Design of multi-span RC beams with Advance Design Modules 


by Kamil Dziedzic
Solution technical specialist at GRAITEC

Abstract 

In this article you will see how to define a multi-span concrete beam in Advance Design in order to design and detail it using RC Modules. 

Keywords: #AdvanceDesign #Concrete #Reinforcement 

1. Defining beams in Advance Design 

In Advance Design you can model very different types of objects including planar and linear elements, which will represent our structural elements such as beams, columns, walls and slabs. With defining right section and material we can simulate behavior of our structure using FEM analysis. 

If it comes to concrete beams we always could provide linear element stretching from one support to another. If we defined also intermediate supports like columns or walls our beam would be treated as multi-span. 

Figure 1. Beam as a linear element in FEM model of Advance Design

2.     Super-element concept for RC design

Even though we could easily design a beam shown on figure 1 above this approach has some limitations. Because it’s a single element we can for example specify only one section height for all spans. However, sometimes we need for a different spans to have different sections due to capacity requirements or some technical aspects (such as need of clear height of a story, leaving some space for ducts and so on).

Starting with Advance Design 2022 it is possible to use super element concept also for RC design. Initially it was implemented for steel structures, however using this workflow was found effective also for other materials.

2.1. Creating a super element in Advance Design

To create a super element we model each span of a beam as a single element. Remember to always define them from support to support. If possible, try keep local axes in the same direction and orientation.

Last thing to do is to convert these 3 single linear elements into one super element. We can do that using context menu at right mouse button or finding these exact options on Objects ribbon.

Figure 2. Defining a super element of 3 linear elements

Note that now you can pick whole super element by selecting any part of it. However if you need to select only a single span for example to change its section you need to toggle pick mode from super elements to elements. You can do it by pressing ALT+E or again find it at right mouse button context menu.

Figure 3. Super element properties

After defining a super element you can see it has now new own identifier, a list of elements which you can always edit if needed and also each element included in this group gets a postscript to its name informing user it’s a super element. Remember you can always cancel super element similar way you created one.

2.1. Design of multi-span beam defined as super element

When you are done preparing super elements, rest is as usual. We need to perform a FEM analysis calculations to obtain static results. Now we are ready to open a super element using RC Beam Module.

Notice that super element shown below has 3 spans of 3 different sections height.

Figure 4. Opening super element with RC Beam Module

Right now we need to specify requested reinforcement and design assumptions. Element will be designed as it was continuous multi-span beam. Reinforcement drawings and schedules also can be provided for whole element at once.

Figure 5. Design of super element RC beam with Advance Design Module

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