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# Simplified FEM for Plane Framed Structures Analysis

## *Department of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Technology,

Western Mindanao State University

INTRODUCTION:

I.1. Background
Many commercial programs exist for finite element analysis, however
these are usually quite specialized and hence complicated to use by the
uninitiated. On the other hand, some of the programs are extremely user-friendly,
to the extent that it is possible for students to obtain the solutions without fully
understanding the related theories.
Structural Analysis is the analytical procedure of forecasting the effect of
However, the analysis of a structure typically involves the determination of these
quantities as caused by the given loads and/or other external effects (such as
fabrication errors in initial member length and straightness). Fabrication error is
used to refer to a small initial deformation of a member in its unstressed state.
Plane framed structures are classified into beams, plane trusses and plane frames
and these are mostly large and highly redundant structures.

I.2. Rationale
The program developed in this study can be used as teaching tool and it is
intended for students taking structural analysis and design subject, to have better
understanding of the theory and numerical processes used in finite element
commercial software in terms of linear static analysis for plane framed structures.
Also, it can be used for hastening analysis of structure for structural design data
such as nodal displacement, moment, shear and axial forces.
I.3. Problem Statement
Analyzing plane framed structures with classical methods can be quite
time consuming. However, there is a finite element method which is a systematic
and rapid way of analyzing structural system, but it can only be achieved with the
aid of digital computer to simulate the complex matrix solutions. This research
will explore and use Microsoft Excel 2016 with VBA language as a platform
on the implementation finite element analysis program for fabrication errors in
length and straightness of steel plane framed structures. Microsoft Excel can be
used as platform of FEM program and it may simulate the results varying from
structural graphical model to numerical (matrix) simulations.

I.4. Objective
The main objective of this study is to develop a teaching tool of FEM for
linear static analysis program for plane framed structures subjected by fabrication
errors in length and straightness using Microsoft Excel with Visual Basic for
Application. Particularly, this study aims to create the Fabrication Error Load
Solver and the adapt existing FEM system and test the accuracy/reliability of the
simulated results by comparing to an existing solution. These are the following
component of the program.
1.4.1. Input Analytical Model Data with User Input Form- Node Coordinate,
Support Data, Material Elastic Modulus, Cross-Sectional Property and Element
Data
1.4.2. Input Fabrication Errors Load Data with User Input Form Load Solver
for Fabrication Errors in Length and Straightness
1.4.3. Analysis and Results
Element Data, Nodal Data, Element Stiffness, Structure Stiffness and 2D
Graphical Model.

## I.5. Scope and Limits

The program includes analysis of determinate and indeterminate beams,
plane trusses and plane frames and presentation of simulated results of matrix
solution and 2D graphical models. The structural analysis program simulated
result are: for numerical simulation tabulated results of fixed-end axial, fixed-
end shear, fixed-end moment, support reactions of all structural elements for both
tail node and head node and the displacement of all nodes and element &
structural stiffness solutions and 2D Model analytical model, element vector
position and structure model with deflected structural model. Due to Excel 2016
capability of handling array with 16,384 columns and 1,048,576 rows, these will
limit the capacity of the program up to 5,460 nodes and more than 100,000
elements of plane framed structure. However, this optimum capacity and this can
be reduced if the Processor and/or RAM computer and the version of Excel are
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE:

## 2.1. Fabrication Error

The necessity to include in the analysis of framed structures not only the effect of
loads but also fabrication error effects that can induce significant stresses in statically
indeterminate structures. Fabrication error is defined as the self-straining phenomenon
caused by assembly of erroneous or misaligned components in a structure. And can
classified into two most common type errors the initial member length and straightness.
Fabrication tolerances for each individual section of the structure were to be based on the
UK National Structural Steelwork Specification. Maximum tolerances were defined for
the overall lengths of each fabrication an allowable error on length to be 2mm, and for
the angular error at each surface an angular errors of 0.001 radians. If the fabrication
error is beyond the maximum tolerances therefore, the structure responds by equalizing
the internal stresses and resulting these to generate related self-equilibrating external
reactions. And fabrication error effects can be readily incorporated in the finite element
method of analysis by finding out fixed end reactions in the restrained member and
converting these in equivalent nodal loads.

## 2.2. Finite Element

Finite element method is a kind of numerical methods in which various mechanics
problems are solved by discretizing related continuums and it programmable in digital
computer. Around half of a century, the development Finite Element Method has become
indispensable technology in the modelling and simulation of various engineering
systems. Accordingly (Long, Cen, & Long, 2009) in the development of an advanced
engineering system, engineers have to go through a very rigorous process of modelling,
simulation, visualization, analysis, designing, prototyping, testing, and finally,
fabrication/construction. As such techniques in early 2000 through the evolution of
programmable digital computer play an increasingly important role in building advanced
engineering systems, therefore the application of the FEM has multiplied rapidly.

## 2.2.1. Conceptual Framework

There are three viewpoints in conceptualizing the finite element method (FEM)
(Long, Cen, & Long, 2009). First, FEM is an application of both methods of analysis and
synthesis (Figure 2-1): during the procedure, one structure will be firstly decomposed
into elements, and then, these elements are synthesized to be the structure again.
Solutions for the structure problem can be obtained from such decomposition and
synthesis. Second, the evolution of mechanics (Figure 2-2), it can be seen that FEM
evolves from the matrix displacement method for frame analysis. Along with the
transplantation from frame analysis to elasticity, the matrix displacement method
becomes FEM. Third, the viewpoint of mathematics (Figure 2-3), it can be seen that
FEM is a discrete approximation for continuum problems. Thus, the original problems
with infinite degrees of freedom (DOFs) can be approximately treated as those with finite
DOFs. Corresponding differential equations can also be simplified into algebraic ones.

Figure 2-1

Figure 2-2

Figure 2-3

## 2.3. Microsoft Excel with VBA Program

The use of conventional way of analyzing truss problem is slow and there is a
high probability of committing errors. The use of commercial software to analyze the 2-D
truss is more preferable and makes work faster but commercial software are difficult to
install and not compatible with other computers. Because of its availability in most of the
computers, VBA program run on EXCEL was written to analyze 2-D truss by utilizing
the fundamental of FEM (finite element method). The VBA program can solve 2-D truss
problem and shows the calculation steps, Reaction solutions and deflected form of 2-D
truss. Previous study have reported that its single worksheet contains a maximum of
65,472 array which is equal array size of 255x255 by which its problem can have at least
127 nodes [8].
METHODS
3.1. Design Objectives
The major goals and limits to be met by the program are as follows:
The structural analysis method used on this program is Finite Element Stiffness
Method.
The program can solve determinate and indeterminate beams, plane trusses and
plane frames subjected by applied force only.
The program can simulate the complete numerical solution and graphical
presentation of Analytical Model, Element Vector Position and Comparison of
Framed with Deflected Structure.
3.2. Assumptions
The program is a linear static analysis, based on two fundamental assumptions:
the stress-strain relationship for the structural material is linearly elastic, and the
structures deformations are so small that the equilibrium equations can be based
on the undeformed geometry of the structure (Eisley & Waas, 2011), (Kassimali,
2012) and (Logan, 2012). All structural element is monolithic or prismatic from
starting node to end node, thus cross-sectional area, moment of inertia and
modulus of elasticity does not change within the element. Neglects the connection
sizes; a). length of girder or beam are measured from column centerline toward
the adjacent column centerline and b). length of columns, frame braces (steel) and
other structural elements are measured from center of the connection toward the
other connection (Kassimali, 2012) and (Logan, 2012).
3.3. Supported Units
The unit of measurement used in this program are SI and English however,
SI shall be limited to following units 1) length (meter) 2) area (mm2 and m2) 3)
MATRIX UNIT
DEFINITION
NOTATION SI English

## APPLIED FORCE AND CHANGE IN TEMPERATURES

Local Stiffness Matrix in the LCS k kN/m kip/ft
Qf kN & kN- kip & kip-
Fixed-End Force Vector in the GCS
m ft
Transformation Matrix in the LCS T - -
Transpose Transformation Matrix in the TT - -
LCS
Global Stiffness Matrix in the GCS K=T T kT kN/m kip/ft
Structural Stiffness Matrix S kN/m kip/ft
Pf kN & kN- kip & kip-
Structure Fixed-End Force Vector
m ft
P kN & kN- kip & kip-
m ft
1
Node Displacement Vector d=S [ PP f ] m & rad ft & rad

## Element End Displacement in the GCS v m & rad ft & rad

Element End Displacement in the LCS u=T 1 v m & rad ft & rad
kN & kN- kip & kip-
F f =T T Qf
Fixed-End Force Vector in the GCS
m ft
F=Kv+ F f kN & kN- kip & kip-
Element End Forces in the GCS
m ft
Q=TF kN & kN- kip & kip-
Local Force Vector in the LCS
m ft
NODAL TRANSLATION AND ROTATION
Element End Displacement in the LCS vs m & rad ft & rad
F s=K v s kN & kN- kip & kip-
Element End Forces in the GCS
m ft
Ps kN & kN- kip & kip-
Structure Fixed-Node Force Vector
m ft
3.4. Table 4- 1: Unit used in the system
3.4. Input Analytical Model Data
3.4.1. Nodes Numbering and Node Coordinates
The node data consists of: (a) the total number of node of the plane framed
structures, and (b) the global (X and Y) coordinates of each nodes. The relative positions
of the nodes of the truss are specified by means of the global (X and Y) coordinates of the
joints. These node coordinates are stored in the cells on the sheet, so that they can be
accessed easily by the program for analysis. The nodal numbering system of a plane
framed structure is directly initialized by the program and the coordinate allocation is a
discretion of the user provided that there is no repetition of a node number and coordinate
allocation.

## 3.4.2. Support Data

The support data consists of (a) the number of nodes that are attached to supports;
and (b) the joint number, and the directions of restraints (X, Y & RO) for each support
joint. Since there can be at most three restrained coordinates at a joint of a plane framed
structure (X, Y & RO), the restraints at a support node of such a structure can be
conveniently specified by using a two-digit code in which each digit is either a 0 or a 1.
The first digit of the code represents the restraint condition at the joint in the global X, Y
& RO direction; it is 0 if the joint is free to translate in the X, Y & RO direction, or it is 1
if the joint is restrained in the X, Y & RO direction. The restraint codes for the various
types of supports for plane structures are given in Table 4-2.

NODAL CODE
X Y Ro
Degree of
Typical Plane Framed Typical Support Restraint = 1
Freedom
Structures Free = 0
X Y Ro Fixed Support 1 1 1
Beams Hinged Support 1 1 1
Plane Trusses Roller of Beams 0 1 1
Plane Frames Roller (Non Sway) 1 0 1
Table 4- 2: Codes for Inputs Nodal Data
3.4.3. Material Elastic Modulus
The material property data involves (a) the number of materials used in the
structure (NMP), and (b) the modulus of elasticity (E) of each material.

## 3.4.4. Cross-Sectional Property

Has Built in AISC (Cross-sectional Area and Moment of Inertia
The cross-sectional property data consists of (a) the number of different cross-
section; and (b) the cross-sectional area (A) and moment of inertia (I) for each cross-
section type.

## 3.4.5. Element Data

The member data consists of (a) the total number of members of the plane frame
structures; and (b) for each element, the tail node number, the head node number, the
material property number, and the property number.

## TYPE OF CODE ELEMET BAR MODEL ELEMET BAR

CONNECTION MODEL COLOR
FIXED FIXED 1 BLACK
HINGED FIXED 2 DARK BLUE
FIXED HINGED 3 LIGHT BLUE
HINGED - HINGED 4 RED
Y-axis

Tail

## Figure 3.2: Allowed Element Vector Position Vector Position

Elements are composed of two nodes, one node represent the location of
tail of the element vector position and the other one is at the head. These two node
has its own coordinate location with respect to Global Coordinate System (GCS).
The allowed element vector position is presented at figure 3.2, all element shall
conform at least of one of following condition with the assumption that the origin of
the Cartesian plane is located at the Tail of the element vector. The Tail Head
position shall 1) pointing towards positive X-axis, 2) pointing towards Quadrant I 3)
pointing towards positive Y-axis and 4) pointing towards quadrant II but the angle
must be greater than 0. As shown figure 3.1-B, all frame elements are
conforming with the conditions.
3.5. Input Load Data for Fabrication Error
The load data involves (a) the number of nodes that are subjected to external
loads; and (b) the node number. This is generally specified with reference to the global
coordinate systems of structures are usually defined relative to the local coordinate
systems of elements. Therefore, the stiffness methods developed for the analysis of
structures subjected to elements loads can be used without modifications to determine the
structural responses to temperature changes. The only difference is that the fixed-end
forces, which develop in members due to temperature changes, must now be included in
the member local fixed-end force vectors.

FABRICATION ERROR
EA e a
TA=
L

TS=0

TM =0

HA=TA

HS=0

HM=0

TA= 0

6 EI eb
TS= ( l 2l1)
L2 l 1 l 2

2 EI eb
TM = ( 2l 2l1 )
L l1 l 2

HA=0

HS=TS

2 EI e b
HM= ( l 2 l 1 )
Ll 1 l 2 2

3.6.
3.7. Element-End Forces and Displacements in the Local Coordinate
System

CONNECTIO
Local Element-End Force Qf Eq. No.
N

Fixed-Fixed

Hinged-Fixed

Fixed-Hinged
Hinged-Hinged

N

Fixed-Fixed
Hinged-Fixed

Fixed-Hinged

Hinged-Hinged

## 3.9. Transformation Matrix

XH XT X H X T
cos = =
L

2
( X H X T ) + ( Y H Y T )
2

Y H Y T Y H Y T
sin = =
L 2
( X H X T ) + ( Y H Y T )
2
3.10. Transpose Transformation Matrix

3.11.
3.12. Analytical Model Data Analysis and Output
NO
START
YES

RE-DIMENSION: MatrixStructureStiffness(1 to 3NumNode, 1 to 3NumNode)
SELECT: Range(Cells(3, 1), Cells(110 + 50 NumElem, 60))
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: Clear

INITIALIZED: NodeNum=0
INITIALIZED: Row=0
INITIALIZED: Row1=0

## GO TO SUB ROUTINE: StructureMatrixDisplayGenerator

Row > (2 NumElem)
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: StructureStiffnessModifier
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: InverseStructureStiffness
END
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: Constants
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: ElementNum
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: LocalStiffnessMatrix
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: Transformation Matrix
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: TransposeTransformationMatrix
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: GlobalStiffnessMatrix
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: MatrixDisplayGenerator
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: MatrixLabel
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: StuctureStiffnessMatrix
Row1 = Row1 + 1

## Structure Stiffness Main Program

3.11. Load Data Analysis and Output

START

## RE-DIMENSION: EndForce_Vector(1 To NumNode 3, 0)

RE-DIMENSION: NODEForce_Vector(1 To NumNode 3, 0)
RE-DIMENSION: PminusPf_Force_Vector(1 To NDOF, 0)
RE-DIMENSION: DisplacementVector(1 To NDOF, 0)
RE-DIMENSION: Inv_StuctureStiffnessMatrix(1 To NDOF, 1 To NDOF)
RE-DIMENSION: GCS_DisplacementVector(1 To NumNode 3, 0)
RE-DIMENSION: NODAL_Support_Reaction_ForceVector(1 To NumNode 3, 0)
RE-DIMENSION: GCS_SUPPORTDisplacementVector(1 To NumNode 3, 0)
RE-DIMENSION: GCS_NodeForceVector_DUESupport(1 To NumNode 3, 0)
RE-DIMENSION: SupportNODEForce_Vector(1 To NumNode 3, 0)
SELECT: Sheets RESULT; ELEMENTS STIFFNESS

## GO TO SUB ROUTINE: LOCAL_to_GLOBAL_ELEMENT_END_FORCE_VECTOR

GO TO SUB ROUTINE: retrieve_ELEMENT_END_FORCE_VECTOR
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: Support_Translation_Rotation_ANALYSIS
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: NODAL_APPLIED_FORCE_ANALYSIS
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: StructureForce_EndVector_Display
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: RETRIEVE_STRUCTURE_DISPLACEMENT
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: ELEMENT_MATRIX_DATA_ANALYSIS_AND_DISPLAY
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: NODAL_SUPPORT_REACTION
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: NODAL_SUPPORT_COORDINATE
GO TO SUB ROUTINE: DeformedNodeNumberCoordinate

START

3.13. Visual Basic for Application
A procedure is a series of VBA statements that resides in a VBA module,
which can be access in the Visual Basic Editor (VBE). A module can hold any
number of procedures. A procedure holds a group of VBA statements that
accomplishes a desired task. Most of VBA code is contained in procedures.
MATRIX
DEFINITION NOTATIO MATRIX HANDLER
N
APPLIED FORCE AND CHANGE IN TEMPERATURES
Local Stiffness Matrix in the k LocalStiffness (1 to 6, 1 to 6)
LCS
Fixed-End Force Vector in Qf LocalElementForceVector(1 to 6, 1 to 6)
the LCS
Transformation Matrix in the T Transformation (1 to 6, 1 to 6)
LCS
Transpose Transformation TT TransposeTransformation (1 to 6, 1 to 6)
Matrix in the LCS
Global Stiffness Matrix in K=T T kT TkT (1 to 6, 1 to 6)
the GCS
Structural Stiffness Matrix MatrixStuctureStiffness(1 to NumNode, 1
(OVERALL) to NumNode)
S Inv_StuctureStiffnessMatrix (1 to NDOF,
Structural Stiffness Matrix
1 to NDOF)
Structure Fixed-End Force Pf EndForce_Vector (1 to NumNode, 0)
Vector (OVERALL)
Free-Node Load Vector P=Pa + F s NODEForce_Vector (1 to NumNode, 0)
(OVERALL)
Equivalent Structure Nodal PP f PminusPf_Force_Vector (1 to NDOF)
Node Displacement Vector d=S1 [ PPGCS_DisplacementVector
f]
(1 to NDOF, 1
to NDOF)
Element End Displacement v GlobalElementDisplacementVector (1 to
in the GCS 6, 1 to 6)
Element End Displacement u=T v LocalElementDisplacementVector (1 to 6,
1

in the LCS 1 to 6)
Fixed-End Force Vector in F f =T Qf GlobalElementForceVector(1 to 6, 1 to 6)
T

the GCS
Element End Forces in the F=Kv+ F f LocalElement_EndForceVector ( 1 to 6, 1
GCS to 6)
Local Force Vector in the Q=TF GlobalElement_EndForceVector(1 to 6, 1
LCS to 6)
NODAL TRANSLATION AND ROTATION
Element End Displacement ds GlobalElementDisplacementVector_Support
Vector in the GCS Settlement (1 to 6,1 to 6)
Element End Forces in the F s=K v s GlobalElementForceVector_DUE_SUPP
GCS ORT(1 To 6, 0)