PRACTICE NOTE: FEA in the Design of Reinforced Concrete Buildings - PDF


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Concrete design packages with pre/post-processors based on finite element analysis (FEA) have become a popular method of analysing concrete slab structures for practising engineers. There are some interesting issues that surface in the use of these packages that could catch the uninitiated off-guard. This practice note seeks to present some common issues and potential pitfalls that arise in the modelling of concrete building structures using these packages, especially for new users not familiar with these design packages. It provides a general overview of the topics in finite element analysis.



1 Introduction

1.1 Scope of this practice note

1.2. The aim of structural modelling

1.3 Preliminary design

1.4 Common myths about advanced analysis software

2 Types of FEA software

2.1 3D analysis

2.2 2D analysis

2.3 Other programs

3 Modelling inputs

3.1 Flexural tensile strength (modulus of rupture)

3.2 Modulus of elasticity

3.3 Poisson’s Ratio

4 Long-term deflection, AS3600-2009

4.1 Creep

4.2 Shrinkage

4.3 Volume change/support interaction

4.4 Temperature

4.5 Cracking

4.6 Long-term deflections

5 Modelling decisions

5.1 Element type

5.2 Size

5.3 Meshing

5.4 Discontinuity areas (D-regions)

5.5 Shape

5.6 Boundary conditions

5.7 Modelling elements

5.8 Supports

5.9 Column stiffness

5.10 Non-structural items

5.11 Walls

5.12 Beams

5.13 Foundations

5.14 Consideratin for interrupted supports and openings

5.15 Redistribution

5.16 Buckling

5.17 Loading

5.18 Construction 4 Engineers Australia "FEA in the design of reinforced concrete buildings”

5.19 Loading sequence

5.20 Changes in cross section

5.21 Composite construction using concrete elements

6 Ultimate limit state design

6.1 Design moment distribution (not redistribution)

6.2 Twisting moments

6.3 Classical beam theory

6.4 Torsion

6.5 P-Delta

6.6 Shear

6.7 Vertical load take down

6.8 Interpreting results

6.9 Rationalisation

6.10 Additional reinforcing

7 Serviceability limit state design

7.1 Deflection

7.2 Precamber

7.3 Vibration

8 Design

8.1 New programs

8.2 Recommended reading

9 Forensic engineering

9.1 Load sequencing

9.2 Anchorage of wall reinforcement

9.3 Backspin stiffness

9.4 Construction loading

9.5 Moments in steel support columns

9.6 Torsional stiffness of the band beam

9.7 Shrinkage restraint

9.8 Trusting what can be observed

10 Sensibility checks

10.1 Comparison to known limits

10.2 Heuristics (rules based on experience and intuition)

10.3 Sensitivity analysis

11 Validation

12 Closing comments


Appendix Case Study

1: Restraint effect on carpark structure Case Study

2: Deflections of a concrete floor Case Study

3: Royal Palm Hotel, Guam Case Study

4: Sleipner offshore oil platform, North Sea Case Study

5: Koro–Babeldaob Bridge, Palau



Author: Tim Messer BEng CPEng RPEQ NPER MIEAust

Tim Messer works for Northern Consulting Engineers based in Townsville, QLD that specialises in civil and structural engineering where he is a Director/Senior engineer. Tim has built on a good grounding in engineering to be at the forefront of innovative structural and civil design in the construction industry and has developed close working relationships with clients who utilise his expertise in the complete range of materials and construction systems. He has a particular interest in advanced analysis and structural design centering around semi-rigid and 3-dimensional design. Tim has been responsible for delivery of engineering services on numerous major and minor projects including commercial, residential and industrial developments. Tim is also highly involved with the civil developments providing engineering advice at planning, design and construction phases of developments.


Published in Australia

@Engineers Australia, 2014

ISBN: 9781-922107-27-5

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