# Member and element loading

In GSA, you have the choice to apply loads directly to the member or element. As described in the member and element explanations entries, members in GSA represent physical entities in a structural model and are comprised of one or more finite elements that share the same attributes as the member. Elements represent individual finite elements that make up a finite element analysis model.

Loads applied to a member will load all elements in the member:

Loads applied to an element will only load the element onto which the load is applied:

Behind the scenes, loads applied onto members will be automatically expanded to load the appropriate finite elements in order to analyse the model and compute the results.

Note:A member's constituent elements must exist in order to visualize the member load and analyse the model with that load. If you don't see the loads in the graphics view, use thecreate elements from members tool() to create the constituent elements.

Note:When usingMember loading, it is important to keep the members and their elements synchronised because loads are applied to elements of a specified member using the element properties. For example, consider a model wheremember 1includeselements 1, 2 and 3, however,member 1usesproperty 1andelements 1, 2 and 3useproperty 2. If we apply gravity load to members ofproperty 1,elements 1, 2 and 3will be loaded using the weight ofproperty 2.

See the tables below for the load types available for members and elements:

### 1D entity loading

Load type | Member loading options | Element loading options |
---|---|---|

Beam loads | Point, uniform, linear, patch, trilinear | Point, uniform, linear, patch, trilinear |

Pre-stress | Pre-stress force, initial strain, lack of fit, tendon pre-stress | Pre-stress force, initial strain, lack of fit, tendon pre-stress |

Distortions | N/A | Distortions described by position and displacement |

Thermal | Uniform, gradient in y, gradient in z | Uniform, gradient in y, gradient in z |

### 2D entity loading

Load type | Member loading options | Element loading options |
---|---|---|

Face loads | Uniform, equation | Uniform, general, point, equation |

Edge loads | N/A | Can specify which edge to apply loads to |

Pre-stress | Pre-stress force, initial strain, tendon pre-stress | Pre-stress force, initial strain, tendon pre-stress |

Thermal | Uniform, gradient | Uniform, gradient, general |

### 3D entity loading

Load type | Member loading options | Element loading options |
---|---|---|

Face loads | Uniform loading only | Uniform, variable |

Thermal | Uniform loading only | Uniform, variable |