1. Getting the software

As of version 2.9 (2019 Apr 25) the licence is truly free/libre and open source, according to the release notes, although the installation process still seems to present the old licence with some restrictions. You will need to register in order to download.

The first official release of the new FEBioStudio took place on 2020 Sep 1 for MS Windows and on 2020 Aug 27 for Linux and Mac OSX. Previously there was a beta release. For the time being, the instructions here refer to the old separate PreView, FEBio and PostView packages.

Download FEBio, PreView and PostView from the FEBio archive page. To install the software, open the .zip file for each package, extract and save the executable installer, and run it.

The downloads include good manuals in the doc directory, and there are some tutorials that serve as useful introductions to the programme. The support forums are quite responsive.

If your computer has multiple processors (cores), an environment variable can be set to specify how many to use. For example, using the bash shell under Linux, do export OMP_NUM_THREADS=n. See the manual for details. An alternative wording in a forum post (2018 Apr 25) says that the linear solver automatically uses the maximum number of threads available; the OMP_NUM_THREADS environment variable applies only to matrix assembly, and requesting more threads may slow down the matrix assembly for small models.

1.1 Problems

There are some issues with PreView 2.1. One student experienced bizarre behaviour under Windows 10: the PreView window was completely white but dropdown menus would appear when he hovered in the right place. Separately, I found that (1) Preview installed itself as PreView2.exe but in the Start Menu it pointed to PreView.exe; and (2) when I run it on a 1366×768 screen, the window is too tall to fit on the screen and the height can't be adjusted.

FEBio 2.7 implements some new features in the plot file that are only supported since PostView 2.2’ (ref) but as of 2018 Sep 10 there is no PostView 2.2 for Linux. A workaround is to use FEBio 2.5.

2. Creating and running a simple model

2.1 PreView

  1. Install PreView (see above).
  2. Run PreView. For example, in MS Windows do something like Start ► All Programs ► PreView ► PreView.
    (It may be worth adding the version number to the entry in the Start Menu, to avoid confusion if and when you update.)
  3. Follow Tutorial 1 from the PreView User’s Manual to familiarize yourself with the interface.
  4. Follow Tutorial 2 from the PreView User’s Manual to create a simple model.
  5. After finishing Tutorial 2, you can

2.2 FEBio

  1. Follow the instructions in Chapter 2 of the FEBio User’s Manual for setting up FEBio.
  2. Get access to a command line. For example, in MS Windows do Start ► All Programs ► Accessories ► Command Prompt.
  3. At the command line, use the cd command to get into the directory where you stored the model that you created in PreView.
  4. Give the command febio2 -i filename.feb
    or ~/bin/febio2 -i filename.feb
    if you’re using a symbolic link in your bin directory.
  5. Watch the output go by and wait for FEBio to finish. Hopefully at the end there will be a message saying N O R M A L   T E R M I N A T I O N. A file called filename.xplt should have been created.
  6. Here are some of the error messages you might get. They're stored in a .log file with the same name as your .feb file.

2.3 PostView

  1. Install PostView (see above).
  2. Run PostView.
  3. Open the file filename.xplt.
  4. From the dropdown list in the main toolbar, select which quantity you want to display; for example, displacement ► Total displacement
  5. Click on the Play button PostView Play button in the animation toolbar. The animation toolbar, at the far right, may not be immediately visible unless your PostView window is very wide; it can be dragged to a different position.
  6. PostView scale factor If you don’t see any displacements, you can try increasing the Scale factor for the Displacement Map, or, if appropriate, adjust the material properties and loads in your model.
  7. Use the Toggle colormap button PostView Toggle Colormap button to enable or disable the use of a colour map for the quantity being displayed. Several different colour maps are available. The Fire colour map provides strong contrast, a good use of different hues, and an almost monotonic increase of brightness between black and white.

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R. Funnell
Last modified: 2020-09-09 17:20:56