Integration of Code_Aster in an IFC-driven workflow for structural analysis



  • edited April 2021

    @Jesusbill it is just great to see that there are opensource projects trying to come up with workflows and especially as far as they have come here is amazing to me.
    In terms of what I envision in terms of structural analysis round-tripping workflows is that what I found in real projects is that oftentimes the structural engineering calculations are needed but most other partners (i.e. architect, mechanical, client, etc.) are generally only interested if it works structurally and then what the geometry/materials/cost (e.g. working with architects especially early in the conceptual design phase, they want to know from us, the structural engineer, what wall thickness are needed).

    At the moment we are still developing the very basics for authoring structural analysis models in BlenderBIM, I think we will need a couple of months to arrive at a point that we can have a basic workflow (create members, connections and supports) to test with users, but I will definitely post in the forum when this time comes.

    As far as how I may help, I wanted to start off with easing my way into the OSArch community but I like to think I am somewhat sufficient programming (especially python) to help out some in very early testing of workflows (at the moment struggle sometimes with getting dependencies etc. to work).

    I think there will be soon some tasks we could need help, other than user testing the UI when it's the right time. Talking with @krande yesterday we do want to start building some profile/section and material libraries, for example for steel profiles and for concrete/steel materials, which would be great to have them as IfcProjectLibrary (right @Moult ?) that can be used to directly select materials and profiles in BlenderBIM. We have to set this up, but I definitely see potential work for non-coders engineers there, in compiling tables with all needed information to create the libraries. We will post more info on this when it gets started

    In terms of creating profile/section and material libraries, I could definitely lend a hand. In the past I have done some very rudimentary setup of accessing this type of structural data using Python (i.e. using steel I-sections incorporated within the Canadian Steel Institute of Construction (CISC)). In general, I think these types of organizations (in many countries) already have these types of sections/materials catalogued (albeit in out-dated formats (Excel, PDF, etc.). On the otherhand, I think a balance between having a library of these types of profiles/section and materials and allowing for a parametric definition would be good. Anyway, this might be a good way for me to start helping out here.

  • @jchkoch great you are based in Canada? It would be great to have you working on material and profile libraries that are following American and Canadian standards!
    Regarding round-tripping yes it is absolutely clear that engineers need to communicate to the architect if current dimensions are ok or which are the ones needed, but the engineer needs to carry out these calculations, even if he does not need to communicate them. So, if we want to talk about a complete open-source pipeline, the verification part is part of the game.
    If you have python skills this could be a nice field of application I would say, in any case I think we will have the chance to talk about it soon. Good to have you onboard in any case

  • @jchkoch we have a bi-weekly meetup working on structural - would you be interested in joining / watching? That will keep you updated with the progress we are making.

  • edited April 2021

    @John I have transferred the discussion in this thread
    @jchkoch @Massimo discussion on profile libraries has now been transferred in this thread

  • @jchkoch: there is work currently done also on costing with @SigmaDimensions @Moult @iosvarms @dav80 and others, so I believe eventually we will be able to use it also to estimate costs of preliminary designs maybe even directly from the structural analysis elements (?). I agree that compiling and delivering this information back to architects especially in early stages of design are super important, thanks for bringing this up.

  • @Moult I would be interested in joining(participating) in the bi-weekly meetup working on structural if at all possible. Would love to be able to keep updated with the progress.

  • @jchkoch Meetings are held every Tuesday and Thursday at 9 am CET, but this time is only indicative, it depends then on the availability we may or may not have, so some times we meet the night before (CET time) or when we can eventually. The best place at the moment to know when and where (which specific link of the shared video platform) is to follow the OSArch chat.

  • @jchkoch said:
    hello everyone. First off, I am fairly new to OSArch and find all of the projects from BlenderBIM to integration with code_aster, etc. quite simply amazing to the opportunities it presents. As a structural engineer (who knows rudimentary Python programming), I'm quite interested in finding a suitable workflow for perparing input files from IFC for structural analysis. @Jesusbill I'm not so familiar with IFC nevermind ifc structural but in my spare time I'm going to start learning what I can on how to use BlenderBIM to author ifc files and I'm sure at some point I'd be able to help out with providing feedback/ideas on structural analysis concepts at a UI level. Not sure how much time I will be able to spend on this at the moment. Also i am thinking that a "IFC to code_aster to IFC" workflow would be amazing but tend to think that rather than writing the whole results for each 1D or 2D element it would seem better to me to also evaluate the analysis results in terms of the plausibility of the geometric parameters within the structural analysis round-tripping "IFC to code_aster to IFC" workflow. As documenting the results of the code_aster analyses seems to be separate from collaboration of let's say the architect and the structural engineer. anyway just want to also comment on reading through the whole thread that the progress so far kind of blows my mind. to start if there are things which I could help with I'd be glad to give it a try despite me being quite new to how these "workflows" work.

    Hi everyone! another structural engineer with Python capabilities over here. I discovered BlenderBIM at the end of last year and am keeping an eye on its progress because it looks amazing. I believe that we (structural people) have quite some room for improvement on our BIM workflows, and the kind of work that you guys are doing over here will definitely help to bridge that gap. So a ton of thanks for that!

    At the moment, I am still struggling a little with understanding the IFC Schema, everything which is possible with ifcopenshell and lastly BlenderBIM itself. Up to now, I have not had too much time for it but am slowly making some progress.

    Out of curiosity, and pardon for the beginner level on IFC, but how does structural design link to geometry within the Schema? for instance, if we have an IfcBeam (with its corresponding IfcRels to whatever 3D geometry representation) for the beam itself and an IfcStructuralCurveMember corresponding to its structural idealization (with its corresponding IfcRels to whatever 1D geometry representation):

    • are they linked between them?
    • specifically, are they parametrically linked in some way? (meaning for instance that a change in length updates both the 3D geometry and the structural model)

    The latter would be awesome, but perhaps I am confused and it is on the actual structural software to assure that linkage, rather than on relations within the Schema.

    Thanks in advance,

  • @cvillagrasa They are linked between them using another rel. This allows architects and structural engineers to have the "back and forth" coordination process.

    They are not parametrically linked. There are proposals for parametric linking extensions to IFC, but these are not yet a reality. In the meantime, there are a variety of workarounds, which if enough of us get together and show it works, we can put together a well thought out proposal to buildingSMART.

  • edited June 2021

    Ten days ago, Aether Engineering gave a presentation in the ProNET meeting entitled "IFC-Driven Code_Aster Analyses for Buildings", where we presented a summary of the "openBIM Structural Pipeline" work that has been done by the Open Source community until now.
    ProNET is a professional network of companies that use Code_Aster and we are part of it since 2017.

    I have attached the presentation pdf file, it is a general summary where I mainly talked about the BlenderBIM Add-on, IFC2CA, and a bit about adapy, as the three "projects" that I see fundamental in this workflow. I also presented OSArch in the last slides as I thought it was important to take this opportunity, as well as the opportunity to talk about the structural workflow with Code_Aster with the companies of the network, although a large number of them are from the mechanical sector (aviation, automotive, etc.). Of course, just the slides may not tell the whole story as they were also "minimal" but I wanted to share this here and will do also in the social media.

    I would say that the work done until now in the BlenderBIM Add-on is focused, and continues to develop, in specific areas of the structural analysis domain, but I would consider that it is not yet "organized" in a way that a user can be clearly guided in knowing what has been included until now. So, one of my goals would be to "centralize" the UI for the structural analysis domain and produce some material/tutorial that explains how a user can build a structural analysis model in Blender. Another goal is to write the roadmap, I know I should have done this already but in May I have been bloody busy and didn't work much on this. I am positive though that June will be different ;)

    Cheers and I will update the forum when there are news.

  • Looks like a beautiful presentation! Perhaps one for sharing on social media? :) I will definitely share within my company.

  • edited July 2021

    Where do you guys meet every thuesday 9:00 CET? I have been part of osarch for years, may be before it even exists ;-) and I never came accross. Shame on me ... I should join the meeting too ...

  • @bernd join the OSArch live chatroom via either IRC or Matrix :) That said, @Jesusbill and I haven't met in a while on a structural hacking session. Perhaps it's time to restart the weekly meetups and do some hacking :)

  • Can you add a method(a function in python) for create a node table(tagnode,x,y,z) and element table(tagelement,tagnodej,tagnodei) for using in other FEM program like OpenSees? Im using BlenderBim.

  • Hi @DioBrando we can develop a script to create and extract a node and element/connectivity table from IFC Structural Analysis Elements in an ifc file.
    But maybe you refer to a node and element table of an actual FE mesh, in that case applying the "ifc2ca" scripts one can obtain a MED mesh file, which contain specifically this information.
    Do you have experience with OpenSees? It could be nice to explore more in that case

  • I used it for my master degree thesis, with a 3d multi-level concrete frame for a bi-directional time history analysis. There is a python version of it.

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