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Modelling and Analysis of Non-linear Cablenet Structures using Python and Blender

Learn how to combine parametric modelling, exploratory form-finding and iterative analysis techniques to simulate the behaviour of tensile structures.

Play Video about Modelling-and-analysis-of-non-linear-3D-cablenet-tensile-structures-in-Python_600 | DegreeTutors.com
After completing this course…
  • You will understand how the behaviour of lightweight tensile structures leads to geometric non-linearity.
  • You will be able to apply an iterative Newton-Raphson technique to solve for the non-linear behaviour of 3D cablenet structures.
  • You will be able to apply parametric modelling and simulation-based form finding techniques to generate cablenet geometry.
  • You will have developed a complete modelling, analysis and visualisation workflow for exploring these elegant yet complex structures.

Build a toolbox to analyse structures that exhibit geometric non-linearity due to large deflections.

After completing this course…
  • You will understand the concept of geometric non-linearity and when it should be considered.
  • You will understand how to modify the axially loaded element stiffness matrix to account for large deflections and changes in geometry.
  • You will have implemented a Newton-Raphson iterative solution algorithm that seeks to converge on the deformed state of the structure.

Build the knowledge and tools to decode the dynamic response structures to real-world loads.

After completing this course…
  • You will be able to model the influence of earthquake-induced ground motion
  • You will develop numerical tools to solve the coupled equations of motion for multi-degree of freedom systems.
  • You will understand the role of modal decomposition in uncoupling the equations of motion and identifying the underlying dynamic characteristics of MDoF systems.

Use the Isoparametric Finite Element Method to build an analysis tool for 2D structures in Python.

After completing this course…
  • You will have the tools to analyse continuum structures using your own Isoparameteric Finite element Python code, developed from the ground up.
  • You will understand how the assumptions of plane stress and plane strain allow us to analyse 3D structures accurately with 2D planar models.
  • You will be able to use open source tools to generate structural models and mesh data that can be analysed with your FE code.

Build your own complete 3D structural analysis software in Python using the Direct Stiffness Method

After completing this course…
  • You’ll understand how to expand the direct stiffness method to full 12 degree of freedom beam elements in 3D space.
  • You’ll have developed a complete 3D finite element analysis solver to simulate structures consisting of beam and axially loaded bar elements.
  • You’ll have the skills to efficiently build detailed structural models in Blender and export these for analysis in your own Python solver.

Develop tools to model and analyse complex 3D space frame structures using Python.

After completing this course…
  • You’ll understand how to apply the Direct Stiffness Method to solve 3D space frame structures.
  • You’ll have your own analysis programme to identify displacements, reactions and internal member forces for any 3D space frame.
  • You’ll be able to use Blender, a powerful open source 3D modelling software to build, visualise and export your structural models.

Build a sophisticated structural analysis software tool that models beams and frames using Python.

After completing this course…
  • You’ll understand how to model beam elements that resist axial force, shear forces and bending moments within the Direct Stiffness Method.
  • You’ll have your own analysis software that can generate shear force diagrams, bending moment diagrams, deflected shapes and more.
  • You’ll understand how to model rotational pins within your structures, inter-nodal distributed loading and realistic flexible supports.

Build your own finite element truss analysis software using Python and tackle large scale structures.

After completing this course…
  • You’ll understand how to use the Direct Stiffness Method to build complete structural models that can be solved using Python.
  • You’ll have your own analysis programme to identify displacements, reactions and internal member forces for any truss.
  • You’ll understand how common models of elastic behaviour such as plane stress and plane strain apply to real-world structures.

Leverage fundamental structural dynamics to build your own flexible numerical solutions in Python.

After completing this course…
  • You’ll understand how to model dynamic behaviour using spring-mass-damper models and how to simulate free vibration behaviour.
  • You’ll be able to model the influence of harmonic loading and how to characterise the transient and steady-state responses.
  • You’ll be able to use Python to implement the Piecewise Exact Method to model any form of general dynamic loading.

Powerful techniques for analysing realistic civil engineering structures.

After completing this course…
  • You will learn how to analysis complex and indeterminate structures using hand-analysis techniques.
  • You will learn how to calculate deflections, member forces and bending moments in indeterminate structures.
  • You will learn how the Principle of Superposition can be used to decipher and unlock the behaviour of complex structures.

Analyse complex beam and frame civil engineering structures using Virtual Work.

After completing this course…
  • You will have a complete understanding of the Principle of Virtual Work and how it can be applied to bending behaviour.
  • You will have robust, repeatable strategies to apply Virtual Work to beam and frame structures in bending.
  • You will be able to use Virtual Work techniques to calculate unknown displacements in beams and frames.

Level up your structural analysis skillset with these powerful Civil Engineering analysis techniques.

After completing this course…
  • You will have a complete understanding of how concepts such as work, energy and elasticity combine to give us the Principle of Virtual Work.
  • You will be able to use Virtual Work to calculate unknown nodal displacements in pin-jointed truss structures.
  • You will be able to use Virtual Work to calculate internal forces in pin-jointed truss structures.

Step up your structural analysis skills by working your way through these indeterminate structures.

After completing this course…
  • You will have an even deeper understanding of how structures respond to loading.
  • You will be comfortable determining shear force, bending moment and deflected shape diagrams.
  • You will be able to analyse both non-sway and sway frames – essential when designing real world structures.

Unlock indeterminate structures using the moment distribution structural analysis method.

After completing this course…
  • You will have a deep understanding of how structures respond to loading.
  • You will clearly understand the methods used to analyse statically indeterminate beams and frames.
  • You will be able to analyse both non-sway and sway frames – essential when designing real world structures.

Sharpen your civil engineering analysis skills with  questions designed to test your understanding.

After completing this course…
  • You will have a reliable procedure for correctly determining shear force and bending moment diagrams for statically determinate structures.
  • You will be comfortable analysing both 1-dimensional beam and 2-dimensional frame structures.
  • You will be able to utilise pre-existing pin-joints in structures to facilitate your analysis.

Your complete roadmap to mastering these essential structural analysis skills.

After completing this course…
  • You will be fully competent in drawing shear force and bending moment diagrams for statically determinate beams and frames.
  • You will have a robust system of analysis that allows you to confidently tackle the analysis of any statically determinate structure.
  • You will understand the relationship between external loading and the shear forces and bending moments they induce.

Get to grips with civil engineering structural analysis once and for all.

After completing this course…
  • You will understand key concepts such as the moment of a force, static equilibrium and determinacy.
  • You will be able to determine the support reactions for structures subject to a range of loading conditions.
  • You will learn to use the Joint Resolution Method and Method of Sections to analyse pin-jointed truss structures.

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Hi, I’m Seán, the founder and lead tutor at DegreeTutors.com. I’m also a senior lecturer in Structural Engineering at the University of Exeter, a leading UK university. I’m a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. DegreeTutors is designed to support students and construction industry professionals in enhancing their engineering analysis and design capabilities.

Whether you want to sharpen up on the basics of constructing shear and moment diagrams or want to better understand how to analyse complex indeterminate structures (with or without a computer),  by taking courses with me on DegreeTutors you’ll build the knowledge and skills you need.

Dr Seán Carroll B.Eng (Hons), M.Sc, Ph.D, CEng MIEI, FHEA
Founder of DegreeTutors.com


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Modelling and Analysis of Non-linear Cablenet Structures using Python and Blender

Learn how to combine parametric modelling, exploratory form-finding and iterative analysis techniques to simulate the behaviour of tensile structures.

Play Video about Modelling-and-analysis-of-non-linear-3D-cablenet-tensile-structures-in-Python_1000 | DegreeTutors.com
After completing this course you’ll have developed a complete workflow for the modelling and analysis of non-linear 3D cablenet structures.

In this course, we’ll expand beyond what we covered in our study of 2D non-linear cables by adapting the tools we built previously, for the analysis of non-linear 3D cablenet structures.

However, instead of just modifying our existing code, we’ll spend time fleshing out a complete workflow that takes you from initial form-finding of cablenet geometry, right through to iterative stiffness method simulation to identify the cablenet deflections and tension profile.

If you’re intrigued by these elegant and efficient structures and want to understand how to analyse their behaviour, this course is for you. Keep in mind that the tools developed in this course are not meant to be a replacement for commercial non-linear solvers. Our objective is to build your understanding of the behaviour of cablenet structures and geometric non-linearity more generally. The best way to do this is to roll up your sleeves and build your own solver.

After taking this course, you’ll be able to use commercial software which much greater confidence now that you understand what’s happening behind the scenes. The code developed within each section of the course is also provided for download as a reference.

This course is divided into 8 sections:

  • Introduction, Course Breakdown & Prerequisites
  • Developing the 3D non-linear stiffness matrix
  • Extending our Blender Utility Scripts
  • Extending our solver toolbox from 2D to 3D
  • Cable-stayed antenna tower…in 3D
  • Parametric modelling and form-finding in Blender
  • Cablenet Pavilion – Hyperbolic Paraboloid
  • Frei Otto’s Dancing Fountain in Cablenet form

The final code will be capable of handling structures like the one pictured above that consist of a mixture of axially loaded cable (tension only) and bar (tension and compression) elements. Our solver implements an iterative algorithm, so a solution that converges is not always guaranteed! We’ll be leaving the relative comfort and certainty of linear analysis behind!

This course picks up where Non-linear finite element analysis of 2D catenary & cable structures using Python. Make sure to cover that course first, before starting this course.