Easily determine the stresses, tensions, and reactions for tensile structures

MPanel FEA determines the fabric stresses, cable tensions, and corner reactions for a tensile structure under different loading conditions. This is a specialized problem, as the solution has to cope with orthotropic material properties, fabric wrinkling, slack fabric, slack cables, and large structure deformations.

The FEA interface has been designed to simplify the analysis problem to a series of easily understandable steps.

Powerful finite element analysis engine

MPanel FEA connects a powerful finite element analysis engine with an easy to understand user interface, to give you a robust solution to non linear FEA. The MPanel FEA interface reads a standard MPanel model and builds an FE model ready for analysis. Then the solver is run, to determine the model displacements for the load conditions, such as wind effects and snow cover. MPanel FEA works with both AutoCAD and Rhino.

Please visit our Youtube Channel below…

FEA Channel


Below you will find links for a document that discusses the application of finite element analysis to models designed with MPanel. The .pdf document is available for both Imperial and Metric measurements.

pdf_smallApplying FEA to a Tensile Structure – Imperial


pdf_smallApplying FEA to a Tensile Structure – Metric

Version change log

Version 18.x 2024-07-12
New "Use MPanel estimate" for the "Calculate initial tension".
Footer specifications added to materials database.
Pole footer estimator includes option to account for factored loads.
Pole footer depth estimates included in plot results for both simulated and cantilever poles.
Footer properties included in check plot of materials summary.
"Fix only in LC0" polys now plot out in the relevant check models.
"Fix only in LC0" polys now show sum reactions and udl's in report plots for LC0.
Version 17.x 2023-07-03
New ribbon menu buttons.
Fix only in LC0.
Fabric and cable mass added to databases.
Fabric and cable mass can be added to all load cases as dead load.
Help button context sensitive.
Improved text spacing in plot tables.
Help file includes more example models
Version 16 2022-06-05
Auto correct mesh orientation of mirrored and rotated meshes.
New "Poly Number" plot added to check model options.
Plot headers added to individual plots.
3 additional text size options providing finer control for plot results.
Table splits updated and arranged more intuitively and saved on exit.
Version 15 2021-07-18
The solver has been upgraded to providing robust solutions without the need for the superceded dual-loop solver.
New "Pinned Pole" has been introduced.
New "Free pole or beam" has been introduced.
Simulate beam poly special status has been removed
Version 14.1 2020-11-14
Maintenance Release:
Check pressure plot now shows the pressure direction allowing for the pressure up/down setting
Check pressure plot now uses the factors in the loads table
The results plot title block now specifies if the pressure up/down setting
The solve minimum stress setting was applying too high a value, this is now corrected
The set polyline special status could cause a UE when several polys were changed at once
The setup file is updated to work correctly with Rhino 7.
Version 14.0 2020-07-07
• New dual-loop solver for "Cantilever Poles with adjustable link" allows analysis of poles with multiple
sail connections.
• New "Cantilever Pole with adjustable link" added to Polyline special status in model building.
• New Results report of "Bending Stress and Bending Moment" of cantilever poles with multiple sail
• New raw data "angular direction of reactions" and "sum of reactions".
• New raw data "sum of reactions" for stiff pole bottoms.
• New standard plots "CRPN" (Cable, Restraints and Pole Numbers)
Version 13.0 2019-06-17
• More default values added to Materials database
• Changed encastre database to use “Section modulus Z”  instead of pole diameter and wall thickness
• Changed Encastre pole definition
• Added new Static Beam model element
• New advanced solver setting to restrict minimum membrane stress
• Changed the databases to give separate names for metric and imperial, used for cable, poles and encastre poles
• New bending stress report show on a line that represents the pole, colored to show the max bending stress
• New text “anti collision” routine for reactions
• Plot setting includes new options to change text size and resolution.
• Added an option to have the wind pressure +Up  or +Down load signs
Added individual load factors for Pressure, weight and snow
Version 12.0 2018-01-21
Version 11.0 2016-09-01