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  2. STEM

What is axial load?

Axial load is defined as the force acting along the axis or centerpiece of a structure, producing a uniform effort. This type of load can be from pressure or compression; this means it can result from the application of supporting or settling weight or be induced by operating conditions or external variables, such as a temperature change that leads to parts expanding or contracting.

When an axial load is due to the effect of compression, the structure is subjected to a force acting in the same direction, tending to produce crushing. This calculation is indispensable to ensure the stability of the structure.

In addition, the axial load can be concentric when the force’s line of action coincides with the axis of symmetry passing through the center of the element, or eccentric when the force is parallel to the axis of symmetry but does not act on the axis itself.

How is axial load calculated?

The following steps are taken to calculate the axial load on the parts of a structure:

  1. Identifying the axial loads on each of the structure’s elements.
  2. Diagramming the effect of a force on each element.
  3. Developing and applying equations that guarantee translational equilibrium – that is, the sum of all the forces is equal to zero.
  4. Applying the torque equation (M=F •d) to reach the rotational equilibrium. Like translational equilibrium, the sum of the torques must be null.

What’s the difference between an axial load and a radial load?

Axial loads are those that can withstand a force in the same direction as the axis, also known as thrust loading. Radial loads, on the other hand, are made to withstand forces that are perpendicular to the direction of the axis.

Where are axial loads used?

Axial loads are present in any type of building construction, as well as in the constituent elements of the projects. For example, there are axial axes in the columns of a building that cross those columns longitudinally and constantly subject them to an axial compressive force exerted by the roof.

In this case, the axial and geometric center coincide, so a concentric force is also produced, allowing them to withstand large amounts of energy and weight. If these factors are known, it’s possible to calculate the load that the building’s elements can withstand and therefore determine their ideal position in the building.

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