SectionBuilder is a finite element based tool for the sectional analysis of beams of arbitrary configuration made of anisotropic materials. ShapeBuilder is a pre-processor to SectionBuilder that enables the parametric definition of simple cross-sectional shapes that are used in mechanical and aerospace engineering.

This tutorial describes how to run SectionBuilder, exercise its many options, and how to understand the output generated by SectionBuilder. A detailed user's manual is available for SectionBuilder and in many instances, this tutorial links to this user's manual as a resource for finding more detailed information and background material.

ShapeBuilder provides a convenient way of generating simple cross-sectional shapes in a parametric manner. Familiar shapes such as I-sections, T-sections, or L-section are obtained easily along with more complex shapes such as airfoil sections or double box sections. This tutorial makes exclusive use of ShapeBuilder for the generation of the cross-sectional shapes.

Table 1. List of common tasks.
SectionBuilder Sign conventions Sectional properties The file system
File operations Open the input file Save the input file Backup the input file
Run SectionBuilder Perform FEM analysis The graphics commands
Visualize results Visualize strain field Visualize stress field Visualize warping field
Display results Display topology Display axes and centers
Element operations Select an element List stress tensor List strain tensor
Sensor operations List sensors Select an element Create a sensor
Static loads Select a loading case Edit a loading case Create a loading case