Step 1: Start-up and preliminary set-up

Create a folder

Create a folder called shell at a convenient location. We'll use this folder to store files created during the session.


On Windows systems, select the appropriate menu path. On my system, the path is

Start > Programs > ANSYS 10.0 > ANSYS Product Launcher

Enter the location of the folder shell that you just created as your Working directory by browsing to it.

Enter shell as your Initial jobname. Click on Run.

Resize windows as shown in this snapshot so that you can read instructions in your browser window and implement them in ANSYS.

Set Preferences

Main Menu > Preferences

In the Preferences for GUI Filtering dialog box, click on the box next to Structural so that a tick mark appears in the box. From now on, only the menu options valid for structural problems will be made available.


ANSYS leaves it to us to use a consistent set of units. For convenience, we'll use the following set of units: mm for geometric dimensions; N for forces; and N/mm2 for Young's modulus and pressures. The resulting stresses will be in N/mm2 or MPa. Convince yourself that this is a consistent unit system; don't take my word for it.

Enter Parameters

We'll play smart and create scalar parameters corresponding to the plate and stiffener dimensions_._ This will later allow us to vary these parameters and perform optimization studies.

Utility Menu > Parameters > Scalar Parameters

Define a parameter for the plate length l1 in mm:
Click Accept. Similarly, define other parameters corresponding to the dimensions and click Accept after each (parameter names are not case-sensitive). Before you specify a parameter, refer to the geometry specification to remind yourself what dimension that parameter represents.


We'll play smarter and also specify the number of stiffeners in each direction as parameters so that these too can be varied easily in tradeoff studies. We'll employ the labels NSX and NSY for the number of stiffeners in the x and y directions, respectively.


We'll use the above parameters when creating the geometry in Step 4. We'll also define some parameters which we'll use in Step 5 to set the mesh size along edges.


Close the Scalar Parameters window.

Go to Step 2: Specify Element Types and Constants

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