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Object-Oriented Design of a Finite Element Framework for Geotechnical Applications


Engineering software has conventionally been written in FORTRAN. This paper describes an alternative methodology for finite element programming based on object-oriented techniques. The objectives of the Finite Element framework presented are twofold: to provide scientists in the field of geotechnical engineering with the means to develop tailored applications for solving specific problems, and to develop an example application for geomechanics for a de facto proof of the applicability of the framework. The first aim requires extendability (with regard to, e.g., statical or physical modeling, algorithms and task management), understandability from the programmer's point of view, and maintainability. The second aim involves offering a basic set of the most frequently used features and a satisfying user interface, which should also comply with the object oriented paradigm.
The architectural design of the framework is based on a complete separation between concepts which concern the FE method itself, and items which concern managing an analysis, starting from the input, executing an analysis and assembling the results. Accordingly, the class architecture is based on two subsystems: one for the project and resource management, and the other for FE modeling. Each subsystem includes several main abstractions (class hierarchies) which are used to model different concepts, each for its own domain of com-petence.
The current contribution, which covers the design part of the framework, is the second of a set. The first one was published at the 4th European Conference on Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering, Udine (Fritz & Zheng 1998). It illuminated the object-oriented analysis of the framework.


Fritz, Pit and Zheng, Xiong

Index Terms:

FEM; Framework; rock; TunnelingGroup; finite elements; C++; mechanics; Object Oriented Programming; OOP; geotechnics; Informatics; Fritz, Pit; Zheng, Xiong


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Date published: 2001