Reinforcements have arrived

Editorial Type: Feature Date: 05-2018 Views: 7,468 Tags: Software, CAD, Construction, Structural Modelling, SCIA , SCIA Engineer 18 PDF Version:
SCIA Engineer 18 introduces Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete in its latest release, providing increased strength with thinner slabs
We are all familiar with the way that steel reinforcement rods strengthen concrete slabs - in fact it is now inconceivable that any sizeable concrete poured building could be erected without them. But now there is a new product available that enhances the process further, providing additional flexibility and strength, and which is already taking a sizeable share of the market on the Continent.

Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete (SFRC) developed by Bekaert, the leading wire producer, has had its design principles and rules included by SCIA in a 3D structural analysis & design software for the first time. It's an exciting new breakthrough in reinforced concrete design, hence its prominent position in the newly released SCIA Engineer 18. It also extends the range of possibilities that can be achieved when designing concrete floors.

SCIA Engineer 18 is the latest version of the company's extensive structural analysis and design software which incorporates other significant enhancements besides SFRC, and new functionalities that enable structural engineers to streamline workflows and design with advanced materials - and to take advantage of new BIM working processes. These include the advanced optimisation of composite floors, including studs layout, profile size and support for web openings, as well as extended capabilities of punching shear design, and support of add-ons for structural glass and foundation design.

SCIA Engineer 18 has also extended its links to other engineering applications, in particular Revit and Tekla Structures with extended information support for concrete and steel detailing.

But first the Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete. SFRC is an excellent alternative to traditional reinforcement for specific applications, such as civil engineering structures (including bridges), structural rafts, concrete roads, underwater concrete structures and similar projects. The Steel fibers are discontinuous, three-dimensionally orientated, isotropic reinforcements mixed into the concrete, and are capable of bridging cracks at very small crack openings, transferring stresses and strengthening any post-cracks in the concrete. There are a number of benefits to using SFRC, but prime amongst them is the ability to strengthen the load-bearing capacity of concrete whilst reducing concrete slab thickness (or you can get the same load-bearing capacity with less concrete). SFRC also has better flexural properties, and load capacity is not diminished by concrete cracks. It also has reduced absorption of water and chemicals and reduces the site labour traditionally employed to handle conventional reinforcement. That all adds up to reduced project costs.

There are three types of Bekaert's Dramix steel fibers supported by SCIA Engineer 18. These are already added to the material library, with editable values, which provide engineers with greater flexibility in the way that they can work with SFRC material. Importing each of the different types allows engineers to calculate the amount of fibers needed to be used for different capacity fills, and to perform standard ULS and SLS checks. These satisfy two principal design criteria: the ultimate limit state (ULS) and the serviceability limit state (SLS), which set performance criteria (e.g. vibration levels, deflection, strength, stability, buckling, twisting, collapse) all of which must be met when the structure is subject to loads.

Any design process involves a number of assumptions. The loads to which a structure will be subjected to must be estimated, and the sizes of members checked together with other design criteria to ensure that you are designing a safe structure whilst attaining its appropriate functionality. As part of this, SCIA Engineer 18 allows linear and nonlinear calculations to be performed with real material behaviour simulation with SFRC to predict cracking stages. Graphical output for SFRC analysis can be illustrated by different stress-strain diagrams that clearly show the behavior of the material.

SFRC is more common in Europe, and is currently being used for a third of all industrial floors (that's 5 million cubic metres with each cubic metre containing an average of 5km of wire), and will soon be included in Eurocode 2020. SCIA say that demand for the material will continue to rise, but with the release of SCIA Engineer 18 you can start using it here and now.

Cyril Heck, chief product and marketing officer, SCIA, commenting on SFRC said: "I am proud of the co-creation project with Bekaert. It has enabled us to deliver an innovative solution for steel fiber reinforced concrete, allowing users to realise the benefit of using this material in their designs. We are truly taking the software to the next level, not only in terms of additional functionality, but also enhanced usability - underscored, of course, by a refreshed SCIA brand image." ENHANCED USABILITY
A lot of the other enhancements in this release involve improved functionality. Of significance are the new 3D navigational control capabilities, improved default settings for new projects, speeding up their launch, and the automatic generation of code-based combinations.

The latter automatically applies the coefficients for combinations of loads - for instance climatic and wind load generators using built-in, or user-defined, parametric templates for different geometries using powerful load generation tools, besides providing the most comprehensive implementation of Eurocodes, including National Annexes, US codes and other international standards.

SCIA Engineer 18 can also create non-linear combinations of loads directly from linear combinations, a feature frequently requested by users. The design of composite beams and floors gives engineers access to a new Autodesign function that automatically proposes more economic design while still complying with the code and with a transparent calculation report so that users can control what is happening at all times.

The punching shear check, initially featured in SCVIA Engineer 17, has also been improved. This is a one-click punching shear design check based on automatic recognition of the location and shape of the columns, and their eccentricity and rotatio, but also the content around the columns such as existing beams, and openings nearby.

The simplification of buckling settings was one of the most frequently required improvements requested by SCIA users. The automatic determination of buckling length (and for LTB, for torsional buckling, etc.) has always been a powerful feature of SCIA Engineer. However, it could also be intimidating due to the numerous dialogues and settings that users had to plough through. This is now dramatically simplified, presenting all options to the user in a unique, redesigned dialogue.

One new user of the feature, Jeroen ter Steege of Aveco de Bondt, Netherlands, and a member of the SCIA Insider program, has already endorsed the improved features. "The new solution is useful and much easier to use. In my experience it's more user-friendly that results are immediately available in the dialog box itself (factors, lengths) and there is only one place to define settings," he said.

Also of interest is the support for structural glass and foundation design. The former involves the design of frameless structural glass assemblies in armour plate or toughened glass with unique analytical requirements.

SCIA Engineer 18 is also taking advantage of new Revit and Tekla Structures links which now boast extended information support for concrete and steel detailing. Specifically, the link between Tekla Structures and SCIA Engineer supports the bidirectional roundtrip exchange of data and transfer of end reactions to facilitate the design and detailing of connections in Tekla Structures, and the Revit link now supports the export of reinforcement for beams and slabs.

If you are just getting to grips with SCIA Engineer, you can visit the corporate SCIA website, below which now features a dedicated learning area, with improved materials to help new users familiarise themselves with the software faster and to enable existing users to deepen their knowledge.