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Ecengrs(--nospam--at) wrote:
> << Anyone have experience and/or comments about the ACI "MATS" software
>  program. They don't seem to offer a demo and I don't know how a guy's
>  supposed to lay out money without knowing more than the glowing
>  descriptions in the publications catalog.
>   >>
> Careful with MATS. The finite element used in this program to model the mat
> behaviour has poor transverse shear properties, an important consideration
> for mat analysis. A better bet would be SAFE from CSI. You might also
> consider one of the better general purpose programs (SAP2000, GT-STRUDL,
> RISA-3D, etc.).
> Incidentally, I would never buy ANY software without a demo or at least a
> money back guarantee.
> Earl Conroy
> E.C. Engineers

Our work place uses PCA MATS quite frequently due to the user friendlyness of the 
program, but it does not determine or check transverse shear or let you vary the soil 
spring stiffness.  I personally prefer to use a general analysis program like STAAD or 
GTSTRUDL because sometimes one-way shear does govern and I can vary the soil spring 

Mark Ahlskog, PE