Model I-Beam

Model Overview

You can model an extrusion using the Simscape™ Multibody™ shape General Extrusion. Examples of extrusions include the I-beam and box-beam shapes. In this example, you model a simple solid with I-beam shape using the General Extrusion shape. For an example that shows you how to model a box beam, see Model Box Beam.

Modeling Approach

To represent the I-beam geometry, first identify its cross-section. This is the 2-D area that Simscape Multibody extrudes to obtain the 3-D I-beam. You can then specify the cross-section coordinates in the Solid block dialog box. The figure shows the I-beam cross-section that you specify in this example.

The [0 0] coordinate identifies the solid reference frame origin. To place the reference frame at the center of the I-beam, specify the coordinates so that the [0 0] coordinate is at the cross-section center. Because the I-beam cross-section is symmetric about the horizontal and vertical axes, you need only define the coordinates for one cross-section half—e.g, the right half. You can then define the left half coordinates in terms of the right half coordinates.

By parameterizing the cross-section coordinates in terms of relevant I-beam dimensions, you can quickly change the I-beam dimensions without having to reenter the cross-section coordinates. The figure shows the cross-section dimensions and coordinates that you must specify to represent the I-beam.

Using the cross-section points that the figure shows, you define the coordinate matrix as:

HalfCS = [A; B; C; D; E; F];
CS = [HalfCS; -HalfCS];

Build Solid Model

  1. At the MATLAB® command prompt, enter smnew. A new Simscape Multibody model opens with some commonly used blocks. Delete all but the Solid block.

  2. In the Solid block dialog box, specify the following parameters. You later initialize the different MATLAB variables in a subsystem mask.

    ParameterSelect or Enter
    Geometry > ShapeGeneral Extrusion
    Geometry > Cross-SectionCS, units of cm
    Geometry > LengthL, units of cm
    Inertia > DensityRho
    Graphic > Visual Properties > ColorRGB

  3. Select the Solid block and generate a new subsystem, e.g., by pressing Ctrl+G.

Define Solid Properties

  1. Select the Subsystem block and create a subsystem mask, e.g., by pressing Ctrl+M.

  2. In the Parameters & Dialog tab of the Mask Editor, drag six Edit boxes into the Parameters group and specify these parameters.


  3. In the Initialization tab of the Mask Editor, define the cross-section coordinates and assign them to MATLAB variable CS:

    D = H/2-T;
    HalfCS = [W/2, -H/2; W/2, -D; T/2, -D;...
    T/2, D; W/2, D; W/2, H/2];
    CS = [HalfCS; -HalfCS];

  4. In the Subsystem block dialog box, specify the numerical values of the solid properties. The table shows some values that you can enter.

    Color[0.85 0.45 0]

Visualize Solid Model

You can now visualize the I-beam solid. To do this, look under the Subsystem mask—e.g., by selecting the Subsystem block and pressing Ctrl+U—and open the Solid block dialog box. The solid visualization pane shows the solid that you modeled.

Parameterizing the solid dimensions in terms of MATLAB variables enables you to modify the solid shape without having to redefine its cross-section coordinates. You can change the solid size and proportions simply by changing their values in the Subsystem block dialog box. The figure shows some examples.

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