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The need for common sense.

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Recently Ram Beam was used on one of my projects to design composite beams.
 Some of the results did not make sense.  For a simple span with uniform
load, and a uniform distribution of studs, the program reported an odd
number of studs.  I would expect the program to compute the number of studs
on one side of the maximum moment and double the number of studs.  Thus you
should see an even number of studs,

According to RAM:
"When the program is calculating the number of studs, it
calculates the number for half of the beam, and then doubles that
number, before it rounds off.  I expect that you are calculating
the number of studs for 1/2 the beam, rounding off that number,
and then doubling the number."

The programs approach  is wrong because although the program may calculate
7.2 studs as being needed, there is no way to install a fraction of a stud.
 In addition the odd stud placed at the center of the beam does no good. 
The fix is for the user to add an extra stud in such cases.  Similarly when
a uniform stud distribution is specified and the beam is loaded at third
points the number of studs reported should be divisible by 3.

What is probably more disturbing is the response from RAM's customer

" This issue is one that we have been aware of since we first began
 developing the program.  As indicated, we intend to fully address this
 issue in the future, providing the user with the ability to specify even
 numbers of studs as a design criteria, and resolving the potential
 between the various criteria that would result."

They apparently do not consider this a bug. Their proposed fix would
apparently result in result in the program reporting an odd number of studs
unless the user specified the additional criteria that there be an even
number of studs.  This seems to say it is not a bug but the user could
impose some optional criteria if he so wishes.

The point is that both the users and developers of software need to use
common sense.

Mark Gilligan

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