A cantilever is a beam anchored at only one end. The beam carries the load to the support where it is resisted by moment and shear stress. Cantilever construction allows for overhanging structures without external bracing. Cantilevers can also be constructed with trusses or slabs.
This is in contrast to a simply supported beam such as those found in a post and lintel system. A simply supported beam is supported at both ends with loads applied between the supports.
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