Archimedes is a 3D modeling application based on Open CASCADE, the 3D modeling and numerical kernel. It allows creating in several ways complex compound shapes.
One of the strong features of the application is its scripting functionality. For instance, the parametric definition of a face may be achieved using a script. Furthermore, a face created in this manner may be extruded along a curved that is defined parametrically.
The framework of this application is built on a dynamic object creation mechanism as described in the article by Ed Smetak and Jean Caputo. One of the strong points of this mechanism is that it ensures a strict object dependency policy: modifying parent objects affects depending objects. This dependency mechanism allows modifying base elements of the geometry at a late stage of model building, without having to rebuild the whole model from scratch.
In this framework, “object-factories” are categorized and can create object of a certain type. This allows the users to easily interact with existing objects in a predefined way and it allows extending the application with new functionality by creating plugins.
A central feature of the application is the “Boolean” operation on shapes, which allows creating complex compound shapes by joining, cutting or intersecting simpler shapes.
The NETGEN algorithm is used to mesh 3D solid shapes. More information on NETGEN may be found on http://www.hpfem.jku.at/netgen/.
A post-processing module has been implemented using openGL to visualize FEM results on the 3D mesh. In this module, scripts are available to calculate derived result from primary results (scalar or vectors).
Another interesting feature is the “MeshGroup”module developed to allow grouping (or filtering) nodes and element in a mesh. This is achieved using macros. This feature makes it possible to automatically repopulate predefined element and node groups even after extensive modification of the underlying geometry or mesh. In this way, element groups required in the attribution of material properties, for instance, may be defined in a “symbolic” way (with a macro) without having to refer to specific item numbering.
Archimedes supports the following import and export formats: IGES, STEP, Brep (OCC), STL
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An application, dedicated to 3D finite difference calculation, has been developed on account of an individual client located in Australia. The challenge of the project lied in satisfying simultaneously the following requirements:
1- Handle and visualize large datasets.
2- Create and manipulate surfaces.
3- Adopt an open architecture to facilitate further extensions of the application.
4- Design a user-friendly and attractive GUI.
5- Ensure platform independency.
The VTK library has been used in this project for the manipulation and visualization of large datasets. The features available in this extensive and powerful library may be assessed by going to the VTK support site,www.kitware.com.
The open structure of the application was achieved thanks to a generic implementation of the dynamic object mechanism. This implementation follows the principles described in the reference article by Ed Smetak and Jean Caputo: http://www.microsoft.com/msj/0797/dynamic.aspx
The FOX C++ GUI library was adopted for the development of the Graphical User Interface. More information on this library may be obtained from http://www.fox-toolkit.org
Open CASACADE was used to implemented Boolean operations on solids and surfaces. More details on this platform for 3D modeling and numerical analysis can be found on the official Open CASACADE web side,www.opencascade.org.
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