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What is the difference between spColumn and pcaColumn?

pcaColumn, also formerly known as PCACOL and IRRCOL, was renamed spColumn to better relate and support the registered trade name of the publisher, StructurePoint, formerly the PCA's Engineering Software Group.

Which design codes does the program support?

spColumn supports latest American (ACI 318-14) and Canadian (CSA A23.3-14) design codes. For complete list of supported design codes please visit spColumn features.

What kind of sections can the program handle?

spColumn can design and investigate regular (rectangular, circular) sections with predefined reinforcement patterns (all sides equal, equal spacing, and sides different). The Program can also investigate irregular sections with irregular reinforcement patterns.

How does spColumn handle irregular sections?

spColumn can investigate any irregular sections (solid or hollow) with reinforcement size and locations specified by user. Only Investigation option is provided for irregular sections because unlike regular sections, due to the lack of predefined reinforcement pattern that can be programmed for irregular sections.

spColumn freezes when I click on Irregular section icon. What should I do?

Update/upgrade to spColumn v5.50. This feature has been completely upgraded to provide added options and flexibility for modeling irregular sections.

Can the latest version of spColumn and prior versions be installed on the same computer?

Absolutely. During installation, make sure to rename directory such a way that it reflects the version number.

I’ve downloaded SP Column, but how I can get the manual?

spColumn Manual can be accesses in one of the three ways: From the program help menu; from the spColumn installation folder; or from this web link.

Can I import the loads obtained from third-party structural analysis programs into spColumn?

Yes. Service or factored loads from third-party structural analysis programs can be imported into spColumn in a text file format. See Appendix section of spColumn Manual for more information on file format.

What is the method of solution of spColumn for biaxial bending of concrete columns, e.g. PCA Load Contour method or Exact Integration method?

spColumn utilizes neither PCA Load Contour Method nor Exact Integration Method for biaxial runs. Instead, predetermined values of axial loads are calculated and for each level of axial loads, spColumn rotates the section in 10-degree increments (there will be a total of 36 rotations for a 360 degree run) and the values of Mx and My moment capacities are calculated and thus an Mx-My contour is developed. Repeating this for the entire range of axial loads, the three-dimensional failure surface is created.

What is a CTI file?

CTI file is the Text Input format for spColumn. This file contains all the information that spColumn needs to run and produce results. It can be created easily using spColumn by defining a simple section with basic reinforcing and then save the file as a CTI file (extension). This will save the format which can then be used as a template for any future CTI files.

How is CTI file used?

CTI files are generally used by the batch mode. spColumn user manual has a detailed section designed to help users modify and develop their CTI files for detailed section designed to help users modify and develop their CTI files for batch mode analysis. Many users devised in-house scripts to further leverage this feature and connect with other software tools and BIM programs.

What is Batch Mode run in spColumn?

The batch mode feature of the program is a great automation tool to streamline the column design/investigation process. Intended for integration with 2D/3D structural analytical models, the batch mode enables the execution of hundreds of column text input files that include all of the column properties and loading conditions in a single click and produces results like interaction diagrams, interaction diagram data, column section dxf files, and all graphical results.

Can I export the interaction diagram to a Word document?

Yes. Open a Word file first, then after the calculation is done select Menu View | Copy Diagram to Clipboard. Go back to Word, select Paste from the Edit menu.

How can I find the values of axial load, P, and moment, Mx (or My), of each load points in P-Mx (or P-My) interaction diagram?

There are two ways to do this:
You can move the mouse cursor along the P-M interaction diagram, the P and M coordinates of the point where the current mouse point is located are shown in the status bar, as well as the eccentricity. If status bar is hidden, select menu View | Status Bar to make it visible.
Or values of axial and moment capacities together with corresponding neutral axis locations, maximum steel strains, and strength reduction factors (ACI code only) for each calculated point on the interaction diagram or 3D failure surface can be found by exporting current interaction diagram or the whole 3D failure surface to a text file (comma separated or tab-delimited). To do so, select Menu File | Export | Factored Interaction Diagram [File | Export | Nominal Interaction Diagram] or File | Export | Factored 3D Failure Surface [File | Export | Nominal 3D Failure Surface].

Where can I find the neutral axis depth in result report?

For uniaxial runs, neutral axis depth (along with maximum steel strain and strength reduction factor for ACI code) of each point corresponding to calculated capacity will be listed in the table on the bottom of the result report. The same applies to biaxial runs when Control Points are selected as load type. For other load types in case of biaxial bending, neutral axis location, maximum steel strain, and strength reduction factor (ACI code only) for each calculated point on the 3D failure surface can be found by exporting current interaction diagram or the whole 3D failure surface to a text file (comma separated or tab-delimited). To do so, select menu File | Export | Current Interaction Diagram or File | Export | 3D Failure Surface.

How can I change the default strength reduction factors used by the program?

Select Menu Input | Reinforcement | Confinement. Select Other in the Confinement drop down list, then the text boxes for Phi(a), Phi(b), and Phi(c) are editable.

I would like to know where in the manual I can find the Moment Signs adopted for single or double curvature at columns.

In the Input | Loads | Service Loads Menu, if Moment @ Top and Moment @ Bottom values are entered as same sign, this results in double curvature. If these values are entered as opposite sign, then it results in single curvature. Detailed information on sign conventions can be found on p 2-5 and 2-6 of spColumn Manual. Also note that positive Sign Moment acts clockwise as shown on Fig 2-5.

Can I get the area of reinforcement, or the ratio of "(As provided)/(As required)" ?

The program calculates the ratio of the moment capacity to the applied moment, (Phi*Mn)/Mu, at each axial load level which assesses safety of the section similarly to how the ratio of (As provided) /(As required) would.

The total area of provided steel, As, for the selected bars (design mode) or the input bars (investigation mode) is displayed on the screen and is also reported in the text output. The area of required steel, however, is not a parameter used in spColumn and is not reported.

All of my slenderness menu items are disabled. Why?

Select Input | General Information, General Information dialog box will open. Select “Yes” for the “Consider slenderness?” A design example of slender column in sway frames can be found here.

The Axial Loads menu item is disabled. Why?

Axial Loads are not supported when Biaxial is selected in the General Information dialog box. Select About X-Axis or About Y-Axis to enable it.

Where can I enter the cracked-section coefficients?

Select Menu Input | Slenderness | Factors.

How can I get the capacity of a column section without any load input?

After the geometry and reinforcement are defined, select Menu Input | Loads | Control Points. In Control Points Mode, the Program calculates the interaction diagram (capacity diagram) and reports several key points on the interaction diagram.

Which axis does Ix or Iy refer to?

Ix or Iy refers to the x or y axis going through the centroid of the section. It does NOT refer to the x or y axis shown in the section window and section editor.