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Let's assume that we've just started PRE-Stress. Immediately after selecting a country code, PRE-Stress opens up to a blank page. The project tree handler is open. As you can see, there are no load combinations or other settings in the project tree yet. By default, a beam type of constant selection is selected, which we are going to use for the purposes of this example. The beam type selector is described in its own section.

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First, we create an element. In the Input tab of the project tree handler, enter the name and length of the element, then click the button next to Section to define the cross-section shape. The Section dialog will open. There are two databases, "Standard Eurocode concrete" and "Non-Standard concrete." The databases differ in that non-standard concrete elements may be added, changed and updated, whereas the user cannot make alterations to the standard Eurocode database. Note that SIB beams were stored with other cross-sections in versions prior to PRE-Stress 6.5. From 6.5 and onwards, this functionality is now accessed through the beam type selector.

For the purposes of this example, click “Non-standard concrete” in the Database field, then click whichever shape you want, then click on a desired section in the Section Name field. If a specific desired section is missing in a given list, you may create it by clicking Add. Finish by clicking OK, which returns you to the project tree handler and the element you were creating.

In the section dialog, you can also modify a section type's properties by selecting it and clicking the Change button, or create a new section type by clicking Add. Clicking either Add or Change brings up a dialog in which you can define section type properties. In the case of hollowcores these parameters differ from the other section types, as demonstrated in the guide to configuring HD sections.

The Input tab also has the optional Topping drop-down menu. This option is disallowed for SIB (Sloped I-Beam) elements. The topping functionality is described in its own section.

In the combo-box for density classes, see below, the user can choose between regular concrete and the six density classes defined in EN 1992-2 11.3.1. The density will be set to the higher value in each range (see EN 1992-1 annex A) but it can be modified in the material dialog, see 2.6.1. Concrete material settings.

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Adding the element to the list of elements automatically opens a wizard, a dialog that assists you in the creation of a pre-stressed beam. Click the button next to the loadcase drop-down. This opens the loadcase sub-dialog. Now, enter the name of the loadcase in which the dead-load should be created, then click Add. The loadcase should appear in the list. Now click OK to return to the prestressed beam wizard. Select the appropriate loadcase in the drop-down, and click OK. The element should now be created and viewable on the left-hand side of the project tree handler, and should contain a set of load combinations ranging from Release to Final Stage.

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Our project now has an element suitable for calculation and, since we requested it, has already applied the dead load to the created loadcase.

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PRE-Stress Documentation