Coupling PFC and FLAC

The FLAC and PFC computational and plotting engines have been designed as plugins to a common graphical user interface and cycling system. This architecture means that FLAC3D and PFC can be simultaneously loaded into the same graphical user interface and cycled, allowing for continuum and DEM model components to exist at the same time within one instance of FLAC3D. Valid licenses for both PFC and FLAC3D are required for cycling PFC-FLAC3D coupled models above the demonstration limits. In the FLAC3D graphical user interface, PFC can be loaded via the Tools ‣ Load PFC menu item. Similarly, FLAC3D can be loaded via the Tools ‣ Load FLAC3D menu item in the PFC graphical user interface. Alternatively, individual modules can be loaded with the program load command. Project files record which modules have been loaded. Note that if a save file is loaded without all modules present, the user will be warned and the model state will likely be inoperable.

In order for PFC model components (balls, clumps and rigid blocks) to interact with FLAC3D zones, separate coupling modules (i.e., separate from the PFC and FLAC3D computational and plotting modules) have been created to sit between FLAC3D and PFC. Four coupling modules have been created, corresponding to three different coupling schemes:

  • A scheme to couple PFC model components with 1D structural elements.

  • A scheme to couple PFC model components with shell-based FLAC3D structural elements and/or FLAC3D zone faces.

  • A scheme to couple PFC balls with FLAC3D zones.

All example applications using PFC-FLAC3D coupling can be found here

The three schemes are described in the following sections:

Commands and FISH References





  • FISH Scripting Reference for the general reference on FISH;

  • FISH Functions for an index of all functions built directly into the FISH language (that are not associated with the set found with the common commands (see above)).

  • Python Scripting for the general reference on Python in Itasca software.