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Technical Article on the Topic Structural Analysis Using Dlubal Software

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Technical Article

With the release of the structural analysis programs RFEM 6, RSTAB 9, RSECTION 1, and RWIND 2, Dlubal Software introduces a new generation of structural analysis programs. True to the motto "Structural analysis that is fun ...", the program provides users with universal tools with which they can meet all the requirements in structural engineering. Find out more about the latest developments at Dlubal Software in this article.

New Programs

RFEM 6 & RSTAB 9

The RFEM 6 3D FEA program and the RSTAB 9 frame analysis program have been updated extensively and include an intuitive design concept with the add-ons integrated directly in the base program. This leads to a quicker calculation and more efficient design of challenging structures.

The basic program RFEM 6 is used to define structures, materials, and loads for planar and spatial structural systems consisting of plates, walls, shells, and members. The program also allows you to create combined structures as well as to model solid and contact elements. RFEM calculates deformations, internal forces, stresses, support forces, and soil contact stresses.

The framework software RSTAB 9 is suitable for the calculation of 2D and 3D frameworks made of steel, concrete, timber, aluminum, and other materials. The efficient RSTAB solver allows for linear and nonlinear calculations of internal forces, deformations, and support reactions.

RSECTION

RSECTION combines the previous cross-section programs SHAPE-THIN and SHAPE-MASSIVE. The RSECTION 1 stand-alone program determines the cross-section properties for any thin-walled and solid cross-sections and performs a stress analysis. The graphical and tabular input as well as the input using JavaScript and the DXF file import allows to create various cross-sections very flexibly.

The "Effective Sections" extension for RSECTION determines effective sections according to EN 1993-1-5 [1] and EN 1993-1-3 [2]. With "Effective Sections", for example, the effects of shape instability of cold-formed sections can be taken into account using the eigenvalue method.

RWIND 2

RWIND 2 is a CFD software (digital wind tunnel) for the numerical simulation of wind flows around any building geometries with determination of the wind loads on their surfaces. The determined results can be exported as wind loads to the structural analysis programs RFEM 6 and RSTAB 9. The Pro version now allows the calculation of transient incompressible turbulent wind flows.

New Add-ons

Steel Joints

The Steel Joints add-on for RFEM sets new standards in the calculation and design of steel connections. Steel connections can be analyzed using an FE model. Modeling runs fully automatically in the background and can be controlled by the user via the simple and familiar input of components. The loads determined on the FE model are then used for the design of the components according to EN 1993-1-8 [3] (including National Annexes). The limited analytical design according to the component method allowing only to consider planar internal forces, are now a thing of the past.

Masonry Design

It is a certain milestone in the history of masonry design. It is about the development of a software solution for masonry design, in particular using the FEA method to calculate 3D building models. The Masonry Design add-on for RFEM allows you to design masonry using the finite element method. It was developed as part of the research project "DDMaS - Digitizing the design of masonry structures". The material model represents the nonlinear behavior of the brick-mortar combination in the form of macro-modeling.

Building Model

The Building Model add-on for RFEM is a useful tool for modeling stories. It allows you to define and manipulate a building by means of stories. The stories can be adjusted in many ways afterwards. Information about the stories and also the entire model (center of gravity) is displayed in tables and graphics. Furthermore, this add-on can also be used for seismic analysis. Once the spectral analysis has been performed, it is possible to use the Building Model add-on to display story actions, interstory drifts, and forces in shear walls.

Optimization & Costs / CO2 Emission Estimation

An important trend in the planning of buildings is the topic of optimization and sustainability. The two-part Optimization & Costs/CO2 Emission Estimation add-on provides an interesting solution for all users in the field of structural optimization. This finds suitable parameters for parameterized models and blocks via the artificial intelligence technology (AI) of particle swarm optimization (PSO) in order to comply with the usual optimization criteria. In addition, this add-on estimates the model costs or CO2 emissions by specifying unit costs or emissions per material definition for the structural model.

Web Service and API

There is an increasing need for customized and automated structural analysis and design. This need is met by providing programmable interfaces via Webservice and API. Based on this technology, the programs RFEM 6 and RSTAB 9 provide a server service that can be used locally or via the network. The client-server communication allows you to send requests to and receive feedback from RFEM 6 / RSTAB 9.

The technology of Webservice allows you to create special functionalities quickly and precisely. It allows you to create your own desktop or web-based applications by controlling all objects included in RFEM 6 and RSTAB 9. With access to libraries and functions, you can develop your own designs and effective modeling of parametric structures, as well as optimization and automation processes using the programming languages Python and C#.

New Features

Printout Report

The documentation of structural calculations often takes a lot of time. Therefore, improving the printout report was one of the greatest concerns of our customers. Thanks to the fundamental revision, it is now possible to work in parallel with the program and the report using a non-modal printout report environment. Furthermore, you can interactively modify chapters and create new user-defined chapters. In addition to a modern report design, the import of PDFs, formulas, 3D graphics, and so on, is also possible. An equally important feature is the output of design formulas, which are displayed during the design and refer to the equation from the standard.

Faster Calculation

With increasingly complex structures, the calculation time of the calculation programs increases as well. The calculation kernel of the new structural analysis programs is therefore impressive with the optimized networking and support of multi-processor technology. It enables parallel calculations of linear load cases and load combinations by several processors without additional demands on the RAM: The stiffness matrix has to be created only once. Thus, even large systems can be calculated with the fast direct solver. For models requiring the calculation of multiple load combinations, several solvers (one per core) are initiated in parallel. Each solver then calculates a load combination. This leads to a better utilization of the cores and thus, faster calculations.

Design Formula Output

Structural analysis programs are often like a black box for users. You can counteract this condition by displaying design formulas for reinforced concrete, steel, timber, and aluminum structures, and so on. The design formulas used are displayed in detail and the equation used is indicated in the standard. These design check formulas can also be included in the printout report. As a result, the structural analysis programs are no more a black box, but rather transparent and easy-to-check design tools.

Modern Online Licensing System & Extranet (Dlubal Account)

The flexible use of software applications is especially important in times of COVID-19 and working from home. The modern online licensing system allows you to distribute the licenses of RFEM, RSTAB, and so on all over the world and assign them to the respective users via the Dlubal account. The online licenses can be used from any location, and are not specific to any computer or person. Each registered user in the company can log in with his or her user data. Finally, the old world of hardware dongles is left behind, so that the annoying switching back and forth is no longer necessary.

Tailored information for Dlubal customers is provided by the Extranet being an integral part of the Dlubal website. In this account, every user will find information about company news, events, and products. An overview of the available licenses and products to download is also included. In addition, users can actively participate in the development by submitting desired features or reporting bugs. Each submitted request receives a status so that you can see the current status of your submitted idea at any time.

New Training Opportunities

Access to online training and education is an important aspect to ensure you get the most out of the new program generation RFEM 6, RSTAB 9, RWIND 2 and RSECTION. Therefore, the Dlubal website also provides free online courses for beginners facilitating, for example, the introduction to the FEA program RFEM 6. The website "Structural Analysis Models to Download" also provides a large database of more than 1,000 free structural analysis models that can be used immediately for training purposes.

For passionate podcast listeners, the Dlubal podcast "Digital and Innovative Structures from Civil Engineering" is available. Innovative trends in structural engineering and the future of the construction industry will be discussed. In addition to tragic construction disasters and BIM-based planning tasks, interviews with experts, engineers, and professors from the construction industry often deal with the topics of sustainability and digital issues in the construction industry.

Young engineers and students have always looked to digital education opportunities, and even more so with continued COVID-19 in-person restrictions. Therefore, a varied mix of useful experiences from the daily work of an engineer and the theory learned during studies is also offered on the Infotainment page for this target group. It includes everything from animated and informative examples to easy-to-understand explanations from the construction industry.

Conclusion

A lot has happened at Dlubal Software lately. The release of the new program generation with new add-ons and features is one of the milestones in the history of Dlubal Software. Weekly updates with new features, as well as bug fixes, drive the continuous improvement of the programs. The offer of a constantly growing educational platform creates optimal conditions for familiarization with the programs and new structural analysis topics. Thus, structural analysis will be even more fun from now on.

Author

Daniel Dlubal, M.Sc.

Daniel Dlubal, M.Sc.

COO of Dlubal Software GmbH

Mr. Dlubal oversees the operational business and is responsible for German human resources. He also works in marketing and sales.

Keywords

Add-ons Features Licensing Webservice Printout report Wind load generator Calculation Design details License manager Extranet Optimization Building model Masonry Design Steel Joints

Reference

[1]   Eurocode 3: Design of steel structures - Part 1-5: General rules - Plated structural elements; EN 1993-1-5:2006 + AC:2009
[2]   Eurocode 3: Design of steel structures - Part 1‑3: General rules - Supplementary rules for cold-formed members and sheeting; EN 1993‑1‑3:2010‑12
[3]   Eurocode 3: Design of steel structures - Part 1-8: Design of joints; EN 1993‑1‑8:2005 + AC:2009

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  • Updated 19 April 2022

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Eurocode 2 | Concrete Structures According to DIN EN 1992-1-1

Online Training 25 May 2022 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM CEST

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RFEM 6 | Students | Introduction to Timber Design

Online Training 25 May 2022 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM CEST

ADM 2020 Aluminum Design in \n RFEM 6

ADM 2020 Aluminum Design in RFEM 6

Webinar 25 May 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

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RFEM 6 | Dynamic Analysis and Seismic Design According to EC 8

Online Training 9 June 2022 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM CEST

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Eurocode 5 | Timber Structures According to DIN EN 1995-1-1

Online Training 15 June 2022 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM CEST

ASCE 7-16 Response Spectrum Analysis in RFEM 6

ASCE 7-16 Response Spectrum Analysis in RFEM 6

Webinar 5 May 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

Webservice & API in RFEM 6

Webservice & API in RFEM 6

Webinar 20 April 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM CEST

Geotechnical Analysis in RFEM 6

Geotechnical Analysis in RFEM 6

Webinar 7 April 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM CEST

Masonry Design Using Finite Element Method in RFEM 6

Masonry Design Using Finite Element Method in RFEM 6

Webinar 31 March 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM CEST

Tensile Membrane Structure Design in RFEM 6

Tensile Membrane Structure Design in RFEM 6

Webinar 17 March 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

Stability and Torsional Warping Analysis in RFEM 6

Stability Analysis and Torsional Warping (7 DOF) in RFEM 6

Webinar 17 March 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM CET

Data Exchange Between Rhino/Grasshopper and RFEM 6

Data Exchange Between Rhino/Grasshopper and RFEM 6

Webinar 10 March 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM CET

Wind Load Generation Based on CFD in RWIND 2

Wind Load Generation Based on CFD in RWIND 2

Webinar 4 March 2022 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM CET

NDS 2018 Timber Member Design \n in RFEM 6

NDS 2018 Timber Member Design in RFEM 6

Webinar 24 February 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

Analysis of Steel Joints Using FE Model in RFEM 6

Analysis of Steel Joints Using FE Model in RFEM 6

Webinar 24 February 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM CET

Section Properties Determination and Stress Analysis in RSECTION 1

Section Properties Determination and Stress Analysis in RSECTION 1

Webinar 17 February 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM CET

Form-Finding and Calculation of Membrane Structures in RFEM 6

Form-Finding and Calculation of Membrane Structures in RFEM 6

Webinar 3 February 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM CET

Design Aluminum Structures \n in RFEM 6 and RSTAB 9

Model and Design Aluminum Structures in RFEM 6 and RSTAB 9

Webinar 27 January 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM CET

RWIND

Stand-Alone Program

RWIND 2 is a program (digital wind tunnel) for the numerical simulation of wind flows around any building geometries with determination of the wind loads on their surfaces. It can be used as a stand-alone application or used together with RFEM and RSTAB for complete structural analysis and design.

Price of First License
2,740.00 USD
RWIND

Stand-Alone Program

RWIND is a program (digital wind tunnel) for the numerical simulation of wind flows around any building geometries with determination of the wind loads on their surfaces. It can be used as a stand-alone application or together with RFEM and RSTAB for complete structural analysis and design.

Price of First License
3,860.00 USD
RSTAB 9
Structural Frame and Truss Analysis Software

Main Program

The structural frame & truss analysis and design program RSTAB 9 contains a similar range of functions as the FEA software RFEM, paying special attention to frames and trusses. Therefore, it is very easy to use and for many years, it has been the best choice for the structural analysis of beam structures consisting of steel, concrete, timber, aluminum, and other materials.

Price of First License
2,550.00 USD
RFEM 6
Hall with Arched Roof

Main Program

The structural analysis program RFEM 6 is the basis of a modular software system. The main program RFEM 6 is used to define structures, materials, and loads of planar and spatial structural systems consisting of plates, walls, shells, and members. The program can also design combined structures as well as solid and contact elements.

Price of First License
3,990.00 USD
RSECTION 1
Aluminium Cross-Section Stress

Main Program

The RSECTION stand-alone program determines the section properties for any thin-walled and massive cross-sections and performs a stress analysis.

Price of First License
1,660.00 USD