The CAST program is being developed to provide both students and practitioners with a graphical design tool that makes the design process more efficient and transparent. The principal investigator of this research has had the opportunity to teach the STM to
students at the University of Illinois since Fall 1997. It has been his experience that students readily take to STM due to their familiarity and confidence in the simple mechanics of a truss. They have also been able to grasp proposed design provisions for the strength of struts, ties, and nodal zones. However, once a specific design assignment is given, they can quickly become bogged down in the details of calculating truss member forces and ensuring that the dimensions of the struts and nodal zones are sufficient to support the imposed loadings. The CAST program is a graphically interactive design tool that has been under development since
Fall 1998 and has been used by students taking the second course of
Reinforced Concrete Design at the University of Illinois since Fall 1999. The NSF CAREER is making possible the continued development of CAST. This will enable the growth into a program that allows designers to quickly optimize their design, handle multiple load cases, and generate final drawings. This program also serves as an instructional device, familiarizing students and practitioners with both the program and the strut-and-tie design philosophy.
CAST utilizes a single interface for creation or modification of strut-and-tie models, truss analysis, selection of reinforcing steel, and capacity checks of the struts and nodes. CAST was developed within Windows 32-bit environments. This means that it will only work on Windows 95/98/2000/ME/XP or NT 4.0 machines.