Curved structure that spans a space and may support a load / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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An arch is a vertical curved structure that spans an elevated space and may or may not support the weight above it,[1] or in case of a horizontal arch like an arch dam, the hydrostatic pressure against it.

A masonry arch
  1. Keystone
  2. Voussoir
  3. Extrados
  4. Impost
  5. Intrados
  6. Rise
  7. Clear span
  8. Abutment

Arches may be synonymous with vaults, but a vault may be distinguished as a continuous arch[2] forming a roof. Arches appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture,[3] and their systematic use started with the ancient Romans, who were the first to apply the technique to a wide range of structures.