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Are there guidelines for subdividing frame objects?

Extended Question: The protocol of our company is to subdivide frame members at every node, whether it is the location of a point load or an interconnecting object. Could you provide some insight into this procedure?

Answer: To generate accurate results for certain analyses, frames must be explicitly subdivided, or assigned automatic meshing, where the object is handled as a single member, but meshed into multiple segments for analysis purposes. Frame objects should be subdivided in the following situations:

  • During buckling analysis, to capture higher modes.
  • During dynamic analysis, to better capture mass distribution, since mass is assembled at joint locations.
  • To capture P-δ effect in columns.
  • Where accurate response measures are necessary, since results are interpolated from behavior at joint locations. It is often advisable to subdivide frame objects in proximity to sensitive displacement or high moment gradient.

Additional information is available in the CSI Analysis Reference Manual (Objects and Elements, page 7).