Department of Engineering

IT Services


ABAQUS is a general purpose finite element program from Dassault Systemes SIMULIA Ltd. It has a large element library and is capable of analysis of a variety of problems.

A large class of stress analysis problems can be solved with ABAQUS.

******** See the Troubleshooting section for a fix to getting BLANK pages when printing from CAE and Viewer.

Compact Version of this Web Page

ABAQUS Web Page (Compact version) This contains the same information available from this page.


[October 2011] Note : ABAQUS 6.11 is now available in the Teaching System Computers and is the default version.


[October 2012] Note : ABAQUS 6.12 is now available in the Teaching System Computers.


[September 2013] Note : ABAQUS 6.13 is now available in the Teaching System Computers.

Analysis Types

The following procedures are available :
  • COUPLED THERMAL-ELECTRICAL (steady state and transient)
  • COUPLED TEMPERATURE-DISPLACEMENT (steady state and transient)
  • HEAT TRANSFER (steady-state and transient)
  • MASS DIFFUSION (steady-state and transient)

ABAQUS Seminars



The file naming convention for ABAQUS is such that all files relevant to a particular analysis are identified by analysis-id (first name, which precedes the `.'). Then the file extension identifies the different files. In the following description only the file extensions are used.

inp - ABAQUS analysis input data file (ascii).

Example : Cantilever analysis.
F E Mesh
Example : abaqus input data file for cantilever example


The ABAQUS program generates several output files.

dat -  Printed results output file. It is written by the ABAQUS program.

f   -  User subroutine FORTRAN file. It is written by the analysis and 
       datacheck options, and read by the analysis and  continue

fil -  Results file. It is written by the  analysis and continue options. 

jnl -  ABAQUS/POST journal file. abaqus.jnl file contains the instructions
       typed during the last session of ABAQUS/Post.

log -  Log file. 

mdl -  Plot file used by the MAIN portion of ABAQUS/Standard, ABAQUS/Post 
       and ABAQUS/Plot.

msg -  Message file. It is written by the analysis and continue  options
       in  ABAQUS/Standard. 

ps  -  ABAQUS/Plot Postscript output file.

res -  Restart file. 

sta -  Status file. ABAQUS writes increment summaries to this file in the 
       analysis and continue  options. 

023 -  Communications file, used by ABAQUS/Standard only. It is written by 
       the analysis and  datacheck options, and read by the analysis 
       and continue options. 

Availability of ABAQUS on Different Platforms

ABAQUS is available on computers running

  • Windows (XP, Windows 7)
  • Linux

However ABAQUS is not available on computers running Mac OSX.

Command to run the Pre and Post-processing Modules

ABAQUS is licensed for running in the Teaching System (T.S.) Servers.

  1. Versions 6.5-2, 6.7, 6.8, 6.9, 6.10, 6.11, 6.12 and 6.13 are available on DPO Cluster servers. 6.11 is the default version on these computers (type : abaqus or abq6111). Verson 6.5-2, 6.7, 6.9, 6.10, 6.12 and 6.13 are available using the commands abq652, abq671, abq691, abq6101, abq6122 and abq6131 respectively. Note that ABAQUS 6.5-2 is the only ABAQUS version compatible with MD PATRAN. Later versions of ABAQUS odb (Output DataBase files) cannot post-processed using MD PATRAN. However fil files can still be post processed. For version 6.5-2 type abq652.
To access the Linux servers LOGON to the Teaching system computers in the DPO (Clusters 1 to 6).
There are 2 options : (a) Running locally on the terminals (b) Running on the servers (For large analyses). For running on the terminals choose Applications and click on the ABAQUS CAE icon.
For running in the servers...
In the first x-term window type server-xterm. This will give a new x-term on the server for that cluster. This can be used for running ABAQUS.
Type xterm& on this window to get another xterm.
Then use these 2 x-terms to carry out the following :
  1. To start up ABAQUS (the default version), type

abaqus name-of-module
To run ABAQUS/CAE, type
abaqus cae
To run ABAQUS/Viewer, type
abaqus viewer
To view the ABAQUS On-line Documentation, type
abaqus doc
If you run into any problem see the section below. If this does not help please contact abaqus-support@eng (email "").

Troubleshooting Problems in running the Pre and Processing Modules

This section deals with likely problems that might be encountered in running the GUI based modules.
(1) Graphics problem For any graphics related problem add the following line to the file abaqus_v6.env. If this does not exist in the ABAQUS start up directory then create it.
This also can be added to the system file of the same name for Windows PC.
Example : C:\SIMULIA\ABAQUS\6.10-1\site\abaqus_v6.env
(2) In running the CAE or VIEWER if you get the following response :
ABAQUS/VIEWER checked out one license
from the license server on needle
(54 out of 55 licenses remain available).
Exception 'Exception: xmd_ResourceErr: Insufficient system resource available.
in file /usr/abaqus60/6-r62_copy/source/xmd/impl/xmd_XMediaRole.C at line 248'
exiting job.
DISCONNECTING from the License Manager
ABAQUS Error: ABAQUS/CAE Kernel exited with an error.
ABAQUS Error: ABAQUS/Viewer exited with an error

Then you need to quit from any other packages which you may be running (which uses many colours : Example Mozilla) and then try again.
(3) Getting blank or black pages when producing hardcopy of plots on ljmr1, ljmr2
It appears that when you print directly from CAE and Viewer modules users are getting BLANK or completely black pages instead. Saving the plots as postscript files and then printing these directly also produces blank pages. When viewing the saved postscript files using ghostview and then printing it from ghostview also gives blank pages. This is being investigated.
The fix to the problem is to add the following option "-oraw".
(a) If printing directly from CAE and Viewer use the following for the print command :
    lp -oraw -dljmr1
(b) If printing a saved postscript file then do the same :
    lp -oraw -dljmr1 ps-filename
If producing B & W plots make the following change :
Renderer : Graycale (Instead of B & W)
This will avoid producing completely black plots.
(4) Repeatedly redrawing the Mesh Problem This feature of repeatedly refreshing the screen is a known problem if running ABAQUS on the Linux servers using remote login from PCs using X-win32.
If this makes it impossible to work with ABAQUS email teaching-support@eng.

Commands to run the Analysis Modules

To run a ABAQUS analysis with the input data file called cantilever.inp type the following to submit the analysis:
abaqus job=cantilever
This will submit the job to the queue without any prompts. ABAQUS will then start running. You could monitor the progress of the job using 'top'. When the abaqus job has disappeared from the queue type 'q' to exit from top.
ABAQUS will produce a number of output files during its run, these are listed in the FILES section above. Once the job has run look at the log file (for the above example cantilever.log file) for information of how successful the analysis was.


The following manuals are available on-line :
  1. Getting Started with ABAQUS/Standard
  2. Getting Started with ABAQUS/Explicit
  3. ABAQUS/Standard USER'S Manual
  4. ABAQUS/Explicit USER'S Manual
  5. Theory
  6. Example Problems I and II
  7. Verification
  8. ABAQUS Keywords Manual
  9. ABAQUS CAE User's Manual
  10. Release Notes
  11. Installation and Licensing

Accessing on-line Help from CAE

If users have Windows version of ABAQUS Version 6.9 or 6.10 installed in their networked PCs the on-line version of the manuals can be accessed by making the following changes :
ABAQUS On-line Help.

Mini Manual

The Running ABAQUS 6.4 (35 pages)[PS version] [7 October 2005] explains how to run a simple example in the teaching system computers. It is a beginner's guide to ABAQUS. Running ABAQUS 6.4 (PDF Format).
The Running ABAQUS 6.9 (36 pages)[PS version] [7 May 2010] explains how to run a simple example in the teaching system computers. It is a beginner's guide to ABAQUS. Running ABAQUS 6.9 (PDF Format).


The 1 Dimensional Consolidation (22 pages)[PS version] [31 Jan 2013] explains how to carry out a consolidation analysis when using the Critical State Soil models. It highlights common pitfalls to be avoided and clarifies potential sources of confusion. 1 Dimensional Consolidation (PDF Format).
Input and Ouput files for the various options tried[MS Word] [18 August 2010] : The Initial Stresses and Geostatic Step (11 pages)[MS Word] [26 April 2010] explains the importance of checking that the intial stresses are correct by running a geostatic step before running the analysis proper.

Intel Windows Version

Networked PCs within the Engineering Department

The information provided here is for users who require copy of ABAQUS to be installed installed in their PCs (running Windows XP or Linux) in the Engineering Department which is connected to the departmental network. There are 2 options :
  • Use the on-line installation set up by pjb1008.
  • Email pc-support@eng.

On-line installation (This is ONLY for members of the Cambridge University Engineering Department)
First obtain the license server information using the PIN :
License Server : ABAQUS License Server (You need this information for the on-line installation)
Please contact abaqus-support@eng (If you cannot access the above page).
Instructions for On-line Installation of ABAQUS
Once you have the details of license server and URL for the on-line document, follow the instrution given below :
To do this, on your PC, Start --> Run : \\diva-appserv\windows\abaqus.
and click on OK.
This will display the folders for version 6.11 and 6.12 respectively. Choose the appropriate folder and then the appropriate version. This will display the available verisons for the different platforms and the Document options as folders.
The following versions are available for ABAQUS 6.11 :
  1. Windows86_32
  2. Windows86_64
  3. Linux86_64
The following versions are available for ABAQUS 6.12 (Jan 2013) :
  1. Win86_32
  2. Win86_64
  3. Lnx86_64
Then click on setup.exe to start the installation.
When the options presented are O License O Product . Choose Product.
For license servers : Choose single server (and enter the port number and the license server).
When prompted for the URL enter the details found with the license server. This will start the installation and at completion will run the verification program.
This will only work from within the Engineering Department ie from computers with IP address 129.169.*. This facility has been set up by Peter Benie (pjb1008).
Email pc-support
Send an email request to giving the location of the computer.
If you intend to use FORTRAN user subroutines you also need to purchase a suitable version of FORTRAN Compiler (Intel Visual Fortran version 8.1 or 9.1).
Depending on the version of ABAQUS consult the appropriate ABAQUS web page (For version 6.8 see below) :
  • ABAQUS Version 6.8 System Requirements [Aug 2008]

    Networked PCs in Cambridge Colleges

    Users who require ABAQUS installed in their Laptops (running Windows XP, Vista) can bring it in and get ABAQUS installed. Email
    Accessing the ABAQUS License Server from Colleges

    Access to the License server using SSH (Broadband Internet connection is required)

    Accessing the ABAQUS License Server [28 November 2008]

    Student Edition

    ABAQUS Student Edition - Student's can have their own free copy of the Student Edition of ABAQUS.
    It has a limit of 1000 nodes. Models created using the Student's version of
    CAE can be transferred to the Research version of ABAQUS CAE available in
    the Teaching System and analysed.
    See also ABAQUS Student Edition - download site.

    Hardcopy output

    Postscript files can be obtained from ABAQUS through a variety of ways.
    • ABAQUS/CAE and ABAQUS/Viewer - Postscript, PNG, TIF and JPEG.
    • PATRAN - Postscript, HPGL, HPGL-2, CGM.

    ABAQUS Courses

    Details of ABAQUS Training Courses ..
    ABAQUS Training Courses
    ABAQUS Training Course Notes Price List
    The course notes can be purchased from
    Dassault Systemes SIMULIA Ltd
    Lytham House, The Links, Kelvin Close
    Birchwood, Warrington WA3 7PB
    Tel 01925 830900
    Fax 01925 885960
    Run the following command to extract the files used in the workshop of these courses (first login to the Teaching System Computers):
    abq6122 perl /usr/local/apps/abaqus/6.12-2/samples/

    Then select the appropriate course.

    ABAQUS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    ABAQUS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). (24 June 2009) (30 August 2009)

    Report problems with ABAQUS (within the department)

    If you encounter a problem or a bug then fill in the form and send it to abaqus-support@eng.
    ABAQUS Problems Reporter.

    ABAQUS Tutorials and other useful information (elsewhere)

    plane stress and other tutorials
    ABAQUS Tips
    Polymer FEM Forum