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Success Story

Grain Sprout Truss Kit Analysis

Problem Statement:

Matrix Engineering Consultants were contracted to perform a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) on three prototypes of 100-foot grain spout truss kits. The aim was to evaluate and compare their strength and deflection (sagging) before they were sent for production as a new offering for our client’s customers.

Methodology and Analysis:

Matrix collaborated with an architectural and engineering (A&E) firm to determine the environmental load cases and comply with IBC 2012 (International Building Code) & ASCE 7 (American Society of Civil Engineers).  

Load Case Scenarios:

The load cases applied to the grain spout included various scenarios:

  • Empty state
  • Full of grain, coated with ice
  • Empty, coated with ice, wind applied to the ice
  • Empty, wind applied
  • Empty, seismic loading
  • Partially full of grain, wind applied
  • Partially full of grain, seismic loading

To ensure that the cabling connecting the grain spout trusses reflected the appropriate tension in the FEA model, an iterative process involving pretensioning the cables and then applying environmental loads was used.  The cables were represented as tension-only elements and were allowed to roll over pulleys, enabling the segments to change length while maintaining uniform tension in each segment.

Recommendation and Results:

The design was iterated to ensure that the trusses were robust enough to handle the environmental loading. Upon achieving a robust design, Matrix provided an analysis report and wrote installation procedures for the client.

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