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Unformatted text preview: ARCH 120: Concepts in Architecture There are two issues that will be emphasized throughout this course that are crucial to the understanding of Architectonics: • Strength the capacity of the individual elements, which together make up a structural system, to withstand the load that is applied to it. • Stability the capability of a structural system to transmit various loadings safely to the ground. These two critical issues are experienced daily from the moment that an individual is born. A newborn baby cannot even hold its own head upright. The large mass of the head requires a support system that has sufficient strength to enable the head to maintain its stability. This steadily increases as the bones, muscles and tendons of the skeletal and muscular systems increase in strength. Eventually the extra support provided by the arm or hand is no longer needed. The first challenge posed by gravity is overcome. Crawling on four points of support proves to be a very stabile situation for quite a long time. The "leap" to the unstable two point stance is the next development in our understanding of the influence of gravity. Again, the structural system must develop to the point that the individual elements of the system have acquired sufficient strength. The first steps are made: an action of supreme coordination of hundreds of elements that becomes second nature to homo sapiens. The list can be extrapolated to touch on many aspects of the human experience; riding tricycles and bicycles, jumping on trampolines, exercising on parallel bars, sliding on ice skates, sailing in a heavy wind, rocking a small boat, . . . . the list is endless. These are part of the human experience and each and every one rely on an inherent understanding of strength and stability. How many times has a parent scolded a child to "put four on the floor!!!"? What the parent really means to say is, "if you do not put all of the legs of your chair on the ground, you are going to tip over!" Both strength and stability issues are addressed in this simple exclamation. Under normal conditions, the elements which make up the chair (its legs, bracing and seat) can easily resist the implied vertical loads. The strength of the individual elements of the chair have been designed for this type of static load. The seat (as a horizontal load-bearing element) must transfer its load through a connection to the legs (vertical load-bearing elements). Granted, some chairs will withstand a greater load than others, but they all resist the pull of gravity on the person sitting in them. If the legs cannot support the applied load they will fracture or break. These are examples of strength failure. The stability of the system of elements depends upon the orientation of the chair in space. When it stands upright, on all four legs, it is a stable stystem. If it is on it's side, the chair might not be able to resist the loads for which it was designed. As it is tilted onto the back two legs, the structural system loses its equilibrium. At a certain point the chair as a system becomes unstable, structural system loses its equilibrium....
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This note was uploaded on 02/21/2012 for the course MSEC 7102 taught by Professor Myers during the Fall '09 term at Texas State.
- Fall '09