Engineering analysis + design software

How it all began

LUSAS software has its origins even earlier than the company's start up in 1982.

Back in January 1970, LUSAS Managing Director, Dr Paul Lyons, was a student in the Structures Section of the Civil Engineering Department at Imperial College - formerly a constituent college of the University of London. Whilst studying for his PhD he wrote the first of what would eventually become many millions of lines of code - and the London University Structural Analysis System (LUSAS) was born.

Three years were spent writing the first version of LUSAS which comprised just beam, shell, and solid elements. It only handled linear elastic analysis and used a frontal solution method. One by one other researchers got involved with writing LUSAS code for their PhD work too, and shortly afterwards the software was enhanced to handle nonlinear analysis. Dr Paul Lyons explains: "The development work initially focussed on nonlinear shells because, at the time, a lot of work in the civil engineering department was related to box girder bridges." In fact two well publicised and tragic bridge collapses had recently taken place - Milford Haven Bridge in Wales and West Gate Bridge in Sydney, Australia - and as a result there was a lot of steel bridge testing and research going on. He continues: "Although these collapses were terrible events the research that was carried out afterwards allowed us to compare the results from LUSAS with experimental test results and fine-tune the software to ensure we got good correlation. Looking back, the elasto-plastic deformation analysis that we carried out then was very important because it laid the foundations for the nonlinear strengths of LUSAS today."

Following work as a research fellow at Imperial College, in 1978 he went to Kingston University to develop the software further, adding more elements and providing better solution methods to make LUSAS more usable and commercially viable. Then, in 1982, along with co-director Dr David Irving, who had also helped with developing LUSAS at Kingston University, he set-up Finite Element Analysis Limited, based in modest offices in Holborn, London, and began selling and further developing the software. He remembers: "Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick and Partners were our very first customer - something we shall always be indebted to them for". Now part of Aecom, they are still customers - something we at LUSAS are very proud of.

Retaining and listening to our long established clients has been an important part of our success over the years. As more and more clients came on board, company turnover and staff numbers increased so that in 1987 it forced a move to larger riverside offices in Kingston upon Thames, where the company still trades from today. From here the push to get LUSAS used by more engineers internationally started and a team of carefully chosen regional distributors was signed up.

Over the years a number of key developments and changes to the software have taken place. The initial graphical user interface written in the mid 1980s was re-written in the 1990s to take advantage of the C++ programming language and LUSAS Modeller came into being. Application-specific software packages such as LUSAS Bridge and LUSAS Composite, all based upon LUSAS Solver technology, were then introduced to meet the specific analysis needs of clients in different industries. Multi-frontal solutions (fast solver options) were added to give clients the option to produce results ten to twenty times faster than frontal solutions for certain types of analysis. Another key development was the creation of a parallel version of LUSAS which was seen to be of great importance because, as Dr Paul Lyons said when it was introduced: "This is the way the engineering industry is going to go - solving with parallel processors." 

LUSAS has now expanded and is now well established in many regions around the world and especially in the United States of America where, in the bridge, civil, and structural engineering analysis markets many high-profile consultants and much valued Departments of Transportation use LUSAS software for both its general and its advanced analysis capabilities. LUSAS also responded to the emerging engineering analysis market in China and developed a Chinese language version to meet this demand. Now, numerous bridge, civil, structural and Liquid Natural Gas projects have benefitted from the capabilities of the software for these applications.

In 2012, with LUSAS celebrating its 30th anniversary, the West Gate Bridge was again in the headlines but this time for different reasons. The West Gate Bridge Upgrade project saw LUSAS used by long-standing clients Flint & Neill (now part of COWI) to prove its strengthening design for the bridge to enable it to carry extra traffic lanes. 

Now, as of writing, in October 2017, LUSAS is celebrating its 35th anniversary in the same year as two major bridge projects in the United Kingdom with LUSAS involvement - The Queensferry Crossing and The Mersey Gateway - are both completed and open for use.

All staff at LUSAS take great pleasure in providing the software tools, capabilities and support services to help our clients achieve success, and look forward to helping them to do so for many more years to come.

1st October 2017

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LUSAS is a trademark and trading name of Finite Element Analysis Ltd. Copyright 1982 - 2022. Last modified: August 19, 2021 . Privacy policy. 
Any modelling, design and analysis capabilities described are dependent upon the LUSAS software product, version and option in use.