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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 solution methods 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 different material properties within the same foundation?

Yes, the program allows users to include variations in the foundation thickness, material properties, openings within the foundation, and any variations in the soil sub-grade modulus. More information about input preparation can be found in Section 4.1 in spMats Manual.

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

Select "Solve" tab, in the bottom of the left panel, under "DISPLAY OPTIONS", check "NODE NUMBERS" or "ELEMENT NUMBERS".

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 element internal moments can be found in Section 2.3.3 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 2.4.1 in spMats Manual.

Does the program check punching shear around columns and piles?

One-way shear and two-way punching shear are not checked by spMats v10.00 and additional hand calculation may be required if needed. StructurePoint is developing a comprehensive investigation feature for two-way (punching) shear that will be added to the next release of spMats. It will cover much more detailed and rigorous calculations of the corner, edge, and interior columns/piles as compared to the limited feature in spMats v8.50. More information about this topic can be found in Section 2.15 in spMats v.8.5 Manual.

What is the maximum amount of nodes and load combinations?

spMats can accommodate up to 64,500 mesh elements 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 1.2 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 5.1.2.2 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 2.3.1 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?

The Explorer Panel in the Reporter Module consists of all the available report items classified into sections and arranged hierarchically. Each item listed in the Explorer Panel is preceded by a checkbox. For printing and/or exporting purposes, the user can check/uncheck the checkbox to include or exclude from the report, the items or sections.

More information about Reporter Module explorer panel can be found in Section 3.4 in spMats Manual.

How can I export my results to a file?

The Reporter Module interface in spMats enables the user to view, customize, print and export reports in different formats. The Reporter Module is accessed from within the Main Program Window by clicking the Reporter button from the Ribbon. Alternatively, Reporter Module can also be accessed by pressing the F7 key.

The Reporter Module provides 5 format options to print and/or export the reports:

  • WORD: produces a Microsoft Word file with .docx extension.
  • PDF: produces an Adobe Acrobat file with .pdf extension.
  • TEXT: produces a Text file with .txt extension.
  • EXCEL: produces a Microsoft Excel file with a .xlsx extension.
  • CSV: produces a Comma Seperated file with a .csv extension.

More information about Reporter Module can be found in Section 3.4 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 1.3 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 2.6.4 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."