3DEC is a three-dimensional numerical modeling code for advanced geotechnical analysis of soil, rock, ground water, structural support, and masonry. 3DEC simulates the response of discontinuous media (such as jointed rock or masonry bricks) that is subject to either static or dynamic loading. The numerical formulation It is based on the distinct element method (DEM) for discontinuum modeling. UDEC is the two-dimensional version.

The discontinuous material is represented as an assemblage of discrete blocks. The discontinuities are treated as boundary conditions between blocks; large displacements along discontinuities and rotations of blocks are allowed. Individual blocks behave (based on constitutive and joint models) as either rigid or deformable (i.e., meshed into finite difference zones) material. Continuous and discontinuous joint patterns can be generated on a statistical basis. A joint structure can be built into the model directly from the geologic mapping. 3DEC also contains Itasca's powerful built-in scripting language FISH. With FISH, you can write your own scripts for users who wish to add functionality for custom analyses.


3DEC has been developed primarily for geotechnical engineering applications in the fields of civil, mining, and energy generation. 3DEC is also a valuable tool used for research in rock mechanics, stability of masonry structures, and the behavior of granular systems. Although, through scripting and custom constitutive models, the possibilities are virtually limitless.


Options in 3DEC are sold separately from the general license, allowing users to extend the program’s capabilities as meets their own analysis needs.

Dynamic Analysis: 3DEC simulates the nonlinear response of a system (soil, rock, and structures) to excitation from an external (e.g., seismic) source or internal (e.g. vibration or blasting) sources.

Thermal Analysis: The thermal option in 3DEC allows the simulation of transient heat conduction.

Finite Element Structural Liners:
Modeling cables and beams is part of the standard functionality of 3DEC. This option adds the ability to model tunnel liners and external structures (such as dams, bridges, walls, buildings, etc.).

User-Defined Constitutive Models:
User-defined constitutive models can be written in C++ for both zoned block materials and joint materials calculate new stresses, given strain increments, for a modified or unique material behavior.

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