CTH is a multi-material, Eulerian, large deformation, strong shock wave, solid mechanics code developed at Sandia National Laboratories. It has models for multi-phase, elastic viscoplastic, porous and explosive materials. Three-dimensional rectangular meshes, two dimensional rectangular, and cylindrical meshes, and one-dimensional rectilinear, cylindrical, and spherical meshes are available. CTH has adaptive mesh refinement and uses second-order accurate numerical methods to reduce dispersion and dissipation and produce accurate, efficient results. It is written in FORTRAN 90 and C and has serial and parallel versions for UNIX and Linux workstations, Beowulf clusters, massively parallel supercomputers, Macintosh/OSX and Windows. We provide serial and parallel pre-built executables for Linux, Windows and Macintosh/OSX. CTH provides an end-to-end simulation solution including visualization support.


CTH calculation of a copper ball penetrating a steel plate showing debris leaving the back side of the plate and ejecta from the front side of the plate.


CTH has several material models appropriate for strong shock, large deformation calculations. SESAME tabular and analytic equations of state model the nonlinear behavior of materials in the high-pressure regime. SESAME can model solid, liquid, vapor, liquid-vapor, solid-liquid and solid-solid phase changes.


SESAME Multi-Phase Equation of State


An elastic-perfectly plastic model with thermal softening is available. The Johnson-Cook, Zerilli Armstrong, and Steinburg-Guinan viscoplasticity models are available. In addition, the Johnson Holmquist brittle strength and failure model is available for modeling brittle materials such as ceramic or concrete.


Johnson Holmquist Failure Model showing pressure dependent failure surfaces for intact and failed materials.



High explosive detonation can be modelled using programmed burn, Lee-Tarver, Forestfire, and a history variable model developed at Sandia. The Jones-Wilkins-Lee analytic and SESAME tabular equations of state can model the high explosive reaction products. Fracture can be initiated based on pressure or principal stress.


Calculated and measured shapes of a tantalum plate experiment designed to spall in the center.


A model moves fragments smaller than a computational cell with statistically correct velocity. This model is very useful for analyzing fragmentation experiments and experiments with witness plates.

CTH uses an Eulerian solution scheme where the mesh is fixed in space and the material flows through the mesh. CTH uses monotone, second order convention schemes to flux all quantities between cells. It has a high-resolution material interface capturing scheme that prevents numerical breakup and distortion of material interfaces. These numerical methods reduce the dispersion and dissipation found in first-order accurate, Eulerian codes.

All variables can be displayed in two-dimensional and three-dimensional plots and as a function of time with CTH's visualization software. Full documentation is provided.


Example of CTH 2D graphics. Calculation of a 14.5mm Armor Piercing Bullet 70ms after hitting an aluminum nitride/aluminum armor.


A 1-inch cylinder of explosive is detonated on the bottom by a booster pellet. From left to right the images show the initial geometry, the explosive partly detonated, and the expanded products after detonation is complete.