Since version 2023 of Advance Design, it is possible to easily define masonry walls and, thanks to the Masonry Wall design module, it is also possible to verify such walls based on the provisions of the Eurocode 6. Today, we will be looking at the topic of how to prepare a masonry wall section in Advance Design, with particular reference to the changes in version 2023.1, which enable you to create and manage your own masonry element databases.
How to add a new masonry wall section
Let us start with a fundamental point. In the case of masonry walls, the section definition is linked to the material definition. Therefore, if we want to create a new section of a masonry wall for use in an Advance Design model, the first step is to open the Materials window and use the Add button. Then we can enter a name (although we can easily change it at a later stage) and now set the family to Masonry.
The next step is to define the parameters of the wall, which is done on the Properties tab. The choice of type is crucial, as it determines whether it is a single or double-layered wall, as well as whether the layers are separated and the space between them is filled.
Depending on the selected wall type, a number of further parameters are available, starting with the masonry unit, mortar, and layer thickness. The Masonry unit property is selected from a list and specifies the category of material (e.g. clay brick or silicate block), the classification according to Eurocode and physical parameters such as unit weight and compressive strength. The type of mortar is also selected from the list, while the layer thickness is given manually. There are more parameters on this tab, and most of them are required to automatically determine the compressive strength of the wall (fk).
The value of this strength is calculated dynamically and has a direct effect on the mechanical properties, including the elastic modulus E calculated from it.
Any changes to the parameters update the properties of the wall section on the fly, so you do not have to worry about saving the changes. Such prepared cross-section can be assigned to the wall model and used for FEM calculations. And after calculations, the wall can be exported to the Masonry Wall module for detailed norm verifications, with internal forces and section definition then automatically transferred.
How to create database of masonry wall sections
Earlier we described the procedure for defining a new section for a masonry wall. But if we want to use the same cross sections in future projects, it is worth saving them to the database. And the procedure is quite simple.
In the Materials window, select the previously prepared masonry wall cross section, and then use the Export command on the Library tab. The section will be added to the list of the default masonry walls database and will be available for further projects. As you can guess, to use this section in the next project, all you have to do is to select the item in the list of masonry materials and use the Import command.
It is worth mentioning that the path to the database file for masonry wall sections is shown in the drop-down list. Thus, in case we want to transfer the section database we have created, for example, to another workstation, we just need to copy the XML file shown in this path.
How to manage and create own list of masonry units
As mentioned earlier, the key element of the section is the type of masonry unit used. When defining a cross-section, we select a unit from a list, and by default this list implicitly includes all the most important unit categories according to the national annex to Eurocode 6. This means that, firstly, for each country this list may vary slightly, and secondly, it includes typical items with generic names.
If we want to add another item to the list, for example a unit with the name and parameters from the manufacturer’s data sheet, we first need to run the masonry unit manager. To do this, click on the icon on the Masonry unit property.
The Masonry Units Manager at the top shows a list of masonry units available in a given project, and the commands just below allow you to easily modify this list, by deleting individual or all items and adding new ones.
In the lower part there is the content of the selected database file – its name and path are displayed above the lower table. Depending on the program localization, by default it is a different file. Of course, the manager allows us to add any items from existing databases to the current project.
Importantly, we can easily create our own files with a list of masonry units. To do so, we can simply export the previously modified contents of the upper table to a file using the Export command. Thanks to this, we can independently prepare one or many files with masonry units data, which we can easily manage, for example, by copying them to other workstations.
Finally, one more note – in the list of default masonry units databases, in addition to the lists prepared for each of the supported countries in accordance with the national annex to Eurocode 6 (EN 1996-1-1), there are also sample two lists with data of selected manufacturers from Poland. Of course, in each country there may be other manufacturers available and the range of offered masonry units is different, so we can treat the attached databases as examples of lists showing how a custom database can look like.
Written by Mateusz BUDZIŃSKI – Structural Analysis Product Line Manager