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Are there any open source tools for calculating the normal modes of arbitrary objects? Input would be some 3D design format and material properties, output would be movement direction and magnitude for each vertex along with frequency of each normal mode.

Commercial software such as SYSNOISE does this.

Failing that, can anybody provide advice/references on creating such a tool? (I'll publish it, I promise :p)

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Any physics-oriented FEM solver should do this. I have only done it with COMSOL, which is proprietary and expensive, but searching Ubuntu's repository of free software turns up at least two promising candidates: Elmer and FreeFEM. I'm trying out Elmer now.

http://www.csc.fi/english/pages/elmer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmer_FEM_solver

This example seems to be what you want: http://www.csc.fi/english/pages/elmer/examples/eigenmodes

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Great, thanks! Trying it now. –  Forrest Feb 22 '11 at 0:03
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