Ever since 1987, Dlubal has been producing top-notch structural engineering software, such RFEM and RSTAB. Complying with different international standards, such as the AISC, ACI, Eurocodes, BS codes, RFEM and RSTAB are both comprehensive in terms of structural design and analysis needs. From automatic generation of material and sectional properties to user-friendly load creation options, from transparent analysis and iteration processes to their multilingual printout reports, the features in RFEM and RSTAB go above the functions of regular structural engineering software.
Their main feature is their add-on modules. With add-on modules, RFEM and RSTAB can both design for various structures, such as concrete, steel, aluminium, and timber structures, and implement more complex analysis. You only need to buy the add-ons that you need, making design and analysis a streamlined process. Some add-on modules include design of laminated and insulated glass, design of steel connections, dynamic analysis, form-finding of tensile membrane structures, etc.
Due to its effectiveness and 3D object based modelling features, SAP2000 is used in more than 160 countries worldwide. From transportation facilities to public works, it is widely used for its static analysis of structures for general usage. Most people will use it to design water tanks, bridges, etc. It has a single friendly user interface and provides templates for predefined complicated structures. Moreover, it has everything you need for basic modelling and analysis, such as a library of section sizes and properties, inputs for wind and seismic loads, functions that generate output reports and graphical results, and international design codes. The new SAP2000 v18 can now generate stability checks for nonlinear load cases, as well as, exporting its models into Revit Structure.
STAAD.Pro is used for both linear static and non-linear analysis. STAAD.Pro is adept at analyzing time dependent effects, such as creep, shrinkage, and cracking of concrete. Other softwares developed by the same company, Bentley, can be used in conjunction with STAAD.Pro. STAAD.Pro models can be imported to OpenSTAAD so that these models can be transferred to other third-party applications. STAAD.Pro models can also be integrated with ProjectWise, in which the software can utilize the imported model for project collaboration and management. Not only can STAAD.Pro be integrated with softwares developed by Bentley, their interface can import CAD models. STAAD.Pro is very user friendly since Bentley has also stated that 80 percent of their new customers can learn to operate STAAD.Pro V8i efficiently in under two hours. Bentley has also boasted that their programs can design structures using over 80 international codes and can generate structural design documents automatically.
RISA-3D is another 3D analysis and design software for general structures, such as buildings, crane rails, arenas, industrial structures, bridges, etc. For specific use, RISA-3D can be integrated with other RISA products, such as RISAFloor, RISAConnection and RISAFoundation. Horizontal wind and earthquake forces can be inputted into the structure’s lateral system in RISA-3D, then, the RISA-3D model can be integrated withRISAFloor to design for gravity loadings and vertical elements. RISAFoundation can be integrated with RISA-3D by transferring the reactions from RISA-3D to the slabs and footings in RISAFoundation. RISAConnection can be used to automatically design the connections for the structure in RISA-3D.
Etabs 2013 is developed by the same company as SAP2000, but Etabs 2013 is used for different purposes. It is mainly used to design and analyze high rise buildings systems. It is used worldwide due to its features in rapid modelling of framing systems and in analyzing large and complicated structures. Etabs 2013 has a user interface where it is integrated and do not depend on other programs. Columns, walls, slabs, beams, openings, and other elements can be designed and analyze using this one single interface. The structure can also be rendered in 3D within Etabs 2013. Unlike SAP2000, Etabs 2013 can analyze structures nonlinearly, where users can design for and check stability of structures undergoing creep, shrinkage, and column shortening. Users can also produce a 2D nonlinear layer model to analyze concrete cracking and shear behaviour. Etabs 2013 also has another cool feature, where users can use previously created ETABS templates to quickly start new models by just inputting their desired grid spacing, story numbers, slab sections, and loads.
SkyCiv 3D Structural Analysis Software
This software is very different from the other four software. Although SkyCiv is also a structural design and analysis software, it runs online on internet browsers. Model files are stored online in the cloud and there is no need for installation and obtaining licenses, therefore it provides low cost. Moreover, users can work anytime and anywhere. For 49.95USD per month, the software has the same basic functions as other structural design and analysis software. The software can do basic 3D analysis, such as analysis for flexure, torsion, axial, shear, and deflection. Users can input their desired loads and support conditions, choose or define any structural sections, produce 3D rendering and analysis text reports. The developer also offers various calculators online as supporting tools, such as calculators for truss systems, frames, and single span beams. However, one thing to keep in mind is that the developer specified that this software is only for educational purposes only. This software is not as advanced as other software, since it cannot produce reinforcement layout and steel detailing. Nonetheless, this software is an excellent tool to use to gain a quick and general concept of the design, theload paths, and the stress analysis of structural systems.