How to strength check your structure design?
The software FEMDS provides is an add-on to the toolbox of the structural engineer. It is an extension of the tools required to analyze if the strength of the designed structure is acceptable.
The engineer doesn't have to learn a 'new way of working'. He just performs his job as he always was used to do it. The FEMDS software only accelerates some routine checks.
The engineering of a structure always starts with determining the loadpaths. In this design stage it is regular practice to do that without any software starting with a blank piece of paper; just doing a couple of hand calculations. These are generally simple linear strength checks. However, isn't it handy to know what the effective skin width is? Or, for a truss structure, what the punching shear strength is of a connection or the buckling strength of a column? FEMDS provides simple
tools which are accessible on-line to also check these calculations prior to starting the detailed design analyses.
Whenever the detailed analysis is performed by the finite element software, a plug-in will use the FEA results to perform the check if these also comply with the requested standard. This plug-in is an add-on to the tools that the engineer is used to work with. It helps accelerating the result check but is also an aid for preparing the justification report.
The software is particularly written in a way to provide the user with quick answers. During development of the software special attention is given to add the code checker results to the FE analysis results by only a few mouse clicks. In general the code guidelines are followed. The software contains input checks to stay within the code limits and provides the user with directions to improve the input to get them within the limits of the standard.
Additionally FEMDS wants to be open as much as possible to make the user to understand what the software exactly calculates. Extra calculation sheets (in Acrobat reader or Mathcad format) are available in the download portal, which can be used to verify the calculated answers from the software. They explain how the standard is implemented in the software. Off course these files are only made available with a valid user license.
Generally the software can be used with the linear elastic results of the FE model output. Although AISC 360-10 requires a second order analysis of your structure, analysis time can be reduced using the effective length method. In this case directions are given to ensure that the analysis is within the guidelines of this standard.
To know more about what the code exactly calculates, more background explanation is given at the following links: