# What is lintel?

## What Does lintel Mean

It is called lintel to the horizontal element located in the upper section of the windows , the doors and other openings , whose function is to withstand the loads . The ends of the lintel rest on the jambs , which are the vertical pieces located on the sides of the window or door.

It can be said, therefore, that a lintel is a structural piece that covers the space between the two jambs. In this way, it allows the creation of different kinds of openings , since it is located horizontally over the hole made to install windows and doors, absorbing higher stresses.

Those higher loads that the lintel receives are transmitted to the lateral sectors. It can be said, in this way, that it works in a similar way to a beam .
In general, the lintel bears the greatest stress in its central cross section. In rigid materials, it is common for cracks to occur in the lower sector of the lower face, which then progress towards the upper sector.
If the lintel has a small depth with respect to its length, then the stress that falls on it can be calculated using the beam theory , developed by Daniel Bernoulli and Leonhard Euler , thanks to which it is possible to calculate the deformations and the efforts in beams. This is valid for the mechanical bending of the same, that is to say for a deformation that takes place in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the structure.
For lintels in which the edge is greater, then the theory to be applied is that of Stephen Timoshenko , according to which the shear stress and its effect on the structure must also be considered. Shear, shear, shear or shear stress is understood to be the one that occurs inside a mechanical prism (such as a column or a beam) and that results from stresses parallel to the transverse part.
Two other concepts come into play here: compression , an effort that results from the pressures or tensions inside a deformable solid, which reduces its volume and shortens the body in a certain direction; the traction , the internal stress also to which a body is subjected when opposing forces are applied which tend to stretch.
If materials such as stone, which are typically rigid, are used for the construction of a lintel, the resistance to traction forces will be less than to those of compression . This gives rise to the appearance of fissures that begin at the bottom and extend to the top. Traditionally, this problem is solved by replacing the lintel with an arch, which can support the load without suffering traction.

Lintel architecture is called that which appeals to lintels to cover different spaces in a construction. In short, we can say that it is based on the use of pillars to support lintels, with the aforementioned objectives.
In ancient times, the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans created huge buildings using the techniques of lintel architecture . In fact, experts point to these ancient creations as the most outstanding exponents of this type of construction.
According to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy ( RAE ), the idea of ​​a lintel is also used in the field of psychology . In this case, the term refers to the value that is higher than that which a sensory organ can tolerate without suffering damage or causing pain. The lintel, therefore, implies that a stimulus no longer produces a normal effect, but causes discomfort or suffering.

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