Is it possible to model a slab made of trapezoidal sheet metals?

Answer

For this, there are two options:

1. Modeling as a folded plate structure (see Figure 01) 

2. Modeling as an orthotropic surface (see Figure 02) 

The first option is only reasonable if stresses in the trapezoidal sheet are of interest. Every single corrugation is to be represented with surfaces. The modeling and calculation effort is very high. You can facilitate the modeling a little bit: the cross-section library of RFEM contains all common trapezoidal cross-sections. Create a member with a trapezoidal cross-section. Then, generate surfaces from the member by using the corresponding shortcut menu option. You can then modify or copy the created surfaces with trapezoidal sheets.

If the stiffness of the trapezoidal sheet is only relevant to the analysis, modeling as an orthotropic surface is reasonable. When defining the surface, select the "Orthotropic" stiffness type. Use the [Edit Parameters] button next to the list box to define the orthotropic properties. The stiffnesses can be described by equivalent thicknesses or directly by the coefficients of the stiffness matrix (see the manual). You can specify any angle for the orthotropy direction, which is related to the local surface axis system. This angle can also be controlled graphically (Display navigator: "Model → Surfaces → Orthotropy Directions"). 

Keywords

Trapezoidal sheet Folded plate structure Orthotropic surface

Reference

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RFEM Main Program
RFEM 5.xx

Main Program

Structural engineering software for finite element analysis (FEA) of planar and spatial structural systems consisting of plates, walls, shells, members (beams), solids and contact elements

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