Development and use of open-source software in engineering education and research at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano


Software plays a vital role in modern engineering design. This supportive use of software within the engineering design process is commonly referred to as computer-aided engineering (CAE) or computational design.
Within the last years the development of open-source software has also infiltrated CAE. All facets mechanical engineering design have seen developments and releases of open-source software, including geometric design, preprocessors, simulation solvers, postprocessors, manufacturing control and optimization tools. Universities across the world have played a central role in this trend and the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (unibz) is no exception.
Open-source software presents a great possibility in both eduction and research and herein, the development and use of open software at the unibz is described. The applications range the simple to the complex: In lectures, simple scripts in Python are provided to students in order for them to gain practical experience.
Exemplary, the development for and use of these in the lectures Structural Mechanics and Mechanical Vibrations will be show. In research, development and use of advanced engineering software is used to implement new methods and ideas. Here, research with open-source will be shown in design optimization, finite-element analysis and multibody simulation. This presentation will conclude with a discussion of further advantages and disadvantages including possible dangers of open-source software.