ANSYS Joins the “Free-for-Academics” Software Trend
Shawn Wasserman posted on August 20, 2015 |
Company hopes student version will hook engineers in the bud.
ANSYS Student gives access to ANSYS Mechanical, CFD, Atodyn, Workbench, DesignModeler, and DesignXplorer. Image courtesy of ANSYS.

ANSYS Student gives access to ANSYS Mechanical, CFD, Atodyn, Workbench, DesignModeler, and DesignXplorer. Image courtesy of ANSYS.

With the recent announcement of ANSYS Student, academics will get free access to the ANSYS simulation suite. The introductory software will teach students the fundamentals of pre/post processing, FEA, CFD, optimization and other CAE tools.

These fundamental and tutorial models aim to prepare the student for real world engineering problems. As a result, the scope of the release is broad, offering students access to a slew of ANSYS products including ANSYS Mechanical, CFD, Atodyn, Workbench, DesignModeler and DesignXplorer.

What Can You Do with 32,000 Nodes?

Students won’t receive live technical support, but will have access to videos, FAQ lists and tutorials. The software’s model size will be limited compared to the commercial versions. Structural models can have a maximum of 32,000 nodes/elements and CFD models up to 512,000 cells/nodes. Students will have to pledge that the products will not be used commercially and renew this license every 6 months.

“The free ANSYS Student product is a truly exciting development since it puts state-of-the-art simulation technology at students’ fingertips everywhere,” said Rajesh Bhaskaran, director of engineering at Cornell University. “This will enable them to solve real-world engineering models while also gaining fundamental physical insights.

“At Cornell University, we use ANSYS software in a dozen courses in mechanical and aerospace engineering to expose students to finite element analysis and computational fluid dynamics simulations,” Bhaskaran added. “Our students find it convenient to have the software on their computers to complete homework and projects.”

Investing in the Future Trend in CAE

Mark Hindsbo, vice president of marketing for ANSYS, said in a statement, “investing in STEM education is critical for the global economy.” With this announcement, ANSYS joins other CAD and CAE vendors who have invested in the engineers of tomorrow with free software.

In fact, there is an industry trend to offer CAE tools to as many schools as possible. Here are a few examples of this trend from our coverage:

This may not seem like good sales strategy at first, but CAE vendors hope to hook budding engineers. By solidifying a preference for the software they are used to, graduates moving into the industry might convince their employers to get it for them.

CAE companies are betting on the future of these students at the expense of selling to the schools who typically get their licenses at a reduced cost anyway. Will it pay off? Comment below.

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