Economic benefits of finite element/discrete element analysis applied to industrial problems

Computational modelling in the oil recovery, mining and defence industries

Computational EngineeringOur internationally-leading computational research work, concerned with finite element/discrete element analysis, has made a profound impact on the solution of industrial problems involving coupled field, multi-fracturing phenomena.

The development and implementation of novel computational algorithms and their subsequent application to leading edge engineering and scientific problems has been achieved through the commercial software system ELFEN, developed collaboratively with Rockfield Software Ltd, a spin-out company from Swansea University.  

Our pioneering approach constitutes the core technology of the commercial software system ELFEN. The development of this technology has enabled Rockfield Software Ltd  to expand through the development of an international reputation as a leading provider of computational technology to the defence, manufacturing, oil recovery, mining and other sectors.

The principal focus of our research has been the development of computational techniques. This has encompassed fundamental theoretical advances, the development and implementation of novel computational algorithms and subsequent application to leading edge engineering and scientific research problems.

Specific examples of economic benefit include:

  • Design methodology for weight reduction in glass container production resulting in significant energy and CO2 emission savings.
  • Computational modelling of rock blasting operations leading to substantial economies in the mining industry. 

Rockfield is a spin-out company formed to transfer the high quality computational modelling research at Swansea University to the commercial sector. Through ELFEN, a unique computational system which, to date, has no major commercial competitor, Rockfield has become an international leader in the provision of computational modelling services to several major industrial sectors. The company is now internationally recognised as a highly valued provider of computational solutions to the following sectors:

  • Defence applications involving explosive and impact conditions
  • Deep level mining and other minerals recovery operations
  • Oil recovery operations and resource prediction
  • Failure prediction for structures under seismic or blast loading
  • Industrial forming processes for glass, plastics and metals
  • Food technology processes

Rockfield has over the years built strong relationships with many of the world’s leading companies including:

  • Unilever
  • DSTL
  • QinetiQ
  • Corus
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Devonport Marine Ltd
  • Rio Tinto
  • BP-Amoco
  • Shell
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Total-Fina-Elf
  • Miningtek
  • Orica
  • Anhauser Busch and Los Alamos
  • Sandia and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories

Rockfield received Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2002 and 2007.