Prokon Segments & Nodes

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Please refer to Prokon Beam & Column Segments for an introduction into the segments parameter and its’ effect.

With the introduction of the segments parameter handled, we can now delve into a more finicky aspect of segments. When the number of segments is set to larger than 1, SUMO automatically creates additional nodes for that specific element. These additional node numbers are not visible like other nodes, but they are assigned numbers when it comes to the outputs and when using Design Links.

Two Design Links that are significantly affected by the segments parameter are the Strut and Combine Design Links for structural steel members. For both modules, the program splits members between nodes, and it’s crucial for a designer to understand how to evaluate how the members are split and make changes if necessary.

In Strut, there isn’t much you can do as the program only allows you to indicate if there are any Lateral Supports. A single beam with 10 segments will display in Strut as follows:

Strut will split this beam into members between each pair of nodes: 1-3, 3-4, etc. Fortunately, this has no effect on the output as Strut imports the axial loads correctly from SUMO and applies the beam’s axial load to each segment, where relevant.

However, this is not the case for Combine. In Combine, you need to indicate nodes that should not be considered as member ends. This is essential as it affects the effective length of the beam drastically.

When evaluating a beam where we do not indicate that it must exclude the nodes between the ends as member ends, the program recommends a maximum member size for the imposed loads of 305x102x25. When we indicate the nodes that need to be excluded, the program recommends a member size of 356x171x67. These nodes can be indicated in the Members tab on the right-hand side:

In conclusion, it is crucial for the designer to be aware of the effect these internal nodes can have on design output. It’s also important to understand when an internal node can be recognized as a member end (lateral supports, etc.).

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