Importance of Qualitative Structural Analysis of Beams & Frames
Qualitative structural analysis is an unusual term to structural engineers. Generally, numerical (quantitative) process is followed to evaluate the structures. By applying this process, the structural designers can easily define values for dimensions and loads and calculate bending moments and reactions.
Prior to start numerical structural analysis, another crucial phase is preliminary analysis. Under this phase, dimensions of elements are taken prior to start the analysis.
Logically, the detailed numerical analysis is initiated to verify the values are implemented in the preliminary analysis. So, it is recommended to size the structural elements properly otherwise the analysis should have been repeated several times irrespective of applying computer or manual calculation. It is laborious and expensive and the designer must circumvent this condition.
The general conception is that necessary knowledge and skills for performing appropriate and proper preliminary analysis derives from researching and learning methods of numerical analysis, but it is not true.
The structural engineers can gather proper skills and knowledge from Qualitative structural analysis to accomplish preliminary analysis. These skills are essential to understand or identify relations among loads and consequential structural behaviors.
As for instance, in simple elements the fundamental knowledge is to identify the relationships among loads, deflected shape and resulting reactions.
There are significant differences between Qualitative structural analysis and quantitative method. Not just it does not contain a definite solution process but also it relies upon a number of diagrams.
In qualitative analysis the procedure is dependent on the issue for example, in a definite issue starting solution from deflected shape could be appropriate whereas for other issues starting from bending moment diagram can bring the proper solution.
Qualitative structural analysis method is time consuming and a lot of practices are needed for proper application and circumventing misunderstanding.
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