What’s New in Marc 2021.3

News ID    PN286
Status:    Published
Published date:    09/22/2021
Updated:    09/22/2021
Reported In:   Marc & Mentat
Created with Version:   Marc & Mentat (2021.3)


MSC Software is proud to announce the availability of Marc 2021.3! MSC Marc has quarterly releases so that the customers can benefit from more frequent updates throughout the year. This is the third release of 2021 and if you missed the June release of 2021.2 please see SimCompanion for release highlights.


Marc 2021.3 Release Highlights

Some main highlights of this Marc 2021.3 release include the following:


With an appropriate fatigue license, one can leverage the new embedded critical plane parameter in Marc-Mentat. This feature identifies a plane where the fatigue damage is largest. The accumulated damage on this plane takes the entire loading history into account. Therefore, this parameter simulates more accurate prediction of fatigue life in general cases of multiaxial loading.  In addition, this parameter predicts the orientation of cracks that would be initiated due to fatigue.

A connection rod as shown in the following picture, is loaded in combinations of bending and torsion and is used for illustrating the importance of this parameter. The red arrows show the predicted orientation of initiated cracks due to fatigue, while the “life in repeats” for fatigue is shown  as contours

In this example, a comparison between the damage from the critical plane option and max principal stress option shows that the latter gives a substantially larger fatigue damage and hence predicts a substantially shorter life. This is because it considers the full effect from each loading, whereas the critical plane method finds one plane and accumulates the fatigue damage from the loading history on this single plane.

HDF5 Support

The HDF5 file format now supported by Marc is a multi-dimensional hierarchical format keeping in mind the vastly non-linear nature of Marc.  The HDF5 post file can be requested from Mentat in the “Job Results” section.  The schema and some sample python scripts are provided with this release. The format has several advantages such as:

  • For large models, the size of the HDF5 file is generally smaller than Binary/ASCII files and is faster to write as it has a number of advanced options (SWMR) and compression options (GZIP, Lossy etc.)
  • HDF5 typically performs better in Mentat, including considerable performance improvements for History Plots.
  • HDF5 is easy to read (using HDFView) with a hierarchical structure (like folders/files) and the ability to append datasets or read from datasets on the fly.
  • HDF5 supports multiple languages (C, Fortran, Python, Matlab etc.) for extracting data and can extract only relevant parts of a large dataset (using hyperslabs).
  • HDF5 supports both Single and Double precision.

The benefits of the HDF5 post file are presented by using the “User Guide e088 – Tube Welding with Induction Heating” example with 149128 elements and 42869 nodes. The model run in serial using the Binary / HDF5 post file options shows the following performance improvements:

Marc Performance*:

Mentat Performance*:

Both the binary and HDF5 post files were post-processed in Mentat. Following are the normalized times (sec) for some operations:

* HDF5 performance gains may vary per model, this case is used for explanation as it has a mix of Hex8 (8 int. Points) and Tetra4 elements (1 int. Point) so the HDF5 compression is able to reduce zeros in the FEA data leading to further reduction in file size.

Mentat Ease of Use

Several enhancements have been implemented in Mentat to improve the ease of use

Displaying Minimum and Maximum Values on Model

Easily identify the minimum and maximum values of the currently plotted scalar, vector, or tensor variable as displayed by default in the lower left corner of the Mentat graphics window, together with the node or element numbers in which these values are assumed.

The following figure for the example of e004 shows the minimum and maximum values, in addition to indicating the locations of extreme values.


New and Improved Edit Operations on Solid, Sheet and Wire Bodies

Several geometric modeling and modification operations on solid, sheet and wire bodies have been added to the Solid Operations menu on the Geometry & Mesh page of the main menu.

  • The Blend operation now supports blending a vertex of a sheet or wire body.
  • Sheet bodies can now be created from faces of 3-D solid bodies using the Solid Faces to Sheet Bodies command and wire bodies can be created from edges of 3-D solid or sheet bodies using the Solid Edges to Wire Bodies commands. Both commands can be found in the Convert box of the Solid Operations menu, as well as in the Convert menu on the Geometry & Mesh page.

In addition, the Boolean operations have been extended with options to retain the original bodies. In previous Mentat versions, the Unite, Subtract and Intersect operations removed the original bodies from the model and replaced them by a single body that forms the union or intersection of these bodies. An option Retain Original Bodies option is now available that, if enabled, will retain the original bodies in the model.

Abaqus Translator

The following Abaqus keywords are now supported:

Furthermore, the following additional parameters are now supported for existing Abaqus keywords:

Mentat Performance

Incremental Backup

The performance of the multi-level undo function has been improved. The benefits should be particularly visible  for large models. The typical examples are:

  • Creating tables and adding or editing data points of a table.
  • Creating materials, geometric properties, contact bodies, contact interactions, contact tables, loadcase, jobs, etc, and editing their properties.
  • Creating initial or boundary conditions and applying them to the model.

However, commands to assign elements to materials, geometric properties or contact bodies and command to assign nodes to transformations will change the model’s mesh. Therefore, after element assignments, the backup procedure will require a similar amount of time as in previous releases.

Graphics Window Updates

The graphics performance of Mentat in pre-processing has been improved. The benefits should be particularly visible for large models. ,

The commands that have been improved include:

  • All commands dealing with contact bodies, contact interactions, contact tables and contact areas that potentially require an update of the graphics window.
  • All commands dealing with jobs that potentially require an update of the graphics window.

Marc Input File Reader

The performance of the Marc input file reader for large models has been improved significantly.  For example, the speed of reading the input file for a model with size of 11.6M nodes and 7.8M elements has been improved by 40% when compared with  2021.2.

Quick References