Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Customer Project - Pannon Park Biodom free-form steel roof

Architect Mérték Architectural Studio
Structural Engineering ARC-S Engineering & Design Ltd and MŰÉP Ltd.
Location Budapest, Hungary
Built in Under construction
Size 17.000 sq. m.; height 36.0 m
Material Steel (S355)

Let me introduce you, the winner of the Hungarian ConSteel User Contest 2017!

As a part of several new developments of Budapest Zoo, a completely new and spectacular biodome will be completed by 2020. The special enclosed biodome will boast a territory of 1.7 hectares inside the approximately five-hectare Pannon Park terrain. The biodom will present ancient flora and fauna of the Carpathian Basin by exhibiting present-day descendants of plants and animals that occupied this area 10-12 million years ago.

Source: mertek.hu

The original free-form shape was created in Rhino-Grasshopper then the normalized structural frame was imported to ConSteel.

At first, to have an overview about the global behaviour of the structure, a preliminary analysis was run on the perfect structure.

For the connection design, IDEA StatiCa Steel advanced connection design software was used. Thanks to the high-level link between ConSteel and IDEA StatiCa, joints were identified and created based on the ConSteel structural model. Not just the geometry, but the loadings from all of the relevant structural points were transferred to IDEA StatiCa. In case of any modification, ConSteel automatically updated the IDEA connection models.

As next step, the calculated connection stiffnesses and the relevant buckling shapes with the appropriate amplitudes were placed back to the global ConSteel model for final structural analysis.
With this imperfect model, the design team was able to carry out the global stability analysis according to the EuroCode 3.

Finally, the whole structural model was exported to Tekla Structures, using the high-level BIM interface of ConSteel.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Webinar: Parametric structural model creation and import with csPI by Excel worksheet

Check out our latest webinar about Parametric model creation and import with csPI by Excel worksheet!


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Webinar: Comparison of different stability design methods of Eurocode 3

Check out our latest webinar about stability design according to Eurocode 3! Design rules for the two fundamental approaches are presented in details through practical examples!

  • Background of stability design in Eurocode 3
  • Description of different stability design methods
  • Application issues and supplementary tools
  • Application of different methods in ConSteel 11

Monday, 27 November 2017

Webinar: Steel BIM - Structural steel design using Tekla Structures, ConSteel and IDEA StatiCa

Check out our latest webinar with the IDEA StatiCa team, about BIM workflow between Tekla Structures, ConSteel and IDEA StatiCa!

  • Complex steel stadium project with non-standard connections and advanced stability analysis
  • General footing
  • Stiffness analysis
  • Buckling analysis and stability design for complex steel structures

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Tips & Tricks: If statement in ConSteel's programming interface

The if statement is a common programming tool, a conditional expression that runs different set of statements, depending on whether the expression is true or false. Now it is also available to use in ConSteel's programming interface!

Check out our video to get more about this tool:

Also, check out wiki.consteelsoftware.com for detailed explanations, and sample codes too!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

BIM Interface to Tekla 2017i and IDEA StatiCa 8

With the new ConSteel 11 SP1 Update 1 version the complete model exchange is possible to the new Tekla 2017i version also.

Furthermore the high-level interface between ConSteel 11 and IDEA Statica 8 is also available.

Download and try ConSteel 11 SP1 Update 1!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Tips & Tricks: Import model data from Excel into ConSteel, using the "Excel command package" of csPI

csPI contains a bunch of commands to deal with Excel files. With the use of these commands, you are able to write your very own, customized script, to handle data stored in Excel, no matter what the source of the data is.

In the video below the steps of coding of an import script is shown, based on an Excel file, containing the model data.
If you want to check out the code in action for yourself, you can download the Excel and the csPI file from these links:
Click to download: Excel file of the video
Click to download: csPI script of the video

In the video the Excel file only contains the start, end point coordinates and ID's of the members. Based on the idea of this script, of course all kind of member parameters can be imported into ConSteel with csPI, like member parameters (release conditions, eccentricities etc.), sections, materials, load groups, load cases, loadings, supports and more. 

If there are more worksheets for different types of data in an Excel file (eg. coordinates, loadgroups, supports), it can be handled too with the "Name of worksheet" Command parameter of the EXCEL_READ_CELL command.

For more features of csPI, visit our Wikipedia page, and check out our  Youtube channel!
Watch out for more Tips&Tricks coming soon!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Tips & Tricks: General principles of the Create command in csPI

With the create command, different kind of objects can be created in the model. The syntax of the command is consequent, but depending on the object to be created, it slightly different.

There are 2 kind of objects distinguished in csPI what can be created with the Create command, conventional, and unconventional objects. The syntax is pretty much the same, and looks like the following:


The difference, is that the unconventional objects requires Additional attributes beyond it's command parameters (ID, object type) when it is created.

The Command parameters - always required:

[COMMAND] - Create in this case
[ID OF OBJECT] - Used to select/reference the object later, by this ID (placing a support on a member with a known ID)
[OBJECT TYPE] - This is the type of the object which is desired to be created (point_support) All of the object types are listed on www.wiki.consteelsoftware.com
[ADDITIONAL ATTRIBUTE] - Works like additional input parameters for the object creation. Only necessary in case of unconventional objects.

The object attributes - required/optional:

[OBJECT ATTRIBUTE] - A reference to a property of the object which is desired to be defined. Some object attribute is required (start-end coordinates of a member) some are optional, and will have a default value if not defined (eccentricities are 0 by default)
[OBJECT ATTRIBUTE VALUE] - Value of the object attribute itself. Must be given between quotation marks if it is a textural value (release condition) 

Example in case of a a Structural member (not all object attributes are set):
CREATE "ID1" Structural_Member "HEA 200"
0 0 0
0 0 3000
ReleaseID_A "Continuous"
ReleaseID_B "yy,zz"
Eccentricity_Y 100

Result after execution:

The following objects can be created with the Create command through csPI right now, in ConSteel 11 SP1, all of them are listed in details on www.wiki.consteelsoftware.com with sample codes:

  • Structural member 
  • Structural plate
  • Tapered member
  • Link element
  • Point support
  • Line support
  • Loadgroup
  • Loadcase
  • Load transfer surface
  • Point load
  • Line load
  • Surface load

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Tips & Tricks: Variables in csPI - ConSteel Programming Interface

Variables are one of the the key points when it comes to parametric model building, besides cycles and if-else statements.

Variables in csPI can store either numerical or text values. 
Numerical variables are usually used to store input parameters for objects, like coordinates of a structural member, thickness of a plate etc. 
Text variables are usually used to store releases, section names, material names and so on.

Either way, there are some principles to follow when defining a variable:
  • Every variable definition has to be started with a $ sign
  • The $ sign is followed by the name of the variable, which can be referenced later in your code and it can contain numerical and text characters too
  • An equation sign (=) is needed between the name definition and value definition
  • Value definition after the equation sign
    • numerical variable: direct input of numbers or predefined numerical variables  ($x=$y+$z)
    • numerical variable: accepted sign for decimals is the dot "."
    • numerical variable: mathematical operators can be used in value definition
    • text variable: values of text variables has to be defined between apostrophes

For more features of csPI, visit our Wikipedia page, and check out our Youtube channel!
Watch out for more Tips&Tricks coming soon!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Tips & Tricks: Functionalities of the csPI editor

The csPI editor is the place where all of the programming interface related functionalities are placed.

By default when ConSteel is started, the editor appears in a Minimized size, with reduced  number of functionalities:

  • If there is a previously created .cspi script file, and there is no need to edit it, the panel is not even necessary to be opened. By clicking on the Load button, the script can be loaded for execution.
  • Loaded .cspi script file can be executed with the run button

  • Editor size can be maximized with the Open/Close button, and model writing can be started

After the size of the editor is maximized, more features are available. 
Code writing or code editing takes place in the code input area. Beyond displaying/coloring the written code, this input area has some more good-to-know features, like:
  • Input of sample codes

  • Right click on a command redirects to the fully detailed description of it, to our Wikipedia page

With maximized editor size, using click&drag technique on the heading of the editor, it can be moved and docked anywhere on the screen. This function can come in handy if there is a secondary monitor is in use:
The editor can be docked back to it's original place, by simply dragging it back to the bottow of ConSteel's window.

For more features of csPI, visit our Wikipedia page, and check out our Youtube channel!
Watch out for more Tips&Tricks coming soon!

Monday, 24 July 2017

The first commercial structural analysis software implementing accurate beam element for tapered members

1. Modeling of tapered elements

Stability calculation of tapered members is always a difficult problem despite its popularity in steel hall construction. ConSteel had very efficient modeling and analysis tools providing an easy way for the structural design of such models. For the stability analysis the segmented uniform beam element method was used where a member with I or H cross section and with variable web depth is divided into n segments and the depth of each segment is taken equal to the real depth measured at the middle of the segment. The lengths of the segments were taken equal, except at both ends where additional shorter segments are added in order the better approximate the real depth of the elements to be modeled. Each segment was modeled with a traditional 7 DOF beam finite element of uniform cross section. Such model captures correctly the in-plane displacements, but cannot consider accurately the additional torsion coming from the axial stresses due to warping in the flanges which are not parallel with the reference line in case of tapered elements. Therefore this approximation may cause slight inaccuracy in calculating buckling modes involving torsional displacements like flexural-torsional buckling of columns or lateral-torsional buckling of beams especially in such cases where the beam flanges are largely unrestrained.
Modelling web tapered elements with a sequence of segments of constant depth

2. New analysis model for tapered members in ConSteel 11 SP1

In order to improve further the accuracy of the stability analysis of structural models including tapered members in ConSteel 11 SP1 a new tapered finite element has been introduced. A basics of this unique finite element have been published just recently by more researchers however ConSteel as a pioneer, is the only commercial software which implemented it into the buckling analysis. The mentioned problems arising from the non-parallel flanges can be fixed by considering appropriate additional terms in the element stiffness matrix. The final stiffness matrix can be written as a sum of original stiffness matrix and the additional terms:  

Where KS is for the original stiffness matrix with uniform cross section and KT contains the additional terms valid for double an monosymmetric I and H cross sections. 

The additional terms in KT use the following special cross section parameters:

Where IflzT and IflzB are the intertias of the flange related to z axis, for upper (T) and bottom (B) flanges, respectively,  aT and aB is the distance between the centerline of upper and lower flange and the line parallel with the reference axis of the element and passing through the shear center of the middle cross section, as seen on the picture below for double symmetric I and H cross section.
Definition of aand ain case of double symmetric I and H sections

Additionally daT/dand daB/dmean the angle between the upper and lower flanges and the line parallel with the reference line of the element and passing through the shear center of the middle cross section. As an approximation these can be expressed as: 
where aflT and aflB are the angles between the flanges and the element reference line, shear is the angle between the lines passing through the centers of gravity and shear centers of the extreme cross sections of the elements.
Definition of aflT and aflB in case of double symmetric I and H sections
3. Comparison of results

This part shows some validation examples for the accuracy of the implemented new finite element compared to published numerical results and analysis by shell elements. The examples show the very high accuracy of this element even in the most challenging buckling cases where the segmented uniform beam element method yields some extent of inaccuracy.

3.1 Tapered cantilever

Tapered cantilever with welded I section. The initial height is 600 mm and the end height is the 300 mm. The length of the cantilever is variable. The critical force is calculated by the ConSteel software using tapered csBeam7 tap model. The ConSteel results are compared to the reference Ansys shell models [B. Asgarian, M. Soltani, Lateral –Torsional Buckling of Non-Prismatic Thin—Walled Beams with Non-Symmetric Cross Section. Procedia Engineering 14 (2011) 1653-1644] and other numerical solutions [Andrade A, Camotim D. Lateral-torsional buckling of singly symmetric tapered beams: Theory and applications. Journal of Engineering Mechanics 2005; 131(6):586–97. ]. Additionally results obtained with SABRE2 (1) software have also been provided.
Fig. Tapered cantilever with welded I section (equal flanges)
Fig. tapered csBeam7 model
Summary of results:

3.2 Yang and Yau & Andrade and Camotim simply-supported web-tapered member

ConSteel tapered beam (7tap) results are compared with results publshed in (2)
Pcr forces [kip] in function of tapering factor α

1: SABRE2 software Dr Donald w. White
© 2017 Georgia Institute of Technology http://www.white.ce.gatech.edu/node/24
2: Improved Design Assessment of LTB of I-Section Members via Modern Computational Methods, 2016 NASCC D. White, Georgia Tech

New possibilities with ConSteel's Programming Interface - csPI

In ConSteel 11, we have introduced csPI, as a pioneering new tool for parametric model building with basic, easy to use programming tools.
With the release of the SP1, we have further improved it. Like always, the way of the improvements strictly sticks to the feedback's of our users.

Some of the highlights from the improvements:

  • New Excel package, with which you can now read values from Excel tables, and store/use them in your csPI codes
  • Improved Load_Section command, with which material can be defined right at line of the definition of the command
  • Command attributes, like release and support names ("continuous", "fixed") are now "language independent"
  • Support of text variables

Check out our Wikipedia page to find out all of the possibilities of csPI, and watch out for more Tips&Tricks coming soon!

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Comparison of the effect of the different frame corner zone types

In ConSteel 11, an improved Frame Corner Wizard tool was introduced to be able to take into account the behavior of the different joint configurations in the structural analysis.

Four different frame corners can be used for the following beam-to-column moment joint typologies with. 7. DOF displacement is transferred accordingly.
Default frame corner
The value of 7. DOF is transferred but independently of the joint topology
Complete and indirect frame corner for BOX stiffened joints
The value of 7. DOF is equal on beam and column but the direction of 7. DOF is inverse on beam and column
Complete and direct frame corner for DIAGONAL stiffened joints
The value and direction of 7. DOF are equal on column and beam
Rigid against warping frame corner for BOX and additional diagonal stiffened joints
No 7. DOF transmission

To compare and evaluate the behavior of the different frame corners, two parallel simple portal frame models were built up from members and shells as well.

On the following figures the first eigenshape of the two parallel models can be seen. Behaviors are roughly the same.

Box stiffened joint
Shell model Member model

Diagonal stiffened joint
Shell model Member model

Comparison of the first eigenvalues shows that the results from the reference shell model and member model with different joint configuration are very close to each other.

Diagonal joint Box joint Box+diagonal stiffener joint
Shell model
6,10 5,96 6,48
Member model
with frame corner
6,40 6,00 6,76

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Practical notes about ConSteel's Tekla change management tool

In this post, practical notes are collected about the change management tool, which may come in handy when using it.

In general, the Change Management tool allows project team members to visually verify the modifications, deletions and new elements between the ConSteel and Tekla Structure models in ConSteel at any time.


The tool is compatible with the following Tekla versions:
  • 19/19.1
  • 20/20.1
  • 21/21.1
  • 2016/2016i

Managing the changes:

It is important to know, that during the update process, ConSteel model is handled as the "strong" model. This means that after changes of the models, ONLY Tekla will be modified with the changes of the actual ConSteel model. 
Changes of the both Tekla and ConSteel models are represented with flags in the STATUS columns of the update dialogue. Each row represents a bar member, which is involved with some kind of change since the last update. There are 4 types of flags:
  • UNCHANGED - No change occured in Tekla or ConSteel model
  • CHANGED - Change in the Tekla and/or ConSteel model has occurred
  • DELETED - Bar member is deleted from Tekla and/or ConSteel model
According to these changes in the two models (Tekla & ConSteel), there can be 3 ways of the update process:
  1. Clear case, same modifications occurred on a member both in Tekla and ConSteel models. 
  2. Update case, when no further decisions are required from the user to perform the update. Covering the case when creating a new member in ConSteel, or modifying a member in consteel (which is unchanged in Tekla)
  3. Merge case, when decision is required from the user in the Conversion status column, which model status should be applied on the Tekla model (Tekla status or ConSteel status)
It is also important to know, that the Tekla model update dialogue will only appear in the Merge case.
If all of the changes can be handled with Clear case, and Update case, the update process is performed automatically, without bringing up the Update dialogue.

Additionally, it is good to know that in the table of the Update dialogue:

  • Members affected with Merge case are shown in the table and on the left side's Changes in Tekla part
  • Members affected with Update case are only represented on the left side's Changes in Tekla part
  • Clear case is not represented in the update dialogue at all

The following table shows the applied cases depending on the flags:

To see what kind of changes affecting the Tekla model, and how many members will be created, deleted or modified, the Changes of Tekla part of the update dialogue  can be checked.

  • On the top left corner, at the chart summarises the changed members compared with all  elements of the model.
  • Below the Changes in Tekla header change affected members are summarised in a numerical form


With a double click on the header of each column, filters can be added to narrow down shown data of table. Applied filters will be represented on the bottom left side of the update dialogue.
These filters can be deleted easily if the "x" is clicked at the side of each filter