Qualitative Formulation of Load Paths Through a Functional Description of Structures

by Gregory P. Luth,
Brian McDonald,
Deepak Jain,

Abstract: The past few decades have seen major advances in computer tools to analyze complex structures and loadings. For the most part, these programs have focused on two areas - A, programs for solving systems of equations that yield stresses and deformations satisfying the material constitutive laws and boundary conditions, and B, programs that ease the input to, and aid in interpreting the output from, programs in category A. These tools enable engineers to rigorously solve the systems of equations that define the behavior of redundant structures considered intractable by manual computation methods. Though many of these programs will size members to satisfy code criteria, in general they cannot be considered design tools, but rather tools that refine or check completed conceptual designs. Problems that are tractable using manual techniques, such as the analysis of statically determinate structures, have received relatively little attention from computer scientists, and, as a result, continue to consume an inordinate number of the engineering hours on design projects.

Subject Headings: Computer analysis | Load factors | Construction materials | Material properties | Constitutive relations | Structural behavior | Static structural analysis

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