Abaqus R2017

The Abaqus software suite delivers accurate, robust, high performance solutions for challenging nonlinear problems, large-scale linear dynamics applications, and routine design simulations. Its integration of implicit and explicit FEA capabilities enables the results of one simulation to be used directly in a subsequent analysis to capture the effects of prior history.

Accessing the software

To load the module:

$ module load ABAQUS/2017

An example command to include in your job script:

abaqus interactive input=<input_file> job=<job_name> cpus=<number_cpus> mp_mode=mpi

Please note the 'interactive' command, which is apparently required when running the job in batch mode via slurm.

If you wish to use an ODB input file from an older version of Abaqus, run the following command to make that ODB file compatible with this release of Abaqus:

$ abaqus -upgrade -job <newOdbFileName> -odb <oldOdbFileName>

Trying to use an ODB input file for an older version of Abaqus without upgrading it should produce the following error message in the .dat file:

***ERROR: OdbError: The database is from a previous release of Abaqus.

Example: Abaqus Job

An example can be found at ${BB_EXAMPLES}/abaqus/r2017/sbatch.sh. The example can be copied to a test directory and submitted to the batch system using sbatch.

$ cp -r ${BB_EXAMPLES}/abaqus/r2017 ~/abaqus-r2017-test
$ cd ~/abaqus-r2017-test

Edit the sbatch.sh script according to your needs, then do:

$ sbatch sbatch.sh

Interactive Usage

Abaqus analysis should be run as a batch job. Abaqus/CAE is run using the command:

$ abaqus cae

Note that Exceed3D is required in addition to Exceed to run CAE if you are logged in from a Windows-based PC.

User-defined Subroutines

First load the ifort compiler with:

module load iomkl/2018a

To run a job using the input file myjob.inp and user-defined routine myroutine.f:

abaqus job=myjob user=myroutine

A common source of problems with user-defined subroutines is the use of uninitialised variables and/or writing outside an array bound. The command used to compile these routines can be changed to add compiler options to introduce additional checks; note, however, that this checking can greatly extend the size of the compiled file and/or the time taken to run the code and so should only be used during the development of such subroutines. To add this checking, add the following line to a file abaqus_v6.env in the same directory as the input file:

compile_fortran = ( "ifort -g -fpe0 -traceback -c -fPIC -auto -mP2OPT_hpo_vec_divbyzero=F -extend_source -w90 -w95  -WB -I%I")

which must all be on one line. More details about the compiler options are available using the command:

$ man ifort

Other compiler options may also need to be set. For example, if you had written a user-defined subroutine in Fortran which itself made use of a NAG library then you should modify the local Abaqus environment file's compile_fortran section to include the the environment variable $NAG_OPT in order to reference the correct libraries. Remember that in order for this to work you should have already loaded the appropriate NAG module before you attempt compilation or execution.

Accessing Previous Versions

Wherever possible, previous versions of this application will be retained for continuity, especially for research projects that require a consistent version of the software throughout the project. Such versions, however, may be unsupported by IT Services or the applications vendor, and may be withdrawn at short or no notice if they can no longer run on the cluster - for example, essential operating system upgrades may be incompatible with old versions.

Previous versions of this application are recorded below:

Known Problems & Limitations

  • Abaqus/CAE requires Exceed3D if you are logged in from a Windows-based PC since it uses OpenGL graphics.
  • Direct submission of analysis jobs from within CAE is not available; CAE must be used to generate the input files which are then submitted using the batch system as described above.
  • Abaqus requires a large amount of scratch disk space, in addition to the space needed for permanent files. If the scratch space fills up Abaqus will issue an error, probably saying that it is unable to write to unit 2. Abaqus has been configured to use scratch space on the local disk on the node(s) on which the job is running. If this happens, these files can be redirected to the same directory that the job is submitted from, but this may significantly increase the wall time for the job. To do this, specify:


    on the Abaqus command line.

    To avoid conflict with these scratch files, user-defined subroutines should only use unit numbers 15-18 or unit numbers greater than 100.

Disk Usage Issues

Abaqus can create very large output files, especially the output database (.odb) and the restart files, including the .stt file. The following guidelines have been suggested by the suppliers to reduce the disk space required for typical runs:

  • The default value of the max_history_requests in the environment file has been set to 100. This parameter specifies the maximum number of history requests allowed in an Abaqus analysis. History output in Abaqus is intended for relatively frequent output requests for small portions of a model and is displayed in X/Y plots in the Visualisation module of Abaqus/CAE. Requesting large amounts of history output will cause performance problems in both analysis and post-processing of an Abaqus job. For vector- or tensor-valued output variables, each component is considered to be a single request. In the case of element variables, history output will be generated at each integration point. For example, requesting history output of the tensor variable S (stress) for a C3D10M element will generate 24 history output requests: (6 components)*(4 integration points). When requesting history output of vector- and tensor-valued variables, it is recommended that individual components be selected where applicable. In cases where large amounts of history output are required, it is recommended that the data be written to the output database (.odb) as field output from which history data can be extracted using the Visualisation module of Abaqus/CAE
  • If the *RESTART parameter is used to request restart information, specify the OVERLAY parameter, to specify that only one increment should be retained per step, thus minimising the storage space needed. For example, specify


    to write the restart file every 2 increments per step but only retain the last values, in case a restart is required due to, for example, a system failure. Note that specifying a low value for the INC parameter will have an adverse effect on the performance of the job since it will entail additional input/output operations.

    The size of any files associated with the RESTART request is estimated by the analysis input file processor in an Abaqus/Standard analysis.

Licensing Issues

Abaqus licensing is based on a tokens system; this information is provided here as information to research groups who have purchased, or are considering purchasing, their own licences. Each CAE instance requires one CAE token, and analysis tokens are used as described in the following table:

Abaqus Analysis tokens use
 Number of Cores
Standard, Explicit and CFD 5 6 8 12 14 16 19 21 28 38
Foundation 3 4 5 7 8 9 11 12 17 23
Aqua and Design 6 8 18 14 17 19 22 25 34 46

The number of analysis tokens used for N cores is given by the formula

int(5 x N^0.422)

IS fund a limited number of licences for Abaqus and Abaqus/CAE for general use on BlueBEAR. If all of these licences are in use, an analysis job should continually query the license manager when it is run by the batch system until a license is free and then start executing. Due to a bug in the current version of the license manager used by Abaqus, such a job will continue to query the license manager even when a license becomes available and will not execute. To save wasted slots in the batch queue, Abaqus is currently configured to terminate after querying the license queue for 1 minute if a license is not available.

Messages from the license manager can be found in the .log file when the job completes.

It is possible to purchase licences which can be reserved for particular user(s) if guaranteed access to Abaqus is required - contact the IT Service Desk for details. Note, however, that usage would still be limited by the constraints imposed by the batch system to ensure that there is fair access for all users but this would ensure that a job would always have access to this reserved license.

Other Information

The support level for this software is P2.

Learn "What's new in Abaqus 2017" by reading the latest release Abaqus unified FEA solution.

Exceed is required to display any graphical output, such as the help pages, on a Windows-based PC. CAE additionally requires Exceed3D to support OpenGL. These are available from software sales.

The Dassault Systems support site has a searchable knowledge base, links to documentation and other resources.

The Abaqus pages on the Dassault Systems site contains an overview of ABAQUS. Dassault Systems has opened up free access to all of their interactive courses on the 3ds Academy website for all Academic customers. The majority of Abaqus courses are posted there under the “Learning Materials” tab from the “Intro” courses to the “Advanced” courses – to access these courses, register and join the 3ds Academy using your bham.ac.uk email address. Proof of membership of the University is also required, for example a scan of the University ID card that can be attached to the registration request.

Training courses are also offered in Hammersmith and Warrington; academic customers are entitled to a 50% discount on the commercial rates.

The jiscmail discussion list feusers carries discussion on general finite element issues, including ABAQUS-specific issues.

The abaqus-users@lists.bham.ac.uk maillist can be used to contact other users of Abaqus on campus.

The YAHOO abaqus group is an independent mailing list for all ABAQUS users.

The Academic License does not cover technical support queries from the suppliers, due to the low cost of the license. Abaqus does offer some paid-for support options for Academic users

IT Services also offer an introductory course to Abaqus, especially Abaqus/CAE. See the training section of this website for more details..

Contact the IT Service Desk for more details of these options.

Last modified: 16 August 2018