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Report Visualisation of User Defined Finite Elements with ABAQUS/Viewer Visualisation of User Defined Finite Elements with ABAQUS/Viewer S. Roth, G. Hütter, U. Mühlich, B. Nassauer, L. Zybell, M. Kuna Institute of Mechanics and Fluid Dynamics, TU Bergakademie Freiberg Abstract rather complex overhead inclu- cular advantages is not seen Commercial finite element (FE) ding the pre-processing, proper as a suitable alternative ei- software packages provide inter- data organisation etc. In addi- ther. Second, independent of the faces for user defined subrouti- tion, sophisticated solvers, con- particular choice, data conversi- nes, e.g. to define a user defined tact algorithms or other tools on has to be performed always. material behaviour or special pur- are involved. Furthermore, the This means that the use of other pose finite elements, respec- amount of manpower and time post-processing tools than the tively. Regarding the latter, the needed for the maintenance of Abaqus/Viewer would not pro- major drawback of user defined such complex software soluti- vide any benefit regarding the elements in Abaqus is that they ons should not be underesti- development cycle of the soft- can not be visualised with the mated. ware necessary to achieve the standard post-processing tool The user element interface pro- desired objective. Abaqus/Viewer. The reason for vided by the commercial FE pro- A particular strategy for the this is that the element topolo- gram Abaqus enables researches visualisation of user elements is gy is hidden inside the element working in different fields of sketched already in the Abaqus subroutine. continuum mechanics, to focus manuals. However, this strategy The software tool presented exclusively on their specific pro- has several serious drawbacks. within this contribution closes blems without being forced to Here, a solution is proposed that this gap in order to utilise the take care of the topics mentioned resolves these problems. powerful Abaqus postprocessing above. Unfortunately, Abaqus The paper is organised as follows. potentials. Because only elements can only visualise built-in ele- First, the Abaqus data structu- from the Abaqus element library ments with the corresponding re is examined in order to de- can be visualised with Abaqus/ post-processing tool, Abaqus/ rive the minimum requirements Viewer, the user elements in Viewer. However, Abaqus pro- for a suitable visualisation stra- the output data bases resulting vides tools to extract informa- tegy. Subsequently, different pos- from FE calculations are replaced tion from output database files. sibilities to accomplish the task with properly chosen elements The latter contain all requested are outlined and the particular from the Abaqus standard ele- data of the FE analysis including advantages and disadvantages ment library. Furthermore, user model information and results. are discussed, focusing espe- element related data are taken The particular structure of these cially on the solution proposed from the binary results files and files relies on the Abaqus data here. Afterwards, the latter is transferred consistently to these convention which is documen- described in more detail and standard elements. This is done ted in the corresponding manuals its capabilities are demonstrated by means of the Abaqus Python [1]. Therefore, all the necessary by means of several illustrative scripting interface and requires information can be extracted, en- examples. the provision of additional user riched and re-structured in order defined information concerning to use the outcome of this pro- 2. Visualisation strategies the element topology. cess for the Abaqus/Viewer. The Plotting of user elements is The capabilities of this software use of another post-processing not supported in Abaqus/ tool are demonstrated with user software would be possible too, CAE [1]. The Abaqus/Viewer defined elements developed for but there are certain objections only supports the visualisati- non-local damage mechanics, concerning this idea. First of all, on of built-in elements of the gradient elasticity, cohesive zone it is rather unlikely that alter- Abaqus element library, which models and ferroelectricity. native visualisation tools provi- are hereinafter referred to as de all the specific facilities sup- standard elements. There is 1. Introduction ported by the Abaqus/Viewer. no interface to specify user de- Fini

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