Frame Plate & Solid Mesh Generator

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When it comes to modelling irregular profiles in Prokon you have two options: Create a profile in Prosec and export it to the Sections Database, or create the member making use of the mesh functions. The former has multiple advantages, such as the generation of cross-sectional properties and that it (if understood) can be a very speedy workflow. However, you can only load the member on/along its’ shear center. This makes it difficult and complicated to load eccentrically (which is often the case in reality). This where the mesh functions come in.

You can create any shape using the mesh functions and then create a solid mesh which can be load eccentrically. To create this mesh and then a solid mesh can be very difficult and time-consuming. You often find yourself attempting to create the same mesh over and over again with varying degrees of success. Frame’s Plate & Solid Mesh Generator Wizard (see Prokon Frame: Great Wizards – https://mgfx.co.za/blog/prokon/prokon-frame-great-wizards/) is a tool that greatly simplifies the process and allows for greater degrees of “control”. Take the below profile for example:

The first step is to launch the Plate & Solid Mesh Generator in Frame. You can delete all of the inputs in the Plate input and Specific grid sizes tables. To populate the Plate input table is the part of the process that takes the longest. Here, as with Prosec, you need to plug in all of the necessary values to generate the profile.

Thickness is only relevant when generating the plate and not when extruding. In the Settings and Model generation section the grid size can be set and generating the mesh. This can be an iterative process and finer grid sizes generate better meshes.

Once done, navigate to the Solid extrusions from plate tab. Here the total length of the member is set along with the number of divisions. These divisions can be seen as “cuts” and can be set according to the position of loads and also to allow for a better deflected shape.

Click on the Create model and close button; the model is automatically saved. Launch SUMO and import the Frame file. What you will note is a solid mesh divided into the set number of segments. The member can now be positioned, loaded and supports placed where needed. Unfortunately, area- and line loads and supports cannot be added to the solid mesh member and all loads need to be converted to equivalent point loads.

Within the Results Workspace, in the Solids ribbon, additional results are also available.

All in all a very powerful workflow that can be used to great effect. Using both Prosec (for cross-sectional properties) and the Plate & Solid Mesh Generator can be used to great effect.

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