Sometimes, it is great to come across a simple but powerful structural analysis program, where you can quickly download the program and model and analyze a structure. This is where Analysis3D comes in. Analysis3D is a user-friendly finite element structural analysis software for structural steel frames and trusses. The program is small in size so it downloads rapidly and has an interface that is straight-forward so there is little to no learning curve for learning the software’s functions.

Even though Analysis3D is small in size, the software is capable of performing sophisticated analysis for 2D and 3D steel trusses and frames, including optimizing member design. Let’s explore the different functions that Analysis3D provides.

**Basic but Special Functions**

One special function that Anaylsis3D provides is the function to combine your new loaded data with an old structural model in your computer’s memory. You do not have to remodel new structural elements on your old structural model to combine the models. You can just combine your old and new models with this simple Combine function.

Moreover, if you have an existing DXF file and you want to use that for analysis, you can simply use the Import function to import a DXF file to Analysis3D. This is great for design teams, since architects, planners, and project managers often send drawings in the form of AutoCAD DXF files. Using the Import function, you can implement your structural analysis quickly, without remodelling your structure onto the software. You can also use the Export function to export your current model into a DXF file, so that you can easily manipulate your structure on AutoCAD, create structural drawings, or send your model to your project team members in a DXF file. This makes digital information sharing and project collaboration more efficient and manageable.

**Structural Data Input in Organized Tabular Forms and on the Interactive Model**

Structural data, such as joint coordinates, can be inputted directly into organized tables, as shown below, and via the display showing the model. For joint coordinates, you can name and edit your joint numbers and coordinates in the table. You can also use the COPY function to conveniently replicate your joints over a specified distance and direction. To add new joints on the model interactively, you can double click on the location that you want your joint to be and add a new joint coordinate. You can double click on existing joints, when you want to change or remove existing joints.

Even though Analysis3D is small in size, the software is capable of performing sophisticated analysis for 2D and 3D steel trusses and frames, including optimizing member design. Let’s explore the different functions that Analysis3D provides.

One special function that Anaylsis3D provides is the function to combine your new loaded data with an old structural model in your computer’s memory. You do not have to remodel new structural elements on your old structural model to combine the models. You can just combine your old and new models with this simple Combine function.

Moreover, if you have an existing DXF file and you want to use that for analysis, you can simply use the Import function to import a DXF file to Analysis3D. This is great for design teams, since architects, planners, and project managers often send drawings in the form of AutoCAD DXF files. Using the Import function, you can implement your structural analysis quickly, without remodelling your structure onto the software. You can also use the Export function to export your current model into a DXF file, so that you can easily manipulate your structure on AutoCAD, create structural drawings, or send your model to your project team members in a DXF file. This makes digital information sharing and project collaboration more efficient and manageable.

Structural data, such as joint coordinates, can be inputted directly into organized tables, as shown below, and via the display showing the model. For joint coordinates, you can name and edit your joint numbers and coordinates in the table. You can also use the COPY function to conveniently replicate your joints over a specified distance and direction. To add new joints on the model interactively, you can double click on the location that you want your joint to be and add a new joint coordinate. You can double click on existing joints, when you want to change or remove existing joints.

After joint information has been entered, you can then model your members in another organized table. Members can be added by entering their begin and end joint numbers, section sizes, material properties, hinge conditions, and rotation angles. You can also customize member rotations based on their rotational angles around the local x-axis. If you are ever confused about the local coordinate system of your selected member, Analysis3D shows the local coordinate system of that member when you click on it.

When you have your members modelled, you can then specify your support conditions. If you also happen to forget your support conditions, you can click on any of the 10 support condition images to determine which degree of freedom(s) is retrained in a specific support condition. For example, if I wanted a pinned support, I can click on the 3rd image. Once I clicked on the image, “R” (Restrained) appears in Rx, Ry, and Rz conditions and not for Mx, My, and Mz, indicating that translation is restricted in the Global X, Y, and Z direction and rotation is allowable in the Global X, Y, and Z direction. Analysis3D really guides you on your design journey!

When you have your members modelled, you can then specify your support conditions. If you also happen to forget your support conditions, you can click on any of the 10 support condition images to determine which degree of freedom(s) is retrained in a specific support condition. For example, if I wanted a pinned support, I can click on the 3rd image. Once I clicked on the image, “R” (Restrained) appears in Rx, Ry, and Rz conditions and not for Mx, My, and Mz, indicating that translation is restricted in the Global X, Y, and Z direction and rotation is allowable in the Global X, Y, and Z direction. Analysis3D really guides you on your design journey!

Analysis3D includes a comprehensive library of commonly used structural steel cross sections, including sections from AISC, British Steel, and Euronorm. All preset cross sections also come with preset cross sectional properties, including cross sectional areas, widths and heights of sections, thicknesses of widths and flanges, moment of inertias, torsional constants, etc.

You can update the library by customizing your own cross sections and inputting your own cross sectional properties. Or you can simply select their preset cross sections for design.

Not only does Analysis3D have preset cross sectional properties, Analysis3D also has a library of preset material properties. You can choose your material from the library with its preset properties, including modulus of elasticity, shear modulus, and linear expansion coefficient, etc. Of course, you can also add your own material properties for your design.

**Loads**

Joint and member loads can be specified. For member loads, there are 5 different types of loads that you can input; point loads, moments, distributed loads, symmetrical trapezoidal distributed load, or non-symmetrical trapezoidal distributed load. These load types are also displayed in the program, as shown below.

Not only does Analysis3D have preset cross sectional properties, Analysis3D also has a library of preset material properties. You can choose your material from the library with its preset properties, including modulus of elasticity, shear modulus, and linear expansion coefficient, etc. Of course, you can also add your own material properties for your design.

Joint and member loads can be specified. For member loads, there are 5 different types of loads that you can input; point loads, moments, distributed loads, symmetrical trapezoidal distributed load, or non-symmetrical trapezoidal distributed load. These load types are also displayed in the program, as shown below.

In Analysis3D, you can create one load combination, with a maximum of 9 different load cases, and include temperature loads in your design. Temperature loads are loads created due to the changes in surrounding temperature, which cause thermal stresses onto structural members.

**Report-Friendly Structural Analysis Software**

Analysis3D has display options where you can display certain information about the model for your reports, presentations, and submissions. Under the Drawing option, you have the option of showing joint or member numbers on your model, so that these numbers can be used to cross reference with analysis results. The Drawing option can also display Forces, Support Joints, Joint Displacements, and NTM-Forces and Stresses on the model.

Analysis3D has display options where you can display certain information about the model for your reports, presentations, and submissions. Under the Drawing option, you have the option of showing joint or member numbers on your model, so that these numbers can be used to cross reference with analysis results. The Drawing option can also display Forces, Support Joints, Joint Displacements, and NTM-Forces and Stresses on the model.

Once you have clicked on the Calculate button, the structure will be analyzed for stability. If the structure is not stable, an error message will popup and the calculation will be ceased. If the structure is stable, calculation will commence. When the calculation is completed, you can then generate analysis results. Here are the analysis results that will be created:

- Joint Displacement

Displacement values are displayed at different locations of your structural elements. - Member forces and stresses

For stresses, Analysis3D displays axial stresses, shear stresses, bending stresses, torsional stresses, and resulting stresses (to be compared to yield strength). - Buckling

The buckling load factor and safety factor can be changed. The User Manual suggests values that you can use for your analysis. In the Buckling calculation function, Analysis3D computes members’ slenderness, slenderness limit, maximum and design buckling stress, and maximum admissible buckling load values. - Reactions at supports
- NTM Forces for each member

Analysis3D can calculate Axial forces (N), Shear forces (T), Torsion (Mx), and Bending Moments (My and Mz) values at various locations for each member. Deflection (fy and fz) values can also be calculated. You can also view individual members’ NTM forces or all members’ NTM forces.

- NTM Stresses for each member

Analysis3D has a “Member Design” function that optimizes structural design by showing the smallest allowable section that can support the load and support conditions inputted in your model. Therefore, this optimization function can help minimize costs and increase safety in your structural design. If a member fails to support the conditions of your design, Analysis3D can propose the smallest cross-section to resist the force and moment values. If a member is over designed, Anaylsis3D can propose a cross section that has the minimum area Ax to resist your forces and moments.

After you have chosen to use their proposed section (or have chosen another section manually that can satisfy the design criteria), you can re-analyze and re-calculate the model. You will also need to do some iterations, since the loads will be redistributed and the structural steel members need to be re-optimized in order to cater for the new load distributions.

You can choose from 3 different detailed design methods for your calculation; Plastic Design, Elastic Design, Eurocode 3 standard. The software compares whether the designed forces and moments are acceptable to the maximum allowable forces and moments provided by the steel section used.

The function calculates the following:

- Plastic Tension or compression
- Bending moment (major and minor axis)
- Plastic shear resistance
- Torsion
- Reduced plastic shear resistance
- Reduced moment resistance
- Reduced plastic moment resistance
- Compression buckling
- Lateral torsional buckling
- Combined bending and axial compression
- Maximum deflection in major and minor axis direction

Overall, Anaylsis3D is a powerful and convenient software for structural analysis of steel trusses and frames. Analysis3D is different from other complex structural analysis software due to its more user-friendly interface, straightforward and concise functions, and fast analysis speed.

**Analysis3D offers a FREE version download for education and non-commercial purposes for you to try.**

** After you have downloaded Analysis3D, save the file to a new directory, unzip the downloaded Zip-file (Analysis3D.zip), and run the executable file (Analysis3D.exe).

**If you like Analysis3D and would like to try their full and unlimited version, please contact Cuylaerts Engineering.**

This post is sponsored by Cuylaerts Engineering.

]]>** After you have downloaded Analysis3D, save the file to a new directory, unzip the downloaded Zip-file (Analysis3D.zip), and run the executable file (Analysis3D.exe).

This post is sponsored by Cuylaerts Engineering.

When you open STRAP you will see this page.

This page serves as a file management system for your models. It lists your models sorted either by name or by date. You can copy, delete, and compress models into a ZIP file. Moreover, you can make sure that you are selecting the right model by viewing the thumbnail drawing of the model and its statistics (eg. total number of nodes, elements, walls,etc). The"note" option lets you write comments and reminders for each model and to track revisions.

__Structural Types__

There are several options that you can choose to create a new model. You start by selectinga framing option (plane frame, plane grid, space frame or truss), thenopen a blank template or choose from predefined structural models in the Model Wizard option.

There are several options that you can choose to create a new model. You start by selectinga framing option (plane frame, plane grid, space frame or truss), thenopen a blank template or choose from predefined structural models in the Model Wizard option.

We will try the "Truss on Columns" Model Wizard. Once this option is selected, STRAP guides you through the model definition process by asking for therelevant dimensions - column height, truss height, the camber at the center, etc. STRAP then asks for your section material properties and sizes, as well as your vertical loads and wind loads. For this example, we will assume the dead load to be 24 kN/m (3.0 kPaDL x 8m load width) for both the top and bottom chord to account for services and ceiling loads. A live load of 16 kN/m (2.0 kPa LL x 8m load width) will be assumed for maintenance loads. For wind loads, it isconservatively assumed that wind pressure is qz = 2.3. Wind load on roof and columns is qz x -1.4 x 8m = -26kN/m (windward) and -15 kN/m (leeward). Wind load parallel to ridge is qz x -1.0 x 8m= -18kN/m. All these values can be revised later.

Once you are in the model, you can view the Geometry Menu at the far right. The first menu item is the "Node"option. Here you can define a single node or several nodes lying on a line with equal or varying spacing. Unlike some commercial software out there, you can renumber your node numbers, which allows you to present your models in a much more organized manner. Remember to output your data again after renumbering your nodes!

In the "Restraint" option you can define restrained degrees of freedom (translation or rotation in different directions) at each node.

To define or revise beam elements, select the "Beam" option. You can create single beams, a continuous straight line of beams, an arc of beams, or a string of beams. You can also use the Beam option to change section properties by selecting sections from predefined steel tables, or combining sections to create composite members. You can also input your own material properties (modulus of elasticity, Poisson ratio, density, etc). End releases can be defined at the beam ends. Even non-linear end releases or plastic hinges at beam ends can be input. Not a lot of software has this sophisticated function, as they often only provide only basic linear end release options.

You can also create plate elements by defining triangles, parallelogram and quadrilaterals. The "mesh" option automatically fills a large area with elements. Plate elements can be of uniform or tapered thicknesses.

Unidirectional springs or elastic supports can be defined. These can be used to model soil coefficients for the design of ground beams or mat foundations. STRAP also goes one step beyond typical commercial programs by including the option to design with non-linear springs and gap elements, which are often used for analyzing soil and structure interaction during seismic activities.

Unidirectional springs or elastic supports can be defined. These can be used to model soil coefficients for the design of ground beams or mat foundations. STRAP also goes one step beyond typical commercial programs by including the option to design with non-linear springs and gap elements, which are often used for analyzing soil and structure interaction during seismic activities.

STRAP also provides options to create solid elements by lifting and rotating plate elements.One unique function that STRAP has is the ability to create atypical walls shapes. In the Wall section editor, walls with openings can be created, as well as walls with multiple segments. Wall sections can also be retrieved from an existing DXF file.

One of STRAP’s key features is the use of "submodels". Submodels are a small part of the complete model and are defined in a different working area. The submodels are then attached to the "main model" to form the complete structure.

Submodels are useful when there is a repetitive part of the model. The submodel can be attached multiple times to the main model; each one is referred to as an "instance" of the submodel. There are options to define the location and type of connection between the submodel and the main model.

There are a lot of advantages to this feature.

- Submodels are great for designing typical floors in high-rise buildings. If you want to change properties or loads within a typical floor, you can revise thesubmodel and all the revisions are automatically applied in all the instances.
- Each submodel can contain the program capacity for nodes and elements. The maximum model size becomes limitless when submodels are defined.
- The analysis time is reduced when submodels are used.
- The nodes and elements arenumbered independentlyin submodels. Main model and submodel results are displayed separately.

STRAP then automatically determines the "connection points" where the submodel is attached to the main model; it searches for the submodel nodes and main model nodes that are closest to each other. If the connection nodes cannot be unified (ie. do not share the same coordinates), a rigid link between the connection point and main model node will be created.

__Stages__

Different construction stages of model can be designed. In typical structural engineering software, you must design the whole model which represents the final structure at the end of construction. However in STRAP you can easily and rapidly design different construction stages by basing new stages on an existing stage. Each stage can have different sections, supports and, most importantly, different construction load cases and temporary wind cases. You can use the Stage function to analyze the stability of each separate construction stage and to keep track of the changes, hence increasing safetyfor each stage.

Different construction stages of model can be designed. In typical structural engineering software, you must design the whole model which represents the final structure at the end of construction. However in STRAP you can easily and rapidly design different construction stages by basing new stages on an existing stage. Each stage can have different sections, supports and, most importantly, different construction load cases and temporary wind cases. You can use the Stage function to analyze the stability of each separate construction stage and to keep track of the changes, hence increasing safetyfor each stage.

Not only can you input the basic uniformand concentrated loads on beam elements and uniform pressures on elements, you can also input other specialized load cases in STRAP. You can define temperature loads to model the expansion or contraction effects at beam ends or a temperature gradient caused by the contraction/expansion of the width of the beam or element. Here are some other loads that can be input in STRAP:

- Prestress forces:
- Lack-of-fit effects (when a beam that is initially too short or too long and is made to fit the design length)
- Chess loads or Staggered loads (automatic output of load combination patterns)
- P-Delta loads (non-linear secondary forces which cause iterative calculations)

After your load cases have been defined you can either create your load combinations by typing in the load factors manually or by retrieving combinations from the program’s library.

__Calculations and Results__

After analysis, STRAP can calculate the following:

After analysis, STRAP can calculate the following:

- Elastic slab deflections
- Punching shear stresses in slab elements at column locations: The program will output the effective shear forces, punching shear stresses, concrete capacities or punching shear capacities, and reinforcement needed to resist punching. It also shows graphically whether additional reinforcement is required or whether shear stresses exceed the allowable stress.
- Crack width: STRAP calculates the reinforcement size and spacing required for crack width requirements.

In addition, graphical results for beams and elements can be printed out for documentation and presentation to government officials and clients. Element results can be displayed with a contour maps, or with values plotted along a section line drawn through the model.

__Other Modules__

There are other modules that you can explore and use in STRAP.

**Have a go at STRAP!**

Download their trial version today!

This post is sponsored by ATIR.

]]>There are other modules that you can explore and use in STRAP.

- Dynamic Analysis:

This module analyzes structural behaviour under dynamic loads and solves for mode shapes. - Seismic Design:

Seismic load cases can be produced by specifying seismic factors and scaling.

- Structural Steel Design:

You can use this module to check sections or select the optimal steel sections, according to specified properties and conditions. You can also display detailed results and calculations of your design checks (moment diagrams, section properties, section classification, shear, moment, axial, deflection, lateral torsional buckling and combined stresses).

- Concrete Module:

This module designs reinforced concrete beams, columns, walls, and slabs and their reinforcement and deflection results. Reinforcement drawings can also be generated.

- AutoSTRAP:

This program generates the structural model from an DXF drawing.

- POSTTEN:

This module designs post-tensioned concrete beams and slabs.

Download their trial version today!