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3.2: Types of Supports and Their Characteristics

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    The type of support provided for a structure is important in ensuring its stability. Supports connect the member to the ground or to some other parts of the structure. It is assumed that the student is already familiar with several types of supports for rigid bodies, as this was introduced in the statics course. However, the characteristics of some of the supports are described below and shown in Table 3.1.

    Pin or Hinge Support

    A pin support allows rotation about any axis but prevents movement in the horizontal and vertical directions. Its idealized representation and reactions are shown in Table 3.1.

    Roller Support

    A roller support allows rotation about any axis and translation (horizontal movement) in any direction parallel to the surface on which it rests. It restrains the structure from movement in a vertical direction. The idealized representation of a roller and its reaction are also shown in Table 3.1.

    Rocker Support

    The characteristics of a rocker support are like those of the roller support. Its idealized form is depicted in Table 3.1.


    A link has two hinges, one at each end. It permits movement in all direction, except in a direction parallel to its longitudinal axis, which passes through the two hinges. In other words, the reaction force of a link is in the direction of the link, along its longitudinal axis.

    Fixed Support

    A fixed support offers a constraint against rotation in any direction, and it prevents movement in both horizontal and vertical directions.

    This page titled 3.2: Types of Supports and Their Characteristics is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by René Alderliesten (TU Delft Open) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.