Rigid offsets and rigid zones in concrete members

Tekla Structural Designer
Tekla Structural Designer

Rigid offsets and rigid zones in concrete members

Solver elements for most members are created directly between the member insertion points - they do not take into account major and minor snap points, or any offsets that might have been specified in the member properties. The exception to this rule is that solver elements for concrete columns and concrete beams do take into account snap points and offsets - Rigid offsets are then automatically introduced where necessary to connect the solver elements.

Note: The rules applied to insertion of solver elements for concrete columns are different to those that are applied to concrete beams. For concrete structures this enables you to simplify the grid layout but then employ offsets to position the members exactly.

Design codes also allow engineers to assume parts of concrete beams and columns are rigid, leading to more efficient designs. Tekla Structural Designer uses Rigid zones to cater for this where columns and beams are connected and where beams are connected to other beams. Columns can have rigid zones when they are the supporting or supported member, but beams will only have rigid zones when they are the supported member.

Rigid offsets

For concrete beams and columns rigid offsets are automatically applied to the start and end of solver elements as required to ensure that the solver model is properly connected.

This will be necessary whenever the 1D solver elements are not co-linear. A typical example of this occurs when concrete edge beams are aligned to be flush with the face of the supporting columns, as shown below:

Tip: To see rigid offsets: open a Solver View, and then in Scene Content ensure that 1D Elements> RigidOffsets is selected.

Click the below link to view a couple of examples illustrating the use of rigid offsets in concrete columns and beams:

Rigid zones

Unless you have chosen not to apply them, rigid zones are created at concrete column/beam connections. The proportion of the zone which is modeled as rigid (the thick black line shown below) is specified as a percentage, the remaining portion of the rigid zone (the red line inside the rigid zone) remains elastic. The proportion of the rigid zone that is rigid is specified in Model Settings and can vary between 0 - 100%

As shown above, the elastic portion of the rigid zone is aligned with the central span solver element.

In most situations in order to get an efficient design you would want rigid zones to be applied. You can however choose not to consider them by checking the Rigid zones not applied option that is provided in Model Settings, this will deactivate them throughout the model. You can also selectively deactivate rigid zones at specific column/beam connections by unchecking the Apply rigid zones option that is provided in the column properties under the Design control heading.

  • For example, you might choose not to apply them if you encounter problems with short members and rigid zones which cannot be overcome by modifying the physical model.
  • When rigid zones are not applied, the position of releases in analysis model is affected, and member start and end points for design are also adjusted.

There is a significant difference between Rigid Zones Not Applied and Rigid Zones Applied with 0% rigidity. The total elastic length of a member is the same in the two models, but the position of releases and start/end of design members will be different.

Rigid zones should not be confused with rigid offsets which are used to ensure that the analysis model is properly connected, i.e. it is possible to have rigid offsets in the model even if rigid zones are turned off.

Click the below link to view a couple of examples illustrating the use of rigid zones in fixed and pin ended beams:

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