SAP2000 v. 11.0.4 : bug in displaying area loads assignments

In SAP2000 v. 11.0.4 when you try to show area loads by using the options “uniform load contours” you see only one color while you could get the right color distribution. This graphic bug may give some problems when you assign area loads in shell elements and when you have to check their location. Example: Start SAP2000 and choose “New model > Flat stab” and, assuming default values for “Slab”, click on “Ok” button. Choose “X-Y Plane” view; now select the middle area as shown below:

SAP2000 - select middle area in flat stab

Now define a new load case in “Define > Load cases …” menu item. In “Define loads” window add a new case i.e. name “Loads”, type “Live”, self-weight multiplier “0” . Then assign an uniform load value to the selected area: go to “Assign > Area loads > Uniform (shell)” menu item, choose the load name previously defined (i.e. “Loads”), check the “Add to existing loads” radio item and type a value in direction gravity – global coordinates (i.e. 10 KN).

SAP2000 will show you by default area load values for each shell element: SAP2000 - load assignments values

For a better understanting of load values you would use colors instead of single values. To do this go to “Display > Show load assigns > Area …” menu item. Select the load case previosuly defined (i.e. “Loads”), check the “Uniform load contours” radio button, choose “GLOBAL” coordinate system, direction “gravity” and click “Ok”. You will expect that the selected area is painted with the default color for the maximum value (i.e. blue for 10 KN) and the remaining part of the flat stab painted with the default color for the minimum value (i.e. purple for 0 KN). Instead SAP2000 v.11.0.4 will show you something like this:

SAP2000 11 0 0 - load assignments colors

As you can see is impossible to recognize shell elements with 10 KN applied before because you can see only one color. It is curious to note that this graphic bug is not present in SAP2000 v. 11.0.0 version; if you repeat steps before by using this version of the software you will have this result:

SAP2000 - right load assignments

that is the right area load graphic rendering. This bug issue was tested on a MacBook 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with Windows XP SP3® installed (and run by using Bootcamp®; and VMWare Fusion® ) and on a HP Compaq notebook with Windows XP SP2® installed. In conclusion, if you want to avoid this annoying problem, you have to downgrade to 11.0.0 (or use it only for this function).

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