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3-Dimensions Finite Element Programming

  1. Mar 29, 2009 #1

    Does anyone know where I can get any programming for finite element in 3d object not calculation but for the display such as cad (e.g. meshing display)?

    Also what software that can do above operation?

    I mean, not ansys, nastran, algor, etc., but other that I can make it by myself by my own fe formulas.


  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2009 #2


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    Finite element is typically referred to as the application of said principles to solve engineering problems. If you simply want to display a set nodes, with the ability to zoom,rotate and pan, then you have a computer science, programming problem.

    Something like this could be made diluted with something as simple as Flash. Most FE file inputs have element numbers with associated connected nodes. You then plot the nodes using 3D transformations to determine the associated 2D screen position and "draw" lines between them. You can then draw areas using bounded lines and shade them accordingly.

    Can I ask why you would like to do this? Seems like an awful lot of work that people have already done for you.
  4. Mar 30, 2009 #3
    Are you talking about actual pre-processing or just visualisation?
  5. Mar 30, 2009 #4

    Thank you for the reply.

    I already know that there are many finite element software(s) e.g. ansys, etc., but the price is very expensive for single person like me.

    I am not realy sure what is the difference between pre-processing and visualization. But I am looking for not-too-expensive finite element software that when I give it an input manually it will display the correct picture right there should be.

    For example, the companion cd rom from most of finite element oriented textbooks is some of finite element programming using vbasic, fortran, excel, c++, etc., however, cmiiw, it is used for the calculation not for the display such as mesh/discretization display.


  6. Mar 30, 2009 #5
    Well you are asking for alot. Modern FEA programs use a combiation of Fortran, C++, and other languages. A simple viewing program would require the ability to access all of the nodal/element information in order to display a nice color plot of the nodal solution. A picture does not appear without the needed data. Also, I am assuming that the "pretty picture" plot is what you are after but there are vector plots, element plots, and numerous others. Also, do you want to be able to produce a graph from the plot ?
  7. Mar 31, 2009 #6
    Gmsh/salomé combined with Code_Aster is a free good alternative. Salomé-MECA even comes with a coupling with Code_Aster. That'll force you to learn a thing or two about FEA, I know it did with me :)
  8. Mar 31, 2009 #7


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    Quite honestly, it might be easier to develop an actual simple FE solver rather than the visualization. When you think about it, the finite element process is "simple" matrix algebra. Boundary conditions are enforced on the RHS, and much work is done in solve the extremely large, sparse matrix on the LHS.

    However, for visualization, you'll need a way to interpolate results as well as display them. You are solving for a discrete set of points, yet you wish to see solid color bands. You need a way to interpolate results from points into an area.

    Honestly, I would still look for some sort or trial or student version. Most of them can be gotten (legally even) for quite cheaply.
  9. Mar 31, 2009 #8


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    optics.tech: Calculix is free. See if that helps you.
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