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Structural Concrete, Vol. 6, no. 4, December 2005

Performance design of reinforced concrete slabs using commercial finite element software

A. Khennane, University of Southern Queensland, Australia

A fundamental task in the design of reinforced concrete structures is to search for minimum cost through the variation and placement of the quantities of the relatively expensive steel reinforcement without jeopardising the safety of the structure. The use of nonlinear finite element software can assist greatly in achieving an economical and safe design. However, commercially available finite element software is not designed for this task as most packages have been developed to be used as verification rather than design tools. "Home-written" software can be designed to achieve this task, however it may suffer from serious drawbacks such as bugs, lack of user friendliness, lack of generality, and unproven reliability. This present study shows that if a given software package comes with a scripting interface, it can be transformed easily from a verification tool to a performance design tool. This is illustrated with the use of ABAQUS, but it can be adapted to any other software with a scripting interface.

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