Determine the Type of Stress in Each Member of a Truss

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Based on your understanding of force balances, guess whether a selected member of the truss is under compression, under tension, or is a zero member. Set the diagonal and vertical point loads with sliders. The reaction forces (blue) are calculated and displayed on the truss. Select "guess force on a member", use the popup menu "select a member" (from 1 to 13), and then select "compression", "tension" or "zero member" from the next popup menu. Check the "check answer" box to see if your guess is correct.

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Members under compression are green with arrows pointing outward, members under tension are red with arrows pointing inward, and zero members are black. A zero member is under neither tension nor compression; it has a force of 0 kN. Zero members act as additional support for the structure. Select "solved truss" to see the numerical values of all members.

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Contributed by: Rachael L. Baumann (September 2017)
Additional contributions by: John L. Falconer
(University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


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