Old bricks & New Tricks

I’m taking the opportunity to apply some new software (ScanAndSolve™) to begin to visualize some of the potential mechanics involved with a 19th century cast iron element atop a masonry structure that is part of a project for the Building Pathology class I am in this semester with Prof. Michael Henry.

It should be noted that this is only a tool, and even this entire portion of the project–that being the analysis of possible structural failure mechanisms–is but a very small piece of the puzzle. In fact, it merely represents the final stage; a thorough investigation must be first done of the system as a whole that takes into account the construction, material properties, material adjacency, maintenance history, weather data, to name but a few.

To that, SnS™ offers this disclaimer:

“Scan&Solve(tm) Results

Design decisions require experimental data and substantial experience; they should never be made based solely on a software simulation. Simulation is not intended to replace physical testing of prototypes, which is required to validate any design.”

To be very honest, I just wanted to try out this new toy after applying for the student license (which ScanAndSolve™ was quite happy to do, unlike many other companies that make the process difficult).

More to come!

The images below map the principle tension and compression forces in lb/ft^2.                     Malleable Cast Iron was used as the material (only 2 offered at the moment, the other which is nodular was not invented until 1943 and would not have been used here)

E+ 3.551e+09 lb/ft^2                                                                                                                 Sut= 7.10105e+06 lb/ft^2                                                                                                         rho= 1.430e+01 slug/ft^3

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Here is a quick description of the software and its comparison to traditional FEA (finite element analysis:

“Scan&Solve™ for Rhino for Windows completely automates basic structural simulation of Rhino solids. Unlike other analysis tools, no preprocessing (meshing, simplification, healing, translating, etc.) is needed.”


Essentially its an incredibly fast, streamlined, and easy-to-apply software to be applied quickly, multiple times though a design process to visualize the system. It’s not perfect, no program is–even the stand-alone, multi-thousand dollar ones, aren’t–but I’ve found it to be quite helpful.

Anyway, go check it out for yourself.


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