What is 1D 2D and 3D
Comparison between 1D, 2D and 3D elements in structural analysis
Civil engineers already use a large number of members in the design phase of a building or infrastructure project. Accurate modeling of such elements using finite element software such as SkyCiv is of great importance in the design process. Accurate modeling of the elements can both reduce costs and ensure a safe design. There are different modeling methods to simulate the structural behavior of columns, beams, walls, or slabs with 1D, 2D and 3D elements. This article explains the key differences between the various modeling techniques used in a regular design cycle. Specifically, focus on the modeling, state of stress and deformation, and results.
Modeling phase (preprocessing)
1D modeling approaches are used to model line-typical elements such as columns / pillars, beams or piles. The display of the line is defined by the user via a section and all geometric properties of the element (width, height, etc.).
Because meshing is a critical step in any structural analysis, it is important that users understand the effects of meshing on 1D, 2D, and 3D elements on a model.
As already mentioned, 1D elements are usually used to represent line elements and can provide precise bending behavior of an element. 1D element meshing is the division of the element into several segments, this does not affect the overall result, but more segments allow smoother and better visualization of the results.
2D and 3D elements have similar characteristics in terms of meshing. Each element within the model is divided into several parts of a specific shape, the mesh size of the model affects the final results and the finer the mesh (smaller shapes used) the longer it takes to solve the model. There are two shapes that are used for both 2D elements in meshing, square and triangular elements. 3D element shapes are variations that result from the 2D element shapes; commonly used shapes are hexahedra, tetrahedron, wedges and pyramids, each with different advantages to better model the physics of the model itself.
Analysis results for elements modeled using 1D elements are typically reported as the shear force and bending moment about the two major axes of the element, and the axial force and torsional moment about the axis connecting both ends of the element.
- Membrane forces
- Shear / moment forces in the plane
- Displacements (x, and, with, sum)
- Scheren (Von-mises, Direct, Scheren, main / subsidiary principle)
When, brick elements are adopted, the results are given in terms of stresses. Therefore, the internal forces and support reactions of elements such as shear walls, shells or slabs modeled using 2D elements or brick elements are obtained by integrating internal forces / moments per unit of length or stresses over the length or the area of interest, respectively.
CTO and Co-Founder of SkyCiv
BEng Mechanical (Hons1), BCom
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