Jaime Piercy, PCIA

In August  2020, SE University welcomed Jamie Piercy, from PCIA, to present 7 Deadly Email Sins.  Jamie designated Frontline Foods (https://www.frontlinefoods.org/) for our SEU Speaker Inspires donation for the month.

Jamie shared, “In these trying times, our frontline essential workers have worked endlessly supporting our nation through this crisis. These brave individuals are the key to keeping our loved ones healthy. Any piece we can give back as a thank you is so important to me!”

Thank you, Jamie, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of Frontline Foods as our SEU Speaker Inspires Organization of the Month!

 

 

SE University began the SEU Speaker Inspires program in 2015 as a way to “pay it forward”, enabling our speakers to designate a charity/organization of their choice for SE University to make a donation to help improve our world.

Whether you are starting a new job, or have been at the same workplace for many years, conflicts are bound to arise when working in collaboration with other.  How we respond to conflicts can influence our job satisfaction, career progression, and affect our reputation within an organization.

I recently found some good tips for managing conflicts in the workplace at Engineering Management Institute’s blog post How to Overcome Conflict with Your Fellow Engineers at Work.  The author, Nader Mowlaee, suggests 3 tips to avoid or eliminate workplace disagreements.  Click here to learn more about How to Overcome Conflict with Your Fellow Engineers at Work.

Conflict is inevitable but having the right mindset going in can be a game changer.  Learning new ways to prevent, confront, and overcome conflicts will certainly be an asset when those disagreements arise.

Kim Olson, PE, Steel Tube Institute

In July 2020, SE University welcomed Kim Olson, PE, from Steel Tube Institute, to present What Your Fabricator Wishes You Knew About HSS.  Kim designated AfterHours Denver (https://afterhoursdenver.org/) for our SEU Speaker Inspires donation for the month.

Kim shared, “AfterHours Denver hands out over 400 lunches, water, socks and communion to the hungry and hurting every week in the park downtown.  The smiles on the faces of the people we serve fills my cup while filling their bellies.”

Thank you, Kim, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of AfterHours Denver as our SEU Speaker Inspires Organization of the Month!

 

 

SE University began the SEU Speaker Inspires program in 2015 as a way to “pay it forward”, enabling our speakers to designate a charity/organization of their choice for SE University to make a donation to help improve our world.

We’ve all been guilty of feeling like there is not enough time in the day to accomplish all the tasks that life throws at us.  But the truth is, we have the same amount of time as everyone else!  How do some people manage to accomplish more in their day than the rest of us?  If you are like me, I often considered time management to only apply to being on-time and prepared for each of my daily tasks, but the truth is that successful people use time management skills to increase the quality and scope of their life, both at work and at home.

I recently came across a podcast from Craig Jarrow at Time Management Ninja which outlines 10 Small Tips for Big Results in Your Life.  They include:

  1. Catch Up Each Day
  2. Read for 20 Minutes Each Day
  3. Work Out
  4. Learn a New Skill
  5. Meditate for 10 Minutes
  6. Keep a Journal
  7. Always Be Cleaning
  8. Turn Off the News
  9. Get Up Earlier
  10. Start a New Habit

While you may not be able to include all of these tips into your daily regime, Craig Jarrow stressed the importance of consistency in the changes you do make in your life.  I particularly identified areas that I need to improve my time management, and that includes eliminating wasted time mindlessly reading the daily news cycle, and also striving to learn some new skills.  

By focusing on two small changes, I can be more likely to be consistent in making them a part of my daily routine.  Craig offered tips and ways to implement these changes, so head over to his podcast at Time Management Ninja to learn more about how small changes can lead to a big impact in your life.

How can you determine if a specific HSS section is commonly available?  Young engineers in particular may not know which sections are most commonly used in their region, and architects often require specific sizes in their drawings for architecturally exposed structural steel.  How can engineers avoid the back and forth with contractors who can’t source the sizes shown on the drawings?

In the July 2020 SE University session, Kim Olson, PE, from Steel Tube Institute, presented What Your Fabricator Wishes You Knew About HSS.  Kim clarified which HSS column shear and moment connections are most economical and reviewed the information required for cost efficient delegated HSS truss connection design.  She also explained tips for discerning availability of HSS shapes in the US and identified the aspects of AESS pertinent to HSS.

Specifying sizes that are readily available can save money by reducing special order items or having to redesign new sizes.  STI has explored domestic producers and offers a Producer Capability Tool on their website which can help you locate and specify shapes that are readily available.  Click on this link to the STI Capability Tool to locate sizes and material availability and which producers are making various sizes needed for your job.  

As you can see, the STI Capability Tool can search various shape sizes and material grades, and provides results to show which shapes are regularly produced, require special order, or are not available domestically.  This tool can be handy to preempt change orders and advise architects on which sizes could be used to reduce the costs of jobs using HSS shapes.  Additionally, engineers can assist contractors who may have trouble locating certain sizes by providing the applicable producer.  Other sizes may be available from international suppliers, however, it is more difficult to ascertain their availability and reliability.

Designing steel framed floors for vibration sensitive equipment can be a challenge if you have little experience with the various tolerance limits provided by equipment manufacturers.  Have you ever wondered what to make of the various peak acceleration limits or generic velocity limits listed for a microscope or MRI machine?  Is the design approach the same for a surgical suite as it is for a laboratory? And how does the presence of human activity affect your design approach?

In the June 2020 SE University session, Brad Davis presented Steel Framed Floor Design for Vibration Sensitive Equipment.  Brad described the various response metrics used to characterize floor vibrations for sensitive equipment applications.  He also reviewed the various forms of tolerance limits for sensitive equipment and showed how to apply the vibration evaluation methodology in Chapter 6 of AISC’s Design Guide 11: Vibrations of Steel-Framed Structural Systems Due to Human Activity (2nd edition) which he co-authored.

Brad helped delineate a workflow for evaluating the floor framing to compare the tolerance limits to those of the predicted response.  The first step is determining the tolerance limit of the equipment and matching form of the response.  This could include a peak acceleration specific limit which would be used to predict a waveform peak acceleration, or it could be a generic velocity limit which would lead to predict a one third octave spectral velocity.  This information can sometimes be found in the equipment specifications, but communication with the supplier may need to be established to clarify specs which can often be ambiguous.  Once the tolerance limits are established, you would next define the analysis cases which apply to the scenario.  You may have a bay that supports both a laboratory and an adjacent corridor which will dictate the type of activity level considered in the analysis.  The typical brisk walking pattern in the corridor will be different than the walking speed in the lab.  This will lead to the next step which is selecting the walking speed category for each analysis case.  In the previous example, a fast walking speed would be selected for the corridor, while the walking speed in the laboratory would most likely be very slow if only short pathways exist, or maybe slow walking if the room is more open.

Next, characterize the structure by determining its natural frequency, fn, the effective weight, W, and damping ratio, β.  Many of these parameters are found in Chapters 3 and 4 of the design guide.  Using these parameters, determine the response assuming the equipment and walker at midbay.  Then, scale the response based on the actual location of the equipment and walker location.  The response may need to be scaled twice if both the walker and the equipment are located away from midbay.  Chapter 6 includes the equations needed to calculate the response and scale it, as needed.

Finally, you can compare the given tolerance limit to the predicted response to determine if the framing can successfully support the vibration sensitive equipment.  Brad noted that design aids are included in the design guide and can be used to simplify this procedure.  For more information and examples problems for steel framed floors supporting vibration sensitive equipment, refer to AISC’s Design Guide 11: Vibrations of Steel-Framed Structural Systems Due to Human Activity (2nd edition)

Allen Adams, PE, SE, Bentley Systems, Inc. / RAM

In May 2020, SE University welcomed Allen Adams, PE, SE, from Bentley Systems, Inc. / RAM, to present 2020 Practical Strategies for the Modeling and Analysis of Diaphragms.  Allen designated Operation HOPE – North County (https://www.operationhopeshelter.org/) for our SEU Speaker Inspires donation for the month.

The mission of Operation HOPE – North County is to provide a safe and supporting environment for families with children and single women who are experiencing homelessness as they rebuild their lives.

Allen shared, “Over the years I have had the privilege of seeing their good work, having worked on service projects with the Boy Scouts and through church that benefitted that organization. They provide a much needed service for a vulnerable group of people.”

Thank you, Allen, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of Operation HOPE – North County as our SEU Speaker Inspires Organization of the Month!

 

 

SE University began the SEU Speaker Inspires program in 2015 as a way to “pay it forward”, enabling our speakers to designate a charity/organization of their choice for SE University to make a donation to help improve our world.

Calculating the exact material properties of diaphragms to include in your structural model can be a time consuming task. Often times, structures with semi-rigid diaphragms also take longer to analyze due to the additional degrees of freedom. Semi-rigid diaphragms can be more complex to analyze than their flexible or rigid counterparts. However, accurate analysis results may not be so hard to accomplish within a short amount of time.

In the May 2020 SE University session, Allen Adams, PE, SE, from Bentley Systems, Inc. / RAM, presented Practical Strategies for the Modeling and Analysis of Diaphragms. Allen explained the differences between flexible, semi-rigid, and rigid diaphragms and how these affect analytical results. He reviewed code requirements pertaining to diaphragms and shared how sensitive analytical models are to the various components of semi-rigid diaphragm models. Allen advised on balancing the necessary level of accuracy with business demands for speed and simplicity when modeling diaphragms.

Allen presented several case studies which examined varying diaphragm properties to see their influence on the structural analysis results. For example, Allen questioned how much influence does mesh size have on the analysis results? Allen used the same model with the diaphragm mesh varying from a 1 foot mesh to a 15 foot mesh. Assuming the 1 foot mesh is the most accurate, Allen examined the percent difference between using a smaller mesh versus a larger 15 foot mesh. The analysis results for the frame story shears, surprisingly showed a minimal difference between the smaller mesh and the larger mesh. However, the time required for the analysis to be complete was significantly higher for the smaller mesh. A more average mesh size on the order of 4 feet or 8 feet resulted in similar frame story shears while still completing the analysis in a shorter time frame similar to the larger mesh.

Allen also examined how material properties of the diaphragm affect the analysis results. Specifically, Allen examined how much influence does inaccuracy in the effective modulus of elasticity (E’) have on the results? Allen analyzed the same model while varying E’ from 500 ksi to 24000 ksi. Again, surprisingly, while the effective modulus of elasticity was varied by 48 times, the results only varied by 3.7 percent. While this is just one example, it shows that it is not necessary to spend hours nailing down the exact E’ of the diaphragm, especially in complex instances where it may vary throughout the same story. A close estimate will suffice to garner accurate results. There was some additional variability when examining the moment within the diaphragm as the E’ was varying, however, when a close estimate is assumed, the resulting moment remained accurate. Minimal variability was noted when examining the story drift at the frames, however there was significant differences noted in the drift away from the frames. Allen noted that it would be more appropriate to look at the drift at the frames rather than away from the frames for accurate drift results. Also, the drift results measured at points on the diaphragm away from the frames did not account for the stiffness added from the presence of gravity framing which would also limit those story drift results.

Overall, Allen’s case study examples proved to be enlightening for engineers that feel they must model the diaphragm down to the tiniest detail to get accurate analysis results. It is worth noting that having a general idea of the material properties will suffice and the model does not need to be so detailed that the analysis takes an extreme amount of time to complete.

Control joints (CJs) are necessary in reinforced masonry walls with minimal joint reinforcing to prevent thermal cracking. However, improper placement of CJs can negatively impact the structural capacity of the wall and lead to an inefficient design. What are the best methods to ensure an efficient and practically detailed masonry wall with CJs?

In the April 2020 SE University session, Sam Rubenzer, PE, SE, from FORSE Consulting, presented Masonry Checklist: Reviewing Structural Drawings. During the session, Sam offered insight on developing checklists of important items for masonry design and construction. He also reviewed important aspects of masonry design criteria and discussed best practices for element design, including advice on locating control joints and using masonry lintels.

Criteria for CJs in masonry walls will vary in different locations in the country due to different loading demands, and reinforcement and construction techniques common to each area. For example, it is common to have more horizontal reinforcement in high seismic areas and those areas already use less CJs. However, many midwestern states with low seismic loads commonly use minimal horizontal reinforcement only in mortar joints, and therefore require more CJs be used.

There are commonalities for CJ placement within all areas. When placing CJs in masonry walls, Sam noted that placing them too closely will result in shear walls that have significant losses in their lateral resistance capacity; However, spacing them too far apart will potentially result in thermal cracking throughout the wall. Sam offered some basic guidelines for placing control joints for maximum effectiveness.

First, CJs should not be placed adjacent to wall openings. As you can see in the example below, a perforated shear wall can have 300% the capacity of two shorter walls being split near the opening.

Additionally, you may need to design some walls with increased horizontal reinforcing in order to eliminate some CJs. For example, long walls with repetitive door openings, as shown below, do not offer a practical location for a CJ. Designing these walls with additional horizontal reinforcement can allow the wall to maintain its lateral resistance without the need for a control joint within the area around the doors. NCMA TEK Guide 10-3 provides guidance on horizontal reinforcement requirements.

Sam also suggested the use of masonry lintels in order to reduce the need for CJs. Using masonry lintels creates a more rigid wall which eliminates stress concentrations which can develop when using steel lintels with CJs at repetitive wall openings. In the same example above, a continuous masonry lintel further improves the rigidity of the wall, increases the lintel’s capacity to resist load, and increases the wall area’s ability to resist in-plane and out of plane loading. Also, the continuous lintel reinforcement can contribute to the overall reinforcement required to reduce the need for CJs in that area.

Sam strongly recommends showing CJs on plan and/or elevation rather than within structural notes. Also, it can be helpful to delineate these locations on elevation since architects tend to show movement joint location on their elevations, as well. Using these tips from Sam about practical CJ spacing, masonry walls designs become more efficient and stronger and reduce the likelihood for cracks due to thermal movements.

Allen Adams, PE, SE, Bentley Systems, Inc. / RAM

In May 2020, SE University welcomed Allen Adams, PE, SE, from Bentley Systems, Inc. / RAM, to present 2020 Practical Strategies for the Modeling and Analysis of Diaphragms. Allen designated Operation HOPE – North County (https://www.operationhopeshelter.org/) for our SEU Speaker Inspires donation for the month.

The mission of Operation HOPE – North County is to provide a safe and supporting environment for families with children and single women who are experiencing homelessness as they rebuild their lives.

Allen shared, “Over the years I have had the privilege of seeing their good work, having worked on service projects with the Boy Scouts and through church that benefitted that organization. They provide a much needed service for a vulnerable group of people.”

Thank you, Allen, for helping structural engineers with your SE University session, and for your designation of Operation HOPE – North County as our SEU Speaker Inspires Organization of the Month!

 

 

SE University began the SEU Speaker Inspires program in 2015 as a way to “pay it forward”, enabling our speakers to designate a charity/organization of their choice for SE University to make a donation to help improve our world.


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