CEE 214 10/28/09
STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS LAB
Introduction to Finite Element Models
We will be using GSA software for structural analysis. This software is installed on selected CIFE
lab computers. It can be downloaded free of charge for academic use at:
All page references in the lab refers to Structural Analysis lecture slides from October 26
The lab will involve creating a finite element analysis model of the Washington monument to simulate
1. Construct geometry
Monument geometry will be approximated as a collinear set of 1-D elements
1.1. Nodes: Create nodes at each change of cross section as shown in the lecture slides, pg 6.
1.2. Elements: Create 1-D elements between the nodes.
2. Define structural properties
2.1. Support conditions: Assign a “fixed” support to the base node.
2.2. Section properties: Create section properties for each of the 4 x-sections shown on pg 6. Use
“Concrete short-term” to approximate the stone material. Create an additional section
property which represents an average x-section for the structure.
3. Define loading
3.1. Dead loads: Create dead load cases for “stone” and “elev+stairs”. Define a gravity load for
“stone” and a beam line load for “elev+stairs” according to the value on pg 11.
3.2. Wind Loads: Create load cases for “wind-line” (uniform beam load) and “wind-point” (point
loads at every 100ft). See pg 13 for reference.
3.3. Load Combinations: Define two combinations that combine dead loads with each wind case.
4. Calculating Results
4.1. Reactions: Run the analysis and view the reactions for each load case / combination.
4.2. Deflections: View the deflections for each load case / combination.
4.3. Internal Forces: View the shear and bending moment diagrams for each case / combination.
4.4. Internal Stresses: Calculate stresses for the structure as a single x-section and when broken
into 4 different x-sections.