This note gives guidance on the representation of a real structure by an idealised model which can
then be analysed.
The Aims of Structural Analysis
Analysis is an essential part of the structural design process. Analysis gives us the numbers with
which to justify the adequacy of the structure in terms of strength, stability and stiffness.
However we do not analyse 'the structure' but a mathematical model whose properties and behaviour
we aim to select so that it adequately represents the real structure. The approximations and
assumptions which must be made to create this model mean there can be no such thing as an exact

There are a number of steps in the production and analysis of a mathematical model of a structure.
Engineering judgement is needed throughout the process, and the modelling decisions made should
be reviewed as part of the design review.
• Decide how much of the structure to model. (section 2.3)
• Decide how much detail is needed in the model. This will depend on whether the model is
for scheme design or final analysis . (section 2.3)
• Define geometry of model
Define member sizes and shapes (section 5)
• Decide on appropriate material properties (section 6)
Define loading to be applied
• Decide how to apply the load (section 7)
Analyse the model
• Review analysis results


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