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Statics For Dummies by James H. Allen, III, PE, PhD

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Chapter 19. Working with Trusses

Many common structural systems that are used in buildings are made from numerous members that have been connected together to form a more complex system. When you enter your local hardware store or warehouse shopping center, take a look up at the ceiling. You may see the most popular type of these structural systems: trusses.

Trusses are very lightweight structural systems, capable of spanning very long distances. They're used to span major rivers or to span football fields or basketball courts in arenas. You may even possibly have trusses in the roof of your home. Trusses provide a wide array of shapes and sizes that make them extremely versatile to engineers and architects.

I start this chapter by identifying the major criteria that define trusses so that you can spot a truss when you see one. Then I introduce you to two of the most popular methods of solving for internal forces in the members of the trusses: the method of joints and the method of sections. I conclude the chapter by showing you how to determine zero-force members in trusses without ever writing a single equation.

Identifying Truss Members

Trusses are structural systems that are composed of numerous members connected together. You may encounter a wide variety of shapes in a truss, but these shapes always have ...

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