Tech Briefs

Tools for Designing and Analyzing Structures

Structural Design and Analysis Toolset is a collection of approximately 26 Microsoft Excel spreadsheet programs, each of which performs calculations within a different subdiscipline of structural design and analysis.

These programs present input and output data in user-friendly, menu-driven formats. Although these programs cannot solve complex cases like those treated by larger finite element codes, these programs do yield quick solutions to numerous common problems more rapidly than the finite element codes, thereby making it possible to quickly perform multiple preliminary analyses — e.g., to establish approximate limits prior to detailed analyses by the larger finite element codes. These programs perform different types of calculations, as follows:

  1. determination of geometric properties for a variety of standard structural components;
  2. analysis of static, vibrational, and thermal-gradient loads and deflections in certain structures (mostly beams and, in the case of thermal-gradients, mirrors);
  3. kinetic energies of fans;
  4. detailed analysis of stress and buckling in beams, plates, columns, and a variety of shell structures; and
  5. temperature dependent properties of materials, including figures of merit that characterize strength, stiffness, and deformation response to thermal gradients.

This program was written by Paul L. Luz of Marshall Space Flight Center. For further information, contact Sammy Nabors, MSFC Commercialization Assistance Lead, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Refer to MFS-31797.