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Why Do We Not Use Fixed
Supports In a Truss

Trusses are commonly used in engineering and construction to provide structural support for a wide range of buildings and structures. When designing a truss, the choice of support conditions plays a vital role in ensuring its stability and overall performance. While fixed supports may seem like a viable option, they are generally not used in truss design due to several compelling reasons.

1. Thermal Expansion and Contraction

Materials used in truss construction, such as steel and concrete, are susceptible to thermal expansion and contraction. When exposed to temperature variations, these materials expand or contract, leading to dimensional changes in the truss. Fixed supports rigidly restrict this movement, resulting in the accumulation of internal stresses that can weaken the structure over time. By allowing controlled movement, other support conditions, such as hinged or roller supports, accommodate thermal expansion and contraction, reducing the risk of structural damage.

2. Structural Integrity

Trusses are meticulously engineered to distribute loads and forces evenly across their members. Fixed supports can hinder this distribution, causing localised stress concentrations. These concentrated stresses can lead to premature material fatigue and potentially result in structural failure. By utilising alternative support conditions, such as hinged or roller supports, the truss can flex and adapt to load variations, ensuring a more balanced distribution of forces and enhancing overall structural integrity.

3. Design Flexibility

Truss design often necessitates adaptability to account for changes in load conditions, building settlements, and other external factors. Fixed supports limit the flexibility of the truss, making it challenging to accommodate such variations. In contrast, other support conditions, like hinged or roller supports, offer greater design flexibility by allowing controlled movement and adjustment. This flexibility ensures that the truss can effectively respond to dynamic loads and external influences, thereby improving its overall performance and longevity.

4. Cost Efficiency

The utilisation of fixed supports in truss design can significantly increase the complexity and cost of construction. Fixed supports require precise calculations and meticulous detailing to ensure the proper distribution of forces throughout the structure. The added complexity may result in higher material and labour costs. Conversely, using alternative support conditions, such as hinged or roller supports, simplifies the design process by reducing the need for complex calculations and enabling more efficient material utilisation. This ultimately leads to cost savings without compromising the structural integrity of the truss.

5. Construction Tolerances

During the construction process, achieving absolute precision and accuracy can be challenging. Fixed supports demand high levels of accuracy in their installation to ensure proper alignment and distribution of forces. Even minor discrepancies in the positioning of fixed supports can have significant implications for the overall stability and performance of the truss. By using other support conditions, such as hinged or roller supports, the truss becomes more forgiving to construction tolerances, allowing for easier installation and reducing the risk of construction errors impacting the structure’s integrity.

6. Maintenance and Repairs

In the event of maintenance or repair needs, trusses with fixed supports can present challenges. Fixed supports require additional effort and resources to perform repairs or modifications. In contrast, trusses utilising hinged or roller supports offer more accessible access points and

 

simpler disassembly options, making maintenance and repairs more convenient. This ease of access reduces downtime and associated costs, ensuring that the truss can be efficiently serviced without compromising its overall stability and performance.

7. Environmental Factors

Environmental conditions, such as wind, earthquakes, and ground settlement, can exert dynamic forces on a truss. Fixed supports restrict the truss’s ability to adapt and respond to these forces, potentially leading to excessive stress concentrations and structural damage. By employing alternative support conditions, the truss can better accommodate these dynamic forces, allowing for controlled movement and dissipating the loads effectively. This enhances the truss’s resilience and ability to withstand adverse environmental conditions, ensuring the safety and longevity of the structure.

8. Aesthetic Considerations

Trusses are not only functional but also often serve as architectural features. Fixed supports can limit the design possibilities and aesthetic appeal of the truss. Alternative support conditions, such as hinged or roller supports, offer more design flexibility, allowing for creative and visually appealing truss configurations. These support conditions enable architects and designers to incorporate trusses seamlessly into the overall architectural vision while maintaining structural integrity and performance.

Conclusion

While fixed supports may seem like an intuitive choice for truss design, the limitations they impose on thermal expansion, structural integrity, design flexibility, construction tolerances, maintenance, and repairs make alternative support conditions more advantageous. Hinged or roller supports provide controlled movement, distribute loads more evenly, simplify the design process, reduce costs, and offer better adaptability to environmental factors. By carefully considering support conditions, engineers can ensure the stability, safety, and long-term performance of trusses in various construction projects.

We can provide quotes, budgets, and advice, so please contact us today on (02) 4351 2616 and speak to one of our experts. You can also visit us at www.heydenframeandtruss.com.au if you need additional information about our products and services.

 

We service the regions of Sydney, Gosford, Newcastle, Central Coast, and surrounding areas.

We supply and deliver all over Northern Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast.

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