Weston Middle School

Technology/Engineering Course Materials

Weston, Massachusetts
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Forces that Act on Structures

Tower is a Structure- materials that maintain a shape ( vs decorations, etc.)

Forces that act on structures include tension and compression .

Other forces include torsion (arm twisting), bending (illustrate with sponge), and shear

All structures fail when excessive loads are placed on them.

Engineers need to know when structures will fail- knowledge of failure properties (load limits) is critical

Vocabulary of Forces:

  • Load
  • Tension
  • Compression
  • Truss
  • Failure analysis

Tension- Drawing and Quartering

Compression-Giles Corey


Wind Shear- Master and Commander

Ceiling Collapse- Ted Williams Tunnel

Laval Overpass Collapse-Montreal



Revised April 2007 by Jonathan Dietz, dietzj@mail.weston.org