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3 Automatic Spring Support Generator for Foundations

STAAD has a facility for automatic generation of spring supports to model footings
and foundation mats. This command is specified under the SUPPORT command.

General Format
{ joint-list ELASTIC FOOTING f1 (f2) | joint-list ELASTIC MAT |
plate-list PLATE MAT } DIR { X | XONLY | Y |



plate-list PLATE MAT DIR ALL SUBGRADE f4 (f5 f6)
f1, f2 = Length and width of the ELASTIC footing. If f2 is not given, the
footing is assumed to be a square with sides f1
X,Y,Z = Global direction in which soil springs are to be generated
f3 = Soil sub-grade modulus in current force/area/length units
f4, f5, f6 = Soil sub-grade modulus for use with ALL option in current
force/area/length units in Y, X, Z directions respectively. f4, f5 default to f3
if omitted. Note the order in which the Y value is specified first, followed
by X and then Z.
Figure 5-28: Correct and Incorrect order for specifying subgrade modulus values

Do not use this command with SET Z UP.

If you want to specify the influence area of a joint yourself and have STAAD simply
multiply the area you specified by the sub-grade modulus, use the ELASTIC FOOTING
option. Situations where this may be appropriate are such as when a spread footing is

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located beneath a joint where you want to specify a spring support. A value for f1 (and
f2 if its a non-square footing) is required for the FOOTING option.
If you want to have STAAD calculate the influence area for the joint (instead of you
specifying an area yourself) and use that area along with the sub-grade modulus to
determine the spring stiffness value, use the ELASTIC MAT option. Situations where
this may be appropriate are such as when a slab is on soil and carries the weight of the
structure above. You may have modeled the entire slab as finite elements and wish to
generate spring supports at the nodes of the elements.
The PLATE MAT option is similar to the Elastic Mat except for the method used to
compute the influence area for the joints. If your mat consists of plate elements and all
of the influence areas are incorporated in the plate areas, then this option is
preferable. Enter a list of plates or YRANGE f1 f2 at the beginning of the command, the
joint influence areas are then calculated using the same principles as joint forces
would be from uniform pressure on these plates. This method overcomes a major
limitation of the Delaunay triangle method used in the ELASTIC MAT option, which is
that the contour formed by the nodes of the mat must form a convex hull.
The PLATE MAT DIR ALL option is similar to the Plate Mat except that the spring
supports are in 3 directions. If the compression only option is also specified, then the
compression direction will be assumed to be in the Y direction. If the Y spring at a
joint goes slack (lift off), then the X and Z spring stiffnesses for that joint will also be
set to zero. Otherwise the X and Z springs act in both directions. The influence area
for the X and Z springs is the same as used for the Y spring. Three values of subgrade
reaction may be entered, the first is for the Y direction, the second for X and the third
for Z.
The keyword DIR is followed by one of the alphabets X, Y or Z (or XONLY, YONLY, or
ZONLY) which indicate the direction of resistance of the spring supports. If X or Y or
Z is selected then a spring support is generated in that direction plus 3 other
directions receive a fixed support, e.g., if Y is selected, then FY is supported by a
spring; FX and FZ and MY are fixed supports; and MX and MZ are free. If XONLY,
YONLY, or ZONLY are selected then only a spring support in that direction is
The keyword SUBGRADE is followed by the value of the subgrade reaction. The value
should be provided in the current unit system signified by the most recent UNIT
statement prior to the SUPPORT command.
The PRINT option prints the influence area of each joint.
Use the COMP option generated will be compression only springs
Use the MULTI option to generate multilinear springs. Add the associated multilinear
curve input after each MAT command (with the multi option) to describe the
displacement-spring constant curve. See section 5.27.4 for additional information on
this input format. The actual spring constant used will be the subgrade modulus (f3
entered above) times the influence area (computed by STAAD) times the si values
entered in the curve (so the curve stiffness values will likely be between 0.0 and 1.0).
SPRINGS d1 s1 d2 s2 dn sn


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YR -.01 .01 PLA MAT DIR Y SUBG 200 MUL
SPRINGS -0.51 40.0 -0.50 50.0 0.5 65.0

The first command above instructs STAAD to internally generate supports for all
nodes 1 through 126 with elastic springs. STAAD first calculates the influence area
perpendicular to the global Y axis of each node and then multiplies the corresponding
influence area by the soil subgrade modulus of 200.0 to calculate the spring constant
to be applied to the node. In the 2nd example, the nodes of plates 1 to 100 are assigned
spring supports, generated using a subgrade modulus of 200 units.

a. A closed surface is generated by the program based on the joint-list that
accompanies the ELASTIC MAT command. The area within this closed surface is
determined and the share of this area for each node in the list is then calculated.
Hence, while specifying the joint-list, one should make sure that these joints
make up a closed surface. Without a proper closed surface, the area calculated
for the region may be indeterminate and the spring constant values may be
erroneous. Consequently, the list should have at a minimum, 3 nodes.
b. The internal angle formed by 2 adjacent segments connecting 3 consecutive
nodes in the list should be less than 180 degrees. In other words, the region
should have the shape of a convex polygon. The example below explains the
method that may be used to get around a situation where a convex polygon is
not available.
c. For the model comprised of plate elements 100 to 102 in the figure below, one
wishes to generate the spring supports at nodes 1 to 8. However, a single
ELASTIC MAT command will not suffice because the internal angle between the
edges 1-8 and 8-7 at node 8 is 270 degrees, which violates the requirements of a
convex polygon.
So, you should break it up into two commands:
3 4 5 6 7 8 ELASTIC MAT DIREC Y SUBG 200.

Figure 5-29: Example for elastic mat generation for a convex polygonal shape

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Joints 3 and 8 will hence get the contribution from both of the above commands.
The command works only when the plane of the closed region is parallel to one
of the global planes X-Y, Y-Z or X-Z. For regions that are inclined to one of the
global planes, the spring constant will have to be evaluated manually and
specified using the FIXED BUT type of spring support.

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