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MEEM 4405 Lab#1 (Summer 2002)

Truss Analysis Tutorial

This tutorial is about how to use truss (rod) elements to model a simple truss structure. This topic is
not covered by the I-DEAS on-line tutorials. It involves four major steps: Pre-processing, solving the
model, post-processing, and comparing the results to hand calculations.

Learn how to:

• Create a simple planar truss structure for meshing


• Apply boundary conditions
• Define beam cross sections
• Solve and view displacement and stress results
• Analyze by hand using knowledge of strength of materials.
• Compare results to hand calculations.

What: Create a Coordinate system and make Local Origin invisible.

Hint

What: Name the Coordinate system as a part and give a unique name.
Hint

What: Sketch a triangle truss structure to the dimension and angles shown on the X-Y plane of the
Coordinate system.
Hint

What: Fix all degrees of freedom of the lower left point, except for rotation about the Z axis. Fix all
degrees of freedom of the lower right point, except for translation in the X direction and rotation about
the Z axis.

Hint

Click left mouse button and select the option “Location On Wireframe”. Use the “Specified” option to
make the point translation free in X direction.

What: Apply a 1000 mN upward force to the upper point.


Hint

Apply a Y Force 1000.

The display should appear as shown below.


What: Define a beam cross-section property for the truss triangle and store the Beam section.

Change the application task from “Boundary conditions” to” Beam Sections”.

Input the dimensions of the box width as 5 (mm), the length as 5 (mm) and the thickness as 1 (mm).
It should look as shown below.

Change the application task from “Boundary Conditions” to “Meshing”.


What: Generate the rod mesh for the triangle.

Input the “Element Length” as 150. This is large enough that there will only be one element created
for each curve. Define the “Material” as “Link Material”.
The results should look as shown.

What: Display the X-X stress

We can display the X axial stress by setting “stress” to “XX (Axial Stress)”.
You can also display displacement in the same way.
What: Perform a hand calculation to check the stress using the knowledge of strength of materials.

We can determine the internal forces R1, R2 and R4 by drawing the free body diagrams and solving
the equations (see figure below)
R1Cos 45 0 − R2 Cos80 0 = 0
R1 Sin 45 0 + R2 Sin80 0 = F
and R4 − R2 Cos80 0 = 0

Solving, R1= 210 mN, R2= 860 mN, and R4= -150 mN.

The stress σ and displacement δ can be calculated by the formulas:


P σL
σ = and δ =
A E
Solving, σ1= 13 mN/mm2, σ 2= 54 mN/mm2, and σ 4= -9.4 mN/mm2. This matches the results from the
stress display above.

The bars are lengthened by δ1= 7.8x10-6 mm, δ 2= 29x10-6 mm, and δ 4= -4.7x10-6 mm. This means that
the lower right point should move 4.7x10-6 mm to the left. The lower left point should not move at all.
The deflection of the top point is a bit more difficult to calculate by hand, so we visually inspect the
results to see if they make sense, which they do.

Since the FEA stress results match the hand calculations and the FEA deflection results match the
hand calculations (for the points we were able to calculate), we have confidence that the FEA
problem was entered correctly and the FEA results are correct.

If the FEA results did not meet our expectations we would need to determine why. The problem must
lie in the FEA analysis, the hand calculations, or our understanding of the problem.
F
A

F R2
A A
R2
R1

R2
B C C
R4
R3

R2
C