CAD/GUI support for Elmer

Mesh generators, CAD programs, and other tools
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CAD/GUI support for Elmer

Post by raback » 08 May 2020, 19:23

Hi All,

There has been over the years many steps towards better CAD/GUI support for Elmer. I try to list them here.
  • ElmerFront: This was the original GUI for Elmer including 2D Delaynay mesh generator (by Martti V. at VTT). Made obsolite by ElmerGUI.
  • ElmerGUI: Updated user interface for Elmer with plugins to netgen/tetgen and OpenCASCADE (when succesfully compiled). Nice XML defintions of user modules. No mesh geometry creation capabilities and CAD interface limited to one body. Written mainly by Mikko L. and recently greatly updated by Saeki. Still a valid tool particularly for educational purposes but not great with CAD workflow.
  • Elmer-plugin in SALOME. Great first effort to gap the bridge between CAD and Elmer. Utilizes XML files for case setup. Mesh saved as UNV files and translated by ElmerGrid. See, discussion on viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4482 and GitHub in Written by RaJa and Matthias Z.
  • FreeCAD Elmer integration: Over the years there has been lot of interest to couple Elmer with FreeCAD such that it could be used as a GUI for Elmer also. There was a google summer of code project in 2017 on this. Here is lengthy discussion under FreeCAD forum: I have to admit that I had never visited this forum... Number of people have been working on this over the years. There seems to be a new effort by ceanwang which I don't know how much this is associated to the old efforts. Currently FreeCAD seems to have the most active user community.
  • FreeCADBatchFEMTools: Python code to perform preprocessing tasks in batch mode for Elmer. This is initially created for automated transformer simulation but should be applicable beyond. The emphasis has been on parametrized operation.
    Available under ... chFEMTools. Written by Eelis T., Janne K, and Sami R.
  • There has been idea by foadsf to create a wrapper for Elmer in style of PyFOAM. This avenue has to my knowledge not yet been much pursued.
Could somebody more familiar with CAD give their insight where we are currently. In how good shape is the integration of Elmer in these various GUI projects? Is there redundancy among different projects.

Now from the point of view of Elmer projects these are developments that we very much applaud even though we haven't too much supporting them. The Elmer development team is rather focused on the daily projects more focused on physics and numerics than GUIs.

Also, how could we modify the ElmerSolver code to better integrate with the different GUIs. For example,
  • It is smart that the XML files used for ElmerGUI are also used elsewhere. We could maybe try to produce more of them.
  • We recently added an optional writing of convertgence data that would be easier to use by external GUIs.
  • Zoltan mesh partitioning may be performed within ElmerSolver (thanx Joe!). This could make the parallel operation much smoother since partitioning would not be seen by the enduser.
We are open for further suggestions.

I will cross-post this to FreeCAD forum.


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