I have modeled a curved member with straight member segments. However, this results in discontinuities in the distribution for the diagrams of internal forces. How can I optimize it?

Answer

In the case of modeling curved members by using member segments, discontinuities in the diagram of internal forces occur at the transition of the individual members because of the different inclinations of the members as the nodal equilibrium must be fulfilled (see Figure 01). If the jumps are too great, it is recommended to increase the number of member segments to minimize the buckling between the members. Thus, you obtain more consistent and accurate distribution of the internal forces.

In Figure 02, the different variants are compared. At the top, a curved member has been modeled in RFEM and is considered a reference. Below, the variants with 150, 50, and 10 member segments (n) are displayed with the result. The finer is the division of the member segments, the more accurate is the result.

In the menu [Tools → Generate Model - Members → Arc], you can also generate these member segments (see Figure 03).


Keywords

Curved member Arc member Arc Discontinuity in Distribution of Internal Forces

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RFEM Main Program
RFEM 5.xx

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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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RSTAB 8.xx

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The structural engineering software for design of frame, beam and truss structures, performing linear and nonlinear calculations of internal forces, deformations, and support reactions

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