truss, in architecture and engineering, a supporting structure or framework composed of beams, girders, or rods commonly of steel or wood lying in a single plane. A truss usually takes the form of a triangle or combination of triangles, since this design ensures the greatest rigidity. Trusses are used for large spans and heavy loads, especially in bridges and roofs. Their open construction is lighter than, yet just as strong as, a beam with a solid web between upper and lower lines. The members are known as tie-beams, posts, rafters, and struts; the distance over which the truss extends is called the span. The upper and lower lines or beams are connected by web members.