Introduction to Structures

It is a set of elements designed to withstand efforts without breaking or deforming.

There are many structures in nature, from the trunk that supports a tree, to our skeleton. All of them support efforts to overcome gravity and in the case of skeletons they also allow movement.

In the technical field, the construction of structures to make houses, boats or vessels is as old as civilization itself. Today the structures can be very complex and allow the construction of buildings, automobiles, airplanes, bridges, high tension towers, dams and a host of devices without which the current world, as we know it, would not exist.

Types of structures

Structures can be classified in various ways depending on their origin or their elements.

Depending on its origin:


Tree trunk.

Turtle shell.

Human skeleton.

Mollusk shells.


Suspension bridge.

Structure of a building.

Computer case.

Construction crane.

Depending on your elements:


Formed by a large mass of material with hardly any gaps.

Water dam. Pyramid. walls.


Formed by arches and vaults.

Church roof. Roman bridge. Aqueduct. Rome Pantheon.


Formed by bars joined together in triangles.

Construction crane. Eiffel Tower. High voltage tower.


Formed by vertical and horizontal elements.

Building structure. Chairs and tables.


Made up of cables that support loads.

Cableway. Cable-stayed bridge or suspension bridge. Construction crane.


Formed by a sheet or thin wall.

Bowl. Turtle shell. Motorcycle helmet.

Depending on your movement:

Mobile structures

They can move or are articulated. They support loads while allowing movement.

Hinged door. Sliding door. Drawbridge. Wheel chair. Crane.

Fixed structures

They do not move nor can they be moved.

Bridge. Building. High voltage tower.


  1. List five natural and five man-made structures.

  2. List five massive structures.

  3. List five vaulted structures.

  4. List five triangulated structures.

  5. List five framed structures

  6. List five hanging structures

  7. List five laminated structures.

  8. State the differences between triangulated and lattice structures.

  9. Classify the following structures:

    • Aqueduct
    • Turtle shell
    • Computer case
    • Helmet
    • Mollusk shells
    • Bowl
    • Human skeleton
    • Building structure
    • Construction crane
    • Church
    • Table
    • Chinese wall.
    • Pyramid.
    • Water dam.
    • Cable-stayed bridge.
    • Suspension bridge.
    • Roman bridge
    • Chair
    • Cableway
    • High voltage tower
    • Eiffel Tower
    • Tree trunk
  10. Indicate what type of structure each of the following phrases refers to:

    • Formed by cables that support the loads.
    • Formed by vertical and horizontal elements.
    • Formed by arches and vaults.
    • Formed by a large mass of material with hardly any gaps.
    • Formed by a thin sheet or wall.
    • Formed by bars joined together in triangles.