Simulation of Thermal Strains with Specification of Absolute Temperatures

Tips & Tricks

The structural analysis programs RFEM and RSTAB are able to simulate a thermal strain of structural components by means of temperature loads. The temperature loads are subdivided, because global changes in the temperature of structural components involve a membrane effect, and because temperature changes in relation to the height of structural components implicate bending effects. Temperature load application is now divided into the following two types.

  • Uniform temperature Tc along the member axis x (membrane effect)
  • Non-uniform temperature ΔT over the y or z axis (bending effect)

In particular cases, thermal strains are not described by uniform and non‑uniform temperatures but surface temperatures of structural components. That's why it's recommended to recalculate specific surface temperatures as shown in the example below.

Mounting temperature: 20 °C
Temperature on top surface of component: 60 °C
Temperature on bottom surface of component: 22 °C

Uniform temperature:
Tm - mounting temperature = (Tt + Tb) / 2 - mounting temperature
= (60 °C + 22 °C) / 2 - 20 °C = 21 °C

Non-uniform temperature:
Tt - Tb = 60 °C - 22 °C = 38 °C


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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

Price of First License
3,540.00 USD
RSTAB Main Program
RSTAB 8.xx

Main Program

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

Price of First License
2,550.00 USD