2. Grouping of members in INSTANT steel – Member design
In INSTANT steel – Member design a new functionality that allows the creation of groups of members has been added. This grouping enables the user to automatically assign common data to the members that belong to a group.
In the current version, the group definition has the limitation that the members that can be included in a group must have the same length and intermediate node positions.
In the INSTANT steel – Member design user interface a new tab has been added, “Groups”, that enables the user to define which members belong to a group or not. This can be done either manually by the user or by selecting the “Automatic group creation” button as shown below:
When the user defines members in INSTANT steel – Member design, the “Groups” tab contents are enabled. By pressing the button “Add”, a new group is created by the name “Groupx”, where x denotes the number id of the group (e.g Group1 if only one group is created and so on). The name of the group can be altered by the user, by double clicking on the “Group” name that is created in the “Groups” dialog window.
By using the following buttons [<], [<<], [>], [>>], the user can define which user defined members are assigned to specific groups. For example, the selection [<<], will result in transferring all the members that have the same geometrical data such as length and section ID from the “Unassigned Member” tab to the currently selected group, but only if they match any existing member of the group. For quick definition of groups from members that have the same section id and the same length, the user can press the “Automatic group creation” button as mentioned above. The defined groups are shown up in the “Groups” dialog window as shown below:
When a group is selected in the Members table, all the members that belong to a specific group are highlighted on the “Related structure view”.
When, a group of members is created, the tabs: “Buckling XY”, “Buckling XZ” and “Lateral – Torsional Buckling” change according to the user selections of the group or the user selections for a specific member that belongs to a group.
If a group item is selected and not a member that belongs to a specific group, then for the tabs: “Buckling XY”, “Buckling XZ” and “Lateral – Torsional Buckling” the names of the nodes constraints do not appear and only the constraints distances are visible to the user.
In addition, for members that participate in a group, the coefficients Bm, C1, C2, C3 cannot be modified but are taken into account as default values.
The grouping of members is also valid for the “Analysis” tab, as shown in the following picture:
There is also the capability to select for analysis all the members that belong to a specific group, or selectively some members only from the specified group.