Code Descriptions:

LS-DYNA is a general-purpose finite element program that runs on a broad range of computing platforms. It is a commercial version of the public domain code that originated as DYNA3D. LSTC’s founder, John O. Hallquist, originally developed DYNA3D at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The public domain version of DYNA3D is restricted to explicit Lagrangian finite element calculations with a small element library and a moderate number of material models, and optimized to run on single vector processors. LS-DYNA has both explicit and implicit formulations, large element and material libraries, and runs in Lagrangian, Eulerian, and arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) modes. It runs on single processors, and multiple processors in symmetric multi processing (SMP) and message passing interface (MPI) modes.

How to Obtain Code:

Free 30-day licenses for LS-DYNA are available at

How to Run Benchmark Problem:

The command line to run LS-DYNA with n CPUs for benchmark input file bench.k is “ls970 i=bench.k ncpu=n”, where ls970 is the name of the executable.

How to Obtain Code Support:

Technical support is available through the contacts listed at The manuals may be downloaded as PDF files from on their publications page, or purchased in bound hardcopy format at


The user manual lists 12 pages of technical papers associated with the formulation of LS-DYNA.

For a general overview of explicit finite element methods in hydrocodes, such as the public domain version of DYNA3D, see Benson, D. J., “Computational Methods in Lagrangian and Eulerian Hydrocodes,” Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1992, Vol. 99, 1992, pp. 235-394.

The following finite element textbooks are the personal favorites of David Benson and are listed from least to most expensive (and comprehensive):

  1. Hughes, T. J. R. “The Finite Element Method: Linear Static and Dynamic Finite Element Analysis” Dover Publications, (2000).
  2. Belytschko, T., Liu, W. K., and Moran, B. “Nonlinear Finite Elements for Continua and Structures,” John Wiley and Sons, (Sept. 12, 2000).
  3. Zienkiewicz, O. C., and Taylor, R. L. “The Finite Element Method, 3 Volume Set” Butterworth-Heinemann; 5th edition (August 25, 2000).