gap-Un hueco;





Steel- Acero;


Reinforced concrete- Hormigón Armado;

Steel rods-Varillas de Acero;



Strong materials-Materiales Fuertes;


Wider-Más ancho(a);


Types of efforts-Tipos de Esfuerzos






Sliding or Cutting-Cortadura o Cizalladura;




With the naked eye-A simple Vista;

Watch out-Cuidado, Ojo;

Conditions of the Structures-Condiciones de las Estructuras

Resistant, stable and rigid; Resistente, estable y rigida;

Stiff or Rigid-Rígido;


That it doesn't deform-Que no se deforme;

That it doesn't overturn-Que no vuelque;

That it doesn't break -Que no se rompa;



withstand-withstood-withstood - resistir, oponerse, soportar.

endure-endured - soportar, aguantar.

build built built - construir;

design-designed - diseñar;

break-broke-broken - romper;

measure-measured - medir;

apply-applied - Aplicar;

put-put-put - poner, colocar;

subject-subjected - someter-sometido.

deform-deformed - Deformar;

stretch-stretched - estirar;

compress-compressed - Comprimir;

twist-twisted - retorcer;

experience-experienced - experimentar;

bend-bent-bent - curvar o Doblar;

overturn-overturned - volcar;

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