By contrast, a beam with one pin and one roller support (2) has only three unknown reactions, one horizontal and two vertical. In bridge structures such supports are quite common. To simplify analysis, in building structures this type of support may be assumed, since supporting walls or columns usually are flexible enough to simulate the same behavior as one pin and one roller support. The diagrams at left show for each support on top the physical conditions and below the symbolic abstraction.
1 Beam with fixed supports at both ends subject to bending and tension
2 Simple beam with one pin and one roller support subject to bending only
3 Beam with flexible supports, behaves like a simple beam
Simple beams, supported by one pin and one roller, are very common and easy to analyze. Designations of roller- and pin supports are used to describe the structural behavior assumed for analysis, but do not always reflect the actual physical support. For example, a pin support is not an actual pin but a support that resists horizontal and vertical movement but allows rotation. Roller supports may consist of Teflon or similar material of low friction that allows horizontal movement like a roller.