Form finding and structural analysis of cables with multiple supports

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2011
Demir, Abdullah
Cables are highly nonlinear structural members under transverse loading. This nonlinearity is mainly due to the close relationship between the final geometry under transverse loads and the resulting stresses in its equilibrium state rather than the material properties. In practice, the cables are usually used as isolated single-segment elements fixed at the ends. Various studies and solution procedures suggested by researchers are available in the literature for such isolated cables. However, not much work is available for continuous cables with multiple supports. In this study, a multi-segment continuous cable is defined as a cable fixed at the ends and supported by a number of stationary roller supports in between. Total cable length is assumed constant and the intermediate supports are assumed to be frictionless. Therefore, the critical issue is to find the distribution of the cable length among its segments in the final equilibrium state. Since the solution of single-segment cables is available the additional condition to be satisfied for multi-segment continuous cables with multiple supports is to have stress continuity at intermediate support locations where successive cable segments meet. A predictive/corrective iteration procedure is proposed for this purpose. The solution starts with an initially assumed distribution of total cable length among the segments and each segment is analyzed as an independent isolated single-segment cable. In general, the stress continuity between the cable segments will not be satisfied unless the assumed distribution of cable length is the correct distribution corresponding to final equilibrium state. In the subsequent iterations the segment lengths are readjusted to eliminate the unbalanced tensions at segment junctions. The iterations are continued until the stress continuity is satisfied at all junctions. Two alternative approaches are proposed for the segment length adjustments: Direct stiffness method and tension distribution method. Both techniques have been implemented in a software program for the analysis of multi-segment continuous cables and some sample problems are analyzed for verification. The results are satisfactory and compares well with those obtained by the commercial finite element program ANSYS.

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Citation Formats
A. Demir, “Form finding and structural analysis of cables with multiple supports,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2011.