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.
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!
Preset and Customizable Cross Sections and Material Properties
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
Optimization of Steel Members
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
- 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
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.