Spatial and Planar Load Display

Technical Article

In RFEM, structures can be modelled and analysed in a spatial environment. The permanent 3D visualization helps to better understand complex models and to represent the force flux. However, it is also possible to switch from a spatial mode to a planar sheet mode in the documentation of a calculation. For this, you have to describe the spatial calculation of the structure with all the necessary properties on ‘flat’ paper pages for an independent reader. Usually, you try to display the load actions and the corresponding results by using an orthogonal view of the substructure of the entire structure. Obviously, the load symbols depicted in the 3D mode in a view perpendicular to the load become unrecognizable due the missing expansion. In order to still be able to create a clear representation of all information, the corresponding adjustments are available in RFEM.

Concentrated Load

In a spatial view, a concentrated load is displayed as a vector (a dashed line with an arrowhead) above the reference node or point. The vector length indicates qualitatively the size, and the arrowhead indicates the direction of the load. When looking in the direction of the load axis, the load symbol changes accordingly. The program displays a crossed circle when looking in the direction of the load and a circle with a centre point when looking in the opposite direction. To exactly specify the load size, you can additionally write a numeric value next to the spatial and planar symbol.

Figure 01 - Diverse Display of Concentrated Load

Line Load

A line load is treated in a similar way as the concentrated load. The spatial display of a load on lines or members is represented by a framed array of vectors (a line with an arrowhead) above the assigned line. The vector length indicates qualitatively the size, and the arrowhead indicates the direction of the load. A frame with optional shading around the load vectors should illustrate the line reference. When looking in the direction of the load axis, the load symbol changes accordingly. The program displays a crossed circle when looking in the direction of the load, and a circle with a centre point when looking in the opposite direction. To exactly specify the load size, you can additionally write a numeric value next to the combined load symbol.

Figure 02 - Diverse Display of Line Load

Flat Load

The spatial display of flat loads is a further development of the line load. In the spatial display, a framed vector set represents the boundary lines of the load. The vector length indicates qualitatively the size, and the arrowhead indicates the direction of the load. A frame with optional shading around the load vectors should illustrate the outer edge of the surface load. In summary, this results in a block-shaped display of the load. When looking in the direction of the load, the rotating vectors are not converted into a crossed or dotted circle, but the line polygon is displayed around the arrowhead with optional shading or hatching. The hatching is in the way that each load size applies a separate hatching type. To exactly specify the load size, you can additionally write the numerical value at the edge or in the middle of the load symbol.

Figure 03 - Diverse Display of Flat Load

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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