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Truss and cable elements are defined by their ability to carry __solely__ axial loads. Nonetheless, since cables have no stiffness when loaded in compression, they function only in tension. Moreover, cables are typically pre-tensioned, i.e., they carry an initial tension load, while truss elements are, typically, not pre-tensioned. This pre-tension force substantially differentiates the behavior of the two elements.

A truss and a cable of the same length (** L**), cross-section (

- Elongation of Truss and Cable elements:
- Strain of Truss and Cable elements:
- Axial Force in Truss element:
- Axial Force in Cable element:

As shown in **Figure 1**, the horizontal equilibrium is formulated as:

- Equilibrium for the Truss element:

Since δ

Therefore, the* truss element is unstable under lateral loading*.

- Equilibrium for the Cable element:

Since δ

Therefore, the cable element is characterized by an “effective” stiffness under lateral loading (* k*) which is independent of the properties (E and A), and is equal to:

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