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Modelling a Cable using Femap with NX Nastran

1 - Introduction

This article discusses the simulation of a cable using Femap with NX Nastran by way of a simple
example (note that a cable is assumed to be a structural component which can only carry load in

Although not every step in generating and solving the example model is detailed, the intention has
been to provide sufficient information to allow a user to replicate the analysis. Note that this article
was generated on the basis of work performed using Femap v11.0.0 and NX Nastran v8.5, but should
be equally valid for other versions of Femap/NX Nastran. Also note that SI units have been utilised

2 – Model/Analysis Overview

The example model is a simple square steelwork frame (‘I’ beams) measuring 2m x 2m, with a
‘bracing’ cable running diagonally between two opposing corners. The steelwork frame has been
modelled using eight beam elements per side, and the cable has been modelled using a single rod
element. The rod element (CROD in NX Nastran) can carry tension, compression and torsion loads,
but not bending loads.

The beam elements reference a linear material but the rod element references a material which
includes a ‘non-linear elastic’ stress/strain curve – this is used to give the rod element its stiffness in
tension only’ characteristics. The model has been constrained at the two bottom corners and is
subject to shearing loads which act to deform the frame from a square to a parallelogram. Two load
cases have been analysed – one induces compression in the rod, the other tension. The model was
solved using NX Nastran solution scheme SOL 106 (non-linear statics) - this is necessary to ensure
that the non-linear material properties are accounted for.

The model (elements only) is shown in Figures 1 and 2.

Figure 1

Figure 2