Last week I posted about the Third Party Software on SimScale
SimScale Power User @ggiraldo has expanded on the section about Code_Aster and provided us with some more details, awesome!
In a nutshell, Code_Aster is a numerical solver for the structural and thermal analysis of solids, based on the Finite Elements Method. It is developed and maintained by the French Department of Energy [ww.edf.com|EDF], and is open sourced under public license. Its slogan is “Analysis of Structures and Thermomechanics for Study and Research”.
Brief History and Validation
Development of Code_Aster started back in the 1980’s to meet the requirements of engineering of nuclear energy facilities in France. The goal was to build a software system that was able to be quality audited, reliable, precise and extensible. Specially, it had to be possible to incorporate new physic models as they are developed, even that weren’t developed at the beginning, like for example XFEM for fracture mechanics. The development team includes specialist people in physics, mathematics, numerical analysis, software development and engineering applications, so that every feature introduced in the solver is analysed and tested from all those perspectives.
An essential part of the quality assurance for the solver are the validation tests. There are over 2300 automated test cases for aspects like code functionality, numerical models correctness and results validation. Each time the code repository is updated, all the tests are run. This ensures that new changes don’t break old functionality, and that the code behaves as intended.
Another very important aspect of the Code_Aster project is the documentation. Alongside the open source code and software, there is a repository with the theoretical background for the finite element method, the different numerical models, usage of features and the test cases. In total there are more than 14000 pages of documentation.
Today Code_Aster is used all around the world for academic research and professional engineering studies and designs, in fields such as mechanical engineering, civil engineering, nuclear engineering, aerospace and transportation. It brings access to a top-class simulation code to anyone.
Code_Aster has a wide range of analysis possibilities, among them:
- Mechanics: Linear or non-linear statics, quasi-statics, dynamics, modal, fracture, damage and fatigue, soil-fluid-structure interactions.
- Thermal: Linear or non-linear stationary and transient
- Other phenomena: acoustics, metallurgy, hydration and drying.
- Multiphysical (coupled) analysis: thermo-mechanics, thermo-hydro-mechanics.
It also has a library of more than 400 types of elements:
- “Material” elements: 2D, 2D axi, 3D, reduced integration, incompressible.
- “Structural” elements: bar, beam, plate, shell, membrane, cable, discrete element.
- Thermal, Hydro and THM: 2D, 2D axi, 3D, shell.
On the numerics side, it has a variety of linear equation solvers, non-linear function solvers, modal solvers and integration schemes. It also has routines for resource optimization and solving strategies, which adds a degree of robustness to the software.
Code_Aster and SimScale
As such, Code_Aster is only a solver, which means it is independent of the tool used to create the geometry and mesh, and the post processor used to analyse numerical results. Tools distributed with the software include programs to set up and run simulations, and little more.
This is where Simscale comes into scene, providing an easy to use interface, material models, meshing and post processing tools. Moreover, the cloud computing infrastructure provides access to otherwise prohibitive resources like multi-core machines and large amounts of memory, making possible the simulation of equally large models.
As of today, only a small portion of the Code_Aster capabilities are available through the Simscale interface. But new functionality is on the development roadmap, and here is hoping they come soon, so the platform and community keep growing larger and better in quality.
Here are some links if you want to read more of Code_Aster:
- Main page: www.code-aster.org
- Full description: www.code-aster.org/UPLOAD/DOC/Presentation/plaquette_aster_en.pdf
- Documentation: http://code-aster.org/doc/default/en/index.php?man=commande&lang=en
Specially watch the following videos, to me they are very interesting from the point of view of the evolution of simulation and engineering: