Extreme Loading for Structures

Extreme Loading for Structures (ELS) is commercial structural-analysis software based on the applied element method (AEM) for the automatic tracking and propagation of cracks, separation of elements, element collision, and collapse of structures under extreme loads.[1] AEM combines features of Finite element method and Discrete element method simulation with its own solver capabilities for the generation of PC-based structural analysis.

Extreme Loading for Structures
Developer(s)Applied Science International
Stable release
ELS Version 3.0 / September 3, 2009 (2009-09-03)
Operating systemWindows
TypeSimulation software



  • Research and development related to the software begins with the formation of Applied Science International. The first release of ELS appears in the form of 2D analysis with structures modeled, loading scenarios applied, and results viewed.


  • Version 2.0 allows users to perform 3D analysis, though modeling is largely limited to 2D and restricted 3D functionality.
  • The United States Department of Homeland Security assigns ELS Designation Status for Anti-terrorism under the SAFETY Act.[2]


  • ELS version 3.0 is released with complete 3D functionality.

ELS Modeler

In the ELS modeler the user has the ability to model using a variety of default structural components such as columns, slabs, walls, windows, steel sections, reinforcement and 8-node objects. Pre-stressing, cables, pre-cracking and holes can also be added to models to reflect the required attributes of structures. To aid the user in modeling, attachments such as *.dxf, *.stl, *.dgn, and *.jpeg can be easily imported. Models can also be imported from several FEM based software programs such as Abaqus, ANSYS, Etabs, Gambit, Ideas, LS-DYNA, Nastran, Patran, SAP2000, and STAAD. ELS is Building Information Modeling (BIM) compatible with a plug-in for Autodesk Revit Structure, allowing users to import previously created structural components.[3]

ELS Solver

The solver performs multi-stage static and dynamic analysis in 2D and 3D. Static loading types include concentrated loads, displacements, hydrostatic pressures, uniform pressures, moving loads, element removals, and line loads. Available dynamic loading types include concentrated loads, displacements, seismic loads, uniform pressures, element removals, and moving loads. ELS comes with a predefined material library with both linear and non-linear material models that include steel, concrete, reinforced concrete, glass, aluminum, elastic, and tension.[3]

The AEM solver automatically calculates:

  • Crack generation
  • Plastic hinge formation
  • Element separation
  • Buckling, post buckling and large displacements
  • Contact and collisions

ELS Output Viewer

Once the AEM solver begins, output can be immediately observed in the ELS viewer. A variety of animated diagrams, charts and files can be created for visual representation of the analysis. The ELS viewer can create the following exportable content:

  • Animated diagrams:
    • Internal force
    • Envelope
  • Animated stress-strain contours
  • Load displacement curves
  • Animated charts available:
    • Load
    • Displacement
    • Stress
    • Strain
    • Time
    • Velocity
    • Acceleration
  • Eigen modes
  • Export to *.avi and *.bmp
  • Through additional plug-ins ELS can export animation data to Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya for use in visual effects for television and film.[3]


ELS is currently being utilized for structural engineering analysis functions such as structural vulnerability assessment & risk mitigation, progressive collapse analysis, blast analysis, demolition prediction analysis, impact analysis, seismic analysis, forensic engineering, performance based design, glass performance analysis product development and visual effects.[3]

See also

Academic institutions

More than 20 universities and academic institutions are currently involved in research and development projects resulting in the creation of publications on topics related to the Applied Element Method and Extreme Loading for Structures.[4] Academic institutions working with ELS include:

Academic Institutions working with ELS[5]
Auburn University Carleton University Concordia University Dresden University of Technology
École de technologie supérieure Helwan University Technical Military Academy of Bucharest Milwaukee School of Engineering
National Society for Earthquake Technology National University of Singapore Northeastern University North Carolina State University
Pennsylvania State University Portuguese Military Academy Purdue University Royal Military Academy (Belgium)
Rutgers University Technical University of Cluj-Napoca Tokyo Institute of Technology United States Military Academy
University of Bristol University of Connecticut University of California University of Miami
University of Missouri University of Missouri–Kansas City University of Oxford University of Texas at Austin
University of Wollongong


  1. Meguro, K. and Tagel-Din, H. (2000). "Applied element method for structural analysis: Theory and application for linear materials". Structural engineering/earthquake engineering. Japan: Japan Society of Civil Engineers. 17 (1): 21–35. F0028A. Archived from the original on 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2009-08-10.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. DHS. "SAFETY Act Designation Status Listing". Department of Homeland Security. Archived from the original on 2009-08-14. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
  3. ASI. "Extreme Loading for Structures Software - Overview". Applied Science International. Retrieved 2009-08-12.
  4. AEM Website. "Applied Element Method - Publications Library". AppliedElementMethod.com. Archived from the original on 2009-08-08. Retrieved 2009-08-12.
  5. ASI. "Extreme Loading for Structures - Universities". Applied Science International, LLC. Retrieved 2009-08-12.
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