Introduction to Finite Element, Boundary Element, and Meshless Methods: With Applications to Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow
1.6 List of Commercial Codes
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There are numerous companies selling FEM, as well as CFD-related, software. Many of the smaller companies have either closed or have been absorbed by larger companies. Some of this began with the purchase of Fluid Dynamics International (developers of FIDAP, a penalty approach FEM) by Fluent, Inc., which sold FLUENT, a popular CFD finite volume code. Fluent later obtained NEKTON, a spectral element code developed at MIT. Fluent, Inc. was subsequently purchased by ANSYS, Inc., who had also purchased FLOTRAN (an equal-order FEM code). COMCO, Inc., who had originally developed an hp-adaptive flow code in UT-Austin, and CENTRICS, a high-end finite element CFD code first developed at Stanford, both closed. The choices are numerous, and sometimes confusing for the buyer interested in obtaining a good code, especially one that is FEM based. COMSOL is a multiphysics FEM code that is widely used for its ability to couple various physics problems, e.g., fluid-structural-heat transfer, together into one overall solution strategy. This is a very easy program to use, reasonably priced and runs on PCs, with follow-on support from COMSOL, Inc. Today, even the finite volume based CFD codes use unstructured meshes (generally polygons) once unique to the FEM approach.