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General Purpose Distinct-Element Modeling Framework in 3D & 2D

Experience transformative 3D & 2D particle analysis with PFC Suite. Unleash the power of realistic simulations for granular materials, rock, and more. Elevate your modeling to new heights and check out the latest version, PFC Suite 9.1!


What Kinds Of Problems Can PFC Suite Solve?

PFC Suite combines the transparency and flexibility of open-source software with the power, user-friendly interface, and comprehensive support of a commercial program.

Coupled lined tunnel model with PFC3D particles along part of the tunnel to model detailed rock damage.

Rock fall along a slope using clumps of particles for a specific coefficient of restitution (COR). Particle traces for several of the clumps are also shown.

Underground facility modeled using Rigid Blocks, the SpringNetwork contact model, and DFNs.

Coupled model to evaluate the damage around boreholes and the impact on nuclear waste repository performance.

Simulation used to assess risks associated with the design and installation procedure of the foundation in contact with the seabed for a subsea tidal turbine.

Axial forces along the structural elements supporting an underground tunnel and displacements in the rigid blocks of the surrounding rock.

Blast movement simulation of the dynamic rock movement and muck pile formation informed by FLAC3D models to predict burden velocity and time-dependent gas pressure.

Sublevel cave mine drawpoint simulation showing particle displacements after 120% extraction.

Section through a rotating drum showing DEM aggregate colored by original horizontal layer (left) and by block velocity (right).

Simulation of a UCS test peering inside the sample to reveal displacements and cracks forming in shear (black) and tension (white). Charts of stress, modulus, and Poisson’s ratio.

Three-point strength test showing displacements within an assembly of pressed fibers.


Why Choose PFC Suite?

Maximize efficiency in granular material simulation with powerful and user-friendly tools in 3D & 2D, including the ability to run two instances simultaneously. Discover why PFC Suite is the ideal choice:
  • Small-strain mechanics (particle/blocks remain fixed)

  • Large-strain mechanics (particle/blocks move with displacement)

  • Back-analyze failure and calibrate forward-prediction

  • Multiple, simultaneous failure mechanisms

  • Material flow

  • Synthetic Rock Mass (SRM)

  • Bonded Particle Modeling (BPM) and Bonded Block Modeling (BPM) for fragmentation and fracturing

  • Service limit state (SLS) and ultimate limit states (ULS) based on displacements

  • User-Defined Contact Models (UDC)

  • Surface subsidence

  • Recovery and dilution

  • Coupled ground-structure interaction (beams, cables, piles, shells, geotextiles, liners)

  • Commercial grade, discrete element model (DEM) simulator for free or bonded balls, clumps, rigid blocks, and walls

  • Options include: Dynamics (Earthquakes, Blasting, Vibration), Thermal

  • PFC Suite simplifies model construction to controlling particle size distribution and target porosity, practical and straightforward material property assignments, bonded assemblies (bricks) that may be rapidly replicated over the model domain, and domain boundaries to stop, destroy, or reflect particles or be periodic.

    Easily convert DXF or STL files into model geometry and geometry into walls to contain particles. Assign conveyor velocities to wall facets to simulate spinning drums or conveyor belts. Static or mobile particle inlets generate streams of balls, clumps, and/or rigid blocks into the model during cycling.

    Schemes for ball and rigid block packings are available to simplify stress installation. Clumps of particles can be easily generated from templates, and bubble packing automatically creates clump templates for a CAD surface. The FISHTank provides a material-modeling support environment for calibrating and simulating lab tests. Extensive help documentation and Inline Help for command completion is available.

  • PFC Suite utilizes multi-threading and optimized solutions for fast, responsive, and accurate simulations. Multi-threaded FISH and Python libraries provide extremely efficient model scripting when user customization is chosen.

    Users may also run two instances of PFC Suite on the same computer simultaneously, cutting down on overall time to solution for multiple models.

  • PFC Suite offers robust DEM simulation capabilities to model particles, clumps of particles, and rigid blocks. Elements may be free or bonded together and may slide, rotate, move apart, or come together. Interface coupling between PFC3D particles and rigid blocks with FLAC3D zones is possible, as is domain bridging for dynamic modeling. FLAC3D structural elements (for ground support) are available.

    Convex rigid blocks can be used for simulating non-spherical objects and Bonded Block Models (BBMs). For jointed or blocky rock, there is a built-in statistical generator for Discrete Fracture Networks (DFNs); fractures can also be imported from Itasca and Fracman file formats. Advanced plotting tools, FISH scripting and Python integration provide unparalleled model control and customization, while statistical tools and data import options expand modeling possibilities.

  • PFC Suite is general by design. Enjoy flexibility in your workflow to build and modify your models. Use FISH and/or Python scripting for model parameterization, custom visualizations, adding new physics, and/or model run control.

    PFC Suite includes 12 built-in contact models for joints in rock, creep, impact dynamics, magnetic interactions, adhesion, rigid bonded block modeling (BBM), and more. Create your own custom user-defined contact model via C++ and provided templates.

    PFC Suite can be coupled to third-party Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD) programs. Run PFC Suite on both Windows and Ubuntu Linux operating systems. PFC Suite licenses allow for two instances to run on the same computer simultaneously. Licenses are also portable between computers using a USB key or web license.

  • Flexibility is a hallmark of PFC Suite, allowing users to adapt to a wide range of geotechnical challenges. This software offers customizable options and versatile modeling capabilities, making it suitable for various applications.

    Whether you’re simulating different material properties, applying varied boundary conditions, or integrating thermal analysis, PFC Suite’s adaptability ensures you can address diverse geomechanical projects with precision and efficiency. Experience limitless possibilities in geotechnical analysis with PFC Suite’s adaptable and versatile platform.

  • Better Scripting

    • Python can now access the built-in geometry logic (user-defined nodes, edges, faces, volumes, etc.).
    • The contourpy Python library (for calculating contours of 2D quadrilateral grids) is now built-in.

  • And More!
    • Grouping operations are now faster.
    • New Hoek-Brown curve fitting and plotting tool – then add these value as PROPERTY commands right into your model.
    • QT 6 user interface libraries have been updated:
    – User interface appearance is improved on high-resolution monitors.
    – No need to specify OpenGL Mode.
    • By place an * at the start of a command, all related warning messages will be suppressed.


See What Users Have To Say

“The software [is] very stable and the software manual is very well-organized and clear. [Also], the software integration between PFC3D and FLAC3D makes it easier to create coupled finite difference and discrete element models than [ever] before.”
Chong Wei, PhD
"I have been using PFC2D/3D for the last 18 years as a research tool, and I have to congratulate you on version 5 of PFC. The interface/post processing is very helpful, the changes made to fish and also the commands now make it easier to use and still as powerful as ever."
Corné Coetzee, Associate Professor, Stellenbosch University
“PFC is simple to use and the examples provided explain and help a lot.”
Tarek Mohamed, PhD Candidate

Everything You Need And More Included:

Expand your PFC Suite software capabilities with our included options, designed to tackle diverse engineering challenges effectively. Explore our selection of options to customize your PFC Suite experience.

  • Dynamics, specifically the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Module for PFC Suite, allows for the solution of fluid-particle interaction problems. It employs a coarse-grid approach, enabling the connection of PFC with an external CFD solver of choice.

    This module facilitates two-way coupling, with information exchange between PFC and the fluid-flow solver. It assumes fluid elements are larger than PFC particles, and it can model various fluid-flow equations, including Navier-Stokes, potential flow, and Euler equations. The module provides methods for reading a fluid mesh, storing fluid properties, calculating porosity, and applying fluid-particle interaction forces during PFC cycling.

  • The thermal module in PFC Suite simulates transient heat conduction, thermally induced strains, and forces within materials composed of PFC particles. It offers both thermal-only and coupled thermal-mechanical analyses, with heat conduction occurring through active thermal contacts. Custom criteria can inhibit thermal contacts.

    The model can run independently or be coupled with the mechanical model, considering thermal boundary conditions and bond breakages that modify heat conduction ability. This module is versatile for various heat-related analyses.


Software Support

Our commitment extends beyond excellent products. We offer comprehensive support for all your inquiries. Explore the links below to kick-start your journey:


Licensing & Pricing

PFC Suite
Annual Subscription
Paid Monthly

  • Convenient web license

  • Monthly payment plan

  • Continuous product updates

  • Free technical support
  • PFC Suite
    Annual Subscription

  • Convenient web license

  • Continuous product updates

  • Free technical support

  • PFC Suite
    Perpetual License

  • Convenient web license

  • One-time purchase, lifetime access

  • One year of free technical support

  • PFC Suite
    Academic License

  • Student & Instructor discounts

  • Contact salesperson for information


    Let's Start A Conversation

    Explore ITASCA's licensing solutions for organizations, universities, professors, and individuals. Contact us to find the ideal fit for your needs and optimize your geotechnical endeavors.