# My Favorite Ternary Operation

Most native C++ operations are binary, taking two arguments, e.g., a + b, or unary, taking one argument, e.g., a++. But C++ (and many other languages) has a native "conditional operator", which is ternary, taking three arguments. Known simply as ?:, the conditional operator has the following syntax (condition) ? true_outcome : false_outcome; The conditional … Continue reading My Favorite Ternary Operation

# How to Bend Beams in 3D

Most structural frame models are analyzed in two dimensions (2D), for a variety of legitimate reasons. But sometimes, you have to go to three dimensions (3D). And the most confusing thing about making that jump in OpenSees is the geometric transformation and its "vector in the x-z plane". Instead of going into the details of … Continue reading How to Bend Beams in 3D

Kurt Vonnegut was a 20th century American author, best known for Slaughterhouse-Five. Although Vonnegut passed away in 2007, one of his former writing students, Suzanne McConnell, published in 2019 Pity the Reader: On Writing with Style, a collection of Vonnegut's writing advice. You will find the ground work for a chapter or two of Pity … Continue reading Pity the Reader

# Shutting Off the Containment Unit

If you've used OpenSees--even if you're a geotech--you've used the force-based element. When Remo implemented the force-based element, it was the only material nonlinear frame element available in OpenSees (G3 at the time); thus, the original name nonlinearBeamColumn. Only after a standard displacement-based frame element (dispBeamColumn) was added did we change the name from nonlinearBeamColumn … Continue reading Shutting Off the Containment Unit

# Not Everything Should Be a Direct Translation

Like learning another language, not everything in OpenSees, and programming in general, is a direct translation from textbooks. Your mother tongue could be $latex {\bf x} = {\bf A}^{-1}{\bf b}$, but you should never invert the matrix then multiply. Instead, call an equation solver. For small matrices in OpenSees, use A.Solve(b, x) from the Matrix … Continue reading Not Everything Should Be a Direct Translation

# Pruning OpenSees

Most OpenSees pull requests add to the code base. Often incremental and sometimes innovative, the new additions keep OpenSees moving forward, offering something for everyone. But it's rare that we remove code. Although it would be great to purge OpenSees of Concrete23 and all its unused variations, to prune code in frequently used OpenSees classes … Continue reading Pruning OpenSees

# Modal and Stiffness Proportional Damping

OpenSees allows you to use both modal damping and stiffness proportional damping in a dynamic analysis. This combination of damping models is useful when you want to control damping in the low frequency modes and not let undamped high frequency response tarnish the analysis. Consider a simplified model of a 40 story building. The story … Continue reading Modal and Stiffness Proportional Damping

# Eigenvalues of the Stiffness Matrix

Students are exposed to eigenvalues and eigenvectors a few times through their structural engineering education. After the math department's obligatory treatment to sophomores with definitions, characteristic polynomials, and toy matrices, two to three years pass before students see eigenanalysis again as first year graduate students: Structural dynamics - find natural modes of vibration of a … Continue reading Eigenvalues of the Stiffness Matrix

# How to Use Block2D

Although the mesh commands outlined in previous posts (here and here) are more powerful, the block2D and block3D commands remain useful, especially if you want to use quadrilateral or brick elements. Ed C++ Love based the OpenSees block commands on the meshing functionality in FEAP. So, if you are familiar with FEAP, these commands should … Continue reading How to Use Block2D

# Two Thousand Concrete23!

Happy new year! Although the long-awaited Concrete23 will not be released this year, I look forward to what lies ahead with OpenSees. Being the first full week of January, it's blog delurking time. Long time listeners, first time callers, say hello in the comments section and let everyone know what you're OpenSeesing in 2023.