Skip to main content

A Software Program to Convert Between SIERRA and COMSOL Simulation Codes

DuraMAT will develop a software program to convert finite element analysis (FEA) data between the SIERRA code suite used at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and the commercial code, COMSOL.

At present, the absence of a converter between SIERRA and COMSOL file formats limits developed modeling capability sharing between SNL and other DuraMAT partners by requiring custom, time-consuming scripting each time a data transfer is needed. The converter program will allow direct transport of FEA data between SIERRA and COMSOL simulation codes. This will help realize the multiphysics modeling chain approach to predict overall degradation mechanism of photovoltaic modules. The converter will enable results from one particular physics simulation performed in either SIERRA or COMSOL to be carried over to a different simulation code, where additional simulation considering a different physics can be performed. In addition, the converter will allow users to input desired region-of-interest in a large FEA model in one simulation code to create a submodel with desired mesh resolution for additional simulation in a different simulation code.

Technical tasks include:

  • Develop a two-way converter program for FEA data transport between SNL's SIERRA and commercial COMSOL simulation codes
  • Develop use case examples to demonstrate the converter program's capabilities.

Core Objective

Multi-Scale, Multi-Physics Modeling




The converter program will allow using the FEA data obtained in one simulation code (SIERRA/COMSOL) to perform subsequent FEA study with desired physics on a different simulation code. The program will allow a submodel with boundary condition creation from a full module-level simulation, performed in either SIERRA or COMSOL, to perform more detailed simulation with finer mesh resolution in a different simulation code with new desired physics.


The developed software program will be made available as an open-source software program


M. T. Merewether et al. Sierra/SolidMechanics 4.56 User's Guide. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.2172/1608404.

Schoof, Larry A. and Yarberry, Victor R., "EXODUS II: A Finite Element Data Model" Sandia National Laboratories, Computational Mechanics and Visualization Department, September, 1994.


To learn more about this project, contact Farhan Rahman.

An image of a heat-transfer simulation in SIERRA, and another image of a subsequent solid-mechanics simulation in COMSOL (with submodel and different mesh resolution if required.

The two-way converter program will allow simulation result from SIERRA to be imported into COMSOL to run further analysis, and vice versa.