Compression Vs Tension

Compression Vs Tension | Example of Tension Force |  Tension Force Formula

What is Tension?

Tension can be defined as the pulling force transmitted along the chain, string, a cable, or other one-dimensional continuous object or by each end of a rod, truss member or similar three-dimensional object; tension can also be described as action-reaction pair of forces acting at each end of said elements.

Compression Vs Tension

It is the force that tries to elongate a body or an object and the overall result in pulling away from the object.

Tension can be related to pulling on the ends of a rod and are often forces found on ropes, crane cables, nails, threads etc.

 Tension Force Formula

When the structure has a constant velocity and  in equilibrium, because the tension in the cable, which is pulling up the object, the tension force is equal to the weight force, i.e., mg.

M is a mass, and g is the acceleration caused by gravity, pulling down the object.

The Formula of Tension.

T = Mg

M = Mass/ Weight kg

g = gravitational force.

Compression Vs Tension

Example of Tension Force.

Tension forces arise when an object tried to resist change in its shape. For example, if  two people  pull a string from both sides, string applies tension forces. String hopes that its length will remain constant.

The cable that supports the lift experiences tension. Cable has no motivation to transport humans, it is just trying to maintain its length.

Compression Vs Tension

Tension is developed in the rope during a game of tug of war.

Other Examples of Tension Forces

  • The tension of the rope can be used to draw water from wells through pulleys.
  • Cables from helicopters are used for rescue missions, to lift people, or heavy equipment.
  • The tension of the cables are used for rock climbing or scaling rough terrains.
  • Elevators use cables that can withstand high tension forces.

Compression Forces

What is Compression?

Compression can be defined as a force that presses inward on an object or structure, resulting in an object being compacted. It is the force that attempts to shorten the object or structure.

Compression Vs Tension

When the object in compression, the force acting on it is directed towards the body and is associated with pushing the ends of a road toward the middle. An example is a concrete beam the weight of the structure acts on it by transferring its weight.

Compression Vs Tension



1 compression force in a structural member is a force that squeezes material together. tension force in a structural member is force that pulls materials apart.
2 The type of force that attempts to shorten the body or an object is called Compression Force. The type of force that attempts to elongate a body or an object is called Tension Force.
3 Effects of compression force is pushing towards the structure or object. The effect direction of force in tension in the structure is outward from the object.
4 Compression is associated with pushing on the ends of a structure or rod toward the middle. Tension force is associated with pulling on the ends of a structure or rod
5 Compression can be used to the transference of force in the hydraulic system as pressure Tension is a force promulgation method.
6 Compression in structure is applicable to any material including concrete Tension force is only applicable in solid strings
7 Compression in the structure is considered as a phenomenon Tension in the structure is considered as a force.
8 Examples of compression forces are in concrete pillars when structural load acts on them Examples of Tensile forces are in ropes, threads, the cable of crane and nails.


Tension and Compression in Beams and Trusses

Compression and Tension Forces

The ropes and cables in a suspension bridge work in tension force, not compression. When a materialist pulled, it’s in tension. When it’s pushed or squeezed, it’s in compression.

Compression Vs Tension

Hanging deck of a suspension bridge pulls on the vertical ropes, then pull on the main cables, placing them intention while under tension. The main cables pushed down on the supporting towers, placing them in compression.


When  like an I-beam or rod bend,  it means it is  are under tension and compression forces at the same time. For example, consider the I-beam  below:

Difference Between Tension and Compression - Bending

The top of these beam is under compression force while the bottom  side of the beam is under tension force. The line running along the center of the beam is not under  compression or compression. The top and bottom of the I-beam are made thicker because these are the  areas that experience the most force. Since stress is the force per unit area, having a large surface area allows for the stress on the ends of the beam to be reduced.

Compressive and tensile forces are present in all bridges, and it is the job of engineers to design bridges capable of withstanding these forces without buckling or snapping.
Buckling occurs when compressive forces overcome an object’s ability to handle compression, and snapping occurs when the tensile forces overcome an object’s ability to take tension.
The best way to deal with these forces is to either dissipate them or transfer them. To dissipate force is to spread it out over a greater area so that no one spot has to bear the brunt of the concentrated force. To transfer  and force is to move it from weakness to an area of strength, an area designed to handle the force.

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