I am analyzing a model made of large number of surface elements. I am using the SET DIVISION 4 command to control the surface divisions but when I run the analysis I get the following error message
**ERROR-TOTAL JOINT/ELEMENT LIMITS EXCEEDED WHILE CREATING SURFACE= 145
NUMBER OF MEMBERS+PLATES (PRIOR TO CREATING CURRENT SURFACE)= 225888
JOINT LIMIT= 200000 MEMBER+PLATE LIMIT= 230000
What does the error message mean ? How to get this addressed ?
One of the biggest disadvantages of using surface elements is that the software internally converts these surfaces into a mesh of plates and although one can control the number of divisions along the edges of these surfaces, there is no way to completely control the number of plate elements that are eventually generated during the meshing process. Typically when there are intermediate nodes along the surface edges and these are part of the surface incidences, each segment between these nodes are broken down into as many divisions as specified by the SET DIVISION. The meshing is also triangular in such cases leading to increased number of plates. In case of this model also the same thing is happening and with 4 number of divisions for each such segment, the total number of nodes and plates generated during the meshing process is becoming more than the maximum number of entities which the software can handle. The error message is because of that. The limits on the maximum number of nodes /beams/elements are specified in section Technical Reference of STAAD Commands > TR.2 Problem Initiation and Model Title of STAAD.Pro Help.
To address this problem, you may try specifying SET DIVISION 1 ( or at the most 2 ) before the SURFACE INCIDENCES which would reduce the number of nodes/elements. If that does not work, you will need to use the plate meshing instead of surfaces.