While mechanical section properties (such as the centroidal moment of inertia) of simple cross sections are easily calculated, those of highly complex structures (including organically-generated structures) defy such analyses. In this paper a method is described for approximating the mechanical section properties of highly complex cross-sections, and the factors affecting its accuracy are tested and its error rate is quantified. The method relies on the analysis of digital images of the subject cross-section and does not require extensive user expertise or investment in expensive FEA programs to implement. The limited file space necessary to install the required code means that standard smart phones could be used to directly evaluate the most complex cross-sections in the field.

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