FLAC is a two-dimensional explicit finite difference program for engineering mechanics computation. This program simulates the behavior of structures built of soil, rock or other materials that may undergo plastic flow when their yield limits are reached. Materials are represented by elements, or zones, which form a grid that is adjusted by the user to fit the shape of the object to be modeled. Each element behaves according to a prescribed linear or nonlinear stress/strain law in response to the applied forces or boundary restraints. The material can yield and flow, and the grid can deform (in large-strain mode) and move with the material that is represented. The explicit, Lagrangian calculation scheme and the mixed-discretization zoning technique used in FLAC ensure that plastic collapse and flow are modeled very accurately. Because no matrices are formed, large two-dimensional calculations can be made without excessive memory requirements. The drawbacks of the explicit formulation (i.e., small timestep limitation and the question of required damping) are overcome to some extent by automatic inertia scaling and automatic damping that do not influence the mode of failure.
Though FLAC was originally developed for geotechnical and mining engineers, the program offers a wide range of capabilities to solve complex problems in mechanics. Several built-in constitutive models that permit the simulation of highly nonlinear, irreversible response representative of geologic, or similar, materials are available.
FLAC also contains the powerful built-in programming language FISH (short for FLACish). With FISH, you can write your own functions to extend FLAC抯 usefulness, and even implement your own constitutive models if so desired. FISH offers a unique capability to FLAC users who wish to tailor analyses to suit specific needs.