Why Choose PFC ?

The transparency and flexibility of open-source software with the power, ease-of-use, and support of a commercial program.

Itasca Consulting Group, Inc.


  • Numerical stability with large displacements, including collapse
  • 64-bit architecture allows very large models to be constructed; limited only by computer RAM
  • 12 built-in contact models
  • Thermal solution analysis comes standard
  • Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD) commands and functions are available to connect PFC to third-party CFD software
  • C++ Plug-in allows FISH intrinsic functions and new contact (i.e., constitutive) C++ models
  • FISH scripting and Python scripting language enables you to access, monitor, and control nearly every model and solution parameter
  • Built-in FISH text editor
  • Convex Rigid Blocks can be used for simulating non-spherical objects (without requiring clumps) and Bonded Block Models (BBMs)
  • Clumps or Convex Rigid Blocks are easily generated from templates and can be visualized as particles or their surface description
  • Bubble pack automatically creates clump template particles for a specified triangulated surface (DXF or STL)
  • Socket utilities permit PFC3D or PFC2D models to be coupled to another instance of PFC3D or PFC2D, FLAC3D or FLAC, and 3DEC or UDEC and to 3rd-party software
  • PFC3D 5.0 is available as a module, permitting Distinct Element Method (DEM) objects (balls, clumps, and walls) to be used directly within the FLAC3D 6.0 framework (requires PFC3D 5 or later license)
  • FLAC3D 6.0 is now available as a module, permitting FiniteVolume Diffence zones and structural elements, to be used directly within the PFC3D 6.0 framework (requires FLAC3D 6 license)
  • Includes the Material-modeling support environment for calibrating and testing (compression, diametral-compression, and direct-tension tests) models (linear, bonded, flat-jointed, and smooth-jointed)
  • Includes the Pavement-design package environment for creation and triaxial testing of a synthetic unsaturated granular material containing geogrid
  • Every event that modifies the model state is recorded; allowing for <strong>undo</strong>, <strong>playback</strong>, or reuse of any or all previous modeling work


  • Realistic physical solutions
  • Natural evolution of failure
  • Transparent methodology with all equations and algorithms fully documented
  • Built-in contact models are open-source; no black boxes
  • Live, person-to-person software support provided by experienced engineers and software developers
  • Extensive manuals and documentation
  • Automated software update notification in the event of any bug fixes


  • Tested and validated against analytical solutions
  • Sold commercially for over 24 years (since 1994)
  • Used by Itasca’s own consultant engineers and scientists on civil, manufacturing/processing, mining, oil & gas, and power generation projects
  • Large repository of examples and validations, with 1000’s of published articles and conference papers
  • Hundreds of licenses used worldwide by industry, universities, and government agencies


  • General by design
  • Access to almost all internal variables via the embedded FISH or Python scripting languages
  • CAD interoperability (import DXF and STL geometry)
  • Import and export data using I/O functions
  • Human-readable data files (ASCII)
  • Users may create and run their own contact models using FISH scripting or the optional C++ Plug-in
  • The standard version is portable between users and computers
  • A multiple seat network version also is available
  • Licenses are available in-perpetuity or as a monthly or annual lease


  • No CPU limits or additional CPU fees
  • No annual maintenance fee
  • Lower commercial license prices
  • Coupled or uncoupled steady-state and transient fluid flow is included
  • 12 contact models including Linear Parallel Bond, Hertz, Smooth Joint, Rolling Resistance, Adhesion, Soft Bond, and Burger's (creep)
  • Includes 64-bit version, parallel-processing optimization, and both FISH and Python scripting
  • Free standard technical support and software updates (see EULA)
  • Discounted pricing for qualified academic institutions
  • Two instances of either PFC2D or PFC3D can be run on a single computer with the standard version
  • The standard version is secured using a USB key which is portable between users and computers
  • Advance purchase of the next version (pre-purchase) at a discount is available any time prior to its release

Latest News
  • 2020 Peter A. Cundall Award ...
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  • Itasca Symposium 2020 - Registration Now Open! Registration is now open for the Fifth International Itasca Symposium....
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