# G.17.3.2 Mass Modeling

The natural frequencies and mode shapes of a structure are the primary parameters that affect the response of a structure under dynamic loading. The free vibration problem is solved to extract these values. Since no external forcing function is involved, the natural frequencies and mode shapes are direct functions of the stiffness and mass distribution in the structure. Results of the frequency and mode shape calculations may vary significantly depending upon the mass modeling. This variation, in turn, affects the response spectrum and forced vibration analysis results. Thus, extreme caution should be exercised in mass modeling in a dynamic analysis problem.

In STAAD.Pro, all masses that are capable of moving should be modeled as loads applied in all possible directions of movement. Even if the loading is known to be only in one direction there is usually mass motion in other directions at some or all joints and these mass directions (applied as loads, in weight units) must be entered to be correct. Joint moments that are entered will be considered to be weight moment of inertias (force-length2 units).

Member/Element loadings may also be used to generate joint translational masses. Note that loads (representing the masses) defined as member concentrated loads, or partially distributed member loads, on non-globally aligned members may result in additional mass being included in orthogonal directions at the nodes. This is because the resolution of these loads (masses) onto the nodes is only considered in the positive direction, and thus does not account for any directional sign of the effect at the node. Member end joint moments that are generated by the member loading (including concentrated moments) are discarded as irrelevant to dynamics. Enter mass moments of inertia, if needed, at the joints as joint moments.

STAAD.Pro uses a diagonal mass matrix of six lumped mass equations per joint. The selfweight or uniformly loaded member is lumped 50% to each end joint without rotational mass moments of inertia. The other element types are integrated but—roughly speaking—the weight is distributed equally amongst the joints of the element.

The members/elements of finite element theory are simple mathematical representations of deformation meant to apply over a small region. The finite element analysis (FEA) procedures will converge if you subdivide the elements and rerun; then subdivide the elements that have significantly changed results and rerun; an so on, until the key results are converged to the accuracy needed.

An example of a simple beam problem that needs to subdivide physical members to better represent the mass distribution (as well as the dynamic response and the force distribution response along members) is a simple floor beam between two columns will put all of the mass on the column joints. In this example, a vertical ground motion will not bend the beam even if there is a concentrated force (mass) at mid span.

Masses that are assigned to dependent degrees of freedom (dof) are moved to the control node with a rotatory mass moment of inertia applied at the control. This will be an approximation if the control node is not at the center of gravity (CG, i.e., center of mass) of the dependent masses.

In addition, the dynamic results will not reflect the location of a mass within a member (i.e., the masses are lumped at the joints). This means that the motion, of a large mass in the middle of a member relative to the ends of the member, is not considered. This may affect the frequencies and mode shapes. If this is important to the solution, split the member into two. Another effect of moving the masses to the joints is that the resulting shear/moment distribution is based as if the masses were not within the member.