List of finite element software packages

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This is a list of software packages that implement the finite element method for solving partial differential equations.

Software Features Developer Version Released License Price Platform
Agros2D Multiplatform open source application for the solution of physical problems based on the Hermes library University of West Bohemia 3.2 2014-03-03 GNU GPL Free Linux, Windows
ANSA Pre-processor An advanced CAE pre-processing software for complete model build up. BETA Proprietary commercial software Linux, Mac OS X, Windows
CalculiX It is an Open Source FEA project. The solver uses a partially compatible ABAQUS file format. The pre/post-processor generates input data for many FEA and CFD applications Guido Dhondt, Klaus Wittig 2.14 2018-04-27 GNU GPL Free Linux, Windows
DIANA FEA General purpose finite element package utilised by civil, structural and geotechnical engineers. DIANA FEA BV, The Netherlands 10.1 2016-11-14 Proprietary commercial software Paid Windows, Linux
deal.II Comprehensive set of tools for finite element codes, scaling from laptops to clusters with 10,000+ cores. Written in C++. Wolfgang Bangerth, Timo Heister, Guido Kanschat, Matthias Maier et al. 9.0 2018-05-12 LGPL Free Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, Windows
DUNE Distributed and Unified Numerics Environment, written in C++ DUNE Developer team 2.4.1 2016-02-29 GPL Version 2 with Run-Time Exception Free Linux, Unix, Mac OS X
Elmer Open source multiphysical simulation software developed by Finnish Ministry of Education's CSC, written primarily in Fortran (written in Fortran90, C and C++) CSC 8.2 2016-03-15 GPL Free Linux, Mac OS X, Windows
FEBio Finite Elements for Biomechanics University of Utah (MRL), Columbia University (MBL) 2.7 April, 2018 Custom Free Linux, Mac OS X, Windows
FEniCS Project Software package developed by American and European researchers with the goal to enable automated solution of differential equations FEniCS Team 1.6.0 2015-07-29 LGPL (Core) & GPL/LGPL (Non-Core)[1] Free Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, Windows
FEATool Multiphysics MATLAB FEM and PDE multiphysics simulation toolbox Precise Simulation 1.10 2019-05-17 Proprietary EULA Free for personal use[2] Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Unix
Femap Finite element pre- and post-processor Siemens PLM Software 11.4.0 2016-09-16 Proprietary commercial software Windows
FreeFEM[3] FreeFEM is a free and open-source parallel FEA software for multiphysics simulations. The problems are defined in terms of their variational formulation and can be easily implemented using FreeFEM language. Written in C++. Sorbonne University[4] and Jacques-Louis Lions Laboratory[5] 4.2.1 2019-06-06 LGPL Free Linux, MacOS, Windows, Solaris
GOMA GOMA is an open-source, parallel, and scalable multiphysics software package for modeling and simulation of real-life physical processes, with a basis in computational fluid dynamics for problems with evolving geometry. Sandia National Laboratories, University of New Mexico 6.1 Aug 28, 2015 GPL Version 2 Free Linux
GetFEM++ A generic finite element library written in C++ with interfaces for Python, Matlab and Scilab. It focuses on modeling of contact mechanics and discontinuities (e.g. cracks). Yves Renard, Julien Pommier 5.0 2015-07 LGPL Free Unix, Mac OS X, Windows
Hermes Project Modular C/C++ library for rapid development of space- and space-time adaptive hp-FEM solvers hp-FEM group 3.0 2014-03-01 LGPL Free Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, Windows
Mathematica[6] General purpose computation software. Wolfram Research 12.0.0 (April 16, 2019; 9 months ago (2019-04-16)) [±][7] Regularly Proprietary Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, Raspbian, Online service.
MATLAB Partial Differential Equation Toolbox MATLAB Toolbox for solving structural, thermal, electromagnetics, and other general PDEs MathWorks 3.3 (R2019b) 2019-09-11 Proprietary commercial software Linux, Mac OS X, Windows
MFEM MFEM is a free, lightweight, scalable C++ library for finite element methods that features arbitrary high-order finite element meshes and spaces, support for a wide variety of discretizations, and emphasis on usability, generality, and high-performance computing efficiency. MFEM team 3.4 2018-05-29 LGPL-2.1 with static linking exception Free Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, Windows
MoFEM JosePH Mesh Oriented hp-FE code, written in C++ University of Glasgow 0.6.8 2017-11-16 LGPL Free Unix, Mac OS X
MOOSE Object Oriented FE framework, written in C++ Idaho National Laboratory regularly LGPL Free Unix, Mac OS X
OOFEM Object Oriented Finite EleMent solver, written in C++ Bořek Patzák 2.4 2016-02-15 GPL Version 2 Free Unix, Windows
OpenSees Open System for Earthquake Engineering Simulation Non Commercial Free Unix, Linux, Windows
SESAM (FEM) Software suite for structural and hydrodynamic analysis of ships and offshore structures DNV GL regularly Proprietary, SaaS Windows, Web browser
Range Software Multiphysics Finite Element Analysis Software Tomáš Šoltys 3.0 2018-04-30 GPL Free Linux, Windows
Z88/Z88Aurora Freeware finite element package; The present version Z88Aurora V4 offers, in addition to static strength analysis modules such as non-linear strength calculations (large displacements), simulations with non-linear materials, natural frequency, static thermal analysis and a contact module. Frank Rieg Z88 V15, Z88Aurora V4 2017-07-17, 2017-04-24 GNU GPL, Custom Free Linux, Windows, Mac OS X
Abaqus Advanced Franco-USA software from SIMULIA, owned by Dassault Systemes Abaqus Inc. 2019 2019-12 Proprietary commercial software Linux, Windows
CONSELF CAE simulation from your browser CONSELF SRL 2.9 2015-10 SaaS Freemium Web browser
FreeCAD Parametric 3D modeler with a FEM workbench allowing it to use external solvers like CalculiX, Z88, Elmer, and OpenFoam FreeCAD Team 0.18 12 March 2019 LGPL 2 Free Linux, Windows, Mac OS X
HyperMesh Finite element pre- and post-processor.

(Hypermesh is a product within the HyperWorks suite)

Altair Proprietary commercial software Linux, Windows
ADINA Finite element software for structural, fluid, heat transfer, electromagnetic, and multiphysics problems, including fluid-structure interaction and thermo-mechanical coupling Adina R&D Proprietary commercial software
Advance Design BIM software for FEM structural analysis, including international design eurocodes GRAITEC 2014 2013-09 Proprietary commercial software
Autodesk Simulation Finite Element software of Autodesk Autodesk Proprietary commercial software Windows
ANSYS US-based and -developed full CAE software package Ansys Inc. 19.2 2018-09-18 Proprietary commercial software Free student version available, up to 32,000 nodes/elements[8] Windows, Linux
COMSOL Multiphysics COMSOL Multiphysics Finite Element Analysis Software (formerly FEMLAB) COMSOL Inc. 5.4 2018-10-03 Proprietary EULA Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, Web browser
CosmosWorks Part of SolidWorks Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. Proprietary commercial software Windows
Quickfield Tor Cooperative 6.1 2015-12-22 Proprietary EULA Windows
LS-DYNA Best known for explicit dynamics / crash analysis LSTC - Livermore Software Technology Corporation R8.0 2015-03 Proprietary commercial software Linux, Windows
Nastran Originally developed for NASA, now available commercially from several software companies MSC NASTRAN, Siemens PLM NX Nastran[9] 2014 2014 Proprietary EULA Linux, Mac OS X, Windows
RFEM 3D finite element analysis software Dlubal Software 5.06 2016-02 Proprietary commercial software Free student license available[10] Windows
SimScale German 100% web-based CAE platform SimScale GmbH 14 2013-07 SaaS Free community version available[11] Web browser
VisualFEA Finite element software for structural, geotechnical, heat transfer and seepage analysis Intuition Software 5.11 2016-01 Proprietary software Free educational version available[12] Mac OS X, Windows
JCMsuite Finite element software for the analysis of electromagnetic waves, elasticity and heat conduction JCMwave GmbH 3.6.1 2017-01-27 Proprietary EULA Linux, Windows
JMAG 2D and 3D finite element analysis software for electromagnetic field, thermal, structural JSOL 18.1 2019-06 Proprietary commercial software Education pack available Linux, Windows, Web browser
StressCheck Finite element analysis software based on p-FEM with a focus on solid mechanics applications ESRD, Inc. 10.4 2018-04 Proprietary commercial software Student version available (limited to 15k DOF) Windows

Feature comparison[edit]

This is a wiki table generated by FEA-compare project. Please, contribute changes directly to the project instead of editing the table below. The project also provides an HTML version with the first row and Feature column being fixed for ease of table exploration.

Feature code_aster GetFEM++ Deal II Range Elmerfem MOOSE libMesh FEniCS FEATool Multiphysics Firedrake COMSOL(R)
GUI: Yes (Salome-Meca) No No Yes Yes, partial functionality Yes No Postprocessing only Matlab and Octave GUI No Yes
Documentation: user manual, theory manual, verification manual, developer manual (more than 25000 pages both in French and English with machine translation) User doc, tutorials, demos, developer's guide 50+ tutorials, 50+ video lectures, Doxygen user manual, tutorials ElmerSolver Manual, Elmer Models Manual, ElmerGUI Tutorials, etc. (>700 pages of LaTeX documentation) Doxygen, Markdown, 170+ example codes, 4300+ test inputs Doxygen, 100+ example codes Tutorial, demos (how many?), 700-page book Online FEATool documentation, ~600 pages, ~20 step-by-step tutorials, and 85 m-script model examples Manual, demos, API reference
mesh elements: segments (1d), triangles, quadrilaterals (2d), tetrahedra, pyramids, wedges, hexahedra (3d) intervals, triangles, tetrahedra, quads, hexes, prisms, some 4D elements, easily extensible. intervals (1d), quads (2d), and hexes (3d) only points(0d), segments (1d), triangles, quadrilaterals (2d), tetrahedra, hexahedra (3d) intervals (1d), triangles, quadrilaterals (2d), tetrahedra, pyramids, wedges, hexahedra (3d) Tria, Quad, Tetra, Prism, etc. Tria, Quad, Tetra, Prism, etc. intervals, triangles, tetrahedra (quads, hexes - work in progress) intervals, triangles, tetrahedra, quads, hexes intervals, triangles, tetrahedra, quads, plus extruded meshes of hexes and wedges
mesh high-order mapping: Quadratic any order Yes, for Lagrange elements (Any - work in progress) (Any - using appropriate branches) Any? Second-order is the default for most cases.
mesh generation: Yes (Salome-Meca) Experimental in any dimension + predefined shapes + Extrusion. external+predefined shapes Yes (TetGen) Limited own meshing capabilities with ElmerGrid and netgen/tetgen APIs. Internal extrusion and mesh multiplication on parallel level. Built-in Built-in Yes, Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) supported via mshr (CGAL and Tetgen used as backends) Integrated DistMesh, Gmsh, and Triangle GUI and CLI interfaces External + predefined shapes. Internal mesh extrusion operation. Built-in
mesh adaptive-refinement: h-refinement Only h h, p, and hp for CG and DG h-refinement for selected equations h, p, mached hp, singular hp h, p, mached hp, singular hp Only h generate new mesh with variable density, no(?) p-refinement.
mesh input\output: unv, gmsh, MED, aster gmsh, GiD, Ansys rbm, stl ExodusII, Nemesis, Abaqus, Ensight, Gmsh, GMV, OFF, TecPlot TetGen, etc. ExodusII, Nemesis, Abaqus, Ensight, Gmsh, GMV, OFF, TecPlot TetGen, etc. XDMF (and FEniCS XML) FeatFlow, FEniCS XML, GiD, Gmsh, GMV, Triangle
mesh check: limited features (double nodes, degenerated elements) ? limited features (double nodes, degenerated elements, intersected elements) intersections (collision testing)
CAD files support: Yes (Salome-Meca) No IGES, STEP (with OpenCascade wrapper) Yes (stl) Limited support via OpenCASCADE in ElmerGUI STEP, IGES and many others.
mesh operation: Yes (Salome-Meca) Extrude, rotate, translation, refine Extrude, rotate, translation, refine Merge, join, extrude, modular mesh modifier system distort/translate/rotate/scale Merge, join, extrude, and revolve operations
Parallel possibilities
automatic mesh partitioning: Yes for parallel calculations (PTScotch, ParMetis) Yes (METIS) yes, shared (METIS/Parmetis) and distributed (p4est) No partitioning with ElmerGrid using Metis or geometric division Metis, Parmetis, Hilbert (shared and distributed meshes) Metis, Parmetis, Hilbert Yes (ParMETIS and SCOTCH) Yes
MPI: Yes Yes Yes (up to 147k processes), test for 4k processes and geometric multigrid for 147k, strong and weak scaling No Yes, demonstrated scalability up to 1000s of cores Yes Yes Yes, DOLFIN solver scales up to 24k Yes, Scaling plot for Firedrake out to 24k cores. Almost ideal for parameter sweep? For large scale simulations Comsol 4.2 bench by Pepper has 19.2 speedup on 24 core cluster (0.8 efficiency).
threads: Yes Threading Build Blocks Yes threadsafe, limited threading, work in progress Yes Yes
OpenMP: Yes Yes Yes (vectorization only) Yes Yes, partially Yes Yes Limited
OpenCL: No No No No No
CUDA: No No since 9.1 No No
Dimension: 0D/1D/2D/3D (dimensions may coexist) Any, possibility to mix and couple problem of different dimension 1/2/3D 0D/1D/2D/3D (dimensions may coexist) 1D/2D/3D (dimensions may coexist) 1/2/3D 2D\3D 1/2/3D 1/2/3D 1/2/3D
FE: Lagrange elements (isoparametric), mixed elements, structural mechanics elements (beam, plate) Continuous and discontinuous Lagrange, Hermite, Argyris, Morley, Nedelec, Raviart-Thomas, composite elements (HCT, FVS), Hierarchical elements, Xfem, easily extensible. Lagrange elements of any order, continuous and discontinuous; Nedelec and Raviart-Thomas elements of any order; BDM and Bernstein; elements composed of other elements. Lagrange elements Lagrange elements, p-elements up to 10th order, Hcurl conforming elements (linear and quadratic) for Lagrange, Hierarchic, Discontinuous Monomials, Nedelec Lagrange, Hierarchic, Discontinuous Monomials, Nedelec Lagrange, BDM, RT, Nedelic, Crouzeix-Raviart, all simplex elements in the Periodic Table (, any Lagrange (1st-5th order), Crouzeix-Raviart, Hermite Lagrange, BDM, RT, Nedelec, all simplex elements and Q- quad elements in the Periodic Table, any in Wave Optics Module: frequency domain and trainsient UI - 1,2, and 3 order; time explicit UI - 1,2,3, and 4 order;
Quadrature: depending on the type of element (Gauss, Newton-Cotes, etc) Gauss-Legendre, Gauss-Lobatto, midpoint, trapezoidal, Simpson, Milne and Weddle (closed Newton-Cotes for 4 and 7 order polinomials), Gauss quadrature with logarithmic or 1/R weighting function, Telles quadrature of arbitrary order. Gauss-Legendre (1D and tensor product rules in 2D and 3D) tabulated up to 44th-order to high precision, best available rules for triangles and tetrahedra to very high order, best available monomial rules for quadrilaterals and hexahedra. Gauss-Legendre (1D and tensor product rules in 2D and 3D) tabulated up to 44th-order to high precision, best available rules for triangles and tetrahedra to very high order, best available monomial rules for quadrilaterals and hexahedra.
Transient problems: Yes Any user implemented and/or from a set of predifined. Explicit methods: forward Euler, 3rd and 4th order Runge-Kutta. Implicit methods: backward Euler, implicit Midpoint, Crank-Nicolson, SDIRK. Embedded explicit methods: Heun-Euler, Bogacki-Shampine, Dopri, Fehlberg, Cash-Karp. Yes implicit-euler explicit-euler crank-nicolson bdf2 explicit-midpoint dirk explicit-tvd-rk-2 newmark-beta BE, CN, and Fractional-Step-Theta schemes (?) assume 2nd order leapfrog for wave optics?
Predifined equations: Yes (mechanics, thermics, acoustics) Laplace? Yes (Incompressible Navier-Stokes, Heat transfer (convection-conduction-radiation), Stress analysis, Soft body dynamics, Modal analysis, Electrostatics, Magnetostatics ) Around 40 predefined solvers Phase Field, Solid Mechanics, Navier-Stokes, Porous Flow, Level Set, Chemical Reactions, Heat Conduction, support for custom PDEs No Incompressible Navier-Stokes, Heat transfer, convection-diffusion-reaction, linear elasticity, electromagnetics, Darcy's, Brinkman equations, and support for custom PDE equations Yes, via modules
Automated assembly: Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Visualization: Paraview (Salome-Meca) External or with the Scilab/Matlab/Python interface. Possibility to perform complex slices. External (export to *.vtk and many others) GUI (built-in) ElmerPost, VTK widget (but Paraview is recommended) Yes, VTK-based GUI, Python visualizatuion library No Buil-in simple plotting + External Built-in with optional Plotly and GMV export External Built-in
Output format: MED, ASCII vtk, gmsh, OpenDX. *.dx *.ucd *.gnuplot *.povray *.eps *.gmv *.tecplot *.tecplot_binary *.vtk *.vtu *.svg *.hdf5 Several output formats (VTU, gmsh,...) ExodusII, Xdr, etc. ExodusII, Xdr, etc. VTK(.pvd, .vtu) and XDMF/HDF5 GMV and Plotly VTK(.pvd, .vtu)
Boundary elements solver: Yes for Soil-Structure Interaction (Miss3D) No Yes Existing but without multipole acceleration (not usable for large problems) No No
Use multiple meshes: Yes Yes including different dimensions and taking account of any transformation. Yes, autorefined from same initial mesh for each variable of a coupled problem Continuity of non-conforming interfaces ensured by mortar finite elements Yes, including non-matching meshes Yes
Linear algebra
Used libs: BLAS/LAPACK, MUMPS (and SCALAPACK), PETSc SuperLU, MUMPS, Built-in. Built-in + Trilinos, PETSc, and SLEPc No Built-in, Hypre, Trilinos, umfpack, MUMPS, Pardiso, etc. (optional) PETSc, Trilinos, LASPack, SLEPc PETSc, Trilinos, LASPack, SLEPc PETSc, Trilinos/TPetra, Eigen. Matlab/Octave built-in (Umfpack), supports integration with the FEniCS and FeatFlow solvers PETSc
Iterative matrix solvers: GMRES, CG, GCR, CR, FGMRES (via PETSc) All Krylov All Krylov (CG, Minres, GMRES, BiCGStab, QMRS) GMRES, CG Built-in Krylov solvers, Krylov and multigrid solvers from external libraries LASPack serial, PETSc parallel LASPack serial, PETSc parallel Matlab/Octave built-in
Preconditioners: ILU, Jacobi, Simple Precision Preconditioner (via MUMPS) Basic ones (ILU, ILUT) Many, including algebraic multigrid (via Hypre and ML) and geometric multigrid ILU, Jacobi Built-in preconditioners (ILU, diagonal, vanka, block) and LASPack serial, PETSc parallel, algebraic multigrid (via Hypre) LASPack serial, PETSc parallel Matlab/Octave built-in
matrix-free: No No Yes No Experimental implementation Yes
matrix-free save memory: No No Yes No
matrix-free speed-up: No No Yes No
Used language
Native language: Fortran 90, Python C++ C++ C++ Fortran (2003 standard) C++ C++ C++ Matlab / Octave Python (and generated C)
Bindings to language: Python Python, Scilab or Matlab No No Python
Predefined equations: linear quasistatics, linear thermics, non-linear quasistatics, non-linear dynamics, eigen problem for mechanics, linear dynamics on physical basis and modal basis, harmonic analysis, spectral analysis Model bricks: Laplace, linear and nonlinear elasticity, Helmholtz, plasticity, Mindlin and K.L. plates, boundary conditions including contact with friction.
Coupled nonlinear problems: thermo-hydro-mechanical problem for porous media, coupling with Code_Saturne CFD software for Fluid-Structure Interaction via SALOME platform Yes
Binary: Yes for Salome-Meca (Linux) Linux (Debian/Ubuntu) Linux, Windows (work in progress), Mac Windows, Linux (launchpad: Debian/Ubuntu), Mac (homebrew) (all with MPI) Linux (Debian\Ubuntu), Mac Windows, Linux, Mac No. Automated installers for Linux and Mac
fullname: Analyse des Structures et Thermo-mécanique pour des Études et des Recherches (ASTER) Elmer finite element software
Testing: More than 3500 verification testcases covering all features and providing easy starting points for beginners 3500+ tests More than 400 consistency tests ensuring backward compatibility 4300+ tests, Testing as a service for derived applications
Symbolic derivation of the tangent system for nonlinear problems: Yes
Support for fictitious domain methods: Yes
scripting: Runtime parsed mathematical expression in input files Fully scriptable in as m-file Matlab scripts and the GUI supports exporting models in script format
automatic differentiation: Forward-mode for Jacobian computation, symbolic differentiation capabilities
multiphysics: Arbitrary multiphysics couplings are supported Arbitrary multiphysics couplings are supported
Optimization Solvers: Support for TAO- and nlopt-based constrained optimization solvers incorporating gradient and Hessian information. Support for TAO- and nlopt-based constrained optimization solvers incorporating gradient and Hessian information.


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