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Version Usage Tips Volume 1

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Local Element Coordinates

Typically piping systems are defined by specifying the delta coordinates, in the global coordinate system, of each individual element. There are, however, instances where specifying the element length in some local coordinate system would be easier. Such situations include:

  • When coding a long skewed run of pipe, i.e., not aligned with global "X" or "Z."
  • When coding a long run of pipe with a slope, such as down a hill.
In addition, it may be advantageous to alter the orientation of a previously defined element, perhaps when inserting an expansion loop or correcting an error.

CAESAR II has the ability to allow the specification of element lengths and orientations using local coordinates. A portion of the piping input spreadsheet is shown below. Notice the button to the right of the "DY" field. Clicking on this button brings up a floating dialog which includes edit boxes for the element length, and the element direction cosines.

This floating window can be moved over a (temporarily) unimportant area of the spreadsheet, or outside the spreadsheet completely. This local coordinate dialog box is shown in the figure below.

This floating dialog box can be used to specify local element coordinates in the following ways:

  • The length of an element can be specified in the length field, followed by the direction cosines. The cosines are not normalized until the spreadsheet is refreshed. An example defining an element on a 10:3 skew is shown in the figures below.
  • Once you are past the first element of the model, the local coordinate dialog box is always displayed showing the direction cosines of the current element. Coding along a skewed line simply involves specifying the element length.
  • Once the model has been defined, elements can be re-oriented by modifying their cosines.

1) Initial Element Deltas and Cosines

2) X Cosine Specified - Note change in Deltas

3) Z Cosine Specified - Note change in Deltas

4) Normalized Cosines - Note Deltas are the same

Using the Mouse Wheel

Many users now have a mouse with a Wheel between the left and right buttons. In CAESAR II, the mouse wheel can be used to scroll through previously defined piping spreadsheets. This serves the same function as the [PgUp] and [PgDn] keys.

If the Element Selection mode of the HOOPS graphics has been activated, clicking on an element in the graphics jumps the spreadsheet to that element. Clicking on the spreadsheet allows the data for this element to be modified. Scrolling the mouse wheel at this point will not only change the spreadsheet, but also update the current element indicator in the graphics window. This relationship is shown in the figure below. Note the gray-colored element in the vertical riser. This element corresponds to the current spreadsheet.

The HOOPS Graphics Context Menu

Most Windows software programs support Context menus, available by clicking the right mouse button. These Context menus vary in content according to the currently active software window, hence the use of the term context. The HOOPS graphics in CAESAR II also support a Context menu.

While in the HOOPS graphics, clicking the right mouse button brings up the context menu shown below. Each of these menu options displays a secondary menu with various graphics operations.

The first menu option is Operators, which contains options for the global manipulation of the graphic image. The second menu option is Views, which contains options to quickly orientate the image into the three standard planar views and the isometric view. The third menu option is Projections, which provides various viewing options. The fourth menu option is Properties, which presently only provides a single option to change the colors of the various plot items. Each of these menu options is discussed in the paragraphs below.

The Operators menu provides global manipulation options, as shown in the figure below. These operations are:

  • Annotate: Used to place user-defined text on the plot, from a leader line. Note, this text can not be saved with the job.
  • Element Select: Used to select a particular element. A small information dialog pops up describing the element's node numbers and delta coordinates. The [Spreadsheet] button can be used to bring up the entire spreadsheet associated with the selected element.
  • Orbit: Used to rotate the model with the mouse.
  • Pan: Used to move the model within the Window.
  • Zoom Extents: Used to zoom out such that the entire model can be seen in the Window.
  • Real Time Zoom: Used to activate an interactive zoom, whereby moving the mouse left and right zooms the model in and out.
  • Zoom Window: Used to zoom on a specific region of the model, using a standard rubber band box.

Operators Menu


The Views menu provides four predefined views. Using these options, you can quickly rotate the model to a specific orientation. These views are:

  • XY Plane: This option produces a view looking at the model in the "XY" plane, looking down the "Z" axis.
  • XZ Plane: This option produces a view looking at the model in the "XZ" plane, looking down the "Y" axis.
  • YZ Plane: This option produces a view looking at the model in the "YZ" plane, looking down the "X" axis.
  • Isometric: This option produces a standard Isometric view.

Views Menu

The Projections menu provides three different viewing perspectives. These perspectives are:

  • Orthographic: This option produces an orthographic view of the model.
  • Perspective: This option produces a perspective view of the model. This is probably the most useful view.
  • Stretched to Window: This option produces a stretched view of the model, such that the model fills the entire Window.

Projections Menu - Stretched View

The Properties menu provides a single option to manipulate the colors of the display items. This color control option produces the dialog shown at the right. Selecting an item in this list an clicking on the [Change] button produces the standard color control dialog.

The rotating spring hanger is used to actively view the color selection combinations before altering the entire plot window. This is a useful tool to prevent selecting unsatisfactory color combinations.

Color Control Dialog

HOOPS Manipulations

Another feature of the HOOPS Graphics is the ability to adjust the graphics toolbar, for the purpose of rearranging or removing buttons. There are a number of ways to make these adjustments, as discussed here. The first method is to right-click on the tool bar. This will bring up a button, shown in the figure below, which activates the modification dialog box.

Toolbar Adjustment Button

After clicking this [Customization Button], a dialog box is presented which allows for the removal or reordering of all toolbar buttons. Buttons can be removed by moving the selector in the right-hand list box to the desired button, and clicking on the [Remove] button. (Removed items can be put back on the toolbar by selecting them in the left-hand list box and clicking on the [Add] button.) Buttons can be reordered by selecting them and then clicking the [Move Up] or [Move Down] buttons. This modification dialog box is shown in the figure below.

Click to enlarge.

Toolbar Modification Dialog

In addition to the use of this formal customization dialog, individual buttons can be removed or repositioned by holding down the [Shift] key, and dragging the necessary button. To remove a button, drag it off the graphics window, using the left mouse button. To reposition a button, drag it to the desired location, using the left mouse button.

AMultiple viewports is another user-controllable feature of the HOOPS graphics. CAESAR II has provided the 4 Views graphics option for many years. This option, however, provides only four static views: X axis, Y axis, Z axis, and isometric. The HOOPS graphics on the other hand provide up to four views that can be sized, rotated, and annotated by the user.

The figure below shows the initial HOOPS view when these graphics are activated. Notice the two splitter bars, one at the far left of the lower scroll bar, and one at the very top of the right scroll bar.

Initial HOOPS Graphics View

Using the left mouse button, grab the lower left splitter bar and drag it to the right. This will split the graphics window into two panes, left and right. When the mouse button is released, both panes are updated, with the Z axis view in the left pane and the isometric (or original view) in the right pane. This modification to the graphics view is shown in the figure below.

HOOPS Graphics View - Vertical Split

Again using the left mouse button, grab the upper-right splitter bar and drag it down. This will split the two existing panes into two additional panes, upper and lower. When the mouse button is released, all four panes are updated, with the Z axis view in the lower left pane, the isometric (or original view) in the lower right pane, the X axis view in the upper left pane, and the Y axis view in the upper right pane. This modification to the graphics view is shown in the figure below.

HOOPS Graphics View - Vertical and Horizontal Split

The image in all of these panes can be manipulated individually. Each pane can be rotated, panned, or zoomed independently of the other panes.

The LIST Facility

The LIST Facility is a very powerful editing feature built into the piping input module. This List Facility allows for the global manipulation of a group of elements. This group can be as small as two elements, or as large as the entire model. These group operations (referred to as Block Operations in CAESAR II) include:

  • Rotate: Allows for the rotation of all elements in the group by a specified amount.
  • Duplicate: Allows for the duplication of the current group of elements
  • Delete: Allows for the deletion of the current group of elements
  • Nodes: Allows renumbering of the current group of elements
  • Status: Reports details about the elements currently selected

The Duplicate operation provides three different behaviors, which define the nature of the duplication. These behaviors are shown in the figure below. Notice that the current group (block) of elements consists of elements 60-70 through and including 120-130. Notice also that the copied block can be placed in three locations: after the current block (element 120-130), at the end of the input, or after the current element (which is 120-130). (The end of the input, not shown in the figure, is element 7160-8000.)

Placing the copied block after the current block, or at the end of the input, is somewhat obvious. What about the third option, after the current element?

The current element is 120-130, the last element in the selected block. Suppose we need to place the copied block after element 160-170. Somehow we need to make 160-170 the current element. Clicking on 160-170 cancels our block (elements 60-70 through 120-130) and highlights 160-170.

The proper way to change the current element is to use the [UpArrow] or [DownArrow] keys on the keypad. As either of these keys are used, notice that the current element is shown by depressing the element number in the far left column of the display. The figure below shows the display after the current element has been changed to 160-170. Activating the duplication operation at this point will place the copied block after element 160-170.

Another useful feature of the LIST facility is the Context Menu, obtained by clicking the right mouse key. This context menu provides a number of capabilities. One of the most useful of these is the [Choose List] menu.

The [Choose List] menu (shown in the figure below) is a quick way to change which List is being displayed. Without using this context menu, the only way to change the List being displayed is through the spinner control at the very lower left of the display. This spinner control will scroll the names of the various lists along the bottom of the screen. The context menu provides a quicker way to reach the desired list.

The [Block Operations] menu is also available from the Context Menu. This is shown in the figure below. Note that the [Auxiliary Screen] control can be activated from this menu, as well as the switch to show or hide duplicated data.

ODBC Compliant Database Output

CAESAR II can save output data to ODBC compliant databases. On the Windows platform, this typically means Microsoft Access.

The intent of the ODBC output feature is to allow users access to the data to:

  • Combine data for a project from multiple jobs.
  • Maintain an analysis history over various runs of the same job.
  • Extract very specific data without generating an entire report (i.e., restraint loads at only one or two node points).
  • Allow the creation and subsequent generation of custom reports.

The ODBC database creation is controlled via the [Databases] tab of the Configuration Module - from the Main Menu pull down the Tools menu, the Configuration Module is the first option in the list. A portion of the [Databases] tab is shown in the figure below. Checking the [Enable data export to ODBC compliant database] checkbox turns on the ODBC option, and enables the [Append] checkbox and the [Browse] button to select or specify the database file.

For in-stream processing with the analysis, if the [Append] checkbox is checked, then all subsequent analysis in this data directory will be written to the specified database. If the same job is rerun, the database will contain the results from each run. If (for in-stream processing the [Append] checkbox is not checked, then subsequent reruns of a job already in the database will overwrite the previous results. In either case, all jobs run from this data directory will be written to the specified database.

CAESAR II also provides a Data Export Wizard, which can create the database file after an analysis has completed. This method allows the selection of exactly what data is to be exported to the database. The in-stream processing method sends all output data to the database.

Users familiar with database creation (specifically MS Access ) can customize the database by modifying the template file found in the \caesar\system directory. This file is caesarii.mdb for MS Access. Custom queries and reports can also be added to these template files so that future databases will inherit these abilities. Users should note that future COADE releases will not include these customizations. Users who modify the ODBC database templates should make plans to save their templates and update future COADE releases in similar fashion.

Before attempting to use the ODBC feature, users must setup the Data Source Name on the computer where ODBC will be activated. Failure to setup this Data Source Name will result in the error shown below when CAESAR II attempts to write to the database. Data Source Name setup and configuration is discussed as a separate topic, which can be viewed by clicking here.

Once the necessary analysis have been completed, the database can be opened and various queries and reports can be run. If there is a query or report necessary, that is not provided in the COADE supplied template, you can use the "Design" mode of the database to create the necessary function. The figures below show the current tables defined for the static output, the provided reports, and a sample Displacement Summary report.

Database Tables

The figure above shows the static table structure of the database.

Database Reports

The figure above shows the static reports available from the database.

Click to enlarge.

Database Displacement Summary Report

The figure above hows a sample report available from the database.


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