SkyCiv Structural 3D Plates Just Got an Upgrade

We’re all about improving our software. We’ve made some major improvements to our plate/shell elements, including our solver, UI and meshing capabilities.

In case you didn’t know, S3D is using a Mindlin plate element, which takes into account shear deformations. This type of element is appropriate for both thick/thin plates as opposed to a Kirchhoff plate element, which is suitable only for thin-plate applications since shear effects are not considered.

In Short, what’s been added?

  • Improved unstructured mesh algorithms leading to better quality unstructured meshes when a structured mesh cannot be used.
  • Automatically detect and include nodes and member lines of plates in unstructured meshes.
  • Ability to add holes to plates and include them in the mesh
  • Improved coupling and interaction with member (beam/truss/frame) elements.
  • Ability to hide nodes that are associated with the plate mesh. After meshing the plates, more nodes are added to the model and they can get in the way of other graphical elements so hiding them is quite useful.
  • Use a physical size as a mesh option
  • Hover over plate results to see their values
  • Preview mesh before commiting

Right click your plate to add holes

 

Verification Models

As with any SkyCiv feature, work was also performed on the Quality Assurance side of things. Over 150 verification models were added to our automatic solver tester, as part of our FEA quality assurance procedure. A number of these models were also added to our documentation, comparing results of our analysis solver to other third party commercial solvers. Many different types of models were verified, stretching the applications that plates can be used for in the software. This included plates with flat/curved surfaces, different boundary conditions, different member connectivities, holes and different mesh types to name a few. Here’s an example of one:

 

How’s it stack up with other software?

SkyCiv’s plate/shell elements has been rated against some of the most powerful and expensive structural software with exceptional results. Our software, which is available at a price of just $US $109 a month, stands up agains software that costs $15,000+. No need to pay huge upfront capital costs and ongoing maintenance fees – SkyCiv offers easy and flexible subscriptions that give you the power and reliability of commercial structural analysis software, as you need.

SkyCiv Structural 3D functionality also exceeds the preformance and capabilities of a lot of structural analysis software, with the following benefits:

  • Able to model and mesh plates of more than 4 nodes
  • Ability to mesh/unmesh the original plate without having to delete the plate and start again
  • Ability to easily cut holes and detect internal nodes and members
  • Easier to use and easier to interpret results (hover on results, color contours)

But don’t take my word for it, try our plate elements with a free trial!

Some things to consider

The mesh plays a huge role in the results. Plates are not exact elements like beam/truss/frame elements and therefore a good quality mesh is required for decent results. Always try to use a structured mesh when it is possible to do so.

Results between software will never be identical since different theoretical elements are used and the nature of plates are approximate.

We highly recommend running a p-convergence or h-convergence to ensure that the mesh you are using is appropriate for the problem you are solving and that the results are converging to the “true” solution. If you need any additional information about this, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]

More to come

We will continue to improve the usability of the plate functionality throughout 2020. Some users have expressed that they would like to see the following features:

  • A slab/wall design module which we are planning to add this year
  • Ability to use plates with dynamic frequency and response spectrum analysis

We look forward to exploring any suggestions you might have. If you have suggestions or additions you’d like to see rolled out this year, please email us at [email protected]