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I'm attempting to expand my knowledge of engineering software. I've found comsol and ansys for acoustics and thermodynamics/fluid dynamics (not necessarily in that order), now I'd like to see if I can find something for architectural statics/load calculations. Which packages are in common industry use?

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closed as off-topic by Dilaton, Chris White, Waffle's Crazy Peanut, twistor59, Manishearth Jul 12 '13 at 5:41

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You mean you don't want to compile your own Fortran FEA code like the CFD people do? –  ja72 Jun 1 '12 at 1:57
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This question appears to be off-topic because it is about engineering without any physics in it. –  Dilaton Jul 10 '13 at 10:38
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We generally don't deal with software questions, or with pure recommendation questions. –  Chris White Jul 10 '13 at 14:30
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3 Answers 3

I’m studying mechanical engineering, so I don’t have a real "industry insight" in construction. Anyway, Ansys and Abaqus are very widely used in mechanics, whether it’s cars or buildings. Both have examples on their websites were they were used to solve real world problems: Ansys Structural Building Design

3DS Construction Engineering

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nice to know ansys can do that too, will have to look at abaqus. Gotta say, instaplay youtube video = instaturnoff –  Joe Stavitsky Feb 1 '12 at 18:48
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You can find pretty much information on mathematica website and they are providing even seperate packages to work in specific domain. Check thislink and this link on structural mechanics. The student version of this product costs just $50 and is worth it. I bought it for myself too. They also provide demonstrations

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It depends on what you are trying to achieve. The first thing to realise is that most civil / structural engineering projects do not need high specification numerical analysis. We work on a number of projects often with a high turnover and generally solving relatively simple problems so avoid the use of high specification numerical analysis typically a sensible part of the design process.

The second thing to realise is that there are a wide variety of problems in Civil / Structural engineering and so there are a wide variety of tools to solve them. Aspects that you will want to consider will be things like 2D or 3D, do you want to model a structure as a simple frame or using complex elements, do you want to model the ground, do you want to model dynamics, thermal effects, creep, model complex load patterns (such as live loads on bridges), fatigue, hydraulic or wind loads, large displacements etc.

My suggestion in Civil / Structural engineering is that you don't want to learn the software before you learn about the fundamentals of the subject. Normally it only takes a few days to learn to 'drive' any specific piece of software but it can take many years to learn how to model structures such as bridges, this part of the learning is generally not software specific but can be solved with many different pieces of software which all do similar things.

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