Structural design is an art of selection of the most suitable system for a given structure. The arrangement of beams and columns to support the vertical (gravity) loads and the selection of a suitable structural system to resist the horizontal (lateral) loads pose a great challenge to the structural engineer, as these factors will determine the economy and functional suitability of the building.
Depending upon the way a structure resists loads and on the different forms, reinforced concrete (RC) structures may be classified as:
- Gravity Masonry Structures: This consists of load bearing walls, which resists loads transmitted to them by floor slabs. The stability of the structure depends on gravity loads. These are suitable only for buildings with upto two or three floors.
- Framed structures: These consists of a concrete skeleton that collects loads from plate elements (concrete floors and masonry/ RC walls) and transmits them to the foundations.
- Shell or folded plate structures: These are curved or folded surfaces enclosing the area and carrying loads.
- Other structures: These include structures and structural elements such as silos or bunkers, retaining walls, liquid retaining structures, chimneys, poles and foundations for which RC is the ideal material of construction.
Fig 1 – Gravity Masonry Structure with load bearing walls.
Fig 2 – RC Framed structure with Beams and Columns.
Fig 3 – Folded Plate Roof Structure.
Fig 4 – RC Water Tank.