Cross-section improvements in SCIA Engineer 2013.1




The Profile Editor (available since SCIA Engineer v.2013.1) allows for the adding and editing of cross-sections, and the linking of these cross-sections to existing formcodes. Any I-, L-, C-, T-, box, tube, Z-section, rectangular or circular solid section, cold-formed Ls, Zs, Cs, Ωs, Σs and ZEDs can be recognized by the software in the same way library sections are.

Section formcodes are associated with important code-related decisions when it comes to buckling properties, plastic section capacity, etc. From now on, any user-defined section can be handled in an analogical way to built-in sections in the SCIA Engineer System Library. This has important implications for the design and checks, as the user has the freedom to determine in what way the design code rules are applied for each new section shape or size.

Important new features

Profile Editor (esa.07) for 'System' and 'User' cross-section libraries:

  • table input for new cross-sections and section properties;
  • support of Copy-Paste from external databases;
  • use of existing profiles as templates for new shapes;
  • automatic calculation of section properties (including torsional) for new cross-sections;
  • option to manually overwrite any calculated cross-section property for both new and existing cross-sections;
  • checks of validity/consistency of user-defined data.

New sections are handled as built-in sections in checks:

  • plastic checks can be performed for new sections of class 1 and 2;
  • bow imperfections derived as for existing profiles;
  • automatic generation of centrelines for newly-defined shapes;

Unlimited number of User libraries are supported:

  • user-defined fabrication method;
  • user-defined library filters limit the number of visible sections, in order to increase productivity;
  • a simple ASCII import/export allows transfer of sections from one section library to another.

Additional source and description data per profile type:

  • stored in external files;
  • support of multiple languages for additional data;

User-defined buckling curves per section.

Profile Editor (included in module esa.07)

The new 2013.1 version of SCIA Engineer includes a feature for the definition and handling of new (and existing) cross-sections. The user can introduce sections in the SCIA Engineer section library, where geometry and cross-section properties can be defined in table form. The input is simple and user friendly; the currently available shapes (I-sections (symmetric and asymmetric), rectangular and circular hollow sections, L-, C-, Rolled Z-, T-sections, rectangular and circular solid shapes, cold-formed steel angles, channels, Zs,Ωs, Σs, ZEDs, rails) can be used as templates.

When defining a new section, the user inputs the form code and the section type ("IPE", "HEA" or any other); this ensures that design checks will be performed for this section in the same way as for other sections that share the same formcode - e.g. using a particular buckling curve or (not) utilizing the full plastic capacity.

Table input

The Profile Editor is equipped with a table editor, where numerical input can be entered manually, or the copy-paste functionality may be used. This means that, the section geometry and properties can be pasted into the Editor from an existing MS Excelsheet.

Cross-section properties can be introduced in any combination of units that are available in Design Forms. In the Profile Editor, cross-sections are described numerically by dimensions and section properties. Dimensions are visualised in the shape sketch in the Profile Editor.

Section Properties

The user may input section properties, as given in reference catalogues, technical brochures or other references. If such data are not available, section properties will be calculated by SCIA Engineer. The software calculates both trivial section properties - area, moments of inertia, radii of gyration, and torsion-related properties, such as warping constants and position of the shear centre. These are calculated for thin- and thick-walled sections, based on 2D/1D FEM analysis.

Tests are provided in the software that check whether the inputted data makes sense (an I-section cannot have a web thickness which is larger than its height, etc.). If an introduced value is not possible, a message is sent to the user upon closing the dialogue.

User-defined vs. calculated cross-section properties

Within SCIA Engineer, all cross-section properties are calculated by default. In certain cases, it is required that the calculated cross-section properties be overwritten, in order to simulate a certain engineering phenomenon. For example, a built-up (pair) section has significantly lower moment of inertia around its axis of symmetry. For such special applications, it is possible to activate the function 'Always use library values' for the cross-section in question. In such case, the user-defined values will always be used.

Additional data

SCIA Engineer automatically generates centrelines for newly defined thin-walled (welded, hot-rolled, cold-formed) sections. Custom section instances in the Profile Library may be characterized by fabrication method (welded, hot-rolled, cold-formed), as the fabrication method also determines the application of design code principles.

In addition, source and description data per profile can also be added. The source indicates the reference publication where the profile was taken from. The description allows the user to add additional information about the origin of the profile. The source and description may be displayed in different languages, depending on the default language set in the options of SCIA Engineer.

Libraries for sections - user libraries

Built-in shapes, provided and maintained by SCIA are located in the System Library. It is advised that new shapes be added to the User Library. This is to avoid discrepancies or overwrite of data when SCIA Engineer is updated. Unlimited number of User Libraries can be created and used simultaneously in SCIA Engineer. By using a simple ASCII import/export, it is possible to import data from one library to another.

Cross-section library filter

The Profile Library filter in the New Cross-section dialogue allows an easy selection of specific section types (IPE, L, custom types). Any set of cross-section types can be assembled in a filter; then, when the filter is applied, only the selected types will be visible in the SCIA Engineer menus. The option is useful when the user wants to limit sections to the ones he uses most, or to country or region specific sections.

Buckling curves in the cross-section properties

In stability analysis of steel members, SCIA Engineer determines corresponding buckling curves based on the recommendations given in EN 1993-1-1:2005 for standard shapes. Since version 2013.1, the user can overwrite the programme-determined buckling curve by manual input.

The defined buckling curves are used both in the determination of member resistance, and in the generation of bow imperfections.