In this post we will use the Tintagel footbridge as a case study to explore structural behaviour and show how we can build up an understanding of the structure through analysis of increasingly refined finite element models models. We’ll apply this iterative approach by starting with a simple beam model and incrementally working towards a full 3D finite element model. Throughout this post we’ll make use of finite element analysis codes developed in DegreeTutors courses.
In this tutorial we examine the Direct Stiffness Method and work our way through a detailed truss analysis. By the end of this complete introduction, you should understand the basic ideas behind why the method works, how to implement it for truss analysis and you should understand the power and scalability of the technique. Once understood, the direct stiffness method opens the door to structural analysis of large scale complex structures.