Saikat Basak

Tips and Tricks for

Computer Aided Structural Analysis

Saikat Basak
M.Eng (Structural), BCE, CIC, AIE (Ind.), A.ASCE Structural Engineer


© Saikat Basak The author and publisher of this book have used their best efforts in preparing this book. These efforts include the development, research and testing of the theories and programs to determine their effectiveness. The author and publisher shall not be liable in any event for the incidental or consequential damages in connection with, or arising out of, the furnishing, performance, or use of these programs. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, without the permission in writing from the author. 1st Edition 2001 Published on the web

Price: FREE for online viewing

............................... 18.................................................................... 17..................................................................................... 22..................................... 20..................................................... 9........................ 13 TRANSIENT VIBRATION ANALYSIS ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... 27 COLUMN BUCKLING TEST ............................................................... 11 RANDOM VIBRATION....... 34 SHEAR DEFORMATION......................... 5..................................................... 43 TAPERED SECTION ....................................................................................................... 7............................................Computer Aided Structural Analysis CONTENTS ABBREVIATION .................. 9 ANALYSIS TYPES ......................... INTRODUCTION (BEFORE YOU BEGIN…)............................................................................................................. 12 RESPONSE SPECTRUM ANALYSIS................................. 10 DYNAMIC ANALYSIS .... 19 NUMBERING OF JOINTS AND MEMBERS .......... 15................................... 6....................................................................................... 2...................................................... 37 13.......................................................................................................................................................... 51 CABLES ........... SUPPORT SETTLEMENT .................................. 19.............................................................. 15 THERMAL ANALYSIS .................................................................................. 57 -4- ............................................................................ 6 1....................................................................................................................................................................... 45 SUB-STRUCTURING TECHNIQUE AND SYMMETRY (BREAK THEM INTO PIECES…) ...................................................................................... 8.............................................. 7 WHAT IS COMPUTER AIDED STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS? ........................................................................................................................................................ 36 INCLINED SUPPORT........ 16.......................................................... 17 4.............................................. MAXIMUM BENDING MOMENT................ SIGN CONVENTION (MIND YOUR SIGNS)................................................... 12 TIME HISTORY ANALYSIS.. 16 BOUNDARY ELEMENT ........................................................ 12....................................................................... 46 STAIRCASE ANALYSIS ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 38 14......................................................................... 10.............................. 11....................................................................................................... 3............... 54 PRE-STRESSED CABLE PROFILE .................. 33 DEFLECTION OF REINFORCED CONCRETE MEMBER................................................................................................................................ 40 2D VERSUS 3D.......................................... 10 LINEAR STATIC STRESS ANALYSIS ........................ 44 NODES CONNECTED BY A SPRING.................................. 21............... 24 SPECIFYING LOADS.................................................................................... 31 PORTAL AND CANTILEVER METHOD ................................................................................................................................... 13 VIBRATION ANALYSIS (MODAL ANALYSIS) .......................................................... 23 SPECIFYING MOMENT OF INERTIA ......................................................................................................................................................................................... 14 BUCKLING ANALYSIS................ 41 CURVED MEMBER........................................................................................................................................... SHEAR FORCE AND REACTION IN BUILDING FRAME: SUBSTITUTE (EQUIVALENT) FRAME .

................................................................................................................ 148 -5- ............................................................ 124 REINFORCEMENT DETAILING IN CONTINUOUS BEAMS ........................... 130 CIVIL ENGINEERING PROGRAMS ....................................... 83 28............................................................. 143 COMMON ERROR MESSAGES AND SOLUTIONS ............................Computer Aided Structural Analysis 23.................. 69 PLATES BY FEM ..................................................................... 26.............................................. 24................................ SHEAR WALL ..................................................... COMMON FINITE ELEMENTS LIBRARY FOR LINEAR STATIC AND DYNAMIC STRESS ANALYSIS ................................................ 92 FOLDED PLATE .......................................................... 105 AN EXAMPLE OF A SINGLE DEGREE OF FREEDOM PROBLEM................. 131 MECHANICAL ENGINEERING PROGRAMS ..... 123 LINEAR PROGRAMMING IN SPREADSHEET .................................................................................... 108 WHAT DYNAMIC ANALYSIS YOU SHOULD PERFORM? ................................................ 137 42............ 40.... 128 41........................................................................................................................................ 35........................................................................................... 116 36.......... 89 29................................................................ 45....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 115 MATERIAL NON-LINEARITY ................................. 76 INTERPRETING FEA RESULT..... 142 FILE NAME EXTENSION GUIDE (FOR SOME CAD/CAE PROGRAMS) ............................................................................... FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS (FEA) METHOD IS APPROACHING… .................................. 121 VIRTUAL REALITY IN ENGINEERING (VRML)................................................ 119 IMPORTING MODEL FROM CAD PROGRAMS ................................................................................................................... 33................ 34...................... 144 ANALYSIS PROGRAM RELATED .......... 144 OPERATING SYSTEM RELATED ........................................... 27........................................... 38............................................................................................................ 25........................................... 37......................... HOW TO SELECT THE MOST APPROPRIATE PROGRAM FOR YOUR NEED? ........... 31.. 79 TIPS FOR CREATING BETTER MESH............................................................................................................... 112 NON-LINEAR ANALYSIS (NLA) – AN INTRODUCTION FOR BEGINNERS ................... 30.. 134 SOME CAD PROGRAMS… .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 43......... 60 A TYPICAL WORKED OUT PROBLEM OF FEA................. 39................................................................................ 44.................... 94 SHELLS.................................................. REFERENCES .................................................................................................. 145 46.............................................................................................. A GUIDE TO SOME STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING & FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS PROGRAMS.................. 32............................... 139 HOW TO CHECK THE RESULT FOR ACCURACY? ............ 102 A FIRST STEP IN STRUCTURAL DYNAMICS ........................................................... MECHANICAL EVENT SIMULATION ........ 115 GEOMETRIC NON-LINEARITY ................

damping CAD – computer aided design/drawing CAE – computer aided engineering CAM – computer aided manufacturing E – modulus of elasticity FE – finite element FEA – finite element analysis FEM – finite element method fy – yield strength of steel G – shear modulus I – 2nd moment of inertia IS – Indian Standard code LRFD – load and resistance factor design LSSA – linear static stress analysis M. They have been defined in respective sections. m – mass MDF – multi degree freedom MES – mechanical event simulation NLA – non-linear analysis RSA – response spectra analysis SDF – single degree freedom SF – shear force T – time period of vibration THA – time history analysis UDL – uniformly distributed load VRML – virtual reality markup language x – displacement x’ – velocity x” – acceleration ε – Strain µ. but here is a list of them at a glance.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Abbreviation Several abbreviations have been used throughout this book. ν – Poisson’s ratio σ – Normal stress τ – Shear stress ωn – natural frequency of the structure ξ – Damping ratio -6- . [k] – Stiffness BM – bending moment C .

Also. But even sometimes analysis using computer can be very tricky. Introduction (before you begin…) In this book I shall tell you some practical tips for structural analysis using computer. Most structural engineering books are written to tell you how you will perform the calculation by hand. Also. which may at first appear to be unsolvable by that program. This is not a textbook. I make no attempt to teach you theory of structural analysis to score good marks in the exam! But it can help you to earn more money by enabling you to analyze some structures more easily and accurately. the techniques of analysis discussed here are applicable to most standard analysis packages. Only Bachelor Degree knowledge in Civil/Mechanical Engineering is assumed. However some parts of the book do discuss some topics which are normally covered in Master’s degree level in detail. Therefore it is essential that you use your present analysis program to its full extent. However. But remember the most important advice: A structure will not behave as the computer program tells it should regardless of how accurate the program seems or how expensive it is! Thus goes the famous proverb “With good engineering judgement you can produce on the back of an envelop that which -7- . Even for a large corporate companies it is seldom possible to maintain more than two standard analysis packages.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 1. No special knowledge is required to get the most out of this book. because I know that most readers will not bother to type them or to even read them. I am not going to teach you any particular structural analysis computer program. which you were previously thought too difficult to deal with your existing analysis program. Finite element programs and structural analysis programs tend to be very expensive. You may need to manipulate computer input to solve a problem. I presented the whole thing in an informative yet informal manner. Most small-scale engineering firms keep only one analysis program. I confined the boring theory and calculation to minimum level. I expect that you are familiar with at least one standard structural analysis package otherwise you may find the contents of this book quite terse! This book does not contain listing of any computer program.

• Some features I discussed here may not be available in your program. • I did not work with all the structural analysis programs available in the market. (I did it!) Before you accuse me by complaining that my tips do not work with your program. Please try to solve them with your structural/FE analysis programs. client’s requirement etc. Now sit back. com in World Wide Web. You can reach me at www. • I am only providing you some “clues” for more effective use of structural analysis programs. I like to mention following important points. We have often returned to same topics in several sections from different viewpoints. Have a nice reading! -8- . every analysis problem is unique depending on type of project. I like to see your comments and suggestions. relax and enjoy the book.Computer Aided Structural Analysis otherwise cannot be produced with a ton of computer output”. cost. You should paste this in front of your computer so that you see it everyday. There are also some exercises. The paragraphs are small and to the point. Wherever necessary. The sections of this book are arranged in somewhat haphazard manner deliberately so that you don’t feel bored. It can even happen that the program you are using has better option to handle a particular problem compared to what I discussed in this book. The program manuals are the best source of help always. However. numerical examples have been presented. I shall be more than happy to answer your queries. Those specific criteria you have to solve yourself. • Documentation of the program you are using is very important.enselsoftware.

The program then calculated the member forces. As the name suggests. Here. sectional properties of the all members and the loads (nodal force/moment/distributed member loads etc.). you can actually ‘draw’ your model on screen (as if you’re drawing in a paper with a pencil!) with the mouse and keyboard! Everything is graphical. This type of structural analysis programs is still used in junior years in the university as a first learning tool. All programs can’t be applied for analyzing all types of structures. material properties. the commercial structural analysis programs of modern days are far more powerful and easy to use. You draw models graphically.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 2. analyzing structures using computers has created many other new problems. In earlier generation analysis programs. You must clearly understand its limitation and assumptions. First. Bon Voyage! -9- . What is most important is that you must interpret the output result accurately. nodal reactions and joint displacements and presented in a tabular format. apply loads and boundary conditions graphically and visualize the shear force. bending moment and even deflected shape diagram graphically. accurately and proper interpretation of data in easiest way. fixed. you must be very familiarize with the programs you are using. However. you had to supply the programs the nodal co-ordinates. hinged or roller. You also had to supply how the structure was supported. member incidence (i. You will also learn to analyze many new kinds of structures without learning theoretical calculations! Sounds interesting? At the end of this book. you will also learn about some very recent concepts of structural analysis. it seems rather like a magic! The availability of these programs has completely changed the way we analyze structures compared to we did the same just a decade ago! Now it is a child’s play to analyze structures having more than 10. This book will show you how to perform quickly. For the first time users. though solution algorithm may differ from one program to another.e. What is Computer Aided Structural Analysis? This section is a head start for those who are using structural analysis programs for the first time. between what nodal points a particular member is connected).000 degrees of freedom! However. Computer Aided Structural Analysis is the method of solving your structural analysis problem with the help of computer software. Most programs solve the structures by stiffness method.

the body generates internal forces and reactions at the supports to balance the applied external loads.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 3. available during meshing. The induced displacements are small enough to ignore the change is stiffness caused by loading. then we shall have to treat the problem as non-linear analysis. . strains and stresses) will also double. If you double the magnitude of loads. for example. With this option. Linear Static analysis refers to the calculation of displacements. the body deforms and the effects of the loads are transmitted throughout the body. Loads must be constant in magnitude.10 - . Dynamic loads change with time and in many cases induces considerable inertial and damping forces that cannot be neglected. you will learn various analysis options those are offered by FEA programs. load will not vary against time). You are already familiar with most of the types of analyses. This assumption lets us disregard insignificant inertial and damping forces due to negligibly small accelerations and velocities. the response of the model (displacements. Some FEA programs offer contact/gap elements. When loads are applied to a body. 1. All loads are applied slowly and gradually until they reach their full magnitudes. contacting mating faces may separate during loading and hence the load distribution in the model will change based on the gap forces generated. They are discussed below.) Linear Static Stress Analysis This is the most common type of analysis. Analysis types In this section. c. Boundary conditions do not vary during the application of loads. You can make linearity assumption if a. based on some assumptions. If the above assumptions are not valid. and some are new to you. direction and distribution. To absorb the effect of loads. load will remain constant (i. Time-variant loads that induce considerable inertial and/or damping forces may warrant dynamic analysis. After reaching their full magnitudes. strains. Linearity assumption: The relationship between loads and resulting responses is linear. 2. All materials in the model comply with Hooke’s Law that is stress is directly proportional to strain. I shall devote a few sections on non-linear analysis later. b. (References 8 and 15 were considered for this section. and stresses under the effect of external loads.e. They should not change while the model is deforming.

its material properties. The most common case of dynamic analysis is the evaluation of responses of a building due to earthquake acceleration at its base. Each natural frequency is associated with a certain shape. When a structure is excited by a dynamic load that coincides with one of its natural frequencies. Damping prevents the response of the structures to resonant loads. When building the geometry of a model. Every structure has a tendency to vibrate at certain frequencies. The program then calculates stresses at the nodes of each element by extrapolating the results available at the ‘Gaussian’ points. The first few modes of a model (those with the lowest natural frequencies). After a successful run. Sounds crazy? Calculation of stresses Stress results are first calculated at special points. as well as its support conditions and static loads. you usually create it based on the original (undeformed) shape of the model. (See you FEA textbook for details) These points are selected to give optimal results. This phenomenon is known as ‘resonance’. called natural frequencies. like a structure’s . During result visualization. the program averages the corresponding results from all elements contributing to the stresses at that node. known ‘Gaussian’ or ‘Quadrature’ points. located inside each element. a continuous model has an infinite number of natural frequencies. called mode shape that the model tends to assume when vibrating at that frequency. are normally important. In calculating nodal stresses at a node. For example. there can be three slightly different values for every stress component at that node. you may ask for element stresses or nodal stresses. Dynamic analysis In general. we have to perform dynamic analysis on a structure when the load applied to it varies with time. These results will not be identical because the finite element method is an approximate method.Computer Aided Structural Analysis This functionality offers a linearized solution to a nonlinear problem. Some loading. However. multiple results are available at nodes common to two or more elements.11 - . The natural frequencies and corresponding mode shapes depend on the geometry of the structure. the program averages the corresponding nodal stresses for each element. if a node is common to three elements. In reality. In calculating element stresses. a finite element model has a finite number of natural frequencies that is equal to the number of degrees of freedom considered in the model. The computation of natural frequencies and mode shapes is known as modal analysis. the structure undergoes large displacements.

However. This shaking transmits into the structure or device at the points where they are attached to the ground (boundary points). Random Vibration Analysis is used by mechanical engineers who design various kinds of transportation equipment. it would be important to know if things being transported in vehicles will survive until they reach the destination. Transient vibration analysis and Vibration modal analysis are extensions of dynamic analysis. These stresses are important in determining the lifetime of a structure of a transportation vehicle. I strongly recommend that you read a structural dynamic textbook if you haven’t done so already. In many cases. You will find several topics on dynamic analysis later in this book. Also.12 - . things that are riding in the vehicle. violent shaking occurs. The vibration generated in vehicles from the motors. Response Spectrum analysis. rocket (when the motor is on).Computer Aided Structural Analysis self-weight. road conditions. It is assumed that these shocks or forces occur at boundary points. During an earthquake. such as on-board electronics or cargo of any kind. significant impact on the structure’s modal properties. which is a representation of the vibration frequencies and energy in a statistical form. These geometric changes may have. may need Random Vibration Analysis. Response Spectrum Analysis Engineers use this type of analysis to find out how a device or structure responds to sudden forces or shocks. dam or nuclear reactor when an earthquake strikes. is always present and can cause considerable changes in the structure’s original geometry. since I shall not discuss theory of structural dynamics here. The following few topics – Random Vibration. is a combination of a great many frequencies from a variety of sources and has a certain "random" nature. Engineers provide input to the processor in the form of a ‘Power Spectral Density’ (PSD). and so on. this effect can be ignored because the induced deflections are small. rail car. etc. . An example would be a building. Also. Time History analysis. When an engineer uses Random Vibration he is looking to determine the maximum stresses resulting from the vibration. which are normally fixed. in some cases. This is just a prelude to dynamic analysis. Random Vibration Engineers use this type of analysis to find out how a device or structure responds to steady shaking of the kind you would feel riding in a truck.

You will find more stuff on this particular type of analysis in later sections. Such components might include nuclear reactor parts. accelerations. it eventually reaches a steady state of operation. engineers must know what the frequencies and stresses are at all moments in time. These stresses can be devastating if resonance occurs between a device producing vibration and a structure responding to. then gradually dies out. he is looking for the maximum stresses or acceleration. Mechanical engineers who design components for nuclear power plants must use response spectrum analysis as well. condensers. etc. Time History Analysis This analysis plots response (displacements. internal forces etc. The quantities describing many of the great earthquakes of the recent past have been captured with instruments and can now be fed into a response spectrum program to determine how a structure would react to a past real-world earthquake. Transient Vibration Analysis When you strike a guitar string or a tuning fork. These in turn lead to maximum stresses. Such vibrations are called "shock. In real life. But to get there. it goes from a state of inactivity into a vibration to make a musical tone. A bridge may vibrate in the wind or when cars and trucks go across it. Because things are constantly changing. you are creating transient vibration.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Response spectrum analysis is used extensively by Civil Engineers who must design structures in earthquake-prone areas of the world. velocity and displacements that occur after the shock. Imagine a torpedo striking the side of a ship and exploding. velocities.) of the structure against time due to dynamic excitation applied on the structure. When an engineer uses response spectrum analysis. pumps. But shocks occur anyhow. . shock is always more devastating than if the same force were applied gradually. or a car slamming into a concrete abutment or dropping a coffeepot on a hard floor. You will find an example of response spectrum analysis later. Conditions are changing from the first moment the note is struck. When things vibrate. " which is just what you would imagine. This tone seems loudest at first. Because of vibration. internal stresses are created by the vibration. valves. Very complex vibration patters can occur. Every time you rev the motor in your car. piping. it starts from zero RPM and passes through an infinite number of speeds until it attains the operating speed. When an electric motor is started up.13 - . shock is rarely a good thing and almost always unplanned. Sometimes transient vibrations are extremely violent and short-lived.

especially for short periods of time. which is why you can produce specific musical tones. think of the rattles in an airplane when they are revving up the engines. think of riding in a car. There is a base frequency in which the entire string is going back and forth in a simple bow shape." If sufficient power is applied. Similarly. etc. and so on up the ladder. These various shapes are called "modes". Engineers must design so that resonance does not occur during regular operation of machines. Note that ancient armies. vibration involves repetitive motion. are used in addition to . "Cycles per seconds” or "Hertz”. Many times things are made to vibrate for a purpose." Frequency is defined as so many cycles in a given time period. vibration is bad and frequently unavoidable. Sometimes vibration is good. This event is called "resonance. the first mode has a frequency higher than any potential driving frequency. produces a frequency at which an attached structure naturally vibrates. Response Spectrum. resonance cannot be avoided. Or. conveyors frequently work by vibration. Other vibration processes such as Time History. So it may pass through a resonant frequency." were taken out of step when crossing bridges. a special shaking device is used in foundries to loosen a mold placed in sand. Should the beat of the marching feet align with a natural frequency of the bridge.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Vibration Analysis (Modal Analysis) All things vibrate. it could fall down. Usually. in the food and bulk materials industries. Ideally. For example. This is a major purpose of Modal Analysis. the attached structure will be destroyed. however. Engineers have to design things to withstand vibration when it cannot be avoided. think of the tires being out of balance. Vibration is about frequencies. It may cause gradual weakening of structures and the deterioration of metals (fatigue) in cars and airplanes. which normally marched "in step. when a motor comes up to speed it produces a variety of frequencies.14 - . The base frequency is said to vibrate in the first mode. For example. Random Vibration. Higher mode shapes have higher frequencies. Rotating machines from small electric motors to giant generators and turbines will self destruct if the parts are not well balanced. By its very nature. The most disastrous kinds of consequences occur when a power-driven device such as a motor for example. For example. For example. a violin string at a certain tension will vibrate only at a set number of frequencies. Each mode shape will have an associated frequency. Our ears enable us to hear because they respond to the vibrations of sound waves. Each occurrence of a complete motion sequence is called a "cycle. Think of musical instruments. Individual parts have what engineers call "natural" frequencies. tyres and shock absorbers (dampers) help reduce vibration in automobiles. or the vibration under your feet when a train goes by. flexible couplings help isolate vibrations produced by the engines. Frequently. Harmonics and overtones occur because individual sections of the string can vibrate independently within the larger vibration.

In the normal use of most products. So they have to make a separate check to see if a product or part thereof is okay with respect to buckling. therefore buckling analysis is usually not required. These are called Transient Natural Frequency Processors. the buckling load becomes a critical design factor." Models with thin parts tend to buckle under axial loading. Even though stress can be very low. For such structures. Buckling analysis If you press down on an empty soft drink can with your hand. Stocky structures. Buckling almost always involves compression. at some point it will suddenly squash. . Such structures may fail in buckling while their stresses are far below critical levels. buckling is to be avoided when designing support columns. If you put the can on the floor and gradually increase the force by stepping down on it with your foot. the total stiffness matrix becomes singular (see section 8). designs involving thin parts in flexible structures like airplanes and automobiles are susceptible to buckling. In civil engineering. Slender structures and structures with slender parts loaded in the axial direction buckle under relatively small axial loads. it can no longer support even a fraction of the force initially applied. Mathematically. when buckling occurs.15 - .Computer Aided Structural Analysis Modal Analysis to deal with this type of more complex situation. Buckling can be defined as the sudden deformation. but fail disastrously if just one local spot of a flange should buckle! In mechanical engineering. buckling of local areas can cause the whole structure to collapse by a rapid series of ‘propagating buckling’. which occurs when the stored membrane (axial) energy is converted into bending energy with no change in the externally applied loads. not much will seem to happen. The worst part about buckling for engineers is that buckling usually occurs at relatively low stress values for what the material can withstand. Once the geometry of the part starts to deform. For example an I-beam may be perfectly "safe" when considering only the maximum stress. load bearing walls and sections of bridges which may flex under load. require large loads to buckle. buckling can be catastrophic if it occurs. The failure is not one because of stress but geometric stability. This sudden scrunching is known as "buckling. on the other hand.

In all three mechanisms. For example. Designers are usually interested in the lowest mode because it is associated with the lowest critical load. and inversely proportional to the thickness of the layer. Convection and Radiation. Rate of Heat Conduction = (K) (Area) (Difference in Temperature / Thickness) Convection Convection is the heat transfer mode in which heat transfers between a solid face and an adjacent moving fluid (liquid or gas). These mechanisms are Conduction. I include a brief discussion on thermal analysis here. The fluid particles act as carriers of thermal energy. You must have read all these in high school. heat flows from a higher-temperature medium to a lowertemperature one. Heat transfer by conduction and convection requires the presence of an intervening medium while heat transfer by radiation does not. liquids. Thermal analysis There are three mechanisms of heat transfer. Thermal analysis calculates the temperature distribution in a body due to some or all of these mechanisms.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Buckling analysis calculates the smallest (critical) loading required buckling a model. There is no bulk motion of matter when heat transfers by conduction. When buckling is the critical design factor. calculating multiple buckling modes helps in locating the weak areas of the model. Buckling loads are associated with buckling modes. In this book. I shall not discuss anything more about thermal analysis. and gasses. Conduction Thermal energy transfers from one point to another through the interaction between the atoms or molecules of the matter. Convection involves the combined effects of conduction and the moving fluid. This may prevent the occurrence of lower buckling modes by simple modifications. Conduction occurs in solids.16 - . Radiation . a hot cup of coffee on your desk will eventually cool down to the room-temperature mainly by conduction from the coffee directly to the air and through the body of the cup. The rate of heat conduction through a plane layer of thickness X is proportional to the heat transfer area and the temperature gradient.

allows for a flexible connection to the fixed space. Because electromagnetic waves travel at the speed of light. A thermos designer. the only material property that is needed for steady state analysis is the thermal conductivity. Steady State Thermal Analysis In this type of analysis. we are only interested in the thermal conditions of the body when it reaches thermal equilibrium.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Thermal radiation is the thermal energy emitted by bodies in the form of electromagnetic waves because of their temperature. In addition to the thermal conductivity. we are interested in knowing the thermal status of the model at different instances of time. on the other hand. but we are not interested in the time it takes to reach this status. for example. knows that the temperature of the fluid inside will eventually be equal to the roomtemperature (steady state). Generally. and the period of time for which solutions are desired. Boundary Element A type of finite element sometimes used to connect the finite element model to fixed points in space. Boundary elements and boundary points are normally used to simulate the constraints that actually occur when an object is used in the real world. Generally. At equilibrium. For example. Transient Thermal Analysis In this type of analysis. The thermal energy of the sun reaches earth by radiation. The temperature of each point in the model will remain unchanged until a change occurs in the system. Types of Heat Transfer Analysis There are two modes of heat transfer analysis based on whether or not we are interested in the time domain.17 - . heat transfer by radiation becomes significant only at high temperatures. if a coffee cup is . radiation is the fastest heat transfer mechanism. Typically this fixity is set with global boundary conditions. initial temperature profile. All bodies with temperatures above the absolute zero emit thermal energy. the thermal energy entering the system is equal to the thermal energy leaving it. no medium is necessary for radiation to take place. but he is interested in finding out the temperature of the fluid as a function of time. Because electromagnetic waves travel in vacuum. in which the fixity is totally rigid. specific heat. we also need to specify density. A boundary element.

The force created by this imposed displacement would be calculated automatically. If the table has a spongy surface. known as Mechanical Event Simulation or Virtual Prototyping.18 - . . Additionally. With many FEA software. then the table is the boundary. Boundary points would be points on the plane of the table that are defined as being fixed in space and to which nodes of a finite element model of the coffee cup are attached. you might want to use boundary elements to account for the flexibility. boundary elements have an additional capability of imposing and enforced displacement upon a model. You will find this in section 36. There are another very powerful types of analysis offered by high-end FEA programs.Computer Aided Structural Analysis sitting on the table and a weight is placed on top of the coffee cup. the forces generated at a boundary by forces on the model can be obtained as output using boundary elements.

Also note that the “sign” of bending moment diagrams indicate the “direction” (as shown in figure 4-1 and 4-2). the sign convention will be of same type but somewhat complicate. you often need to use “minus” sign to do so. For 3D structures. the force towards right is taken as positive and force acting upwards is considered positive. Sign convention (mind your signs) In structural analysis. they do not indicate whether the bending moment is sagging or hogging. Anti-clockwise moment is taken as positive. remember that some programs draw them in tension side or some may do the opposite. but I strongly advise you against that. You must follow same sign convention throughout your life! Normally. Please note that. This has been shown in following figure for 2D plane. You will always be fine with this convention. . sign convention is very important. This is shown below.19 - . Although you can use any convention of your own.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 4. Axial forces are normally considered positive for tensile forces and negative for compressive forces. because of taking y positive upwards. Y My Fy Fz Z Mz Figure 4-2 All positive Mx X Fx When you see bending moment diagrams. when specifying gravity loads. Fy All positive Mz Fx Figure 4-1 Most standard analysis programs follow this sign convention.

by default use x-z plane for 2D analysis. This is as expected. As an example. But it has exceptions as well.Computer Aided Structural Analysis When dealing with 3D structures.20 - . Some programs. Of course you can direct every analysis program to consider z-axis (or even x-axis) as elevation. AXIS 2 T P AXIS 1 T AXIS 3 P Positive Axial Force and Torque Figure 4-3 Compression face V2 Tension face M2 Compression face V3 Tension face M3 Positive Moment and Shear [1-2 plane] Positive Moment and Shear [1-3 plane] Figure 4-4 . because when dealing with 2D structures. you should be familiar with that program’s sign convention. the program will generally consider y-axis as elevation. Before using the program. But you must follow same sign convention throughout. Solve some basic problems with them first and consult the user guide. the following figures show how SAP90/2000 describes frame member internal forces. Different programs may follow slight different sign conventions. My main point here to make you understand that co-ordinate system is very flexible. you will normally use x-y plane.

-3 kN/m (case 2) 5 kN (case 1) Node 4 Node 3 5m 6m All members are of 250-mm side square Cross section made of concrete E=20GPa 6m Node 1 Node 2 fixed hinged Figure 4-5 Figure 4-6 The above figure shows the bending moment diagram and the free body diagram of each member. Please note that your program may draw the bending moment diagram on opposite side compared to what shown here! Observe the sign convention. Now check the result and the sign with your analysis program.21 - .Computer Aided Structural Analysis Now please solve the following problems using your program and check the result with the answer given. .

) releases. It is interesting to know that with some programs. All members are made of 3 kN steel (E=200 GPa) with 100-mm side square section -3. Note that the left end is hinged and right end is roller.833 4m The axial forces are shown as italics in the above figure. Otherwise.22 - .642 2. .208 2. you should draw them in counter clockwise fashion. Some programs. you may need to “tell” the program that the structure is a ‘truss’ by specifying ‘moment releases’ in the truss members. which allow you to draw plate elements on screen. Otherwise you may get awkward result.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Now solve the following truss.833 -2 kN 4m Figure 4-7 3m 0. torsion etc. you may wonder why the program result shows bending moment diagram in truss! Different programs have different options for specifying moment (or axial force.0 2.

Those programs.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 5. Lower bandwidth means less time necessary for solving equations. you should do it automatically. However. Generally. most programs automatically re-number nodes internally while solving and again display the result in user specified numbering. larger dimension) node numbering. . next number indicates “floor” and the last number stands for serial number of beam on that floor. the non-zero elements of global stiffness matrix are limited to a band adjacent to its diagonal.23 - . if you number nodes row wise (horizontally or more precisely along smaller dimension). You can also create ‘group’ for same type of members whose design will be same such as all columns in a particular floor. In that case. Wondering what is ‘bandwidth minimization’? It is a technique for assembling global stiffness matrix so that non-zero terms in the matrix tend to become ‘closer’ rather than getting ‘dispersed’. Improper node numbering may increase bandwidth of global stiffness matrix. For example. Since it is impractical to re-number hundreds of members manually. Similar procedure may be adopted for numbering columns. apply joint and member numbers automatically. slabs and other structural members. especially if you are analyzing a multi-story building. in a multistory frame (assuming the height is more than the length). bandwidth will be less compared to column wise (vertical i. This default scheme may not always be convenient for you. beams.e. columns and slabs are numbered on the story or floor level they reside. most programs offer re-labeling option and you can even use alphanumeric labels. you can direct the program to use X-Z-Y re-labeling pattern (assuming Y-axis is the elevation). which allow you to “draw” the model on screen. Numbering of joints and members Proper node and joint numbering is very important for large models. Fortunately. You may number all beams in the B5-10 or B05010 fashion where “B” indicates beam. Generally.

. I have tried with various programs this sectional dimension input. Y X Plan of columns Figure 6-1 In the above figure. You may get help from the following examples. the beams are of 200 x 300 mm and columns 200 x 400 mm oriented as shown in plan. In most cases width = 200 and height (or depth) = 400 worked. the programs will ask you to specify ‘depth’ and ‘width’ of the member. But for columns. The above figure is taken from real time view of SAP2000. you have to be careful. you’re out of luck! Many programs. particularly for 3D structures. the members should look like in the real structure in 3 dimension) option. If your program does not offer real time view (i. Beams can be specified as 200x300 mm without any problem. If you specify the dimension in opposite manner.e.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 6. If you specify depth = 400 mm and width = 200 mm then you will get exact section as shown in figure 6-2. Specifying moment of inertia New users of structural analysis programs often find it confusing to define section properties of the members. then you will get wrongly oriented section for the columns. have the option for specifying sectional dimension using ‘tx’ and ‘ty’ (or it might be ‘ty’ and ‘tz’ or ‘t2’ and ‘t3’) option.24 - . Generally. however.

25 - . Please explore your program’s resource files to see how it handles display of local member axes. For the column. One important thing you must understand is the concept of ‘member local axes’. Normally. Y Z Figure 6-3 Some programs can display ‘local axes’ for all members. For the beam discussed above.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Z Y X Figure 6-2 Sometimes you may need to specify inertia directly especially for irregular shaped sections. . Iz = 200x4003/12 and Iy = 400x2003/12. the ‘local axes’ are defined as shown in figure 6-3. The most often used is the ‘Iz’. the ‘local axes’ settings are different from ‘global axes’. In most analysis programs. Iz = 200x3003/12 and Iy = 300x2003/12. Normally the programs offer only ‘Iz’ and ‘Iy’ options.

It is clear that. . when you are defining section properties in terms of local axes.26 - . direction of Z axis may be in opposite direction. even an ‘inclined’ member is considered as ‘straight’. the orientation for local axes may be slightly different. The orientation of global axes is also shown in blue color. for example.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Y Z X Y X Z Figure 6-4 The above figure shows orientation of local axes for the inclined member. We shall come to local and global axes story again when we discuss interpretation of analysis output. Note that in your program.

Specifying UDL is easy.WL = -----. this is somewhat cumbersome if you have. However. very few programs will calculate distributed loads form slabs automatically. The lengths of the beams are ‘L’. If we equate fixed end moments in two beams (of figure 71 and 7-2). So. More often than not. r values as shown below . you may need to ‘split’ the member to create intermediate nodes. we get 1 – 2α2 + α3 wL2 -------------. Unfortunately. If your concentrated load is inclined. αL Total Load = W (N) UDL = w (N/m) Figure 7-1 Figure 7-2 Yes. The most common example of varying load is on the beams coming from slabs as shown in figure 7-1. Some programs allow specifying trapezoidal loads on beam members.or 12 x (1-α) 12 (1 – 2α2 + α3) x W w = ----------------------(1 – α) x L … (7. some allow only triangular load. In that case. you better resolve it into horizontal and vertical components yourself and then apply them.27 - . Specifying Loads All programs have the option for specifying concentrated and uniformly distributed loads.33α2) / (1 .1. then the load becomes varying. you need to ‘split’ each beam into three segments (not necessarily equal) and apply triangular loads at end segments and UDL on mid segment. Some programs allow you to assign a point load on beam without creating a node at that point (the program itself creates a node there internally) where as most programs require that you can assign concentrated loads only at nodes. trouble arises. say 200 beam members! But you can avoid trapezoidal loads all together with slight loss of accuracy as shown in figure 7-2. you’ll have to specify the slab load yourself. the ratio of mid span moment of trapezoidal/uniform r = [(3-4α2)WL/(24(1-α)] / [(1-2α2+α3)(W/L)(L2/8) / (1-α)] = (1 .Computer Aided Structural Analysis 7.2α2 + α3) If we tabulate α vs. however.1) So.

1). Of course you could.28 - .05 0. which often creates problem. and specify concentrated loads varying through nodes (or UDL varying through segments). . The only way out is. Under some circumstances.8%. Sometimes the program allows you to specify separate load at four nodes of the plates (and intermediate values are interpolated) though this is not really necessary in day to day analysis. But there are several disadvantages! First of all.2 1.068 It is seen that maximum difference of mid span moment for figure 7-1 and 7-2 is 6. Except in high-end FEA programs. say 100 slabs (i. we can safely replace trapezoidal load with UDL whose magnitude is given by w as shown in (7. So. You may wonder whether you can model all the slabs in your building frame using plate elements instead of converting loads to beams as shown in figure 71.375 1. If your analysis program has easy method to specify such type of loads.02 0.Computer Aided Structural Analysis α r 0 1 0.5 1. then you must ‘mesh’ it before running analysis. you’re quite correct. Not only this takes much more time to have your analysis done.)! It has been proved that with the conventional slab load distribution as shown in figure 7-3. Many frame analysis programs don’t have plate element! If you use ‘plates’. which is quite small. plates) with 10x10 mesh. you’ll have 11x11x100 = 12. you can’t input the load through equation. but also it will swamp you with tons of output (just count the number of total plate elements – their stress values etc. split your member into several sections. better the result is. consider yourself really lucky! If you’re applying hydrostatic load on a plate element. Figure 7-3 Another type of load. your analysis program must have ‘plate’ element to do this. is due to hydrostatic of earth pressure. If you have.e.g. Hydrostatic load normally takes the shape as of figure 7-4. More number of divisions. parabolic) type of loads. apply load before meshing the plate.100 extra nodes compared to that you’ll have if you transfer the loads on beams. you may have non-linearly varying (e.

But what to do if we want make it act in opposite direction (i. If your load needs to be like figure 7-5. it may act in two different manners as shown in figures 7-7 and 7-8. but I found this trick works in Visual Analysis). While you analyze water tanks. When you’re applying distributed load on inclined member. in the above figure. the load acts towards the plate. then just place the fluid level at higher level. away from plate)? Surprisingly. changing the density into negative works! (Argh!) (I don’t know whether all programs behave in this way. Uniform pressure on plates can easily be applied. Water level Figure 7-5 Figure 7-6 Figure 7-6 shows another trick where you need to superpose two types of loads to get the desired resultant load distribution.e. axis and density. . Surcharge or earth pressure load can be specified in the same way as that of hydrostatic load. For example. these tricks come handy. Now the density may be tricky.29 - .Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 7-4 To specify you generally supply fluid height.

In figure 7-7. But it’s your responsibility to apply correct method. Most analysis programs can handle both types of loading conditions shown. the load is projected on horizontal axis.30 - . the load is acting perpendicular to the member.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 7-7 Figure 7-8 In figure 7-8. This is the common case. .

it performs iteration to find out actual axial forces. perform first order analysis. Note this load. why the computer itself does not choose P-∆ analysis always. When you instruct it to perform P-∆ analysis. it sets stiffness matrix. Remember if you are using a very cheap program or some noncommercial program.31 - . To get the correct result you must activate the “Frame instability” or “P∆” analysis option yourself to force the computer to make iterations! Now gradually increase the load and re-analyze. by default.33E-6 m4) is 5 m long and fixed at bottom end. which will say that the program has encountered a negative diagonal term in member stiffness matrix and analysis will terminate. it won’t. which had 10 bays in both x and y direction. define the column properties and then apply any load. If you want to perform P-∆ analysis for . But think of the time required for performing such analysis. That is. This is the minimum buckling load. it would have been nicer. the deflected shape of the column is drawn straight! You may ask why computer can’t account for buckling in normal analysis. At one instant. Now see if the column buckles! No. 16 MB RAM computer it took me 20 minutes to perform first order analysis. buckling load is given by Pcr = π2EI/4L2 = 165 kN Figure 8-1 First draw the column. By calculation. I once analyzed a 20 storied 3D frame in VA. Column Buckling test Solve the following problem: A steel (E=200 GPa) column of 100x100 mm square cross section (I = 8. Find the buckling load. most analysis programs. With 233 MHz. A load is applied axially to the column. which you know that is well below Pcr. Hmm. it may not have P-∆ analysis option! Be careful! You may wonder.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 8. solves it and then calculates axial forces from it. Well. the computer will show you a message. You are likely to see that even when the column buckles.

Computer Aided Structural Analysis

such structure using a standard PC and inexpensive program, chances are that your system will crash! Check it!

- 32 -

Computer Aided Structural Analysis

9. Portal and Cantilever method You may have been taught to use portal and cantilever method for analysis of effect of lateral loads in frames. Both of these methods assume a point of contraflexure at mid point of beams and columns, which is often grossly inaccurate. Just analyze any frame subjected to lateral loading by these methods and then compare the results with exact analysis by computer. You will find as much as 50% to 60% difference of moments and shear forces. If computer is available, you must not use these methods. Even for preliminary analysis, when you do not know the size of the members in the structure, still these methods are not useful. You can do the same easily by using computer.

- 33 -

Computer Aided Structural Analysis


Deflection of Reinforced Concrete member

Consider a simply supported beam made of reinforced concrete. It is loaded by uniformly distributed load. How do you calculate its deflection at midpoint? You may, of course, use the familiar equation ∆ = 5wL4/384EI. But remember, here you must use effective moment of inertia of the section and not the gross moment of inertia of the section if applied moment (wL2/8 in this example) exceeds cracking moment capacity. Here w stands for dead + live load. Most computer programs do not take into account the reduced moment of inertia because of cracking. Since sometimes Ie comes equal to 50% of Ig, when you do not calculate Ie, you may just double the deflection as found from computer analysis which takes Ig. Please note that, for all members you may not need to use Ie because for all members calculated moments may not exceed cracking moments. Once you have got Ie, you can use the same analysis program to find out the deflection of desired members. But you must note following things. 1. To find out deflection at middle of a beam, you must have a node there. You can achieve this by splitting the beam into two members. Most analysis programs have the option of doing this. 2. Changing I values of some members does not alter moment and shear values which you have got previously using Ig. 3. Ie can be calculated only when you have designed the member i.e. you have specified number and diameter of reinforcement bars. 4. When you are specifying I value explicitly, ensure that you do not define beam width and depth or radius, otherwise you may get absurd results. The formulas for calculating cracked moment of inertia are given below (Ref. 1). For rectangular beam reinforced for tension only: Icr = b(kd)3/3 + nAs(d-kd)2 Where k = ((2ρn + (ρn)2)0.5 – ρn and ρ = As/bd For a beam with both tension and compression reinforcement: Icr = b(kd)3/3 + (2n-1)As’(kd-d’) + nAs(d-kd)2 Where k = ((2n(ρ+2 ρ’d’/d) + n2(ρ +2 ρ’)2)0.5 – n(ρ + 2 ρ’), ρ = As/bd and ρ’ = A’s/bd For a T-beam with k>hf Icr = bw(kd)3/3 + (b-bw)hf3/12 + (b-bw)hf(kd-hf/2)2 + nAs(d-kd)2 Where k = (ρ n + 0.5(hf/d)2)/( ρ n + hf/d) and ρ = As/bd
- 34 -

Don’t be lazy. What is said above stands for short-term (immediate) deflection. But these values are always overestimated and thus lead to uneconomical design for multistory buildings. and Ec = 4700√fck MPa if fck is cylinder compressive strength. Always calculate deflection.229 but not greater than 2.35 - . For 2 way members e. if live load remains in place for extended periods of time) by creep factor ξ = ν/(1+50ρ’) Where ν = 0. In all cases n = Es/Ec.Computer Aided Structural Analysis For a T-beam with k>hf – use same equation as that for a rectangular beam. We shall discuss later how to find the deflection of 2-way slab by using finite element analysis. This simple trick works for 1 dimensional member only i. You must add long term deflection due to creep and shrinkage as well. Most codes provide you minimum depth of members if you do not calculate deflection. Modulus of elasticity of concrete is given by Ec = 5700√fck MPa if fck (MPa) is measured as cube compressive strength of concrete. things are not as easy. This additional deflection can be obtained by multiplying the short-term deflection (discussed above) due to dead load (+ live load.e. slab. you can save money! .0 and ρ’ = area of compression steel/gross cross sectional area of the member.787(months) 0. for beams.g.

36 - . A point load of 1 MN is applied at the free end of 1-m long steel cantilever beam. shear deformation must be taken into account. The cross section of the beam is 400x600 mm.00007143 = 0. For normal beams where depth of beams are much less than their lengths. In that case. Consider the following problem. In fact if (Length of beam/Depth of beam) < 2 then the beam is termed as deep beam. Check whether your program has this option.000234 + 0. There.000234 m. Shear deformation Most programs do not take into account deformation due to shear force. what do you learn? Now make the beam section 600x400 mm and you will find that the total deflection is very near to bending deflection. Some programs offer option for specifying shear area.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 11.0003029 m. neglecting shear deformation does not lead to erroneous result but where length of beam is very close to depth of beam it can lead to large error. Figure 11-1 . they can take into effect of shear deformation. The total deflection is ∆ = PL3/3EI + 6PL/5GA (the equation comes from strain energy theorem) = 0. See what deflection your program shows! Chances are that it will show only 0. So.

Kani’s rotation contribution. Method of joints & method of section for trusses. Portal. We shall discuss substitute frame method later (see section 13) while considering maximum bending moment. You can achieve this by specifying a “spring” of infinite stiffness. you are lucky. among the methods listed above. Three moments theorem. Graphical – Funicular polygon & Maxwell diagram – Williot-Mohr diagram. In case of roller support you will get the reaction automatically from spring reaction. Do you think so? I don’t. because this method is easy. Did you notice that all these methods are used for frame analysis only? You may like to know that 80% to 90% of all real world structures analyzed are frame structures. the moment distribution is most popular. Conjugate beam. shear force etc. Column analogy. then you will specify the joint restraints in usual manner and it will be considered as an inclined support.37 - . Probably you know all or most of the above classical methods of analysis. Cantilever. in building frames. you need to try out something else. Substitute frame. Slope deflection. how many of the above methods you still use to solve structures after you have started using computer analysis programs? Probably none! Academic people will argue that all the said methods are to be mastered for a better understanding of structural response. . Normally you can specify a spring at any angle. Now be honest. The spring reaction is the resultant of X and Y components of reaction. But if your program does not have this feature. Well. This is quite logical. Modern world’s most powerful analysis method – finite element method is also a stiffness method in essence. only stiffness method is used in computer programs. In this case you just need to mention in what angle you want to rotate the local axes of the selected member. Moment area. does not involve solution of simultaneous equations and converges rapidly.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 12. Inclined support If your program supports specifying inclined local axes for a particular member. Although you have learnt flexibility and stiffness approach while studying computer method of analysis. Think what you have learnt… How many of following analysis methods you have learnt in the university? – Moment distribution.

you should just apply the required span load combination in any floor. shear force and reaction when it is fully loaded. For example. In classical substitute frame (see figure 13-1). The value obtained for support moment under this condition will also be the maximum support moment for 1st.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 13.e. In case of regular shaped building elevation. Maximum bending moment. we isolate one single floor with the assumption of columns at top and bottom floors are fixed. in the (figure 13-2) shown. 3rd and 4th . Rather. dead load must always be applied over all spans. then you can load all spans together with dead and live load without any combination. In case of computer analysis. shear force and reaction in building frame: Substitute (Equivalent) frame A frame member will not experience maximum bending moment. result obtained from one floor will be same for other floors. But before that note the following live load distribution criteria.38 - . Here we shall combine classical approximate substitute frame with computer analysis. though you still need to apply the live load in same combination as discussed above. Then we apply the combinations described above to get maximum member forces. ground floor is normally denoted by “0” in structural analysis convention). the load combination stands for maximum negative support moment in first interior column (actually both interior columns since this structure is symmetric) in 2nd floor (bottom most floor. But if you have computer. yet you need not isolate one particular floor. Some codes say that if live load intensity does not exceed 75% of dead load intensity. it is always better to perform the actual combination to get maximum values of force and moment. i. To get this Maximum positive bending moment at center of span Maximum positive bending moment at center of span Maximum negative bending moment at support Maximum column reaction Do this Load that span and then alternates spans Load adjacent spans and then alternate spans Load adjacent spans and then alternate spans Load adjacent spans and then alternate spans Maximum positive bending moment at Load all spans except adjacent spans support In all cases.

Computer Aided Structural Analysis floor. (Though it is customary to use reduced live load in roof level). Similarly. Figure 13-1 4 3 2 1 Figure 13-2 . other load combinations can be used in same manner.39 - .

But since the members’ length change. Although the member force is zero. you can take a 2-support truss whose both supports are hinged (pinned) as shown in figure 141. you need to modify the member stiffness matrix considering the displacement in perpendicular direction as well. If you want to know the actual member forces after such support settlement. you have discovered a bug in the program! The reason of this awkward shape can be explained. the program calculates it as a very small (say 10-100) number. still it will draw a bending moment or axial force diagram! In a statically determinate structure. there should not be any member force developed due to support settlement. Now take a statically indeterminate structure. You should find some member forces in the beam. Most likely.40 - . For example. you can’t do it with most available programs. Say a continuous beam. for example a simply supported beam or a simple truss. Hooray. You will see an interesting phenomenon. now take a statically indeterminate truss. Now analyze the structure. This is not correct! Figure 14-1 Most standard analysis package use truss stiffness matrix based on ignoring the support displacement perpendicular to member’s local axis. That’s why you get the wrong answer. Though the program will correctly say zero member force. which would create the axial forces. Well. . Unfortunately. there are strains. Now apply a downward settlement in any one of its supports and analyze the structure. The graphic code picks up this small but finite number and draws the force diagram. Support settlement Take any statically determinate structure. you will see zero force in all members after the analysis. Apply a settlement in one of its supports.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 14. Make one of its support settle to an amount and perform the analysis. The truss should be externally indeterminate.

often it is possible to convert the 3D model to 2D for easier input and analysis. . 2D structures are not only easier to model.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 15. try to convert 3D structures into 2D in this way. For example. Figure 15-1 You can easily analyze just one plane frame as shown in fig. 2D versus 3D For symmetrical structures.41 - . Whenever possible. 15-2. but also they can be ‘handled’ and analyzed much more easily compared to 3D structures. consider the following structure as shown in figure 15-1.

If there were additional loads of same type towards Z direction. You can then superpose the result as long as it is a linear structure with material and member section properties are the same. How about dynamic analysis of the frame shown? Is it possible to convert 3D into 2D? I shall discuss this when covering dynamic analysis in detail. 15-1. .Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 15-2 Look.42 - . 15-2. you could adopt similar 2D frame (on YZ plane) as shown in fig. in fig. the loads are towards X direction.

43 - . Obviously. parabolic arch. With 20 straight-line segments. . Note that the theoretical answer has been obtained by (H = ∫ My dx / ∫ y2 dx) formula. Curved member Most frame analysis programs do not have curve element. right vertical reaction 125 kN ↑. Microsoft Excel or Lotus 123). you can easily find out y co-ordinates of the curve against each x co-ordinate. horizontal reactions are 312.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 16. -50 kN/m (downward) Y 4m 20 m Figure 16-1 X The answer is: left vertical reaction 375 kN ↑.5 kN inward at both ends. more the number of straight members used better the accuracy is. This is useful when the equation of curve is known as y = f(x) e. By using spreadsheet’s built-in commands. Now solve the following two hinged parabolic arch. you should get exact answer within 1% accuracy. it is a good idea to change grid setting into “polar” form instead of normal rectangular setting.g. Some programs can “copy” and “paste” member and nodal information to and from spreadsheet file. Another way of doing this is to figuring the straight members’ nodal co-ordinates in spreadsheet (for example. You will need to replace the curved member by a number of straight members. While drawing straight members for curve elements. You may like to know that it is theoretically possible to create stiffness matrix of a curved member.

25. 3.g. If not.5. 2. 3. Although some programs do allow you to specify “linearly” tapered members. 3. Please note that the beam has been ‘divided’ into 8 sections. But the depth is varied as (from left most section) 2. 1. 4.e.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 17. you still need to apply this trick for “non-linearly” (e.44 - . The calculated reaction at left end is – 163 (i. Note another interesting point that. 3. still you’re lucky as you are reading this book! To specify a tapered section by yourself.5 4 15 Figure 17-1 15 The figure shows a tapered beam. Then you should specify various A (areas) and I (inertia) for each segment. Hinged at left end and fixed at right end. This will become clear from the following problem.5 2 -5000 1. If so. you’re lucky. 2. You will get more accurate answer if you divide the beam into more number of elements. upward) compared to theoretical answer of 170. cubic or parabolic) tapered members.75.5. I didn’t specify any unit or E value of material! You should get same answer whatever unit you use. Tapered section Many programs have the option of specifying tapered or variable cross sectional members. The cross sections at both ends have been shown.25. you should ‘break’ the members into a number of parts (more the number. . The bending moment at just left of mid-point of beam is – 2443 (theoretically –2549) and that of right is 2557 (theoretically 2451). downward) and at right end is +163 (i. in this problem. It is required to analyze the beam. Width of the sections is same throughout.e. A clockwise moment (hence minus sign) of 5000 has been applied at middle of the beam. better is the result).

But you can achieve this! Replace the spring by a member connected between those two nodes where the spring is required. the member will buckle easily. do not forget to release moment on this member i. Also. This can be automatically checked if you activate P-∆ analysis (see section 8) option in your program.45 - . you must check whether axial load in spring replacement member is below its buckling load (π2EI/L2). This trick works! Figure 18-1 . but none will allow you to connect two nodes by a spring. Choose A and L value properly. After analysis. Nodes connected by a spring Many programs allow you to define a spring support.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 18.e. keeping L small. because if you choose large L. Choose the properties of that member so that stiffness of spring equals AE/L of that connected member. E should be same as that of material of the spring. this spring replacement member should carry axial load only.

Sub-structuring technique and symmetry (break them into pieces…) In the analysis of large structures. consider the following structure as shown in figure 19-1. of computing and of interpretation of the results.44 kNm 5 kN 5 kN 4. it is crucial that the boundary conditions ‘sub-structures’ accurately represent the conditions in the actual structure. you will get the result as shown below. You are required to analyze the structure. 10 kN 4m 20 kN 4m 4m 4m 4m A = 2002 mm² E = Steel -5 kN/m Figure 19-1 If you separate the upper floor and then analyze only that portion. .46 - .44 kNm 4. As a first simple example.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 19. This approach is useful to reduce the labor (cost and time) of preparing the data.28 kN 11. the applied loads on the bottom floor of the actual structure will be as shown below. When an isolated part of a structure is analyzed. it is often possible to consider only a part of the structure rather than the whole.28 kN Figure 19-2 With the result shown above. 10 kN 11.

Computer Aided Structural Analysis

11.42 kNm 25 kN 4.28 kN

11.42 kNm 5 kN

-5 kN/m 4.28 kN


Figure 19-3



Observe that on leftmost node, 25 kN loads comes from 20 kN applied at that node and 5 kN reaction from upper floor. The reactions you will get in the lower floor should be same as that of obtained if you considered the whole structure as shown in figure 19-1. For your check, the ultimate results are as given below for problem figure 19-1. Node A B C D Fx kN -6.223 -5.99 -11.2 -6.583 Fy kN -14.85 30.54 20.64 3.675 Mz kNm 15.58 15.18 22.08 15.81

From the above example, it is clear that; you need to apply opposite of reactions as loads on lower floor frames. The procedure described here seems too meager for this particular structure, but this method is an absolute must for doing a fine meshed finite element analysis. It may happen that, if you run the whole structure once, it may exceed the program’s or your computer’s resource limit. That’s why it’s so important to ‘break them into pieces’. Whenever possible, try to design symmetrical structure as much as possible. They behave better than unsymmetrical ones. For symmetrical structures, this sub-structuring technique is a great time saver. When the structure has one or more planes of symmetry, it is possible to perform the analysis on one-half, onequarter or an even smaller part of the structure, provided that the appropriate boundary conditions are applied at the nodes of the plane(s) of symmetry. Followings are some examples of exploiting symmetry of structures.

- 47 -

Computer Aided Structural Analysis

Continuous beams, with even number of spans. Actual beam

Figure 19-4

Symmetry utilized beam Fixed
Figure 19-5

Continuous beams, with odd number of spans. Actual beam

Figure 19-6

Symmetry utilized beam Z direction rotation fixed
Figure 19-7

The ‘key’ to utilizing symmetry, is applying proper boundary condition. Remember, in order to take advantage of symmetry, both the structure (geometry and material) and the applied load must be symmetric. Although, you can still take advantage of symmetry even if the loading is ‘anti-symmetric’ (i.e. one half of the loading is similar to other half in magnitude but opposite in direction), the procedure will be somewhat screwy. In all cases, our sign convention is same as described in section 4 earlier. Now consider plane frames with even number of bays as shown in fig. 19-8. This frame can be detached, after applying proper boundary condition, as shown in fig. 19-9. Plane frame with odd number of spans has been shown in figure 19-10. Here you will have to apply boundary condition of X translation and Z rotation prevented in mid points of the middle beams as shown in fig. 19-11. Symmetrical structures are not only easier to analyze but also perform better than unsymmetrical structures in real life!

- 48 -

Computer Aided Structural Analysis

Figure 19-8




Figure 19-9

- 49 -

. Unless you analyze the models and visualize the results.50 - . If you face any problem. in later sections. things will not be crystal clear to you.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 19-10 X translation & Z rotation fixed X translation & Z rotation fixed X translation & Z rotation fixed Figure 19-11 Exercise Solve some problems yourself on the basis of above example models. plate’s symmetry etc. don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail! You will find advanced info on 3D structures’ symmetry.

it may be fixed-fixed or fixed-pinned as the case may be.25 + 2. The section of concrete staircase may be taken as 1-m width x 150-mm depth. From the analysis it is found that maximum mid span moment is almost same in both analyses.51 - . we consider it as a straight beam. Figure 20-1 The first figure shows exact shape of a flight of a staircase with loads (including self-weight). The length of simple beam equals 1. In approximate calculation. In fact staircases are more often analyzed as fixed-fixed support condition.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 20. This proves that approximate analysis of staircase is not really inaccurate! In hand calculation. Depending on casting. In this case we have considered the staircase as simply supported. loading on landing should be less than that of inclined flight. Theoretically. Shear forces (reactions) are also more or less equal. How far is this assumption justified? Consider the figure of the staircase shown below. it is assumed same load is acting through out the span for conservative result. Staircase analysis A staircase is actually a folded plate structure. The second figure is the approximation of the same staircase as simple beam. . The results of both analyses are shown in next figure.75 + 1 = 5 m. We shall venture on folded plate analysis in detail in some later section. moment was computed using simple M = wL2/8 formula. But in our traditional simplified method of analysis.

Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 20-2 This analysis was done in Visual Analysis 3. Following three beams are all simply supported (left end pinned and right end roller). both structures were analyzed as a single file. An interesting point is to note that. Find out what will be the bending moment at mid spans. Now think about the following paradox.52 - . You may analyze as many as separate structures in a single file even they are not connected together. Their projected length on plan is same in all cases (say 10 m).5. They are all acted by same uniformly distributed load on ‘projected’ length (say 10 kN/m). 10 m 10 m 10 m Figure 20-3 . This is applicable to most analysis programs.

Computer Aided Structural Analysis

What result do you see? The bending moment (and reactions as well) is same in all cases! If you took w = 10 kN/m and L = 10 m, then Mmax = wL2/8 = 10*102/8 = 125 kNm. It shows that, for the simple beam, bending moment is same irrespective of beam’s geometry. This happens because all three beams shown are statically determinate structures. Now make all the beams fixed at both ends. Now re-analyze them and you will see different bending moments for all cases. The example problem I presented in this section for staircase, was simply supported in both ends. That’s why you got same bending moment! Had they been fixed at ends, the results would not have matched. However, they still would not differ appreciably from traditional straight beam calculation. Still in doubt why you got same result for statically determinate beams? Well, the reason is simple. As the beams were simply supported, horizontal reactions at supports are zero (since we have only loading acting downward). So, moment due to ‘eccentricity’ of geometry is also equal to zero. This will be from following figure. Internal moment developed Horizontal reaction H x
Figure 20-4

ex = eccentricity

This internal moment (= Hex at any section of distance x from end) causes the bending moment to differ from the value as in case of straight beams (where ex = 0 at all sections). In case of statically indeterminate beams, both H and ex are non-zero. So, the internal forces differ depending on geometry of the beam. When you analyzed two hinged arches as a student you probably used the equation: Arch moment = Beam moment – He. Didn’t you?

- 53 -

Computer Aided Structural Analysis



It is possible to analyze cables with a mere frame analysis program. A cable carries ‘tension’ only. So, you should define a cable in the same way as truss member (which carries axial force only) but additionally you will have to specify that it can take tension only (no compression). Some analysis programs may not have the option of defining a tension only member! Once you have specified cables in this way, the analyses are pretty straightforward. While viewing the result, you should check whether cables’ axial force diagram shows tension only (generally positive number) and no bending moments. That’s all. An example of cable structure is shown in fig 21-1. After performing the analysis, check your answer with exact result as given.

- 54 -

Computer Aided Structural Analysis

Figure 21-1

- 55 -

Then find out the tension in cables. MBA = 75. at B = 250 kN (up). MBD = 41. . Use suitable values for span. Check if equation of static equilibrium is satisfied at each node. the tensions in the cables will be different. MEB = 41. Figure 21-2 It is also possible to analyze the cable shown in figure 21-2.56 - . MEC = -41. This is given as an exercise to you! If the loads are all unequal. Moments: MAB = 0. Mid span of EC = 84 kNm.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Vertical reaction at A = 104 kN (down). MBE = -117. sags and loads.

If not then read the following tricks. then ‘arrows’ of moments will be reversed. They are really confusing! Try to comprehend the following worked out problem. Pre-stressed cable profile Does your program offer specifying pre-stressed cable profile? If yes. .57 - . PyA yA θA c P Upward UDL c L/2 L/2 θA = (4c + yA – yB)/L θB = (4c – yA + yB)/L Equivalent load Figure 22-1 θB yB PθA PyB PθB P w = 8Pc/L² Actual pre-stressed cable PyA yA θA θB yB P Total length L Actual pre-stressed cable Figure 22-2 PθA P(θA + θB) PyB PθB P Equivalent load Observe the figures very carefully. Please note that the θ values are in radians. Observe sign conventions carefully. then good. Note that the yA and yB indicate eccentricity of the cable at supports in upward direction from center of gravity of concrete (cgc) line. Upward distance is positive at supports and downward distance is positive at mid spans for pre-stressed cable profile (majority of standard analysis programs follow this sign convention). If the cable distances are of opposite sense compared to what shown in above figures.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 22.

θA = (4 x 0.6 – 0. yB = 0.4 m.6 + 0. So.5)/5 = 0.17 rad And θB = (4 x 0. For right span.5 = 250 kNm on left end and 500 x 0. So. the equivalent forces on the beam will be of as shown in figure 22-4 (axial force P is not shown).05/152 = 18.67 kN/m. yA = 0. yB = 0.5+0.5 – 0. moments are 500 x 0. Concentrated force at 10 m from left span is 500 x (0. Moments shown in orange color will cancel each other.4)/15 = 0.5 + 0. the remaining forces that will act are .1 rad And θB = (0. the calculation is shown below.2) = 150 kN.5 m. So. equivalent upward load w = 8 x 500 x 1. L = 15 m. yA = 0.5 m.5 + 0.67 kN/m 250 kN Now the forces shown in blue color will go to support directly.58 - . support moment at left end of right span is 250 kNm and on right end is 500 x 0. L = 15 m.4)/2 + 0.5)/10 = 0.5 m.Computer Aided Structural Analysis With reference to the figure 22-3.05 m So. θA = (0.2 rad So.6 = 1.15 rad And c = (0.4 = 200 kNm. So. Also.5 = 250 kNm on right end of left span. For left span.4)/15 = 0. Figure 22-3 250 kNm 250 kN 150 kN 250 kNm 250 kN Figure 22-4 200 kNm 18.1 + 0.5+0.

The ultimate equivalent load will be that of as shown in figure 22-5. Although parabolic profile is the most common. In actual practice there are always more than one cables.59 - .67 kN/m So. Naturally. Also remember that. there are other types of profiles possible. the beam will also carry dead load and live load as well. You can analyze effect of each cable separately and then superpose to get the net result. For more information on this subject. .Computer Aided Structural Analysis shown in green color. for pre-stressing force. dead load and live load. See your textbook for details. please see any standard textbook on prestressed concrete. there is a uniform compressive stress ‘P/A’ in the concrete in addition to the bending stress due to pre-stress. Analyze the beam for these loads as separate cases and then combine the results as desired. I have shown here only linear and parabolic cable profile. the beam should be analyzed for the loading shown above. 250 kNm 150 kN Figure 22-5 200 kNm 18.

I present a very very brief introduction of the subject. it would have been termed as 3D solid. It is made of a number of beam/column members or “bars”. Those who did not. That is. the theory of finite element analysis is very complex! What is meant by finite element? The answer is any element. Don’t be exasperated. is actually finite element analysis in essence where each finite element is a “bar”.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 23. which is not infinite. this is the real definition of finite element. Here the “bars” are “finite elements” of the “frame”. you may skip this section. In all previous cases. Did you play with mechano when you were a child? Just think how you built a model car or house by “Lego” parts? Now consider each part of mechano as “finite element”. By 2D or 3D frame we actually mean “Plane” and “Space” frame. But I warn you. Don’t confuse this with 2D or 3D frame. Pretty confusing! Look. you are viewing a beam from its length side.60 - . Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Method is approaching… We now come to the most outstanding and most versatile method of structural analysis: the Finite Element Method. I hope you have probably realized now that the frame analysis. There exist more than 1001 books in this subject. we treat all beams as “bars” like a “stick”. so far what we have discussed in preceding sections. right end roller. Observe that here we consider the beam as 2dimensional “Plane stress” structure. But in the above figure we are treating the beam taking into effect of its length as well as depth. Had we considered the width of beam in the analysis. A number of mechano elements were needed to build your model car or house. The beam is simply supported. That’s why it is 2D. It has made possible to analyze virtually all kinds of structures that human brain ever can imagine! If you have studied finite element before. It is . Now consider a frame. there is a “cut” in the beam. left end pinned. Y X Figure 23-1 This is the longitudinal section of a beam shown.

σy and τxy. . You do get correct result with triangular finite element but you must use very fine mesh compared to rectangular element. Please note that analysis of this problem by classical method is close to impossible. you will see that you get accurate answer when you use rectangular elements. We are describing this problem as plane stress because we considered only 2 dimensions (X and Y) and stress variation along width (Z direction) has not been taken into account. triangular element is not a good choice. We like to find out the stresses at various points of the beam. Then we shall have to apply the boundary condition on [K] matrix. Then we shall determine the member stiffness matrix [k] of each individual triangular element and ultimately we shall have to combine the member stiffness matrices into “global stiffness matrix” [K].Computer Aided Structural Analysis loaded by a uniformly distributed load. In this problem we considered the beam is made of “triangular” finite elements.61 - . Y X Figure 23-3 If you analyze the beam with both triangular and rectangular elements as shown above. It proves one very fundamental concept of finite element analysis: You must choose proper element for particular problem. distributed load must be converted to appropriate nodal loads by applicable equations. you should consult any standard finite element analysis textbook. our problem can be represented by familiar equation [P] = [K][D]. That means we have taken care of only σx. So. In general. first we divide the beam into a number of “triangular finite elements”. pretty much the way we did in case of frame analysis. but we could have also considered it is made of “rectangular” finite elements as shown in figure 23-3. If you are interested to know why triangular element behaves in such way. From this equation we can solve for [D] and then we can find out nodal stresses form equation [σ] = [C][ε] where [C] matrix differs in various cases like plane stress. Figure 23-2 After that we need to construct force matrix [P]. For this. So. σ ε plane strain etc.

Figure 23-5 In this case finite element will be 3D solid element like shown in figure 23-6. . But higher noded elements are difficult to calculate even with a computer since total number of nodes increases the size of global stiffness matrix. Higher is the number of nodal points in an element better is the accuracy of the solution. Compatibility means there must not be any discontinuity or overlapping among the elements when the analysis model deforms under applied load. when you use triangular you will normally need much finer “mesh” than rectangular elements.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 23-4 As a crude rule. Most powerful finite element programs can generate mesh automatically if you specify the boundary surfaces of the models. Whatever element you use. There are a lot more other finite elements in addition to basic triangular and rectangular elements discussed above. You should use more number of elements where you anticipate stress variation is more irregular. If its each vertex has one additional point in the middle. You can combine more than one kind of element in single structure. Figure 23-6 This is an 8 noded finite element because it has 8 nodal points. If you want to analyze the same beam in 3D then your model will look like as shown in figure 23-5.62 - . it must be compatible. then it would have been 20 noded finite element. The assembly of elements in finite element analysis is called “mesh”.

Some manufacturing companies spend millions of dollars every year in finite element analysis! I am concluding finite element introduction here. proper load and applicable boundary conditions. . mechanical engineering and structural engineering etc. But this method has drawbacks! Your program cannot analyze the structure if your number of mesh nodal points exceed the program’s capacity. But you must realize that it is not so easy as it seems. which takes L. This is especially a demanding task for very complex structures.Computer Aided Structural Analysis One distinguishing feature of finite element method is that it does not provide “closed form” solution. you can easily check whether the result is correct or not by comparing the answer obtained by classical method. In classical method of analysis. Moreover. E. it is very difficult to predict beforehand what particular “finite element” will best simulate the structure. How do you check the correctness of these analyses? Therefore you must accept the finite element analysis result as exact result! That’s why it is so important that finite element analysis models must be created to simulate the actual structure as much as possible.63 - . sufficiently accurate mesh. It is often a common practice to analyzing the structure first with a particular mesh and then repeating the whole analysis after doubling the mesh to see whether the result converges. This probably needs little more explanation. Think of a simple beam. Just think of solving a simple beam in finite element method (this is presented just after this section). I and w as input and computes deflection at any point by solving the equation of elastic line. But now imagine the analysis of the fuselage of an airplane or the propeller of a ship. if you change the length of the beam. you can make a program. Researchers are still developing new finite elements. Of course you can change E or w values or boundary condition without remodeling the whole structure. then what is the justification of studying classical methods of analysis. I used the word “almost” because finite element analysis does produce exact result only when the finite element is “bar” that is in “frame structures”. You may be wondering that if finite element method can solve any structure. it becomes another new problem because the geometry of the model changes. After you solve this beam by finite element method. You must use proper combination of finite elements. which can be easily formulated. bio-medical engineering. But in case of finite element analysis. Finite element method is nowadays widely used in all branches of aerospace engineering. Another aspect of Finite element analysis is that it almost always produces an approximate result. Aha! A real question indeed! You can realize it yourself. Every problem in finite element analysis is unique.

Performing analysis (may take hours for complicated models!) 6. 1. My main aim is to make you realize that finite element analysis is required only when it is absolutely necessary. Typically. I strongly recommend that you to go through some standard finite element method textbooks. But there are many glitches! In next page you will find an exercise of simply supported beam with uniformly distribute load analyzed by FEA method. many engineers tempt to use finite element analysis everywhere even when it is possible to analyze the particular structure using classical method of analysis. Defining the boundary conditions. The steps are pretty straightforward. Remember that finite element analysis programs are very expensive and they also demand great part of contribution from you for preparing input and interpreting output.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Sometimes even the most expensive finite element analysis programs produce wrong answer to complex problems. 3. a finite element analysis consists of following steps. 5. drawing it either in the finite element program’s graphical interface or importing it from a CAD program). Remember this! . Defining the loads.64 - . 2. Creating the mesh (most programs can automatically generate mesh for best result). This example is for your understanding of the basic concept of FEA only. If you feel inclined to know more about this wonderful (?) tool of analysis.e. Interpreting the result (very important). Defining the model (i. this problem should be solved by simple flexure formula of σ = My/I. In practice. One word of advice. 4.

Figure 23-7 In case of plane stress model formulation. Most finite element analysis programs offer these elements. Original shape is shown by dotted line. You can convert the uniform load into nodal loads by applying 0. Its left end is hinged and right end is roller. this is equal to width of the beam. Use standard solid brick or tetrahedral element. 2.25 kN at extreme nodes and 0. For 2D analysis.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Exercise A 5-m steel (E=200GPa) beam has width 200 mm and depth 500 mm. Your program may display slight different result due to numerical round off in calculation. . After performing the finite element analysis.5 kN at intermediate nodes. The deflected shape should resemble the following figure.95x10-4 m maximum stress 3.3. In this problem. after modeling your structure should look similar to this figure. ν = 0. Solid model analysis. It is loaded by 10-kN/m uniformly distributed load. This 2D-beam analysis was performed in Visual Analysis. you should use plate finite element whose thickness will be equal to the depth in Z direction.65 - . That means there are 10 elements in X direction and 2 elements in Y direction. Plane stress analysis with 20 rectangular elements. Try following modeling: 1.75 MPa. each 0. Find deflection at mid point and maximum bending stress in the beam by finite element analysis. you should get the answer: mid point deflection 1.5x0.25 m size.

66 - . Later we shall see how finite element analysis can produce incompatible result. Your program should have the option to display other stresses e. σy . Interpreting the finite element analysis result is very important. There you will realize why it is essential to learn some theory behind the finite element analysis.g. Figure 23-9 .Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 23-8 The figure 23-9 shows one of mid plane stresses. local σx distribution. It is expected that you spend equal or more time in interpreting analysis result compared to the time previously spent in preparation of the model. τxy etc.

what will be the load? Look. (as in SAP2000) you will get exact result for this problem. the program will mesh it by using brick elements or tetrahedral elements. . it will mesh the model itself. By default. the applied load we have to specify as 50 kN/m² pressure normal to the upper surface. Now. Firstly.67 - . similar to shown in fig. If you are using a high-end FEA program. 23-7) 8-noded solid elements. You may note that. here we’ve applied a total load of 10 kN/m x 5 m = 50 kN acting on the upper face area of 5 m x 0. comes the main hurdle. Figure 23-10 The next figure shows stress (σx) diagram on displaced shape. Left end boundary condition is X. you should take into account many other things when you analyze the same beam as 3D solid. However.Computer Aided Structural Analysis To analyze the beam as 2D. Y. Figure 23-11 This 3D analysis was performed in Cosmos/Design Star.2 m = 1 m. such high density meshing is not really required for this very problem. Be careful about the load’s direction. you should not face any difficulty. So. The next figure shows the beam with automatically generated tetrahedral mesh. the meshing. Z translation fixed along bottom edge and Z translation fixed along bottom edge on right end. If you manually mesh with 20 numbers (2 elements along depth and 10 elements along length.

why do you need bending moment and shear force values? To calculate stresses later. It does not show you bending moment or shear force diagram.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Did you see that finite element analysis programs normally give you output in the form of nodal displacements and stresses. Why? Well. isn’t it? Finite element analysis programs directly give you the stress values! .68 - .

the values taken in this problem are not realistic. we now begin solving the problem. If you study the following numerical example along with your FEA textbook. Please note that the value of modulus of elasticity E is taken as 200x106 N/m². Unfortunately. The figure also shows the degrees of freedom (DOF) of the system. Shape function matrix is normally denoted by [N]. most FEA textbooks do not contain sufficient numerical examples to make the whole thing transparent to the readers. So. This is a plane stress problem. The division of the plate into a mere two elements is done just for illustration purpose only. Anyway. My main aim is to present various steps of FEA computation through a simple numerical problem. Well. you might find it easier to comprehend now. I hope you’ve already familiar with ‘shape function’. let’s start… Figure 24-1 Figure 24-1 shows a plate divided into two triangular shaped finite elements. which describes displacement of any point within an element as a function of nodal displacements of the element. A typical worked out problem of FEA I think by this time you have at least tried to open first few pages of a FEA textbook and probably bogged down by heavy theory. .Computer Aided Structural Analysis 24.). the plate should be divided into a larger number of elements (triangular or rectangular etc. I am here to rescue you. The definition will be clear as we solve the problem. This is the function. In actual practice. In fact.69 - .

y 2) + x( y 2 − y3) + y ( x3 − x 2) = 1 − 0. The co-ordinates are (0.4) respectively...25 0 0.25 x − 0.25 − 0. (x2. (x1.25 0 0.0). If the area of the triangle is A. The shape functions for triangular element 1 are ( x 2..25 x 2A ( x3. y2) and (x3. y 2 − x 2.25 0.25 y 2A N1 = Now. y3 − x3...0) and (4. y1).m 2 2 y3 1 4 4 Where. y3) are the co-ordinates of node 1.25 y 2A ( x1. (4. y3) + x( y3 − y1) + y ( x1 − x3) N2 = = 0..25 0 Now we set the ‘Constitutive matrix’ [C] as (for plane stress only) . then we know 1 x1 1 A = 1 x2 2 1 x3 y1 1 0 0 1 y 2 = 1 4 0 = 8.Computer Aided Structural Analysis All FEA textbooks describe how to derive shape functions for various elements.25 0.m −1 0 − 0. 2 and 3 respectively..25 . we shall assume that we already know the shape function for the triangular element.70 - . y1) + x( y1 − y 2) + y ( x 2 − x1) N3 = = 0. y1 − x1. the ‘strain displacement’ matrix is ∂N 1 ∂x [ B] = ∂[ N ] = 0 ∂N 1 ∂y 0 ∂N 1 ∂y ∂N 1 ∂x ∂N 2 ∂x 0 ∂N 2 ∂y 0 ∂N 2 ∂y ∂N 2 ∂x ∂N 3 ∂x 0 ∂N 3 ∂y 0 ∂N 3 ∂y ∂N 3 ∂x − 0. Its nodal points are 1. So. We consider element 1 at first.2 and 3.25 0 0 0 = 0 0 0 − 0.

10 6.5 1 .. we shall get stiffness matrix for element 1 as: 1 0 [k ]1 = −1 0 0 0 0 0 .5 − 0 . 4.5 0 1 0 0 0 −1 0 0 1 0 −1 0 − 0 . y1 = 0 (point 1)..5 − 0 . x3 = 0...5 0 .5 0 .N / m − 0 . x2 = 4. Following exactly same steps.5 0 −1 0 ....5 −1 0 .5 1 . y3 = 4 (point 4).5 − 0 ..5 − 0 .. DOF are 1. Only you have to use x1 = 0..0 .N / m − 0 .5 − 0 .stress ) V If we perform the calculation.5 0 ..5 0 − 0 .10 6.5 1 . Calculation is same.5 0 .5 For element 2...5 − 0 . 5. In matrix format.. the global stiffness matrix [K] becomes. 6. Thickness t = 0. it is a 6x6 matrix. 5 and 6. Its DOF are 1..5 .5 0 [k ] 2 = 0 − .5 0 0 0 0 0 −1 0 1 .71 - . The stiffness matrix of triangular element is given by [k ] = ∫ [ B]T [C ][ B]dV = [ B]T [C ][ B] At.5 0 0 Note that.N / m 2 ν 1 2 1 −ν 1 −ν 0 0 100 0 0 ν We have considered E = 200x106 N/m² and Poisson’s ratio as 0.5 − 0 .5 0 0 0 .. 7 and 8.5 −1 0 − 0 .5 − 0 .01 m.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 1 ν 0 200 0 0 E [C ] = 0 = 0 200 0 . we can easily find stiffness matrix for element 2. 2.5 0 .5 − 0 .10 6.. . [K] = [k]1 + [k]2.( for. This is given as an exercise for you. 3. plane.5 1 . So.. 0 .5 −1 0 .5 0 .. 2..5 − 0 .. y2 = 4 (point 3).

.5 − 0 . Our next step is to calculate applied nodal forces.5 0 1 .72 - . force matrix becomes an 8x1 matrix.5 −1 0 .5 − 0 .5 − 0 .dx For more explanation on this topic. still we did not specify the boundary condition. The formula for converting distributed loads into nodal loads is: {re } = ∫ [ N ]T q..5 0 0 −1 0 1 .5 0 .5 1 .5 −1 0 0 0 ..5 − 0 .5 .5 − 0 .10 6.5 − 0 . 5.5 0 −1 0 − 0 .5 −1 0 0 0 − 0 . we have a varying distributed force.. 4.5 − 0 ..5 − 0 .5 1 . we have to adjust both global stiffness and force matrix with DOF 3.. Therefore.5 1 .5 0 0 − 0 .5 0 . nodes 1 and 4 are pinned. see your favorite (or not so favorite) FEA textbook. In FEA.5 − 0 ..5 0 0 −1 0 0 0 − 0 . In the problem.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 1 .5 Observe that it is an 8x8 matrix since we have 8 DOF in the problem. q1 q2 L Actual distributed load Figure 20-2 L(2q1+q2)/6 L(q1+2q2)/6 L Equivalent nodal load Note that the applied load is in DOF 3 and 5 direction. DOF 1.5 1 .5 0 .5 0 0 0 −1 0 . Since.N / m − 0 . However.5 − 0 .5 1 .5 0 −1 [K ] = 0 0 − 0 . 8 will be fixed.. So.5 0 . 2 and 7. 6 only. we must transfer distributed loads into equivalent nodal loads. The force matrix is .5 0 .

m Global displacement matrix [d] becomes 8x1 matrix as shown next.[F]D or 7.5 0 − 0 .N After applying boundary condition..N Recall very well known stiffness method formula [F] = [K][d] Calculated displacement for DOF 3. 4. 5. ...57 1. 6 DOF only) 8000 [F ]D = 0 4000 0 . 5.10 6... 4....5 − 0 .5 − 0 ..14 .73 - ..71 4....N / m Force matrix is (for 3...43 [d ]c = 1.5 0 0 −1 0 1 .Computer Aided Structural Analysis 0 0 8000 [F ] = 0 4000 0 0 0 .........5 . 6 is [d]c = [K]B-1..5 [K ]B = − 0 ..5 0 ...10 −3..5 1 ..5 1 .5 −1 0 .. global [K] takes the form 1 .

71 γ xy − 0.25 0...14 0 0 .25 [ε ] = ε y = 0 0 0 0 0.m Our main analysis is complete.25 .10 = − 143 10 − 6 1.74 - .25 0 0 0 1875 7.. Now we shall ‘post process’ our result. Suppose.57 1. d3 d4 d5 d6 = .25 0 0..N / m 2 τ xy − 28600 What if we want to find out the displacement at point x = 3 and y = 2? Displacement at any point within the element [u] = [N][d] d1 d2 ux uy = N1 0 0 N1 N2 0 0 N2 N3 0 0 N3 .43 −3 − 0.25 − 286 0 0 4... . we like to know the strains and stresses at all three nodes of element 1.. . σx 371450 [σ ] = σ y = − 28550 .Computer Aided Structural Analysis 0 0 7..71 4...57 1.25 0..14 0 The stress is defined by [σ] = [C][ε].10 −3...43 [d ] = 1.25 − 0. The strain matrix is defined by [ε] = [B][d]. 0 εx − 0.

e. 6. Did you realize the labor involved in solving with just 2 elements and 8 DOF.. 2.71 4. The stiffness matrix for rectangular elements is given by b a T [k ] = ∫ ∫ [ B] −b − a [C ][ B]. Since strain is constant. 5..000 nodes. This is as expected because we have considered only two elements.25 0 .5 0 0 0 . That’s why it’s called Constant Strain Triangle. Let’s have a snack break! . The answer we have got here is not correct. (Oops!) I think you are already feeling bore..t... In this problem. Next try the problem with four rectangular elements.14 1 .43 1. Now imagine what will happen with 100. It vindicates absolute necessity of computers in FEA..0 10 −3. [B] is a function of x and y (and z for 3D cases). [B] = constant i.75 - .Computer Aided Structural Analysis 0 0 0.m Where. You should appreciate following interesting points: 1.14 10 −3 = 4.25 0 0 0.. See your FEA textbook to find out [N] matrix for rectangular elements. 4. dn indicates nodal displacement of the element.57 1.dxdy Here you have to integrate ‘numerically’. stresses at any point within element are also constant. For rectangular and other elements.25 0. The commercial FEA programs basically performs the same operation as described above.5 7. it does not involve any terms containing x or y. 3.25 0 0 0.. Distributed load should be converted to equivalent nodal loads. this is the case only for triangular element. They calculate stress/strain at all points inside the elements and plots as colorful contour diagram as output.. Use your analysis program to generate a mesh and see what will be the exact answer. However.

Max.76 - . If everything goes ok. It will make the plate simply supported. you should get the answer. do it. Roller Pinned Pinned Figure 25-1 Roller When applying surface load.65-mm i. Specify two adjacent edges as pinned and the other two adjacent edges as rollers. The programs typically show many other stress-components like Von Mises. Now comes the boundary condition. S11. The deflected shape should resemble a saucer.0005 or 0. it should be enough for this problem. it may be considered sufficiently accurate. Most programs will allow you to divide the plate into number of smaller plates within it. Check your answers with theoretical solutions.e. The plate is made of steel (E = 200 GPa). Different programs have different options for specifying surface loads. So.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 25. First hurdle is how you should ‘mesh’ the plate. Our model is 3-m x 2-m size and 10 mm thick. Plates by FEM Let’s solve a simple plate by finite element analysis. Consider sign convention as described in section 4. Principal etc. 0. Ignore self-weight of the plate.00065 m. be careful.0007 m deflection using your program. If you get 0. Why it is necessary to ‘mesh’ plates? . Make a ‘cut’ anywhere in the plate and see what happens. It is simply supported. Also make sure the load acts ‘downward’. The theoretical answer is 0. Expensive programs can create the optimum mesh for you! If you mesh the plate 15x10 elements. It is acted by 100-kPa uniformly distributed load over its surface. Find the deflection at mid point of the plate. Now solve the same problem with some different boundary conditions like all edges fixed and heavier loads etc. I shall discuss about them later.

more elements require more time to analyze. in this case you should get exact mid point deflection. as I already stated that for ‘bar’ finite elements. Another point. Now your result is correct. occasionally you may need to split frame members too for applying nodal point loads. you will get different (usually more accurate) result if you split frame members. The more each plate is split the more accurate the model becomes. 252). there may be situations where increasing mesh density only may not produce good result! We may need to use more complex elements. even if you split frame members.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Suppose you have made a model of moment frame with masonry walls and concrete floor slabs as ‘plates’.e. Let’s apply 15x10 mesh (see fig. As I already mentioned you earlier. Clearly. you analyze the plate again but with 30x20 mesh. Interpreting the result also becomes complicated. Although. in actual problem you won’t know the answer beforehand! So. analyze the plate with only 6x4 mesh. you need to increase your mesh density i. keep going on! How do I know whether my meshing is accurate enough? Why not start with this very plate problem? First. For linear structures. we can form the exact stiffness matrix. you have to decrease your mesh size. 6). I shall discuss more about it later.91x10-4 m. Modeling the structure in this way can cause larger deflections in some members than if they were modeled with intermediate connections. this is not equal to theoretical 6.5x10-4 m. Finally. The supporting beams would receive no load. But for non-linear structures. the plates are in continuous contact with the supporting members. This trick normally works in most of the FEA problems. In the real world structures. You will observe that you get same displacement as in case of 15x10 mesh. Another concern involves load path continuity. So. Well. For example. So. instead of 4-noded plate element we can use 8-noded plate element. Your mid point deflection should come 5. however. If a distributed surface load were applied to the floor plates. Now why you need to ‘mesh’ the plates? The problem with this is that the plate elements are only connected to the supporting members at the nodes. we just increased mesh density and see whether our result converges and we stopped when done. More on non-linear structures in some later sections. so that more nodes are provided to allow the real world connection to be more accurately modeled. So. So. should you rely upon convergence of displacement or of stress? . how do you know that you get exact answer with 15x10 mesh? What you have to do is that. So we don’t need to split them. the load would be transferred to the corners of the plate and directly down to the columns. You may wonder that we don’t split frame (beam/truss) members.77 - . The walls may also be too stiff when modeled as a single element. this mesh is sufficient. this is particularly important with large models. it is not clear into how many elements you should split the plates (Ref. However. you still get same result. But hey. To fix these problems the single plate will have to be split into smaller pieces.

you should aim at displacement convergence. Take stress diagrams of the point when displacements converge (in 30x20 case for this problem).78 - . stresses in FEA are ‘less’ accurate than displacements (since stresses are calculated from displacements. So. see the worked out problem of previous section).Computer Aided Structural Analysis In general. Figure 25-2 .

Until the stress exceeds the value of yield stress of the material of the member. When it’s in tension. Try to avoid compression member as far as possible. The next figure shows positive direction of the bending moments and shear forces acting on a beam. . Things will get really messy if unsymmetrical bending is considered. Figure 26-3 The bending moment causes bending stress (= My/I) on the beam. In case of straight beam. This is one of the most important tasks. First consider a simple truss member. The maximum stress that the member can withstand depends on the material and the ‘slenderness ratio’ (= length/side dimension) of the member. are very efficient and cost effective.79 - . Interpreting FEA result In this section you will learn how to interpret FEA result. This is current trend in design. although sometimes effect of axial forces may be quite as much. The reactions cause shear stress (= VQ/Ib). buckling may occur. This is discussed later. Figure 26-1 The tensile stress developed in the member is simply equal to Force/Area. the forces we generally do consider are – bending moment and shear force. in addition to these forces. On the other hand. For beams curved in plan. consider a member under compressive force. Figure 26-2 Here the stress is also Force/Area but in this case. I shall start with very basic beam and truss and then gradually move to complex stress components.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 26. the member will not fail. All tension member structures like tents etc. the force acts on it as shown below. torsion also comes (see figure 26-4).

didn’t you? In straight beam. The Von Mises stress is a measure of stress intensity required for a material (generally a metallic material). This is based on Von Mises – Hencky theory which. Now what does this mean anyway? Von Mises stress is a measurement of ‘distortion’ of the element. Typically. which is obvious. all FEA programs will show you Von Mises stress by default after analysis is finished. predicts that yielding in ductile material occurs when distortion energy per unit volume of the material equals or exceeds the distortion energy per unit volume of the same material when it is subjected to yielding in a tensile test.80 - . I’m sure you’ve seen this figure several times since your first year of university. The theory takes into account the energy associated with changes in the shape of the material. please let me introduce Principal . we have only σx. to start yielding and become plastic. you will get values for only σx stress components. Before showing you mathematical concept of Von Mises stress. σy τyx τxy τyz σx Y X Z σz Figure 26-5 τzy τzx τxz All stress components are shown in figure 26-5. Please see figure 26-1 and you will appreciate the stress component diagram shown there. Note that in that beam.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 26-4 Now consider a most general case of the stresses acting on a solid element. In a nutshell. This criterion is used to analyze materials that would fail in a ductile manner.

Hence.81 - . According to this theory yielding of material begins when the absolute maximum shear stress reaches the shear stress that causes the same material to yield in a tensile test.Computer Aided Structural Analysis stresses. Stress components depend on the directions in which they are calculated. The directions associated with principal stresses are called the principal directions. Von Mises stress has no implication in brittle materials like concrete and soil. τ 3/1 = (σ3 – σ1)/2.(τ xy + τ yz + τ zx )] 2 2 (σ 1 − σ 2 ) 2 + (σ 2 − σ 3 ) 2 + (σ 3 − σ 1 ) 2 2 1 σ VM = Hence. I apologize for the following boring equations! The Von Mises stress is computed from the six stress components as follows: σ VM 1 2 2 2 = [ ((σ x − σ y ) 2 + (σ y − σ z ) 2 + (σ z − σ x ) 2 ) + 3. τ 1/2 = (σ1 – σ2)/2. shear stresses vanish. the Factor of Safety = σ limit / σ Von Mises Then comes Maximum Shear Stress criterion. σ2 and σ3. τ 2/3 or τ 3/1. the remaining three normal stress components are called principal stresses. τ 2/3 = (σ2 – σ3)/2. This criterion is mostly used to analyze materials that would fail in a ductile manner. which is also known as Tresca yield criterion. failure occurs when: σ1 >= σ Tensile Limit if σ1 > 0 and σ3 > 0 σ3 >= -σ Compressive Limit if σ1 < 0 and σ3 <0 (σ1/σ Tensile Limit – σ3/σ Compressive Limit) < 1 if σ1 >= 0 and σ3 <= 0 Hence. At a point. The three principal stresses are denoted by σ1. Mohr Coulomb theory is also known as Internal Friction theory. for certain co-ordinate axis rotations. the Factor of Safety = 1/(σ1/σ Tensile Limit – σ3/σ Compressive Limit) . τ max ƒ (σ limit / 2) where τ max is the maximum of τ 1/2. According to theory. the Factor of Safety = σ limit / 2τ max There are two other failure criteria mainly for brittle materials – Mohr Coulomb Stress and Maximum Normal Stress.

If the ratio is less than 1.Computer Aided Structural Analysis This criterion is used for brittle materials whose tensile and compressive strength properties are different. failure of the material occurs when maximum principal stress reaches the ultimate strength of the material when subjected to simple tension. the Factor of Safety = σ limit/ σ1 This criterion is used for brittle materials whose ultimate strength is same for both tension and compression. it is not uncommon to use a factor of safety value in the range of 10 to 20. failure is predicted to occur when σ1 >= σ limit where σ1 is the maximum principal stress. Ratio more than 1 indicates re-design is necessary. That means.82 - . 15) What factor of safety you use is entirely your responsibility. Please see Section the section on Folded Plate for more information on interpreting FEA result. then design is same. In machine design. . Hence. (Ref. Most frame analysis and design programs show the ratio of (applied stress/ allowable stress) for every member after performing design as per code specification. According to Maximum Normal Stress criterion. Please remember that brittle materials do not have specific yield points.

Remember that the connection to adjacent . the program may not be able to generate the mesh successfully at all! Many a times you will be forced to use 1:50 as lowest acceptable aspect ratio value. But the things are really messy! When your model is quite simple. Triangular elements – equilateral triangles will produce the most accurate results. but elements with a ratio of 1:5 will be unreliable. Mesh density – the mesh density need not be constant throughout the model. Yikes! If you do not specify such upper limit for aspect ratio. If not. Element shape – quadrilateral elements – the greatest accuracy is achieved with a square – 1:1 element. If the actual result through the elements is not linear but parabolic. if you specify too low aspect ratio. openings and large concentrated loads. the program may occasionally churn out elements with aspect ratio as high as 1:1. more often than not you will have to use quadrilateral elements. Angles of 30° or 150° will greatly reduce accuracy. For example. If this is not possible. try to use quadrilateral elements instead of triangular elements as they give more accurate results. the result diagram through any one element will always be approximately linear. However. remember the following advises. for example.000 program! Try to use rectangular (rather than quadrilateral) shaped elements whenever possible. The program assumes a linear result distribution through the element.83 - . it is obvious that there will be a decrease in the accuracy.000 even if you are using a $20. Use quadrilateral elements – in general. To decrease the number of elements – use a rough mesh in areas where relatively low results are expected. Increase the number of elements where there is a greater rate of change in the internal forces. But be careful. it is always better to avoid triangular elements. the four corners of a quadrilateral element should all lie on the same plane. around supports (where bending moments increase sharply).Computer Aided Structural Analysis 27. which allow you to specify maximum aspect ratio. Elements with convex angles should never be used. due to geometry of the model. Tips for creating better mesh In this section you will learn some tips for creating a better FE mesh. In a fine mesh. use two triangular elements in place of each quadrilateral. However. However. the internal angles should not vary greatly from 90°. Remember that. many FEA programs have the options. Elements with a base/height ratio up to 1:2 give good results.

In many cases.Computer Aided Structural Analysis elements is through the element end nodes only and so nodes located along an edge of an element between end nodes are ineffective. No Pyramids – the "No Pyramids" option builds brick meshes with 8. Figure 27-2 shows same model with combination of 8-noded brick. Figure 27-1 shows how your model looks with a tetrahedral mesh. tetrahedral. 5 or 6-noded transition elements. Standard – used for most meshes by default. All 8-Node Bricks – this option should be used only for processors that accept only 8-node bricks. It gives you the highest quality mesh and the lowest number of elements. 5 or 4-node transition elements in the center of the model as needed. If you have doubts as to the accuracy of the results in a particular area of the model. Tetrahedral from Quads – the "Tetrahedral from Quads" option is for generating a tetrahedral solid mesh from a quadrilateral surface mesh. It will make 8-node brick elements on and near the surface of the model while making 6. Some programs (e. but no 5-node pyramid elements. This is the most common type of mesh for a large number of FEA programs. Standard solid meshing works from the surface inward. . allow you to specify how you want the mesh to be generated.g. however. as the mesh becomes more refined. Most FEA programs.84 - . this topic is not discussed in this book). generate ‘tetrahedral’ mesh for solids. by default. but no 5-node pyramid elements. Life will be much troublesome if you need to analyze complex solid models. Use triangular or trapezoidal shaped elements to step between rough and fine quadrilateral meshes. This option can make 4 to 5 times the number of elements as the "Standard" option. 6 and 4node elements. Some programs. Here you need to consider many other parameters. Enhanced No Pyramids – this option makes brick meshes with predominantly 8node elements plus 6-node and 4-node elements. Tetrahedral – the all-tetrahedral option is for generating a nearly equilateral tetrahedral solid mesh from an equilateral triangular surface mesh. The results converge to the exact solution. rerun the problem with a finer mesh in that area and compare results. Algor) offer following types of mesh generations. these are fluid flow processors (for analysis of pipe network.

. when we discuss how to interpret FEA results.85 - .) If you’re wondering how brick or tetrahedral elements look like.inch (I had to use FPS unit because the YOKE model file was in ‘inch’ unit.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 27-2 shows boundary condition (fixed) and pressure load of 1000 lbf/sq. We shall come to the same ‘yoke’ model later on. this is described in just next section.

Well.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 27-1 In the above figure only the mesh has been shown. You may use ‘coarser’ or ‘finer’ mesh in your program.86 - . You may wonder whether the result will change depending on what kind of mesh you are using. not really in general. If can control the mesh size/density using a slider in the program. However. the programs create the mesh using a default mesh density. there are special cases. See the chart in next section. The boundary condition and pressure load for this particular analysis has been shown in next figure. . where you should use particular type of mesh for best result. Normally.

is analyzed using Algor and shown in figure 27-4. The same model with mesh as of figure 27-2. .87 - .Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 27-2 I apologize if the stuffs seem too boring! Figure 27-3 shows Von-mises stress (described later) diagram of figure 27-1 after analyzing the model in COSMOS/Design Star.

Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 27-3 Figure 27-4 The stress is shown in ‘psi’ (pound/sq.88 - . .inch) unit.

Orthotropic material properties may be temperature dependent. Applications include solid objects.89 - . such as tents. These elements can possess a wide variety of cross-sectional geometries including many standard types Membrane plane stress elements are used to model "fabric-like" structures. flexural and rotational stiffness between two nodes. flanges. 3-D Beam.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 28. Brick elements are used to simulate the behavior of solids. They support two translational degrees of freedom. 4-nodes . 4nodes 3-D Brick. Orthotropic material properties may be temperature dependent. 4nodes 2-D Elasticity. plane stress and axisymmetric formulations. turbine blades. 2-nodes Illustration Description Truss elements are used to provide stiffness between two nodes. etc. 3nodes 3-D Membrane Plane Stress. Elasticity elements are used for plane strain. They do not carry any bending load. Incompatible modes are available. Incompatible modes are available. cots. These elements transmit compressive and tensile loads along their axis. domed stadiums. such as wheels. Beam elements are used to provide elongational. They support three translational degrees of freedom as well as incompatible displacement modes. They support three translational degrees of freedom and in-plane (membrane) loading. Common Finite Elements library for Linear Static and Dynamic Stress Analysis Element type 3-D Truss. 2-nodes 3-D Membrane Plane Stress. 3nodes 2-D Elasticity. etc.

etc. such as gears. etc. maximum stress and maximum strain failure criteria. They support three translational degrees of freedom. 8-nodes Same as above 3-D Plate. engine blocks and other unusually shaped objects. They support three translational and two rotational degrees of freedom as well as orthotropic material properties. automobile body parts. 5-nodes Same as above 3-D Brick. etc. Tetrahedral elements are used to model solid objects. . They are also available in higher order formulations (mid-side nodes). Both thin and thick composite plate elements have no limitations regarding orientation or stacking sequence and support the Tsai-Wu.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 3-D Brick. An optional rotational stiffness around the perpendicular axis is automatically added to the node of each element.90 - . 4-nodes Tetrahedral. 3-nodes 3-D Plate. A thin composite plate element is available for use in models such as mechanical equipment. aerospace products. A thick composite plate element is also available and can be used in models such as honeycomb sandwich structures. bicycle frames. 6-nodes Same as above 3-D Brick. 4nodes Plate elements are used in the design of pressure vessels.

but with deflection-sensitive connectivity. stresses. 2-nodes Boundary elements are used in conjunction with other elements.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Boundary. where deflection makes two nodes touch and transmit force. A boundary element rigidly or elastically supports a model and enables the extraction of support reactions. small-strain analysis. Courtesy: Algor Inc. bending moments and axial forces where the bearing and joint meet can be determined. A cable element simulates tension. . such as when a ball bearing moves in a joint. where two nodes moving away from each other a specified distance cause the element to become active. The gap element simulates compression.91 - . Using gap elements. 2-nodes Gap/Cable. Boundary elements are also used to impose a specified rotation or translation. It is still a small-deflection.

it is important to ensure adequate ‘lateral stiffness’ to resist horizontal forces induced by wind or earthquake. plates). which have high ‘in-plane’ stiffness. then the sway movement will be quite disturbing. the frame-shear wall interaction was a very complicated task. columns and walls. Shear Wall In normal reinforced concrete framed buildings. shear walls are generally provided in tall buildings. In the figure only a 5-storied building has been shown. So. vibration can easily be felt by the occupants and structural members may develop high stresses in them. If you want to torment yourself. For such buildings. in high rise buildings. Shear walls resist bending. In early days. when computer was not available. Then ‘mesh’ the plates (see Section 25 for how to mesh plates). Just model the building first. In practice. You can do it easily using your analysis program’s graphics editor (or you can import it from CAD program) and then add ‘plates’ in the place of shear walls. columns and slabs carry all loads. It involved lots of assumptions and mind-boggling calculations. And your model is ready for cooking (I mean analyzing)! Run your favorite FEA analyzer. analysis of shear wall and frame must be done properly. Isn’t that easy? . shear forces. However. go and get an Advanced Structural Analysis textbook and try to solve a shear wall problem using classical methods. Specify thickness and material properties of the walls (i. One common classical method was that of MacLeod. are placed at convenient locations in the building to provide necessary resistance to horizontal forces are known as shear walls. The advent of FEA has made life much easier for us. bending moments. The area and arrangements of steel bars are calculated in usual manner. However. Beams. Figure 29-1 shows a typical arrangement of shear walls in a building frame.92 - . The exterior shear walls are shown red and the interior shear walls surrounding central columns are shown yellow for easy visualization. Concrete walls. This is one of the most common arrangements for shear walls.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 29. reinforcement must be provided inside them. Shear walls are often provided surrounding elevator or staircase. stresses in the beams.e. we know walls are not designed to carry any load. and you will instantly get displacements. if we solely depend on beams and columns for providing lateral stiffness.

93 - . lesser values of forces mean smaller dimension of members and less amount of reinforcement.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 29-1 However. Exercise Assume suitable dimensions for the building frame shown in figure 29-1. Use a different arrangement for shear walls and analyze again. Openings reduce the stiffness of the shear wall. for architectural reasons. the forces in the beams and columns would have been much higher compared to those of with shear walls present. I told you already that if there were no shear walls. Which arrangement comes out to be the best? . Sometimes. Look. there must a trade off at some point. So. You must analyze several model structures with various shear wall arrangements to get the most economical yet practical structure. it may be necessary to provide shear walls with openings for windows. actual difficult part comes after the analysis. See how the result changes with shear walls. doors etc. So. Apply some realistic horizontal forces at floor levels and analyze the structure with and without shear walls. But inclusion of shear walls will raise the expense again.

then the analysis itself is quite simple and the labor involves only preparing the model correctly and interpreting the result properly. If you use your analysis program’s graphics editor for input. CD and DE. Iterative. after you have applied the loads properly. The folded plate is made of concrete. Whiteney’s. delete the particular plate and redraw again in the opposite direction compared to previous case. Classical methods of analyzing folded plates involve laborious calculations. the quickest way to create the model is: (1) draw the model first using frame element so that the shape like as of figure 35-1 (2) then copy the frames over 12 m distance (3) now draw the plates (4) after the plates are drawn.94 - . Your analysis programs must have ‘plate’ elements to successfully analyze folded plates. Modeling the folded plates sometimes can be really tricky. After you apply the loads. the sides of the plates are fixed (7) apply plate thickness. If you draw the plates in wrong orientation. visualization should look like as that of figure 30-3. If it happens. Folded Plate The folded plate is a very complex structure. Although. Moreover.5 m Figure 30-1 Thickness 150 mm B A Thickness 300 mm 1. in this problem. it is a good practice to mesh the plates.5 kPa uniformly distributed load in addition to the self-weight. there is no single classical method available for general analysis of folded plates. Three-shear equations etc. (8) apply surface loads on plates BC. Some common methods are – Simpson’s. C G D 3m E F 3m 4. material properties etc. to make your figure change from 30-4 to 30-3. We shall discuss various aspects of folded plate analysis with the following example as shown in figure 30-1. For this reason. They depend on the shape of folded plates. The front view is shown in the figure and the length of the structures is 12 m as shown in figure 30-2 with mesh for sufficiently accurate result. you may be . delete the frame members since they were drawn here only to ease the model (5) now mesh the plates (6) apply boundary condition.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 30. if you use FEA. the load direction may appear awkward as shown in figure 30-4.5 m 3m The frame is loaded with 1. However.

95 - . it may create problem while interpreting the output. Fixed on side Fixed on side 12 m Figure 30-2 Figure 30-3 Figure 30-4 .5 kPa for plate DE. however.Computer Aided Structural Analysis tempted to change the load into –1.

In fact. We have already discussed local axes concept. for example). τxy in local axes direction along with maximum principal normal stress σ. only 1/4th of the structure needs to be analyzed. You may wonder why I did not give you theoretical result the above folded plate analysis. σy. The appropriate boundary conditions are shown in figure 30-5 with respect to the global axes shown in the same figure. all free Z rotation fixed Y Z X all fixed Figure 30-5 To assign proper boundary conditions accurately. Well. τyz. Of course. τxy. a ‘plate element’ of BC may be visualized as shown in figure 30-6. which may not completely valid many cases (See Section 3. still you should start relying on your FEA output to gain confidence! After performing the analysis. For example. Now. you will get following stress components – σx. I admit that you need some benchmark problems to compare your analysis output. theoretical calculations are also based on certain simplified assumptions. . τzx in global axes direction and σx. The concept needs clarification.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Are you wondering whether we can take advantage of the symmetry? Of course we do. you may bypass this mental exercise by analyzing the whole structure rather than taking advantages of the symmetry. σy. minimum principal normal stress σ and maximum principal shear stress τ. This figure is a specific case of figure 30-5 where stress variation along Z-axis is negligible. you must visualize the deflected shape of the structure yourself in your mind before performing the actual analysis.96 - . every ‘plate’ element of the above folded plate may be considered ‘lying’ in a ‘2D plane’ even if it is actually ‘inclined’ in the real structure. σz.

τxy τxy σx Figure 30-6 The visualization will be more apparent from the figure 30-7. Generally.97 - . where local axes for the vertical. most programs give output with respect to local axes. Here you’ll find all 6-stress components since we now speak in 3D space. However. Question: Shall I provide the reinforcement on the basis of forces on global axes or local axes? Answer: Local axes forces. Question: My analysis program doesn’t explicitly show global and local axes stress components. inclined and horizontal plate elements’ are shown.Computer Aided Structural Analysis σy y x τyx = . But there are some programs. . you better solve some benchmark problems (with known answer) to check. How do I know which convention it is following? Answer: Difficult to say. which show the result with respect to local axes for some type of ‘elements’ and with respect to global axes for some other type of ‘elements’! Really confusing! See your programs’ manuals for details. Y X Y X Z Figure 30-7 Global A different situation comes when we speak stress components in terms of global axes.

98 - .Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 30-8 .

.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 30-9 These analysis outputs are from Visual Analysis.99 - .

100 - . consider another type of folded plate as shown in figure 30-10. Figure 30-10 The span of plate (along X axis) is 10 m and thickness of all four plates is 100 mm. along –Z direction) load perpendicular to the surface of the plates. The plates are made of concrete and are acted by 3-kPa downward (i. .e.Computer Aided Structural Analysis As a second example. The global X stress (σx in N/m2) after analysis (in Algor) is shown in figure 30-11. Sides (leftmost and rightmost edges but not middle edge) of the plates are fixed.

.101 - .Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 30-11 Exercise Model and analyze the plate yourself and check if you’ve got the same result.

hyperbolic etc. Some programs can generate this kind of shell through a model wizard. Thin shell theory is also known as ‘membrane’ theory. The concept may appear garbled if you just are reading. If you break the arc into lines before. you need to start from scratch. On the other hand. either you can draw the arc exactly (if your programs graphic editor permits) or you need to follow the procedure as outlined in Section 5.e. ‘thick’ shells are analyzed using ‘bending’ theory.102 - . thickness of the shell is much less compared to width or length. Note that. Shells Analysis of shells involves solving fourth order differential equations. Then copy the ‘lines’ through out the length of the shell (20 m in this example). copying into suitable interval creates the mesh automatically. conical. Classical theories of shells often vary with different geometric shapes. In most practical cases. remember to ‘break’ it into a combination of ‘lines’.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 31. Here I shall discuss only what you should know for shell analysis using FEA. First create the arc. Rest assured. Then you are lucky. I’m not going to swamp you with differential equations. perpendicular to the surface of the plate at every point. The sides of the shell are pinned. Your first task is to model the shell. there will be only three stress components σx. There are various types of shells – hemispherical. You are to analyze the shell. cycloid. So. A 20x80 mesh is sufficient for this shell. σy and τxy and other three stress components will be zero. your shell will be ‘thin’ i.e. If your program does not have this option.e. although FEA treatment of . 20 m 5m Figure 31-1 As a first example consider the translational shell shown above. but will be clear if you try to draw the shell model yourself. If you draw the arc. not horizontally projected) is acting over it (including self-weight i. A uniformly distributed load of 3 kPa inward (i. Theoretical background on shell is extensive and if you are interested. It is made of 75-mm thick concrete. you should consult a textbook on shell theory. you need not add self-weight load). towards center of the shell.

103 - . all FEA programs display output in colorful stress contour range. Although you have the right to place the origin at anywhere. You should note some important points. . 99% of all elements’ stresses fall within the 80% region of stress range shown in the display by default. the maximum and minimum stresses are respectively 5 kPa and –20 kPa. However. First of all. In fact. because of constructional difficulties. Check what answer you get in your program. the ratio of load carried/ amount of material used is higher for shells. you can always take advantage of symmetry. you can again take advantage of symmetry as shown in figure 31-2. Normally. It has some ‘psychological’ advantages. less material is required compared to beam or slab to carry same load. In other words. I prefer to keep the origin at the center of the shell. The shell theory is extremely complicated and if you lean too much in that subject you may find a place in lunatic asylum too soon! One advantage of shell is that. It is always advisable to specify a range of your own. shells are still of limited use. keep on adjusting stress range until you are convinced that your model shows optimum design stress range. So. The analysis output for σ in local X-axis is shown in figure 31-3. the highest (and lowest) range generally covers only one or two elements in extreme ends of the model due to some numerical round of. X rotation fixed boundary condition Y Z pinned free Figure 31-2 X For other types of shells. like the folded plate discussed in previous section. The analysis was done in Algor. Yes. In figure 31-3. you can ‘adjust’ the range yourself. if the loading and geometry are symmetrical.Computer Aided Structural Analysis shells is same for all shell types. This is because. because of its curve shape.

Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 31-3 .104 - .

the applied force varies with time.105 - . If you’ve already studied the theory of structural dynamic then it’s great. The theory and field of structural dynamics are very large. the applied force is constant but in dynamic analysis. then floor mass of each story may be considered as . A first step in Structural Dynamics So far our study was confined within static analysis. Mass m Stiffness k Displacement x(t) Figure 32-1 It has mass 'm' and stiffness 'k'. We call this single degree of freedom (SDF) system. So. I am just describing some very basic concepts of structural dynamic useful for practicing engineers. we need understand the concepts of some common terms.) of the structure due to some applied ground acceleration. though distributed though out its length.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 32. It can move in only the direction shown by the arrow. In this section we shall learn some aspects of dynamic analysis. If not.e. To understand dynamic analysis properly. Degrees of Freedom – consider the typical spring mass damper system as shown below. We also assume that the mass 'm' is 'lumped' at the top of model as shown by the filled circle. Even a decent introduction of this subject would require at least 100 pages. At the beginning. This model may reflect idealization of a single story building. where the roof mass is concentrated as shown in the figure. This means. it may be due to shaking of ground due to earthquake. In static analysis. I advise that you start reading a textbook of structural dynamic besides this book. It will make you understand the applications of dynamics discussed in this book in an easily understandable manner. displacement etc. let me explain the difference between static and dynamic analysis. In civil engineering applications. If there is more than one story. It is not necessary that dynamic analysis always involves application force only. dynamic analysis mostly involves determination of maximum response (i. this model has one degree of freedom. the mass of the stick. we assume as if it is concentrated at one place as shown by the circle.

Why bother studying dynamic analysis? If a dynamic excitation (force or ground acceleration) is applied to a structure. shall I get correct displacement etc. the resulting displacement might be much more than that obtained by simple static analysis.5. However. More displacement means higher values of internal forces (bending moment. this value lies in the range of 5% to 20% i. .05 to 0.? No. damped natural frequency ωd = ωn(1. because many MDF structures can be 'broken' into separate SDF structures and can be easily analyzed rather than analyzing the whole structures! Damping – if a structure is displaced from its equilibrium position by a small amount of force.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 'lumped' at the respective floor levels. it will vibrate (move from this direction to that direction). You must perform exact dynamic analysis. you won’t (even for a linear structure)! The concept of structural dynamics is different from static analysis theory. It’s measured in radian per second. However. Unless there is ‘something’ to prevent vibration.2. But in actual practice. ξ = 0.5. I assure you! In practice most structures are of MDF type. For example 100% damping means the structure will not vibrate at all. This process by which free vibration diminishes is known as ‘damping’. If the stress reaches the yield strength of the material the structure will collapse! For a time varying applied force. if I apply calculated values of the force at particular instant of time and then perform static analysis with that force.106 - . it will go on vibrating forever. the ‘amplitude’ of vibration will gradually diminish and after some time. shear force etc. Damping ratio (ξ) – it is a measurement of how much damping is there.e. It is often expressed in %. that does not imply that we need not study theory of SDF structures.ξ ²)0. the model will come to rest. It is related to natural time period Tn = 2π/ωn. In that we shall have multi-degree-offreedom (MDF) structures. Things may appear little bit terse at the beginning. For damped structures.) and subsequently higher values of stresses in the members. but gradually everything will seem comprehensive. for most practical structures. Natural frequency (ωn) – it is the number of cycles per second a structure vibrates. It has values in the range of 0 to 1. Natural frequency is computed using ωn = (stiffness/mass)0.

Dynamic analysis is especially required for multi-story buildings for earthquake analysis. If [C] = 0. we shall explore various examples of structural dynamic analyses – simple to complex! By this time I expect that you will also study a few pages of dynamics textbook. The F(t) in above equation will be replaced by –[M]{u(t)”g} if there is ground acceleration instead of nodal forces. dynamic analysis does not produce much different result compared to static analysis. 5. If you are interested. dams. . Suggested chapters for reading in your textbook are – introduction and simple formulation for SDF systems. X = displacement (m). Theory of structural dynamics is applicable equally to buildings as well as automobiles! How the programs calculate dynamic response? Nearly all analysis programs calculate dynamic response by numerical methods. you may read all the chapters of the book. but above topics are enough for understanding the calculations presented in this book. You may read Ref. response to harmonic and periodic excitation.107 - . [M] = mass matrix (kg or Ns²/m). then the situation is known as free vibration. If F(t) = 0. modal and response spectrum analyses. X” = acceleration (m/s²) and F(t) = Force (N). direct solution of differential equation of motion. Designing of machine foundations always requires dynamic analysis. Here. For highly important structures like bridges. X’ = velocity (m/s). [C] is never equal to zero. u(t)”g denotes ground acceleration (m/s²). nuclear reactors etc. where vibration is a major factor in design. dynamic analysis must be performed. then we call undamped motion. However. numerical evaluation of dynamic response. equation of motion for MDF systems. 17 to start with in dynamics. in low height buildings. [K] = stiffness matrix (N/m).Computer Aided Structural Analysis Is it mandatory to perform dynamic analysis for all structures? It depends. damped and undamped motion. However. 16. Normally. for all structures. In the subsequent sections. dynamic analyses are very important. The main governing equation for dynamic analyses is conventionally written as & & & [ M ]{ X } + [C ]{ X } + [ K ]{ X } = F (t ) Where. [C] = damping matrix (Ns/m). in real life.

It resembles a water tank over a tower. For linear dynamic . I shall show you how to perform accurate dynamic analysis without any computer program! 1000 kN acceleration m/s2 t2 3m 0 time (s) 1m Figure 33-1 1 All the members of the tower shown are made of steel with 200x200 mm square sides. Apply a lumped mass of (1000/10)/2 = 50 kNs2/m on the two uppermost nodes as shown (we divide the weight 1000 kN by g = 10 m/s² to get the mass). you need to model the structure first! After all. they you can appreciate following calculation. your model should look like figure 33-2.108 - . you can model the entire structure using your analysis program. You may generate the data using spreadsheet and refer the text file in your analysis program. It is desired to calculate the displacement of the structure at t = 0. you will soon discover that you can solve it much quickly using simple hand calculation and just static analysis program! Anyway. An example of a Single Degree of Freedom problem I hope that by this time you’ve read a few pages of structural dynamics textbook. Yes? Great. Of course.5 s. However. The base of the tower is given an acceleration of 1-s duration as shown in the figure. When you are doing exact time history dynamic analysis. we need to know the stiffness of the whole structure. Note the direction of applied lumped masses because we are interested in calculating the displacement in this direction. Next apply the base acceleration data as shown in the figure 33-1. Consider the following structure.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 33. Then apply base acceleration input and find out the displacement response curve for entire duration.

our first step is to calculate its stiffness. Since we are considering the structure as SDF.5 s is – 7. here we use 0.211E-5 m = 31143 kN/m. displacement curve that the displacement at t = 0. 50 kNs²/m 50 kNs²/m Y X Figure 33-2 Now we are going to see what we get if we perform the analysis using Duhamel Integral.64E-4 m. Then run a static analysis and note the displacement of any of the uppermost nodes. After performing the dynamic analysis we get from the time vs. So. only 1 mode is used in the analysis. For this we need to apply a force (say 1 kN) in the upper left nodal point. after modeling the structure. Let’s determine the natural frequency of the structure as ωn = .109 - . Displacement ∆ 1 kN Figure 33-3 The stiffness of the entire structure is k = F/∆ = 1 kN/3. In this case.Computer Aided Structural Analysis analysis time interval of one tenth of duration of applied force is sufficient. We treat the whole structure as a SDF with a lumped mass of 100 kNs²/m and stiffness k.1 s interval.

e.64 rad/s. in dynamic analysis using the program. Define the ‘lumped masses’ (normally your duty.5−τ ) sin 17. wherefrom you can get the maximum displacement at once. .a(τ). the acceleration is defined as t² and mass m = 100 kNs²/m. So. Now probably you have a comprehensive idea of what dynamic analysis involves.05. But here we have ‘ground acceleration’ as input and not the ‘force’.Computer Aided Structural Analysis (k/m)0. Model the structure as usual (you’ll have to do it yourself). The basic steps of dynamic analyses are: 1.64 )( 0. we get the same answer as that of in exact dynamic analysis program! However.110 - . the ultimate equation takes the form as shown below.6 ∫ 0 0.m 100 x17.ζ2)0.5 − τ )dτ = −7.. ζ = 0. Time period Tn = 2p/ωn = 0. So. you need to perform the calculation at several points to get the maximum response. however some smart programs can calculate lumped masses themselves from structure’s dimension and sectional properties). In this particular problem. The favorite Duhamel’s integral has the well-known form: u (t ) = 1 mϖ d t ∫ p(τ )e 0 −ςω n ( t −τ ) sin ω d (t − τ )dτ ωd = ωn (1. p(τ) = .mass x acceleration’ i. there you must use numerical methods like what your analysis programs do. the input excitation is often defined as a set of data at some specified interval (normally at 0. u (0. You also need to specify a suitable value of damping ratio.5 = (31143/100)0. Apply an input excitation (time varying ground acceleration or time varying force). which makes use of Duhamel’s integral feasible.02 s interval for earthquake ground acceleration data). you will get the time vs..m. In actual practice. our p(τ) will equal -100τ2 because in this problem. In Duhamel integral we need to use the term p(τ) for the applied force.64 E − 4.5) = − 100 τ 2 e ( −0. displacement plot over the entire duration.05)(17.5 = 17. 3.6 rad/s. 2. The relationship between the ‘force’ and ‘acceleration’ can be related by ‘Force = . So.36 s.e. But in case of analysis using Duhamel’s integral.5 = 17. Consider 5% of damping i.5 After performing the numerical integration.6(0. the input excitation is defined by simple algebraic function.

). I hear and I forget. I see and I remember… I do and I understand. 7. contribution of higher modes is quite significant. 5.111 - . however sometimes you may need to venture more or less number of mode shapes depending on problem type). Now it’s time to interpret the result. Aha! . Some programs can also display other parameters such as base shear etc. Specify how many mode shapes you do want (generally you need same number of mode shapes equal to the number of stories in structure. Generally it’s your task to find out the stresses developed in the members due to dynamic analysis. Now it’s time to analyze the structure.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 4. Some programs may ask you what algorithm you want to follow – eigenvector or ritz-vector (more about this later). displacement (and velocity. acceleration etc. After finishing it displays the natural time periods (hence frequency therefrom) of the structure for each modes. for multi-story buildings. You can do it by noting maximum displacement and then calculating the bending moment developed there from. mode shapes and time vs. One word of caution. However... the mode shapes are ‘relative’ displacements and not the actual displacements. 6. Dynamic analysis invariably takes more time than static analysis because it performs iteration to find out mode shapes. Normally (but not always) first three mode shapes are sufficient for subsequent calculations.

Then we’ll have to check the damping ratio of the structure. total acceleration of the structure would be needed if the structure is supporting sensitive equipment and the motion imparted to the equipment is to be determined. you need to use response spectra for that earthquake. . you may note that considerable computational effort is required to generate such charts. the internal forces can be determined by static analysis of the structure at each time instant (discussed later). velocity. Using this. there is no point of going for response spectra method. which is more versatile and accurate. to which the internal forces are linearly related. the modern trend is to perform full time history analysis. However. The procedure of developing response spectra is discussed in any standard structural dynamics textbook and not discussed here. Response spectra may be defined as – a plot of the maximum response (displacement.g. First we need to determine natural period Tn (or frequency f = 1/Tn in cycles per second) of the structure. someone must have prepared the response spectra chart before you use it in your analysis.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 34.112 - . Knowing maximum lateral displacement of the structure would be useful in providing enough separation between adjacent buildings to prevent their pounding against each other during an earthquake. acceleration or any other quantity of interest) to a specified load function for all possible single degree of freedom systems. A typical response spectra for 1940 El Centro earthquake has been shown in figure 34-1. If you need to analyze a structure for another earthquake. Moreover. Of greatest interest in dynamic analysis is the deformation of the system. One thing to note is that. for structures. It means that. What dynamic analysis you should perform? In this section. Once the deformation response history has been evaluated by dynamic analysis. If your analysis program offers time history analysis option (unfortunately majority of analysis programs do not). we can directly read the maximum displacement of the structure from the figure as shown. El Centro earthquake in this case). you must have response spectra chart for the particular excitation (e. we shall discuss the ‘Response Spectra’ and ‘Time History’ dynamic analyses in detail. or displacement of the mass relative to moving ground. So.

So. we see that the vertical arrow (shown blue) drawn from Tn = 1 s.5 inch/s. The non-linear response spectrum is slightly different (not discussed here). Instead of using response spectra for each earthquake.Computer Aided Structural Analysis By now you must have realized that the response spectra analysis is a ‘short cut’ to find out maximum response directly from the chart without performing time history analysis.3 inches displacement (shown green). intersects the displacement line for 10% damping at 3. 20% Figure 34-1 For example. 2. Also assume 10% of critical damping. assume our structure has natural frequency of 1 Hz. Since earthquake can’t be predicted. Response spectra for elastic system for the 1940 El Centro earthquake ξ =0. Also seen that horizontal arrow (shown blue) extends to the pseudo velocity axis at 18.113 - .3 inches if it is excited by the 1940 El Centro earthquake ground acceleration. Please note that the axes are in logarithmic scale. you may like to analyze your structure for several past earthquake effects. the maximum relative displacement response of our structure is 3. 5. you can use ‘design response spectrum’. . From the figure 34-1. 10. which represents a kind of average response spectrum for design.

In fact. no more than about ½ yield point At or just below yield point Type and condition of the structure Damping ratio % Welded steel. stiffness of the structure also varies with time (Yikes!) due to deterioration of the structure. especially in non-linear range. Stress level Working stress. the program will calculate the stiffness of the structure internally. wood structures with nailed or 10-15 bolted joints Wood structures with nailed joints 15-20 Figure 34-2 Since.Computer Aided Structural Analysis During dynamic analysis. Figure 34-2 recommends damping values (Ref. wood structures with nailed or 5-7 bolted joints Welded steel. This method is sufficiently accurate for linear structures with classical damping. pre-stressed concrete.114 - .5). However. well reinforced concrete 2-3 (only slight cracking) Reinforced concrete with considerable cracking 3-5 Bolted and/or riveted steel. but the most popular is ‘wavelet’ analysis. which has recently attracted attention of the engineers. There are several techniques for this purpose. pre-stressed concrete (without complete loss in 5-7 pre-stress) Pre-stress concrete with no pre-stress left 7-10 Reinforced concrete 7-10 Bolted and/or riveted steel. it is quite a challenging task to determine exact damping of the structures. . you need to supply modal damping ratio yourself. damping properties of the materials are still not well established. Determining exact stiffness and damping of the structure is known as ‘system identification’. The change in stiffness is often used for ‘retrofitting’ the structure.

σ σ Et Ei Yield point σ E ε (a) E ε (b) Figure 35-1 ε (c) The figure (a) shows stress-strain curve for perfectly linear material. Non-linear analysis (NLA) – an introduction for beginners Ultimately we come to hottest topic of structural analysis. The curve is linear (slope E) up to yield point. But what is NLA all about? Why there is so much hype about it? Let’s the adventure starts! Recall that the main assumption in linear analysis (LSSA). Et is known as ‘strain hardening modulus’. Figure (b) shows stress-strain curve for ‘bi-linear’ material (typical for carbon steel). Here the curve is entirely non-linear. Now how do we incorporate material non-linearity in analysis program? The steps are given below. E value changes at every point of the curve. The first is ‘Material Non-linearity’ and the second is ‘Geometric Non-linearity’. There are mainly two types of non-linearity. F = Σ(∆Fi) . Divide the total load incrementally i. Right? But we have to consider NLA if any or both of the above assumptions are violated.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 35. where from it changes its slope to Et though remain linear again. is that the stressstrain curve is linear and deformation is small. This is also a typical example of material non-linearity. Material Non-linearity Consider the following three stress-strain curves of any material. This material behavior is known as material non-linearity. but in the range of ‘Et’ it becomes ‘plastic’. In the range of ‘E’ the material remains elastic. more and more nonlinear analyses are being done than ever before. E is our familiar modulus of elasticity or Young’s modulus. the non-linear analysis.e. 1. Availability of powerful computers and software. Now consider figure (c).115 - . We shall study them in detail.

find Ei as shown in figure 35-1 (c). Update global [K]i as [K]i+1.116 - . 3. 4. Go to step 2 and apply load ∆Fi+1. You will have to find ε and corresponding Ei for every member of the structure using above equation. . If the deformation of the structure is small. Let’s consider the truss shown in figure 35-2. Apply load ∆Fi at each time instant. where [K]i is global stiffness matrix of the structure at that instant of time. 6.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 2. In that case. stiffness matrix formed on the basis of original nodal co-ordinates and deflected nodal co-ordinates will be almost same. This stiffness matrix is formed on the basis of co-ordinates of the nodes of the structure. the stiffness matrix for each element (and thus global stiffness matrix) remains constant throughout analysis. Find strain ε = ∆L/L. Find deflection at that instant of time as ∆Di = ∆Fi/[K]i. Total deflection D = Σ(∆Di). 8. then co-ordinates of the deflected nodes of the structures will not move too much from its original configuration. There from. 7. Did you realize the labor involved in the calculation for a large structure? Geometric Non-linearity In conventional linear analysis. 5. Figure 35-2 Its deflected shape will look like as shown in next figure. 9. Update each element stiffness matrix [k] using this new value of Ei. Find deflection ∆Di+1 = ∆Fi+1/[K]i+1 as in step 3 and repeat through step 6.

ND3 and ND4. the main steps for geometric non-linear analysis are summarized below. This calculation is more demanding than material non-linearity case. update load to ∆Fi+1 7. Find deflection ∆Di+1 = ∆Fi+1/[K]i+1 8. May I add some dynamics as well? Hey buddy. N2. then we can construct another stiffness matrix [KD] from new co-ordinates of the nodes. ND2. This is the main theory behind geometric non-linearity. Divide the total load incrementally i. Repeat above steps until ∆Dn = ∆Dn-1 9. 4. then [K] will not be equal to [KD]. So. then it will be a geometric non-linear analysis. Go to step 1. If the deflection is ‘large’. 6. Original geometry is shown by dotted line.117 - . Find deflection ∆Di = ∆Fi/[K]i 5. why people learn engineering? What are you looking for? A numerical example? Well. since you will have to perform the whole calculation of setting up stiffness matrix at every step! Now imagine what will happen if you need to analyze a large complex structure with both types of non-linearity.e. may be in some later sections! But there remains one most important question – when you should consider a deformation large enough for geometric NLA? The answer is not . 1. If we increment the load at each time instant and update [K] according to ‘changing’ displaced position of the structure. F = Σ(∆Fi) 2. Compute (element and then) global stiffness matrix [K]i depending on original configuration of the structure. Update [K] to [K]i+1 on the displaced nodes of the structure. Apply load ∆Fi at each time instant.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 35-3 Now. the stiffness matrix [K] depends on nodal co-ordinates of nodes N1. N3 and N4 of the truss. Now if the co-ordinates of deflected truss be ND1. 3. solid line shows deflected shape. Then total deflection D = Σ(∆Di).

The ultimate decision is yours! .118 - . inter-story or inter-span deflections can easily be less than 5% of the overall dimension yet large enough to violate the small displacement assumptions.Computer Aided Structural Analysis easy! Often in large deformed state. This depends on particular type of structure. the structure may behave entirely different manner than that of small-deformed state. The % value is by no means to be taken as an absolute in determining whether or not displacements are large. In a very long or very tall structure. Some analysis programs have an in-built option to warn you if deflection comes out to be more than certain percentage (say 5%) of length of largest dimension of the structure. loading and material properties etc.

in linear static stress analysis. That means.119 - . Mass m h dimension L x B x d Figure 36-1 The figure shows an experiment where a weight of ‘mg’ is dropped over a bar of known dimension form a specific height ‘h’. Traditional FEA programs calculate stresses usually at a single instant of time and requires assumption about forces. this is a method by which you can perform a ‘virtual experiment’. The whole thing will become clear if you consider an example. F F Figure 36-2 .Computer Aided Structural Analysis 36. Mechanical Event Simulation Mechanical Event Simulation (MES) is also known as ‘Virtual Prototyping’. facilitating a more efficient design/analysis process since the need to estimate and specify forces is eliminated. As the name suggests. out model will be as shown in next figure. But MES intrinsically calculates loads and stresses as motion takes place at each instant in time throughout the event. We need to determine the stresses at the bars. you must input the force quantity explicitly. In conventional LSSA.

When we perform MES on the model. height h and dimension and weight of the falling object. you can visualize pattern of fluid flow over the surface of the airfoil in real time view. In fact. Ansys etc. Later we shall see how this equation is part of general structural dynamic equation ma + cv + kd = F(t). we solve familiar equation F = Kd. MES is highly sophisticated analysis indeed. it does a time varying analysis at each instant. it may take as much as 24 hours of computing! No joking! Anyway. where F = force. electricity and electro-magnetism. where c = damping. So. You will see the steps like animation. The very simple example described above took me 90 minutes to perform for just 1-second simulation in a 233 MHz PII computer. position of the objects and the meshing the model (as shown in fig. So. for example. The program will display stress and motion at each instant of time. K = stiffness of the structure and d = displacement. 36-1). A similar method of MES is ‘Multi-physics analysis’ which involves simultaneous analyses of a model for more than one physical effect. all we need to do is specify the dimension of the bar. You can verify and see whether the flow at a particular point is laminar or turbulent. Did you realize the advantage? You actually performed a virtual experiment of a mechanical event! The example given here may appear too simple. here we need to specify the force ‘F’ explicitly. there are a few disadvantages as well. Suppose you want to analyze fluid flow around an airfoil. you will need a super computer rather than a PC! What is the theory behind MES? In classical LSSA. but imagine that this method can be successfully employed in crash test simulation of an automobile! However. from Newtons 2nd law of motion. fluid flow. combined thermal and fluid flow. Adams. v = velocity of body and F(t) = time varying force. .120 - . when you make a simulation of real world problems say. But in case of MES. crash test simulation. Algor. where m = mass and a = acceleration. A detailed analysis of these topics is beyond the scope of this book. we can write ma = Kd and this is our governing equation for MES. If you are really inclined this kind of analyses. Let me explain in a lucid way. The things are really mindboggling. Some example of multi-physics analyses are – thermal stress. But. we know. you better try using the FEA programs. F = ma. (Sounds whacky?) With multi-physics analysis. to use these kinds of calculations seriously.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Look. which offer these features.

particularly 3D frame or complex structures for finite element analysis. If you are importing DXF file with plate. you can modify the geometry by just changing the dimensions. it is always better to check what AutoCAD entities your program can successfully import. In these programs. it is better to use ‘parametrically defined’ drawing programs like Mechanical Desktop. But be careful! Not all analysis programs can import all CAD object types. then you should draw in the analysis program’s graphical environment. Remember to “Explode” rectangles. shell or wire frame elements. Please note that DXF files are AutoCAD’s version specific. “Nodes” are automatically created at the intersections. You can also perform reverse process that is exporting your analysis model from your analysis program to AutoCAD DXF format. If you find your program can’t successfully import AutoCAD drawing (DWG/DXF). Importing model from CAD programs Most Windows based structural analysis programs do allow you to import geometry from CAD packages like AutoCAD.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 37. drawing them in AutoCAD/Mechanical Desktop/Solid Edge/Solid works etc. Therefore. are an easy alternative. However. you may find discrepancy in geometry upon importing. An example is given below to explain parameter-defined geometry. Analysis Program Frame Nodes Plate Shell AutoCAD Line Automatically created at intersections of elements 2D Solid / 3D Face 3D Solid Except for simple lines. other AutoCAD entities are often treated differently by various programs. Sometimes “Plates” (known as “2D Solid” in AutoCAD) can also be imported.121 - . Note that your analysis programs may or may not keep track of AutoCAD’s ‘layers’ feature in imported drawing. poly-lines and polygons into “Lines”. If your analysis program can’t read AutoCAD R2000 DXF then you should save the AutoCAD drawing file in R14 or R13 DXF format. If you find it difficult to draw the actual structure in the analysis program. be sure to “Export” it into “DXF” format. Solid Edge. “Lines” in AutoCAD are converted to frame members upon importing. Solid Works etc. when drawing solid models. creating the drawing in them is always easier. Since the CAD programs themselves are high-end drawing programs. After drawing the structure in AutoCAD. .

IGS extension. However. the drawing will look as that of fig. Programs write model information in the files. This is actually a text file. . 37-1. Some of the already named CAD programs have the capability of converting 2D drawings in to 3D solid models! Wow! A popular ‘neutral file’ format for solid models is IGES (Initial Graphics Exchange Specification). the drawing will be updated automatically as shown in fig.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Suppose you have drawn the following drawing in AutoCAD as shown in fig. that the lines will always be tangent to the circles. When you import an IGES file.122 - . If you change the radius of the right end circle. 37-3.IGES or *. in parameter defined CAD programs. Figure 37-1 Figure 37-2 Figure 37-3 Did you see the difference? This kind of relationship is very convenient for solid object modeling. 37-2. Many CAD programs can export solid models into this format. These files have *. if you ‘tell’ the program. the analysis programs read that information and re-generate the model.

You are probably aware of ‘rendering’ feature of CAD programs. Fortunately. This file has an extension of WRL.123 - . But here’s a warning! Finite element solid models. it’s Virtual Reality Mark-up Language. but looks more realistic. VRML is just like that. Virtual Reality in Engineering (VRML) Do you know what VRML stands for? Well. VRML files can show the models in a 3D view like in actual life! You can rotate. Moreover. . It’s a new wonder of visual display. can result to very large VRML files. which contain thousands of nodes. a large number of structural analysis programs can export your model to VRML format. when you will try to open the same file using your web browser.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 38. the computer may create staggeringly large (> 1 GB) virtual memory in your hard disk and it will take a few minutes to display the model on screen. The browser reads the data in the file first and then develops the realistic model. you must install first the VRML viewer support files (normally come with your operating system CD). You can view VRML files using any standard web browser like Internet Explorer. enlarge or even ‘walk through’ your model! You can even visualize different materials of the structure. VRML is actually a text file. It’s an excellent feature to impress your clients because you can show them what your structure will look like when it would be built in real life. However.

You may like to note that there are two more constraints that both x and y has to be positive number. Step 1: Define the problem as shown in the figure 39-1. So. 2x + 5y <= 180 and x => 0. The solver dialog box appears as shown in figure 39-2.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 39. After you do this. the equation for Z has been input. Consider the equation Z = 3x + 4y subjected to constraints 4x + 3y <= 80. I’m going little bit off track. I assume that you are familiar with basic spreadsheet operations. Here cells B1 and B2 stands for variable x and y respectively. Step 2: Click on ‘Tools’ and then ‘Solver…’ from Excel’s menu bar. To solve it by Excel. Linear Programming in spreadsheet In this section. since these mathematical applications are not very common in design offices. you better bet on versatile spreadsheets. The constraints are defined in cells B4 and B5. Do you know spreadsheet is the largest selling type of application in the world? The procedure presented here are for Microsoft Excel 97. but if you any other spreadsheet like Lotus 123 or Borland Quattro Pro you will find similar functions in those programs as well. Please make sure that you have installed Analysis ToolPak add-in in Excel. A B 1 X 0 2 Y 0 3 Z =3*B1+4*B2 4 C1 =4*B1+2*B2 5 C2 =2*B1+5*B2 Figure 39-1 Note that in cell B3. . follow the steps illustrated. These constraints will later be defined using B1 and B2 cells. I’ll show you how to solve linear programming problems using your favorite spreadsheet! Linear programming is often required by engineers to solve certain design problem for example – in pre-stressed concrete section design and various other ‘optimization’ problems etc. Linear programming can be also be solved in programs like MATHCAD or MATLAB etc. The strings in column A is for understanding purpose only. I’m directly going to the problem. which resembles the cells of the spreadsheet.124 - . Our aim is find out the maximum value of ‘Z’ subjected to above constraints. however. y => 0.. initially all cells in the range B1:B5 will show 0.

y => 0. . When you do so. you will see following dialog box. Now set the ‘By Changing Cells:’ to $B$1:$B$2. Click OK when done. After that ‘Solver Parameters’ dialog box should look like figure 39-5. You can either type the cell range yourself or you can select the range on the worksheet by clicking the red arrows as shown in the figure.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 39-2 Make the ‘Set Target Cell’ box to cell B3. Also make sure that the ‘Equal To:’ selection is set to ‘Max’ for this problem.125 - . Figure 39-4 In the same way specify the other three constraints namely 2x + 5y <= 180. When done. Figure 39-3 Specify the Cell Reference and Constraint (for 4x + 3y <= 80) so that the figure look like as shown below. x => 0. click on ‘Add’ button to specify constraints. because this cell contains the definition of our main function Z.

5 4 C1 80 5 C2 180 Figure 39-7 Obviously the maximum value of Z comes out to be 147. And that’s all. Now you get the solution as shown in figure 39-7.5 and for x = 2. So. Excel will solve it within seconds and dumps you another dialog box like figure 39-6.5 and y = 35. If everything seems ok.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Figure 39-5 Remember to use proper ‘<=’ or ‘=>’ sign while specifying constraints. Exercise .126 - . our problem is solved. A B 1 X 2. click the ‘Solve’ button. Figure 39-6 You will of course want to retain solver solution.5 2 Y 35 3 Z 147.

Computer Aided Structural Analysis Find the minimum value of P = a – 3b + 3c subjected to the constraints a.127 - . Often you’ll find that spreadsheet is your best rescuer.2.28.12. Answer is Pmin = .6 for a = 6. Remember spreadsheet is a very powerful as well as useful application.4a + 3b + 8c <= 10. . .6 and c = 0. Try to exploit its full potential. 3a – b + 2c <= 7. 2a + 4b >= . b. b = 11. c >= 0.

Computer Aided Structural Analysis 40.128 - . Reinforcement detailing in continuous beams Figure 40-1 .

Reinforcement arrangement generally follows bending moment pattern in the beam. you can model the beam as 2D FEM (as discussed in Section 23) to visualize what are the highest zones of stresses. then all the result of a good analysis will go astray! Traditionally. Remember. You must provide shear reinforcement with vertical stirrups as well. Many codes allow the engineers to use their ‘judgment’ in detailing. if detailing is wrong. design is subjective. the printing cost has been drastically reduced in recent times.Computer Aided Structural Analysis When students see the reinforcement bar arrangements in building codes. because of availability of low cost color printing. If interested. It will make the whole thing much clearer to everybody. detailing is a subject itself. Note that only the bending reinforcement is shown. Figure 40-1 shows detailing arrangement for a continuous beam as per IS456-1978 and SP34. whenever possible. However. This is because. This is mainly because. The general trend in design offices is that the detailing is done by the draftsman rather than the engineer who performs the analysis. they normally have a hard time digesting it. which makes it difficult to follow. So. Building codes specify lots of guidelines in ‘terse’ languages! Unfortunately. detailing is often shown in single color. which is undesirable. This often creates a ‘communication gap’. A good designer must not finish his duty only after analysis. use colors in your drawings. detailing in most analysis programs is often unreliable.129 - . the detailing drawing is drawn in monochrome (single) color. The world around us is colorful. he should prepare the accurate detailing as well let alone the drawing too if possible. why not your drawings? . In fact. unlike analysis.

So. This is because not all developers offer demo/trial version of their programs. I only described a brief description of the most used programs only.g. judge them yourself before buying. Actual prices may vary. plates etc. multiphysics/mechanical event simulation/virtual prototyping etc. A typical civil/structural-engineering program offers beam and truss elements and sometimes plate/shell elements as well.130 - . For other programs. reliability etc. ease of use. It also often offers design features (concrete/steel/aluminum/wood) for slabs. In addition. dynamic. Mechanical engineering analysis programs are normally far more expensive than pure civil engineering analysis programs. I again tell you that my personal views about the programs may differ a lot from your views. Also. In fact. for day to day building or industrial structure analysis. beams. Although some developers offer product for both civil and mechanical engineering analysis. according to various country codes. I wrote the descriptions from product literature. This includes brick. You should test them yourself. a typical mechanical engineering analysis program contains a large number of element types for solid modeling. elements. beams. base plates etc. . In contrasts. A guide to some Structural Engineering & Finite Element Analysis Programs I have discussed my personal views about the programs. it is much better to use civil engineering analysis programs. machine parts. Since. trusses. it also includes all the elements used in civil engineering analysis i. You must differentiate between them first. footings. mechanical programs offer versatile finite element library. they generally contain separate modules for specific type of analyses. It may include both static and dynamic analysis. They mainly concentrate on solid model analysis e. Mechanical engineering programs do not offer concrete design facility according to country codes. tetrahedral etc. However. there are drawbacks as well. We shall divide the programs in two main groups – Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering analysis programs.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 41. thermal. rather than pure frame structures. mechanical engineering programs use finite element analysis in true sense. These programs’ features include static.e. which I have used. before deciding which program will serve your purpose best. columns. So. I presented the features available. it is possible to solve all types of civil engineering structural analysis problems using these programs. Note that I didn’t have the opportunity to use all the programs myself. their output for frame structures is generally much less varied compared to pure civil engineering structures. The programs.

000 – 7. It shows different sections in various Description (for non-linear version): Static. Euro and US code. there is no plate element and time history dynamic analysis is not available. Also.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Civil Engineering programs Program name: Visual Analysis. truss. File size 6 MB. P-delta analysis. Description: Frame analysis only – beam. My comment: Good program for frame Description: 3D frame and 2D plate. concrete/steel/wood/aluminum design as per US codes. Some dialog boxes offer too many options. British and Euro codes.000 Demo: 30-day full version copy can be downloaded from net. Simple to use and very user-friendly. However. Dynamic Response Spectrum. Price: USD 700 – 1.. Bridge and Dynamic Nonlinear Time History Analysis with frame. Visual Tools etc. solid elements can’t be drawn graphically. Concrete and steel design as per ACI. Easy to use. Price: USD 5. Visual Design. nonlinear dynamic and concrete/steel design.000 Demo: 30-node demo CD available My comment: Good overall general-purpose static/dynamic structural analysis program. Data can be entered conveniently by on screen as well as using spreadsheet like format.csiberkeley. Website: www. Price: USD 1. Base Isolators. which makes geometry creation easier. AASTHO.500 (Student version USD 50 only!) Demo: 30-day trial full version CD available My comment: An excellent program for frame and plate analysis. Time History. However. Supports Australian. Program name: SAP2000 Standard/Plus/Non-linear Developer: Computer and Structures Inc.spacegass. shell. British.131 - . Gap and Hook) elements. asolid and non-linear link (as external Damping. response spectra dynamic analysis. . Its predecessor SAP90 is still used for educational purposes. solid. graphics should have been better. grillage and cable etc. non-linear analysis options are difficult to comprehend. Student version has no node or member size limitation! Has excellent customer support. Developer: Integrated Engineering Software Website: www. Program name: Spacegass Developer: Integrated Technical Software Website: www. Canadian.

Price: Not known Demo: 150-node 150-member demo can be downloaded from net. Description: 3D-frame and plate/shell static/dynamic analysis program. Due to node size limitation. as per US. non-linear dynamic.000 – 80. plate.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Program name: RISA Developer: Risa Technology Website: www. design of piles. (recently re-named as Netguru Inc. Price: USD 5. My comment: Graphics should be better. Concrete and steel design according to European. Program’s help files are not very comprehensive. Program name: STAAD Pro/ Fabricad/ FEMkit etc. British and US code.000 – 6. Program name: GT-STRUDL Developer: Georgia Institute of Technology Website: www. My comment: Overloaded with many features but I found quite difficult to use.000 (full capacity student version INR 25.) Website: www. File size around 6 MB including tutorial.000 – 150. Program name: STRAP Developer: ATIR Website: www. Chinese. Price: USD 2.000/ INR 75.gatech. Demo version is ridiculously limited to do anything good. . finite element analysis Description: 3D frame. Design feature is quite good.reiworld.132 - .500/ INR 75.000 – 4. Indian.000 – 150. Canadian. bolt groups. Developer: Research Engineers Inc.000) Demo: 12-node demo CD available. European etc.000 – 12. Description: 3D-frame and 2D-plate analysis program.atir. Its model wizard can generate various types of structures easily. codes.000 Demo: 50-node 200-member Student version CD available My comment: Somewhat complicated to use.500/ INR 60. Canadian. Program name: SAFI 2D/3D/TOWER/BRIDGE etc.gtstrudl. I couldn’t test it extensively.000 Demo: 6-member demo CD available. pre-stress concrete. dynamic and non-linear Description: Frame and finite element analysis. Separate bridge and foundation design modules are available. retaining wall. Price: USD 4. My comment: Interface is somewhat complex.

com Description: Performs http://www. Some common commands are difficult to find. shell.safi. which is more versatile. plate/shell linear/non-linear static and dynamic analysis.robot-structures. US and Euro codes. membrane. My comment: Graphics is good. concrete design and optimization.axisvm.autofea. non-linear pushover analysis. it is better to use SAP2000. and shell 3D structures. beam. but has too many dialog boxes for model creation. gap and spring elements for nonlinear support modeling. Similar to SAP2000 in features – static & dynamic analyses – automatic load distribution to members.000 Demo: 30-beam/truss. My comment: I didn’t use it. Program name: AxisVM Developer: Inter CAD Website: www. steel. Price: Not known Demo: 25-member demo CD available. Unless your design job involves only multistory building frames. Program name: ETABS Developer: Computers and Structures Inc. rib. concrete/steel design. Price: Not known Demo: 50-node 50-member demo can be downloaded from web site. plate.133 - .csiberkeley.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Developer: SAFI Website: www. grillage non-linear static/dynamic Description: Frame. Price: Not known Demo: Not offered My comment: User friendliness is similar to that of SAP2000. Supports Eurocode. cable. Program name: Diana .com Description: Specific program for building frame analysis. My comment: I didn’t use it. File size around 5 MB. Price: USD 800 – 2. truss. 100-surface element version can be downloaded from the Description: Frame. Program name: Robot Developer: Integrated Structural Software Website: www. Website: www. vibration and buckling analysis on any combination of truss. plate.

Program name: ALGOR Developer: Algor Inc.emrc. pre-stress. dam.500 – 5.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Developer: Diana Analysis bv Website: Description: Finite element pre and post processor Description: finite element analysis – static/dynamic. offshore structure design. soil/concrete.sai-mtab. Website: www. Mechanical Engineering programs Program name: FEMAP Developer: Enterprise Software Products Inc. Sometimes cannot translate models successfully to some specific formats. Program name: NISA Developer: Engineering Mechanics Research Corporation Website: www. Has many advanced options but difficult to use. creates mesh and import/export models from/to 20 different finite element analysis programs’ formats. solid modeling. Does not analyze anything by itself. Various separate design/analysis modules are available.diana. FEMAP is sometimes bundled with other finite element analysis programs.134 - .. bridge. Price: USD 3. mobile Description: Linear and non-linear static and dynamic finite element stress analysis with motion for physics based mechanical event simulation/virtual . My comment: I didn’t use Description: Finite element analysis Price: Not known Demo: Available from net. but not clear what file to download.algor.femap.000 Demo: 300-node demo CD available (30-day trial full version available in North America only) with m-tab (www. modeling of embedded reinforcement in stress for analysis. Structural Dynamic Research Corporation Website: www. Available on Unix as well. Price: Not known Demo: Not offered My comment: I didn’t use it. My comment: Draws models.

optimization. To use this program to its full extent. linear stress analysis. elements. Program name: Ansys Developer: Ansys Website: www.000 Demo: 30-day trial program can be downloaded from net. Nstar for non-linear analysis). Graphics is also very good. Price: Not known Demo: Not offered. can import model from a variety of CAD programs. Price: USD 2. My comment: Excellent FEA program.000 Demo: 30-day trial full version CD available. heat transfer. electricity. File size 55 MB.cosmosm. 2D. My comment: Very powerful programs containing lots of features. membrane. Separate modules are available for non-linear static/dynamic analysis. offshore . civil.hks.Computer Aided Structural Analysis prototyping. Program name: ABAQUS Developer: HKS Website: www. tetrahedral etc. Developer: Structural Research & Analysis Corp. but advanced options are difficult to use without training. fluid flow and electro-magnetism. Can import model from varieties of CAD programs. Website: www. buckling. My comment: I didn’t use it.135 - . heat.000 – 18. heat. Description: Analyzes solid by finite element method. composite. pipe stress etc. Design Star analyzes 3D solid models only and does not have beam/truss elements. CAD/CAE integration. laminar. which is many times faster than common FEA solver.000 – 20. truss. biomedical etc. fluid flow. Various other modules are available for wave propagation. Easy to use. sandwich. Trial CD also available. you should have good knowledge of finite element theory. structural. Price: USD 5. plate. However. Incorporates beam. analysis. gap. Good buy if you analyze complex finite element models Description: Non-linear/dynamic finite element analysis for mechanical. fatigue. dynamic analysis. Separate modules are available for CAD integration. Help system is comprehensive. but can import model from a variety of CAD programs. brick. Uses special Fast FE solver. Program name: Cosmos/Design Star/Geo Star/N Star etc. Can’t create model by itself (GeoStar is required to create models.

These programs will drive you mad! Program name: Nastran Developer: Macro Industries/NASA Website: www. File size 12 MB. can read/write to various other FEA programs’ Description: Analysis and virtual prototyping (mechanical event simulation) of mechanical systems. shear panel. Program name: ADAMS Developer: Mechanical Dynamics Inc. Price: Not known Demo: Not offered. fluid etc. you can create a whole model of virtually anything – a sports car to a railway locomotive with all engineering details and they you can analyze it! You can even simulate it! It’s a really wonderful program! Like a video game. various modules are available separately. mechanical. fluid flow. Program name: Patran Developer: Mechanical Solutions Website: www. shell. Adams has all other features of a typical FEA program. tyre. Separate modules are available for linear. Website: www. you can drive a car here and can refine analysis at every stage! Besides this. solid.mechsolutions. Various other separate analysis/design modules are available for structural. . Versatile program but complex. To use this program to its full extent. Price: USD Description: Finite element analysis of frame. acoustic. My comment: I didn’t use it. electro-magnetism etc. mechanism etc.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Description: Finite element analysis.136 - . Price: Not known Demo: Not offered. engine.0 is available for downloading. multi-physics. Price: Not known Demo: Not offered. My comment: Finite element application for mechanical engineering. car. My comment: I didn’t use it. thermal. rail. you should have good knowledge of mechanics and finite element theory.adams. With Adams. Description: Finite element analyses. My comment: I didn’t use it. hydraulics.nastran.750 Demo: Version 1.

Some CAD programs… Some developers provide feature-limited demo. fluid flow Description: Finite element analysis of solid.137 - Program name: Cadkey Website: www. Description: Integrated CAD/CAM/CAE Finite element analysis. Program name: I-DEAS Developer: Structural Dynamics Research Corporation Website: www. See their web site for details. Price: Not known Demo: Not offered My comment: I didn’t use Description: Static. frequency. Program name: AutoCAD/ Mechanical Desktop Website: Program name: Solid Works Website: www. My comment: Complicated to use.000 (depending on node capacity) Demo: 300-node demo can be downloaded from net.adina. Program name: JL Analyzer Developer: AutoFEA Inc. spectrum.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Program name: Adina Developer: Adina R & D Inc.autodesk. buckling. electric. seepage and nonlinear static FE analyses. Website: Program name: Solid Edge Website: .cadkey. Price: Not known Demo: Not offered My comment: I didn’t use it. dynamic. Mechanical event simulation – virtual prototyping etc. Price: USD 285 – 5. Website: www.

A useful point on downloading large files from the Internet.gozilla. but that version cannot be used commercially. it can be set to disconnect from Internet automatically after downloading is complete. which have dealer/ representative in India and you can buy the product in Indian Prices in INR are shown only for those companies. Also. .138 - . Some companies sell their full capacity student version at reduced cost. which can resume broken download from where it or something else.turbocad. Some developers do offer university license at very nominal cost. Use a download utility program such as Go!Zilla (www.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Program name: Turbo CAD Website: www.

before printing? . pressing F1 should bring context sensitive help and Ctrl+O should show Open File… dialog box. How easy is the program? How quickly you can create and analyze a model using the program after installing? Use the sample problems in this book and see how quickly you can analyze the structures with your programs. FEA is still mainly used in mechanical engineering. How to select the most appropriate program for your need? Here are some simple points to check before buying the program. There is no justification of buying a high-end ‘feature overloaded’ expensive finite element analysis program if your main purpose is building-frame analysis. In general. How good is the interface? Does the program follow standard Windows conventions? For example. Can it create finite element mesh automatically? Can you control the size of mesh yourself? Before buying a program decide what features you do really need. Try reading the programs’ manuals at first. most civil engineering design firms do not need high-performance FEA programs. Such programs are generally much less expensive. to generate a 10x10 bays 20-story building. margin etc.139 - . Only a frame analysis program will serve the purpose in most of the cases. the program should draw the model by itself. How good is the visualization? Does the model look similar to actual structure? Does it offer dynamic viewing? Can it show the model in VRML format? Can it generate complex models automatically? For example.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 42. See if you can analyze models successfully by just reading the example problems rather than by getting help from the developers. Does the program is ‘forgiving’? Can it check model for instability or buckling by itself? Does it allow ‘snapping’ members to intersection or end points? How good is the program’s post processing capability? Can it show force diagrams for any individual member? Can you clearly see the reaction forces in the result? Can it display bending moment or shear force values in the respective diagram? How about printing through the program? Will it allow you to change paper size.

different operating system) compatibility. Many programs allow copy-paste option with spreadsheet programs. it is possible to ‘tailor made’ other codes according to your country codes. 100-node maximum) demos. Check if the program can import/export models from/to CAD or other analysis programs.140 - . in reinforced concrete design. However. Others may insist on annual maintenance contact (and demands a hefty sum for it). Some offer cross platform (i. which offer full-product tryouts. Some generous companies may offer 30-day full product trial. Sometimes. I don’t find it wrong to . try to select your program from those. But to use high-end FEA programs.e. So. you need to pay more! Although it may be against the law to copy the program into another computer. Next comes the design part. you really need developers support. 1500 nodes maximum for SAP2000 Standard version)! Many structural analysis programs nowadays come with hardware locks (hasp/dongle) as copy protection. Some programs do not offer design capability according to your country code. There will be many situations when you will require technical support to know what a particular command does or whether the program does a particular calculation automatically etc. Unlike analysis. You may not realize certain pitfalls of the program unless you use full product for sometime. Lastly. Sometimes even the low cost commercial versions of the programs do have node or member size limitation (e. This may dictate you to choose an inferior program just for the sake of design calculation. An important point – how good is the customer support? Some companies may offer free technical support by phone/e-mail. design is not something impossible to do manually.g. For example. You can use one code instead of other without much loss of accuracy.g. Ask the vendors whether they offer free demo. what is your budget? Can you afford buying the program what impresses you most? Some finite element analysis programs are very fascinating but their prices often make them affordable by large corporate firms only. Euro code and Indian code give almost identical values of steel area. Therefore. It means that if you want to use the programs in more than one computer. most companies offer limited capability (e. These limited demos may hide the programs actual performance from you. the choice is yours.Computer Aided Structural Analysis What about generating report of analysis? Does it have the option of displaying tailor made report specific to project requirement or it just dumps 100 pages of numbers without telling you what to do with them? Check if your program is compatible with other programs in the market.

Every company will boast that their products are the best. But if you follow the above guidelines you may by a gainer.141 - . But copy protection will prevent you even doing that.Computer Aided Structural Analysis make another copy in your laptop computer. new programs may not open or analyze your existing old projects. Therefore. Remember this while selecting your program. it is not an easy task to choose the most suitable product for your need. when you will select programs. They will swamp you with pictures of structures designed using their programs! Very few companies offer you a money back guarantee with first few weeks of purchase. you have keep in mind that you must use it continuously for a couple of years at least. More so. Since these programs are quite expensive it does not make sense to change your analysis programs frequently. So. Ask the developers how they like to upgrade their products in the near future. . My main aim is to make you realize that you must try the programs first before making a final decision on purchase.

Is it large? (Generally. look at the member internal forces and stress levels reported in the highest stressed members (beam/shell etc. the structure may collapse due to instability. If you have poor geometry or very flexible members in critical areas. investigate it carefully. check carefully all input data. In that case you should perform geometrically non-linear analysis. First of all. Convince yourself that the results are correct before continuing. . Do these stresses yield. check for nearly unstable structures. the response is violating the basic assumption of linear-elastic material behavior. If something seems wrong.) elements. Check the member properties and end releases. When you obtain analysis results from analysis programs. Do they make sense based on the loading and structure? Secondly. the displaced shape is automatically scaled suitably so that you can see it!) If displacements are too large. the basic assumption of small displacement is violated and results must be questioned. contact the program developers immediately for clarification. If your loads are correct. If you think you have found an error in the program. Make sure co-ordinate directions as per you specified. Verify loads are in the directions you intended.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 43. Recall that “With good engineering judgment you can produce on the back of an envelop that which otherwise cannot be produced with a ton of computer output”. look for static check. or fail or buckle the material? Again if they do. Take a look at the real time view (if this feature is available in your program) of the structure and visually observe member sizes and locations. yet reactions do not balance. Finally use your engineering judgment. As a fourth check. look at the magnitude of the largest displacement shown. crack. How to check the result for accuracy? Before performing an analysis.142 - . Verify that you have the correct support conditions. Third. Are they correct? You might also use spreadsheet like input reports to make sure no information have missed. you should perform some simple checks to verify that the results are valid. look at the deformed shapes that are presented to you.

Other objects. programs create various files with different file name extensions. and solids to an ACIS file in ASCII (SAT) format. in which the solid data is transferred as a faceted mesh representation consisting of a set of triangles STEP model SDRC I-DEAS Visual Analysis project VRML file Parasolid Extension ANS ASM CDL DAT DFT DGXASM DGXPRT DWG DXF ESD IGS INP MOD NAS NEU NIS PAR PRT SAT SDB SG SLDPRT STD STL STP UNV VAP WRL X_T Note: during runtime.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 44.143 - . SAP2000 input Spacegass input Solid Works STAAD input Stereolithograph Apparatus (SLA) format. If you delete those files. such as lines and arcs. . are ignored. File name extension guide (for some CAD/CAE programs) Description Ansys input Mechanical Desktop/Solid Edge assembly Cadkey wire frame model Nastran input Solid Edge draft Cosmos Design Star Assembly Cosmos Design Star Part AutoCAD drawing /Mechanical Desktop model AutoCAD drawing interchange Algor input IGES solid model Abaquas input Femap input Nastran input Patran input NISA input Solid Edge part model Solid Works model AutoCAD objects representing trimmed NURB surfaces. regions. you may not view result without analyzing the model again.

. try reinstalling the program in your computer. contact the program vendor. Contact the developers. If the program runs successfully there. then I am afraid that you may need to reformat your hard disk and load all from scratch. May be misleading message sometimes. I was finally to run the program. Sometimes. If you're lucky everything will go ok. Did the problem start after installing any new application? Then uninstalling that application might help. Try reinstalling the program. All other programs will shut down if you proceed. This program has preformed an illegal operation and will be shut down. and then refilling all. Not enough memory for calculation/initialization of graphics. 3. simply changing your color setting from 256 to 16/24-bit color works! 2. Continue? Some analysis programs are made in such cumbersome manner. if not contact the program vendor.144 - . Rarely. A program was running fine in last week. but to my surprise. It may be due to operating system problem rather than that of your analysis program. (This is more common in computer games rather than structural analysis programs. There may . However. After erasing everything from my hard disk. This program is set to run in DOS mode. I myself faced this very situation while installing Algor for the first time.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 45. Check the program in another computer with same amount of memory (preferably with same hardware configuration as well). something is definitely wrong. stuff some more RAM into your computer and see what happens. it refuses to run now.. If it's of no use. It can be rectified by just rebooting the machine in most cases. the program may demand better quality graphics card. The possibilities of this cause are endless. that they incorporate some Windows programs and some DOS programs. though!) If all fails. if you continue to get the message every time. Common error messages and solutions Operating system related 1. 4. This is a common error message for all Windows programs. I am not sure why this happen. If the problem persists.

both were happy again. Your model may not be tied down (Algor) Same as above. I have analyzed the structure successfully. 4.4 digits of accuracy) (SAP) . Zero stiffness found during assembly for DOF Ry of joint 5 (SAP) It means that the joint has no stiffness in that direction. Also see (8). so that the structure does prevent rigid body motion. some FEA programs can still continue solving the problem and ultimately you may get result with no force or stress at all. Try changing the units. After restoring that file. “Common” means many analysis programs show this message/problem.Computer Aided Structural Analysis be some jumbled DLL and OCX files. 5. That means the global stiffness matrix must not be singular. Also see (2). Remove that load case or apply some load in that load case. Ultimately I discovered that an OCX file required by SAP2000 was overwritten by STRUDL with backdated version. It should be connected to at least one member or support without releases. The structure is unstable (common) You must specify proper boundary conditions. 2. Excessive loss of accuracy during the solution of equations – the structure is unstable of ill-conditioned (also Lost 6. Analysis program related Analysis programs. for example. 6. from kN-m to N-mm and see if you find any value now. However. which display the specific error message. are shown within bracket.145 - . 1. Quite confusing! 3. My SAP2000 refused to show dynamic analysis result after I loaded GT-STRUDL. Load case "X" has no load (common) Some programs will not accept any load case that has no loading specified. But it shows all zero forces/stress in the result (common) The resulting forces/stress might be too small.

is not meaningful for particular analysis result. the tensor may not provide meaningful results. So. but rather that with some element types and element generation methods. but I can’t see the loads (common) Look if there is any load ‘toggle’ menu. reactions and global equilibrium balances to assure that the digit loss has not unacceptably degraded the results. Rigid body motion is not prevented in Z direction (common) Somewhat similar to (1) and (2). A warning is issued when the loss is estimated to be above 6 digits and the degree of freedom is listed when this occurs. You will have to perform some trial and error. any load will make it fail (collapse). This allows for 15 significant digits to be carried in the calculation. . Sometimes there may be a pressure load ‘multiplier’.146 - . Specify a suitable constraint in that direction. This is where you need to use your engineering judgement. τxy etc. You should check for global instability and local instability at or around the degree of freedom reported.e. See also (13). σy. It is not so much that a smoothed tensor may not be accurate for a model. 8. When the program detects over 11 digits accuracy loss it stops further processing as the results are suspect. Users should check the displacements. This problem mainly occurs in complex trusses.Computer Aided Structural Analysis Equation solutions in most analysis programs are done in double precision arithmetic. There is no boundary condition specified to prevent rigid body displacement (translational or rotational) to Z direction. i. Add or remove some members until it becomes a stable structure. 10. A smoothed stress tensor may not be meaningful for this model (Algor) Stress values like σx. The structure is internally unstable (common) A really annoying situation! Your structure has become a mechanism. a random mesh on a composite element type. Make sure that it is not set to zero. You may need to specify surface/pressure loads by some separate command. An internal check estimates the number of digits of accuracy lost during the reduction of each degree of freedom. 7. Some programs treat nodal load and surface/pressure loads differently. 9. I have applied loads on the model.

) which offer only ‘plate’ element. SAP2000). Algor). then try exporting the model with mesh only. Then make sure ‘C’ can also ‘read’ that ‘version’ of ‘B’s data! 13. Risa etc.g. loads etc. some of the stiffness terms of the flexible member can be completely lost due to their insignificance in comparison with the stiffness terms of the stiff member. with mesh. 12. I see that my program does not have plate and shell elements separately (common) Some programs only have ‘shell’ element.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 11.e.g. Visual Analysis.147 - . • Be careful about the units used in both programs. However. I strongly discourage you to exporting whole FEA model data in this way. boundary conditions.g. If after the analysis. • Suppose you are exporting the model from program ‘A’ to ‘B’s format and you will open it using another program ‘C’. I can’t convert/export my model from one FEA format to another. check the model carefully. • If full model (i. Hence. Exporting or converting your model from one analysis program’s format to another’s is always bad. which can’t be used for shell analysis. The structure is ill-conditioned (common) Ill-conditioning commonly occurs when frames contain members of widely varying stiffness. When a very stiff member is connected to a very flexible member and their stiffness matrices are assembled into the structure stiffness matrix. However. In that case. the sum of the reactions equals the sum of the applied loads then it can be assumed that the frame is well conditioned. • Upon importing the model in desired program. only plate element is offered and shell is considered a type of ‘plate’ element (e. Except for very simple models. the flexible member is not completely represented and ill conditioning occurs. if you still want to do that. check the following points: • Have you defined the mesh? Most programs can’t export to another FEA format unless you create the mesh. In some other programs. ‘plate’ is considered a special type of shell element (e. there are many programs (e. . it often leads to loss of data and thus unsuccessful translation.) export does not work.

You can find online reviews of a good number of books at www. 9. Algor R12 information brochures. by Chopra. John Willey & Sons. by Bairagi. Strudl 15. User’s Guide. IES 7. McGraw Hill 5. . Algor by Reddy. Plesha. Khanna Publisher 12. by Krishnamoorthy. Structural Dynamics. 3rd edition. 4. CSI 8. Femap 13. Paz. Prentice Hall 18. Malkus. Shell Analysis.5. 2nd edition. References 1. Users’ Guide. Tata McGraw Hill 3. Cosmos/Design Star. by Glen Berg. SRAC 16. Users’ Guide. Visual Analysis 3. Basic Structural Analysis. Users’ Guide. by Buchanan. SAP2000. Reinforced Concrete Design Vol 1 & Concept and Application of Finite Element Method. User’s Guide. by M. E & FN Spons. Laxmi Publication 10. Users’ Guide. Schaum outline series of Finite Element. Strap 14. by Punmia.148 - . tutorials and newsletters. Everard. Prentice Hall 6. Spacegass The above list is not exhaustive. 17. Elements of Structural Dynamics. by Cook. Users’ Guide.Computer Aided Structural Analysis 46. by Noel J. Tata McGraw Hill 11. Dynamics of Structures. Finite Element Analysis: Theory and Programming. Schaum’s Outline of Theory and Problems of Reinforced Concrete Design. There are many other better books available. McGraw Hill 2.

which you previously thought impossible. Researchers and Students! • Use your structural analysis program to its full extent! • Analyze those structures. without going through heavy and boring theoretical calculation! • Discover hidden power inside your present programs! • Find out where you get FREE (not just the demo!) Structural Analysis programs on the Internet! • HAVE FUN WITH ANALYSIS! • ONLINE READER SUPPORT! .FOR THE FIRST TIME • A PRACTICAL GUIDE • An absolute must for all practicing Mechanical/Civil/Structural Engineers.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful