Peter Smolka PeterPaulSmolka at
Wed Feb 15 21:38:30 GMT 2012

Soledads D. E. Trivignos posting inluded at the bottom.

A hint for those interested in FEM:

1) You might consider COMSOL Multiphysics: They have a package for almost anything and a really good documentation.

2) You might also consider FASTFLO from CSIRO, some years ago via the website from NAG: Very, very, very fast at really complex interactions.

As their documentation is (was) in tensor-notation: Note that a tensor (and such stuff, such as Nabla-Operator, Laplace Operator) are
"just compact writings of rules on how to differentiate" (simplified) and the curved d and such things many are afraid of are "slopes only
in a certain component, but changing", e.g. nothing to fear.

For geologists: Just write the rule down manually (see the really good explanation on Wikipedia on it) and it should work.

The "for dummies" books, such as "Differential Equations for Dummies" (yes, such a book exists) are really good.

3) FEMLAB I did not test but I think it is good as well.

An issue in principle: If they employ "inside" solvers for matrices they can get very large matrices for very small objects - and thus use
very much computer-time.

I had some time ago: "Just pushing an issue with 20 km by several km, ideally in 0.x mm resolution in 3D" through: Even specifying geometry in 3D
had been a problem (it could be solved approximated).

The relevance: It is indeed a method of the future in geology. The methodology for many things exists (= no need to re-invent any wheel).

Getting it to "geological sizes" is an issue of the future (years).

And: Getting it fast should not be a problem in geology.

In fact: It comes down to "aircraft design" (all their problems) at geological scales, with much more lithologies than in aviation (aluminium against air,
compared to geology) with much, much, much more pocesses involved at any "grid"point (node), in the future: Recrystallizations every (time-step).

The line itsself is a line to the future.

And if someone is interested in such things personally:

A "wing-only-plane" is one of the most unstable issues one can have.

Many Cretaceous flying dinosaurs (= not the very early) are factually "wing-only-planes", e.g. the short body, factually "no tail" and the very
long and very wide wings.

Someone might get such a dinosaur airborne in the computer, e.g. really calculated with real air (CO2, changed viscosity of that time), thermics
and flying, e.g. not an animation but the really computed flight.

Best regards


smolka at (science)
PeterPaulSmolka at (private)

Above is my own private view, particularly regarding the need to include knowledge from aviation and engineering into geology.

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: paleonet-bounces at [mailto:paleonet-bounces at]Im
Auftrag von Soledad Esteban
Gesendet: Dienstag, 14. Februar 2012 17:20
An: paleonet at

Dear colleagues:

This is the last call for the course "Biomechanics and Finite Elements Analysis (FEA)", which may be of your interest. This course will be held in the Museum of the ICP in Sabadell (Barcelona, Spain) on March 5-9 2012. Instructors: Dr. Richard Fariña (Universidad de La República, Montevideo) and Dr. Jordi Marcé-Nogué (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona).

Biomechanics and FEA would allow you to evaluate the response of biological structures (e.g. skulls, limbs, etc.) to different forces, thus emulating the different behaviours of animals. That could help to understand the evolution of particular behaviours, paleontological inferences, etc.

You can find more information at: or writing to courses at

There are few places left and will be occupied by strict inscription order. 

With best regards


Soledad De Esteban Trivigno
Area de Paleobiología
Institut Català de Paleontologia
Edifici ICP, Campus de la UAB
08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès
Barcelona. Spain

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