The Basics of C Programming

Dynamic Data Structures

Dynamic data structures are data structures that grow and shrink as you need them to by allocating and deallocating memory from a place called the heap. They are extremely important in C because they allow the programmer to exactly control memory consumption.

Dynamic data structures allocate blocks of memory from the heap as required, and link those blocks together into some kind of data structure using pointers. When the data structure no longer needs a block of memory, it will return the block to the heap for reuse. This recycling makes very efficient use of memory.


To understand dynamic data structures completely, we need to start with the heap.