1985 Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Rieg wrote the first lines of code for the finite element method program Z88, which back then was still a FORTRAN version. Today, 32 years later (in 2017), there is a comfortable GUI-version of Z88 – programmed in C – which is called Z88Aurora®. Furthermore there is a topology optimization software by the name of Z88Arion® and two Apps based on Z88 (Z88Tina and Z88Mobile) for Android smartphones and tablets.
The open source program Z88OS is suitable as a really basic FEM program for learning the fundamentals of finite element analysis by examining and, if necessary, by changing or expanding the code. Z88Aurora®, which is based on the structures of Z88, originated from the idea of creating a user interface for Z88OS, which was based on in- and output files.
The focus of continuous advancement of Z88Aurora® by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Rieg and his research assistants is on the one hand on the user-friendliness – for example the direct input of CAD-files in STEP- or STL-format, the generation of meshes and the application of boundary conditions and materials via GUI – and on the other on the improvement and extension of calculation alternatives (including a contact module).
Z88Aurora® provides the foundation for Z88Arion®, a freeware topology optimization program which amends the Z88 family with a powerful tool for structural lightweight design.
Following the current developments on the computer and smartphone market, two small cousins of Z88Aurora® arised: Z88Tina and Z88Mobile. With the help of these apps calculation results can easily be shown to colleagues on the smartphone – FEM to go.
From the very first moment Z88 was thought to be a program from engineers for engineers, and this is how it’s still handled today. Z88OS, Z88Aurora® and Z88Arion® were never used to generate any profit. In fact, we want to support small and medium sized enterprises with their product development as well as universities and colleges with studies and teaching by offering a free of charge tool which does not have to hide from commercial programs.