A house is a structure, so is furniture and staircases window/door frames etc. Image credit abduzeedo.com

A house is a structure, so is furniture and staircases window/door frames etc. Image credit abduzeedo.com

ZIMSEC O Level Combined Science Notes:Structures and construction materials

  • A structure is a combination of pieces fixed together so that it is self-supporting and able to support a load
  • Examples of structures are:
  • bridges, houses, cranes, aeroplanes, door frames, pylons, scaffolding, cabinets, cupboards, chest of drawers, benchs, tables, beds, chairs, fridges, window frame etc
  • Materials used to make a structure are carefully chosen based on their properties
  • The materials need to be tough i.e. crack resistant
  • Rather than strong and stiff
  • Materials such as metals, timbers, nylon, polythene, fibre glass, bones and rope are tough
  • Other materials such as bricks, cement, Bakelite, and glass are brittle and crack easily
  • Materials such as pottery might have the same tensile strength as tin but they will shatter if they fall
  • An engineer needs to consider the purpose of the structure and determine which materials are best suited for his/her needs in each case.
  • In most cases structures are built using a combination of various materials
  • Forces acting on a certain part of the structure, cost and durability are some of the factors that are considered

To access more topics go to the Combined Science Notes page


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