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RE: FEM and cables

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Analysis of cable structures is a very specialized sub-species of structural
analysis.  General purpose programs that claim to do cable structures or
cable nets typically rely on gross approximations, and should not be used
for guyed towers, power transmission lines, cable roofs, etc.  (Please allow
me this generalization - I really don't want to get into a shouting match
about what particular programs do or don't do)  For instance, very few (if
any) general purpose FE programs will track the very nonlinear response of
an elastic catenary blown out of the vertical plane by a cross wind.
Specialized programs for tower design do track such things.

Programs that provide "exact" solutions for elastic catenary problems in
general and tower design in particular are sold by Power Line Systems in
Madison Wisconsin (Phone 608-238-2171, or

Good luck with your search - let us know what you conclude.

Brian McDonald, Ph.D., S.E.

-----Original Message-----
From: Drew Morris [mailto:Drew(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 1999 1:32 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: FEM and cables

I am researching the various structural analysis/FEM  programs available
from vendors and am looking for something that can do conventional
steel-framed buildings and guyed towers. Some programs can tereat some
elements as tension only, but there supposed to be some programs that
treat cables more realistically including prestressing.  Any hints or