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FAQs


General | Network | spColumn | spSlab | spMats | spWall | spBeam | spFrame

What is the difference between spMats and pcaMats?

pcaMats, also formerly known as MATS, was renamed spMats to better relate and support the registered trade name of the publisher, StructurePoint, formerly the PCA's Engineering Software Group.

What method does the program use?

spMats uses the plate-bending theory and the Finite Element Method (FEM) to model the behavior of the mat or slab. More information about spMats method of solution can be found in Chapter 2 in spMats Manual.

Which design codes are supported?

Currently, the codes ACI 318-14/11/08/05/02 and CSA A23.3-14/04/94 are supported and they are easily interchangeable. For information on supported codes please visit spMats features.

What units are supported in spMats?

English and Metric unit systems are supported, and they are easily interchangeable. For information on spMats features please visit spMats features.

Can I change the material properties for different elements?

Yes, you may change the material properties from element to element along with design criteria and other features. More information about preparing input can be found in Section 2.4 in spMats Manual.

How can I show node numbers and element numbers on my grid view?

Option 1: Right click on the main model window, and select Show Node Numbers or Show Element Numbers from the pop-up menu.

Option 2: From the menu, select Options | Display... and check Show Node Numbers or Show Element Numbers. More information about Grid View Preferences can be found in Section 4.12.7 in spMats Manual.

I checked Display Node Numbers and Display Element Numbers, but I still cannot see them on grid view. Why?

You may not have any finite elements. Please assign thickness to grid cells in the grid view first and they will become visible.

What is the relationship between grid lines and finite elements?

A grid line cell (empty rectangular space surrounded by grid line) is a potential finite element. Assigning a thickness to a grid cell turns it into a finite element that can then receive additional design parameters such as steel and concrete properties as well as soil support data. More information about this topic can be found in Sections 2.3 and 2.4 in spMats Manual.

What does Mxx and Myy denote?

Unlike in beams and columns, the traditional plate and shell theory convention is that Mxx denotes the moment along (not about) the X-axis and Myy denotes the moment along the Y-axis. Both moments are positive when they produce tension at the top. More information about this topic can be found in Section 2.12 in spMats Manual.

What are the directions of the rebar Asx and Asy?

Asx refers to the rebar in the X-direction (parallel to X-axis) and is obtained based on the value Mux. Asy refers to the rebar in the Y-direction (parallel to Y-axis) and is obtained based on the value of Muy. Please note Mux is different than Mxx and Muy is different Myy (Mux and Muy are the equivalent design bending moments). More information about this topic can be found in Sections 2.12 and 2.13 in spMats Manual.

Does the program check punching shear around columns and piles?

Yes. Punching shear around columns and piles are checked in version 6.0 and higher. One way shear is not checked by the program and additional hand calculation may be required if needed. More information about this topic can be found in Section 2.15 in spMats Manual.

What is the maximum amount of nodes and load combinations?

spMats can accommodate up to 65,000 nodes and up to 255 service and ultimate load combinations with 26 basic load cases. More information about spMats program capacity can be found in Section 1.3 in spMats Manual.

What type of load can be transferred from a column or a wall to a mat foundation?

Axial loads can be modeled as concentrated loads or equivalent surface loads (in Z-direction). Overturning moments can be applied to the interface of a column or a wall and mat foundation. More information about load types can be found in Section 2.9 in spMats Manual.

How can I model the in-plane (X-Y mat plane) force transferred from a column or a wall to mat foundation?

In-plane forces are not applicable in spMats models. Hand calculations are required to document that their negligible effect on concrete and steel stresses may be needed. More information about the plate element used in spMats can be found in Section 2.5 in spMats Manual.

spWall can be used when shear need to be evaluated in detail since the plate finite element used in spWall includes in-plane and out-of-plane shear forces. More information about the plate element used in spWall can be found in Section 2.5 in spWall Manual.

How do I limit the output of my results for printing purposes?

After solving, click the View Results tab. From there, you can select the type and range for the results you'd like to print. More information about printing results can be found in Section 4.7 in spMats Manual.

How can I export my results to a file?

Select Solve on the left toolbar, and then select the Report tab. Select Print to File rather than Print to Printer. Type in a path and file name for the output file (e.g., C:\MyResults\Mats_1.txt). Press the Print button. The saved file is a plain text file that can be opened and edited by any word processing software (e.g., Wordpad). More information about printing results can be found in Section 4.7 in spMats Manual.

Why does spMats freeze after analysis completion? And why don't contours show up right away?

When running larger models on a network drive, output results storage/retrieval may be delayed. It is recommended to run the model locally for fastest response. More information about this topic can be found in Section 1.4 in spMats Manual.

Can spMats analyze and design pile cap foundations?

Yes, spMats can analyze and design pile cap foundations. The program models piles as springs connected to the nodes of the finite element model, and performs punching shear check around each pile. More information about this topic can be found in "Pile Supported Foundation (Pile Cap) Analysis and Design" design example and Section 2.8 in spMats Manual.

Is spMats use limited to reinforced concrete building foundations?

No, spMats can be used to analyze and design soil supported and pile supported reinforced concrete foundations for building and non-building structures. The following are examples for non-building structures foundations that have been analyzed and designed over decades by spMats users: wind turbine tower pile cap concrete foundations, transmission tower reinforced concrete pile cap foundations, industrial plant pipe rack pile cap foundations, wireless telecommunication tower concrete foundations, ground mounted PV solar panel concrete foundations, rectangular concrete tank base mat foundations, reinforced concrete cantilever retaining wall foundations, tank equipment mat foundations. More information about spMats applications can be found in "StructurePoint Case Studies Page."