The principle components in a folded plate structure are illustrated in the sketch above. They consist of, 1) the inclined plates, 2) edge plates which must be used to stiffen the wide plates, 3) stiffeners to carry the loads to the supports and to hold the plates in line, and 4) columns to support the structure in the air. A strip across a folded plate is called a slab element because the plate is designed as a slab in that direction. The span of the structure is the greater distance between columns and the bay width is the distance between similar structural units. The structure above is a two segment folded plate. If several units were placed side by side, the edge plates sould be omitted except for the first and last plate. If the edge plate is not omitted on inside edges, the form should be called a two segment folded plate with a common edge plate.
The structure above may have a simple span, as shown, or multiple spans of varying length, or the folded plate may cantilever from the supports without a stiffener at the end.