Engineering Geology

Simulation Lab


For computationally intensive, computer-aided applications, Engineering Geology has a high-performance workstation at its disposal, which is equipped with two Intel Xeon® processors, each with 4 cores (@ 3.6 GHz) and 128 GB RAM. The workstation provides numerous computer programs and software applications that are used in research and teaching to solve engineering geological problems. If this computing capacity is not sufficient, we have access to the High Performance Computing (HPC) and clusterExternal Linkcomputing systems of the Steibuch Centre for Computing (SCC).


  • FEFLOW (Finite Element subsurface FLOW system) is a computer program for the simulation of groundwater flow as well as mass and heat transport in porous and fissured media. The software uses finite element methods to solve the differential equations of groundwater flow in saturated and saturated regions, as well as mass and heat transport. In engineering geology, FEFLOW is mainly used in the field of near-surface geothermal energy to quantify the thermal-hydraulic influence of geothermal probes or aquifer reservoirs (ATES) on groundwater.
  • SimaPro enables the systematic modelling and analysis of life cycles and thus the holistic sustainability of products and services. This allows the quantification of the various environmental influences from the extraction of raw materials, through processing and use, to the disposal of a product. In this way, emission focal points in supply chains can be identified and the life cycle assessment of products can be optimised. In addition to industrial products, the environmental impact of energy generation technologies can also be examined for their environmental friendliness and sustainability. A study at the AGW has thus demonstrated the ecological advantages of electricity generation with deep geothermal energy (Link: Link
  • Irazu: With the Irazu software deformation and failure processes in rocks can be simulated considering the characteristic properties and the presence of discontinuities. Hybrid Finite-Discrete Element Methods (FEMDEM), which combine conventional continuum mechanics and discrete element methods, serve as a basis for this. Thus, Irazu can explicitly map fracture and fragmentation processes in geomaterials and thus also analyse complex non-linear behaviour patterns. To meet the high demands on computing power for large simulations, Irazu uses the computing power of graphics cards (GPU). For this purpose, the workstation is equipped with a high-performance graphics card. In the engineering geology group Irazu is used in teaching courses on numerical modelling of slope movements and projects in the field of rock mechanics.
  • Multiphysics Object-Oriented Simulation Environment (MOOSE): MOOSE is an object-oriented C++ finite element framework for the development of tightly coupled multiphysics solvers from Idaho National Laboratory. MOOSE uses the package of nonlinear PETSc solvers and libmesh to provide finite element discretization, allowing coupled systems of equations to be solved efficiently and in parallel.
Example: Integrated simulation of hydrogeological and geochemical processes in swelling clay- sulphate rocks