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Define the type of combination

Details of Define the type of combination

Since SCIA Engineer 18 it is possible to have automatic generated code combinations in your project. However, if you want to define your own combinations (Main menu > Libraries > Load cases, combinations), it is important to know the three main types that are available:

  • Eurocode
  • Envelope
  • Linear

The differences between these three types are the use of coefficients (load combination factors) and the defined relations between the load cases of which the combination will consist. First, the differences will be discussed. Second, the theory is put into practice by the use of an example.


Use of coefficients

For the use of the coefficients, the following rule applies: if the type of combination is Eurocode, SCIA Engineer will automatically use the load combination factors set by the chosen National Annex of the Eurocode. For the Standard EN, this is shown in figure below. You can search for Annex settings in the SCIA Spotlight or go to the Status bar, hover over the National Annex symbol and select Manage annexes. Then you can click on the three dots behind EN1990 to open the settings:

If the type of combination is Envelope or Linear, SCIA will not use these load combination factors, but the ones inputted in the combination:


Use of relations

The relation of a load group defines how the load cases in this group are related. For a permanent load case, there is no need to define a relation since these load cases are permanently present. For a variable load case, the relation can be set in the load groups (Main menu > Libraries > Load cases, combinations). There are three relations possible:

  • Standard
  • Exclusive
  • Together

Imagine the two variable load cases A and B are put into the same load group. The table below shows the possible situations which occur for each relation:


Differences in type of combination

The previous described differences are now used as follows in the three types of combination:

Since for the Linear type you will need to input everything manually, this means that it consists of only 1 combination. For the Envelope type you will need to input the coefficients, but the defined relations are taken into account by SCIA Engineer. This means that the one envelope combination can consist of multiple linear combinations where the relations are taken into account. The Eurocode combinations will take the coefficients from the chosen National Annex and the relations from the set load groups. Like the envelope combination, this implies that one Eurocode combination can consist of multiple linear combinations where the set coefficients and relations are taken into account.



Suppose that we input the following load cases:

  • LC1: Self weight / permanent / coefficient = 1,35 / Load group LG1 = permanent
  • LC2: Permanent / permanent / coefficient = 1,4 / Load group LG1 = permanent
  • LC3: Variable1 / variable / coefficient = 1,2 / Load group LG2 = variable (Standard)
  • LC4: Variable2 / variable / coefficient = 0,8 / Load group LG3 = variable (Exclusive)
  • LC5: Variable3 / variable / coefficient = 0,9 / Load group LG3 = variable (Exclusive)

For the Linear combination this results into only 1 combination:

This is actually not what we intend since we want LC4 and LC5 to be exclusive, i.e. not together in the same combination. However, the linear type will not account for the set relations in the load group, so therefore you should manually exclude LC4 or LC5 from the linear combination.

For the Envelope combination this results into 6 linear combinations (you can explode the envelope combination in linear combinations via the Action button Explode to linear):


The envelope combination consists of multiple linear combinations because of the different relation between the load cases. Note that the coefficients remain unchanged throughout the 6 linear combinations.

Some of the 6 combinations are:

  • 1,35*LC1 + 1,4*LC2
  • 1,35*LC1 + 1,4*LC2 + 1,2*LC3
  • 1,35*LC1 + 1,4*LC2 + 1,2*LC3 + 0,8*LC4

For the Eurocode combination this results into 22 linear combinations:

The Eurocode combination consists of more linear combinations compared to the envelope combination. As seen on the figure above, all coefficients are 1,00 and grayed out. This shows that the coefficients are inputted automatically by SCIA Engineer.

Some of the 22 linear combinations are:

  • 1,35*LC1 + 1,35*LC2
  • 1,00*LC1 + 1,00*LC2
  • 1,35*LC1 + 1,35*LC2 + 1,5*LC3