Computer-Aided Design


During the past 35 years, computers have been widely used in research, structural analysis, and design. There is no exception for cold-formed steel structures. Because the research work on cold-formed steel structures usually involves studies of the structural behavior and instability of plate components, individual members, and/or the entire assembly, hand calculations are excessively lengthy and extremely difficult. Computers have been used to great advantage in obtaining solutions for complicated problems involving these structures under various boundary and loading conditions. As discussed in the preceding chapters, the formulas used for the design of cold-formed steel structural members are quite complicated, particularly for those members having unusual cross sections. It may be found that even the determination of sectional properties requires burdensome calculations, which may involve the use of successive approximations. For this reason, various institutions and companies have used computers to develop the data necessary for the preparation of design tables and charts. In addition, computers have also been used for the development and design of industrialized buildings, minimum-weight design of structural members, minimum-cost design of structural systems, and special structures. Article 13.2 contains a brief review of some computer programs used for the analysis and design of cold-formed steel members and structures in the past.


Computer programs have been used extensively for the preparation of the design tables included in Ref. 1.159 and in many of manufacturers’ publications. The equations needed for the calculation of sectional properties of angles, channels, hat sections, I-sections, T-sections, and Z-sections are summarized in Part I of Ref. 1.159.

4 It has been found that the gradient search method requires less time than the direct search method.13.13. and erection. For example.3. This optimization technique has been illustrated for the selection of the most favorable cross section of the hat-shaped roof deck. temperature mesh in slab. This study includes the costs of cold-formed steel decking. 13.1. concrete slab.4 This program uses STRESS to compute member forces and then check the design of members on the basis of the AISI design criteria. sigma sections. The use of computers increases the design flexibility of . or tubular sections) to meet the requirements of the AISI Specification. Z-sections. and reanalysis of redefined structural systems.4 Industrialized Buildings The conventional optimum design of industrialized buildings is usually accomplished by repeated analysis. and Kostro can be used to determine the deflections and stresses of any general multiwing hyperbolic paraboloid shell with any type of support and beam arrangement under any arbitrary load condition.4 The hypar module as shown in Fig. modification.2. the minimum-cost design of composite floor systems using cold-formed steel decking has been conducted by Nicholls and Merovich. 9 it was mentioned that the accurate analysis and design of special structures subjected to unsymmetrical loading and nonuniform support conditions can be achieved by using computers. 9.2. Reference 13. rolled beams. In addition. The output includes structural design information and the necessary data for fabrication.1 It provides for the selection of minimum-weight members (channels. hat sections. In some cases. the optimization of cold-formed steel shapes is presented by Douty in Ref.2 In the design.247 on the basis of the AISI Specification.4 indicates that the computer program specially developed by Tezcan. In 1971 a computer program.24 has been analyzed under four different loading conditions. the grid search procedure has been used. 13.82 have been completed by using the finite-element method.13. For example.13. emphasis has changed to the minimum-cost design to consider the costs of material.2 Optimum Design The minimum-weight design of cold-formed steel members has been studied by Seaburg and Salmon1.616 COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN In some cases the calculation of the sectional properties of various types of structural members has been included as a subroutine in complete computer programs for the analysis and design of cold-formed steel structures. the analysis and the design of the world’s largest cold-formed steel primary structure1. and the necessary fireproofing.2.1. 13. DOLGAS.1 13.3 Special Structures In Chap. shoring of decking as necessary. fabrication. Agrawal. was developed by Klippstein for the design of steel trusses fabricated from cold-formed steel members.

7 Numerical Solutions for Cold-Formed Steel Design In Chap. (h) bolted connections. (e) cylindrical tubes. It is useful in preparing computer programs which utilize the specification provisions and in identifying all combinations of factors not specifically covered by the specification.13. and (i) screw connections. It can be seen from . The 1986 edition of the AISI Cold-Formed Steel Design Manual contained a series of flow charts. Helen Chen developed a set of computer programs on the basis of the 1996 edition of the AISI Specification.5 Decision Table and Flow Charts A decision table is a concise tabular display of the logical conditions and the appropriate actions to be taken as the result of these conditions. and South Africa. These charts proved to be excellent means of helping the user to understand the design provisions and to provide a clear picture of the items that need to be considered in design. the effective width design approach of individual elements was discussed on the basis of the current AISI Specification.5 Computers may also be used for other operations concerning manufacturing.9 Most of the computer programs are now (1999) available on the Center’s website. (f) brace force for C. (d) compression members.10 Recently. 13.2. as demonstrated by Zuehlke (Ref. 13.steel.and Z-sections. The table can be converted directly into programming language.8) and others.7).13.2.13.org. In 1991.13. 13. the American Iron and Steel Institute published a document. and administration work. (b) shear strength of the stiffened web.2. 13.13. the use of computers for the design of cold-formed steel structures is unlimited. (g) welded connections. The decision table formulation of the AISI Specification for the design of cold-formed steel structural members has been originally developed by Seaburg and modified to conform to the 1986 edition of the specification by Midgley–Clauer Associates (Ref.6 Computer Programs As computer technology advances. Australia. They were very useful guidelines for computer programmers. The example problems are dealing with (a) beam lateral buckling strength. 13.11 These programs can be found on the AISI website at www. which contained descriptions of 12 computer programs using the AISI Specification. distribution. ColdFormed Steel Design Computer Programs. 3.2 COMPUTER PROGRAMS 617 the building system and results in a minimum-weight or a minimum-cost design. Canada. (c) web crippling strength. This document was updated by the Center for Cold-Formed Steel Structures in 1993 and 1996 to include 30 programs from the United States.

9 and CUFSM.12–13.39) that the reduction factor ␳ used for calculating the effective width of a given element is a function of the critical local buckling stress ƒcr. . It can be used to investigate various possible buckling modes for a given structural member and to determine the lowest buckling stress for design purpose. The advantages of such an approach are increased accuracy and flexibility.edu/schafer.15 The numerical solution can provide a proper handling of element interaction for general cross sections.cee.14 discuss the application of the proposed Direct Strength Method for the design of coldformed steel structural members. and STAGS or (b) finite strip method such as THINWALL13.13.cornell. Instead of using the AISI equation to determine the ƒcr value for an individual element. and the maximum compressive stress.618 COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN Eq.13 and 13.14 The program CUFSM was developed by Schafer and can be obtained from http://www. ANSYS. References 13. (3.13. Schafer and Pekoz indicate that the critical elastic buckling stress of an element or a member can be determined by numerical solutions using (a) finite element method such as ABAQUS.

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