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The design of a central structural element is called self- supporting if this is to do without additional external elements to carry loads in order to fulfill its function ; a construction that supports itself. For this purpose, it must be designed in such a way that all loads occurring during operation are absorbed centrally in the element.

In addition to bridges , roofs and crane systems , aircraft wings are also designed to be cantilevered, with the individual wings being viewed as cantilevered girders from the point of view of technical mechanics . The bending and torsional moments are usually absorbed by one or more central spars .