# Truss Analysis: The First Step

What is the first step in truss analysis?

a) Calculate the reactions at the supports.

b) Determine the external loads on the truss.

c) Solve for the internal forces in each truss member.

d) Find the angles between the truss members.

Final answer: The first step in truss analysis is to determine the external loads on the truss.

Explanation: The first step in truss analysis is to determine the external loads on the truss. This sets the foundation for further analysis, including calculating support reactions and internal member forces, and is critical for structural engineering design.

To systematically approach a truss analysis, one must:

## Determine the system of interest:

Decide on the specific truss or the part of the structure to analyze.

## Draw a free body diagram:

This diagram should include and label all external forces acting on the system. The drawing helps in visualizing the problem, which is fundamental in engineering mechanics.

## Apply equilibrium conditions:

Use the free-body diagram to set up equations of equilibrium for forces in both the x-direction and the y-direction, as well as the equilibrium condition for torques. This will allow for a systematic solution to the problem at hand.

## Identify and address the internal forces in each truss member.

Check the solution for reasonableness: Assure the solution is feasible based on magnitude, direction, and comparison with the original problem setup.

The process of truss analysis is a crucial aspect of structural engineering that ensures safety, stability, and reliability of constructed elements. The correct answer to the student's question is b) Determine the external loads on the truss.