Prokon Beam & Column Segments


One of the overlooked parameters in SUMO is the segments parameter for both beams and columns. If left at 1, you will find that your Deflection Model looks very stiff. The reason for this is that SUMO calculates deflection at nodes – fewer nodes equals a less accurate deflected shape. Resolving this is quite simple: Increase the number of segments (>1 is a good start). More nodes equal a more accurate deflected shape but result in a more computationally demanding model.

The first image below shows a column with a lateral point load at its top, with the number of segments left at 1.

You will notice that the deflected shape is straight and seems stiff. In reality, we expect a slight curvature to the shape, as seen below with the only change being that the number of segments is updated to 10.

For this specific scenario, the number of segments does not change the maximum deflection but displays the effect quite effectively. Where the number of segments will affect the output is when elements are constrained on both ends, especially beams.

In conclusion, the segments parameter is very important for an accurate deflected shape and should not be overlooked. Where elements are constrained at both ends, the number of segments plays a crucial role in achieving accurate results.

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