MARS is a special purpose computational software for simulating the mechanical response of structures under various loading conditions. It is based on dynamic explicit algorithms and it includes all the capabilities and versatility of a general finite element code. MARS features some unique techniques, such as the Lattice Discrete Particle Method (LDPM) and adaptive re-meshing algorithms for shell and solid meshes, which facilitate the solution of problems involving structural break-ups, fragmentation, and post-failure response under extreme loading conditions. MARS, thanks to its object-oriented architecture, makes it possible to add new capabilities in an efficient and systematic fashion. All entities in MARS are organized in a hierarchical framework.

MARS has been successfully adopted for the simulation of a wide variety of problems, which include:

  • Modeling of cracking and failure of cement-based materials
  • Response of reinforced concrete structures to blast loads and fragment impacts
  • Cable dynamics problems
  • Fragmentation of ordinance casings
  • Laceration of plates and shells
  • Modeling of the breakup and failure of textile composite structures

MARS, as a standard finite element solver that includes discrete element features, is well-suited to modeling the response of structures past the breaking point and into predicting the structural failure modes.  The discrete features of MARS include:

  • QPH quadrilateral shell elements with physical hourglass stabilization; 
  • DKT triangular shell elements; 
  • Beam elements with various built-in cross sections; 
  • 8-Node Flanagan-Belytschko hexahedral elements with hourglass stabilization; 
  • Hyper-elastic solid elements; 
  • Various constraint formulations, including concrete-rebar interaction; 
  • Automatic contact algorithm for node-face, edge-edge, node-edge, node-node contact detection; 
  • Macro-particles for simulating discrete elements with complex shapes; 
  • the Lattice Discrete Particle Model (LDPM), the most comprehensive tool in the market for the discrete simulation of quasibrittle concrete and rocks; 
  • FSI interface with the Eulerian software GEMINI for simulation of blasts and explosions.

Many of the unique capabilities available in the MARS software requires an understanding of the specific MARS mathematical algorithms used. This knowledge is crucial for developing valid analytical models and obtaining good numerical simulations. New users may need help to use MARS effectively. ES3 is available to assist your analysts in developing valid and efficient models with MARS for those problems of interest to you. For more information, please contact us at

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