Types of Loads and Classification of Loads In Engineering Design

What Types of Loads Exists In Engineering Systems? 

Before starting to write the types of loads, we need to understand the type of load classifications in the engineering approach. In general, these classifications are encountered by engineers and designers; 

  • Classification of loads according to time: This classification includes the load types according to their change in time. 
  • Classification of loads according to the application area: Also this classification includes the loads according to their applied body or area. 
  • Classification of loads according to the method of application: This classification is much more engineering-oriented. 

Engineering Loads According to Time

Graphical illustration of a cyclic load(Image Source: https://www.viscoelasticity.info/
  • Static Load: As its name implies, static loads are the type of load that load is applied gradually and comes to equilibrium in a short time period. There is no dynamic effect on the system because of the static loading. 
  • Constant Load: You can think of this load as a weight of a structure on an engineering system in which there is no change in time. 
  • Cyclic Load: Cyclic load is a dynamic load that reverses in a specific period over time such as a sinusoidal load. 
  • Impact Load: Rapid application of a load on a system which is also referred to as energy transmission on a system. 

Engineering Loads According to Application Area

  • Distributed Load: As its name implies, the load is distributed over an area such as the weight of a building on the ground. 
  • Concentrated Load: This is a theoretical assumption of a load in which if the application area of the load is 100 or more times smaller than the application surface itself, it is assumed to be a concentrated load. 

Engineering Loads According to Method

Twisting action(Source:https://www.chemeurope.com/en/
  • Normal Load: If the load intersects with the geometrical center of the applied body, this load is considered a normal load. If the load is compressive, it has a negative sign, if it is tensile, it has a positive sign.
  • Shear Load: If the applied load is trying to cut the system, it is called shear force. You can think of two loads that are applied to a body in opposite directions to cut it from the middle. Shear force is positive if the direction of the applied load is the same as the normal direction of the system. 
  • Bending Load: If a force is applied in the transverse direction to the longitudinal member, bending action occurs. These loads are generally moments trying to bend the system. The right-hand rule is used to define the sign of the bending load.
  • Torsion Load: Type of load that forces the system to twist. This twisting leads to the occurrence of shear load at the transverse section of the member. The right-hand rule is used to define the sign of the torsion load.
  • Combined Load: If two or more loads described above are applied to a system at the same time, this loading system is called a combined load system. 
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These are the general types of loads that are used in engineering design and structural engineering. 

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