I have written a plane frame program in c++ that I am relatively satisfied with. It allows the user to set some constraints on the members (max/min width and depth) creates different designs from the standard steel shapes and then runs a bunch of analyses corresponding to different load cases and checks max forces versus max capacities according to AISC 360. One capability that I would like to add is the ability to designate a member as tension only. The only way I can figure out how to do this is to run an analysis, check the tension only members, and if they are in compression set the stiffness to zero and rerun the analysis. I am just wondering if there is some other better way out there. I end up running a bunch of analyses, for linear, number of analyses = number of designs * number of load cases. For the scope of things that I am working on it usually takes a couple minutes to run all those. If I have to run each analysis twice then it will take twice as long. Is there a better way? If it is a symmetric structure then is there any downside to just not modeling the tension only members that I know a priori will be in compression. Any advice is welcome, thanks.
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