by Dr. Brendan O'Toole
PATRAN is a modular software system primarily used for the analysis of mechanical components. It provides tools for creating geometric models, solution routines for finite element analysis, and postprocessing capabilities for viewing a wide variety of FEA results. The graphical interface is very intuitive and easy to learn. The program has many noteworthy features including the ability to place load and boundary conditions directly on the geometric model. The software automatically converts these conditions to the FEA model updates them after mesh refinement. PATRAN also provides direct access to models created by many leading CAD programs.
NASTRAN is a powerful general purpose finite element analysis program used to solve problems in statics, dynamics, nonlinear behavior, thermal analysis, aeroelasticity, and optimization. The current version has its roots in the first FEA structural analysis programs developed by NASA. In fact, sections of the input file are referred to as decks in reference to the decks of cards used for programming years ago. The capabilities and solution sequences are updated on a regular basis and the latest version (69.1) has several enhancements for improved speed and reduced disk space requirements for large matrix operations. The program has been optimized to work with leading computer hardware technologies and has advanced features such as parallel processing and unlimited model size capability. The program is integrated very closely with PATRAN for pre and post processing of model geometry results.
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