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Chapter 5

Accessing ANSYS Options


Accessing ANSYS Options
Chapter Overview Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• In this chapter, the following ways of interfacing with
ANSYS will be covered:
– Named Selections and ANSYS Components
– Using Commands Objects
– Loading a Simulation Environment Directly in ANSYS

• The capabilities described in this section are generally


applicable to ANSYS Professional licenses or above.

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Accessing ANSYS Options
A. Named Selections and ANSYS Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• As will be seen subsequently, there are different ways to
interface with ANSYS to access advanced functionality
• However, when the model is transferred to ANSYS, only
node and element entities are sent
– Solid model geometry is not referenced by the ANSYS solver
– Because of this, it may be difficult to select or manipulate the
model if only the finite element mesh is present

• Named Selections provide a convenient way of selecting


and manipulating the mesh
– Named Selections are defined in Simulation
– These are transferred as Components in ANSYS, where they
can be selected or manipulated, as needed.
– To reference any “geometry” in ANSYS, the geometry must
first be defined as a Named Component in Simulation
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Accessing ANSYS Options
… Transferring to ANSYS Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Named Selections transferred as ANSYS Components:
– Vertex, edge, and surface named selections are transferred as
nodal components with the same name
– Named selections of solid, surface, and line bodies transfer as
element components with the same name
• Change the selection filter to “Body”. This allows selection of
surface and line bodies, not just solid bodies!

• The following conventions apply when Named Selections in


Simulation are transferred as ANSYS Components:
– Names beginning with a number have the prefix “C_” added
– Spaces will be replaced by underscores
– If multiple selection groups have the same name, only the last
one is converted as an ANSYS component

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Accessing ANSYS Options
… Transferring to ANSYS Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Once Named Selections are transferred to ANSYS, they can
be referenced as Components to do the following:
– Apply types of loads not supported in Simulation
– Change element attributes
– Define additional elements not supported in Simulation
– Special postprocessing tasks
– …etc.

• Most ANSYS commands accept component names as an


argument, facilitating component use in ANSYS
• Named Selections are associative with the CAD geometry,
so users do not have to worry if CAD model is updated
• Use of components is numbering-independent, so users do
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Accessing ANSYS Options
B. Overview of Command Objects Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Command Objects enable users to add APDL (ANSYS
Parametric Design Language) commands, which expose
advanced ANSYS functionality not otherwise available in
Simulation
– The Command objects requires that the user has familiarity
with APDL commands
– Command objects can be inserted in the Part, Contact,
Environment or Solution branches:
• Part branch: commands are inserted following the material
definition in ANSYS /prep7
• Contact branch: commands are inserted following the contact
definitions in ANSYS /prep7
• Environment branch: commands inserted prior to the SOLVE
command
• Solution branch: commands inserted after the /POST1 command
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Accessing ANSYS Options
… Adding Command Objects Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Adding command objects is done by right-clicking in the
appropriate branch and using “Insert > Commands”
– A new branch with a Worksheet view will be shown where
APDL commands can be inserted.

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Accessing ANSYS Options
… Parameterizing Command Objects Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• The details window for each command object can contain
up to 9 parameter definitions (“ARG1 to ARG9”).
– Just as with other detail information throughout Workbench
these arguments can be made parametric.

In this example a command object


placed in the Environment branch
contains the NSUB command. The
syntax of the command is:
NSUB, Initial substeps, max substeps, min substeps

Notice we have substituted ARG1 in the


command resulting in:
Nsub, 10, arg1, 2
This parameter can be used throughout
Workbench including DesignXplorer
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Accessing ANSYS Options
. . . Specifying Material Properties Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Command objects inserted in part branches allow quick
material modification without having to know each part’s
material number (ANSYS)
• In the example below the “mp” command is used to modify
the Young’s modulus for the material used for “Part1”.
– Notice the parameter “matid” is inserted into the command in
place of the material’s reference number.

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. . . Specifying Contact Properties Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Contact branch command objects can be used to modify
ANSYS element type , real constant and material number
data using parametric references.
• Can be used with symmetric or asymmetric contact pairs.
• Insert ANSYS commands using parametric references.

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Accessing ANSYS Options
… Obtaining Output Parameters Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Inserting a Command Object under the Solution
branch allows for the use of postprocessing
commands.
• Certain types of APDL parameters may be
retrieved as Simulation parameters for use with
design studies
– A output “prefix” is specified (default is “my_”), so
all APDL parameters with that prefix will be
searched and parsed.
– Output parameters can be used with Parameter
Manager (discussed earlier in Chapter 10) or
DesignXplorer, enabling inclusion of APDL
commands

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Accessing ANSYS Options
… Retrieving ANSYS Output Information Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Command objects placed in the Solution branch can be
used to retrieve plots from ANSYS
• Place the appropriate plot formating information (file type,
size, etc.) in the command object.
• Issue the desired plot commands.
• ANSYS plots are placed below the command object.
• Plots are static images (see next page).

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… Retrieving ANSYS Output Information Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• ANSYS plots are retrieved below the command object.

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… Linking with Text File Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• The Command Object’s contents can be exported or
imported to/from a text file:
– The Command Object contents can be “refreshed” to reflect
current text file contents
– In Details view, linked filename will be shown

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Accessing ANSYS Options
… Command Objects Summary Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Command Objects provide a convenient means of adding
APDL commands to a Simulation model in order to access
advanced ANSYS functionality not otherwise exposed
– Commands branch provides pre- and post-processing access
inside of ANSYS, including linking contents with external text
files (e.g., ANSYS input or macro files)
– When used for post-processing, certain parameters with a
given prefix may be retrieved back into Simulation. This is
useful not only to view APDL parameter output but also for
design studies, such as with Parameter Manager or
DesignXplorer
– For users not as familiar with APDL commands, the
Preprocessing and Postprocessing Commands branches,
discussed next, provide an alternate means of including
ANSYS functionality within Simulation.
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Accessing ANSYS Options
C. Transferring Models to ANSYS Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• As seen in the previous section, the two types of
Commands branches allow the user to add ANSYS APDL
commands within the Simulation environment to access
advanced functionality
• In some cases, users may wish to transfer the Simulation
model into ANSYS directly and run the model from there
– All of these options will transfer the mesh only, not the solid
model geometry, to ANSYS

• There are three ways to transfer the mesh/loads to ANSYS:


– Saving the Environment as a binary ANSYS database
– Saving the Environment as an ASCII ANSYS input file
– Loading the Environment in an ANSYS session

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… Saving the ANSYS Database Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• During solution, the ANSYS binary database can be saved
– In the Details view of the Solution branch, change “Save
ANSYS db” to “Yes”
– Specify the ANSYS database filename in the “ANSYS db File
Name” textbox, which will appear underneath
– Solve the model, which will initiate solution and save the
ANSYS database (*.db)
– Things to keep in mind:
• A solution must be initiated to create/save the
.db file
• The ANSYS .db file will be saved in the active
units (Units menu)
• This is also used in conjunction with saving
ANSYS result files after a solution (see next slide)

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Accessing ANSYS Options
… Saving Other ANSYS Binary Files Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• ANSYS files written during solution may also be saved:
– Use with the Postprocessing Commands Builder
– Enable use to manually post-process within ANSYS later

• In the “Tools menu > Options… > Simulation: Solution,”


user can save ANSYS files as well as specify where these
files are stored. To save ANSYS files for each Simulation
database, use the option “Use Project Directory.”

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Accessing ANSYS Options
… Writing an ANSYS Input File Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• An ANSYS input file may be generated,
independent of the Simulation solution
– Select a Solution branch
– Select “Tools > Write ANSYS Input File” and
enter the name and location of the input file
– Things to keep in mind:
• As with saving the binary ANSYS database, only the currently selected
Environment will be written. Write multiple input files for each
Environment branch to be saved.
• Unlike saving the binary ANSYS database, this option does not require a
Simulation solution. If loads/supports and requested results are
incomplete, Simulation will not know what type of analysis to specify, so
the model may be transferred as MESH200 generic ‘mesh-only’ elements.
Otherwise, see previous chapters as to how the model will be translated
to ANSYS
• There will be an /EOF command prior to SOLVE
– To make the input file generate the mesh and solve, simply remove the
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/EOF line in any text editor
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Accessing ANSYS Options
… Loading Environment in ANSYS Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• It is possible to load an Environment directly into ANSYS:
– In the Workbench Project page, select a “Model”
– On the right-side menu, one can list Environments contained
in that Model branch
– Select the Environment of interest to load into ANSYS

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Accessing ANSYS Options
… Loading Environment in ANSYS Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


– After selecting the Environment, the ANSYS Output Window
will appear, and the Workbench GUI will change to ANSYS
– The analysis may be continued from within ANSYS
• Note that any actions performed in ANSYS will be captured in an
ANSYS log file, but these will not be stored in Simulation
• When leaving ANSYS, the user will be prompted to save files

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Accessing ANSYS Options
… Loading Environment in ANSYS Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• All pertinent files from the ANSYS session will be stored in
a new subdirectory in the Solver Working Directory
– The subdirectory name will be called “filename_num” where
“filename” is the name of the .dsdb file and “num” is the
numerical Environment number
• For example, for the third environment branch of a Project.dsdb
file, the subdirectory will be named “Project_3”
– All ANSYS-generated files, including the input file, error file,
log file, and database, will be contained in the subdirectory
• filename_AWE.inp: text input file generated from Simulation and
automatically read into ANSYS
• filename.db (optional): binary ANSYS database of mesh and loads
• filename.err: text file containing all error or warning messages
• filename.log: text file containing ANSYS command history
• filename.page: temporary binary file (leave untouched)
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Workshop 5

Accessing ANSYS Options


Hyperelastic with Contact

Nonlinear Analysis of a Keyboard


Accessing ANSYS Options
D. Workshop 5 – Hyperelastic with Contact Training Manual

ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


This exercise will cover accessing ANSYS options through
the Commands object. A 2D analysis of a portion of a
hyperelastic keyboard will be performed, as shown below.
– General use of Commands
object in the Geometry,
Environment, and Solution
branches
– Use of Named Selections will
facilitate manipulating data
in ANSYS
– Output parameters and plots
will be retrieved from the
solution
– Items shown with round
bullet points are tasks to be
performed.
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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Launch Workbench and open a new
Simulation session
• Under the “Geometry” branch in the
Details view:
– Turn off import of solid and line
bodies and only select import of
surface bodies
– Change the “Analysis Type” to “2-D”

• From the Context toolbar, choose


“Geometry > From File…” and select
the Parasolid file “keyboard.x_t”
– The model will be attached to
Simulation, as shown next

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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Select the menu item “Units > Metric
(mm, kg, N, °C, s, mV, mA)”
• Right-click on “Part 1” and select
“Rename” to rename it to “ground”
• Likewise, right-click on “Part 2” and
rename it to “keyboard”
• Right-click on “keyboard” and select
“Insert > Commands” from the pop-
up menu
– In the contents of the Commands
object, type the following:
mpdele,all,MATID
tb,hyper,MATID,1,,neo
tbdata,1,80.194
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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


The commands that were added in
the previous slide delete the existing
material properties for the
“keyboard” part and replace it with a mpdele,all,MATID
neo-Hookean hyperelastic model. tb,hyper,MATID,1,,neo
– The “matid” parameter is used to tbdata,1,80.194
reference the material ID for that given
part, so the element type or material
can easily be changed using ANSYS Contact regions can also be
changed in a similar manner
commands
under the “Contact” branch.
– The active Simulation units are used The ANSYS APDL parameters
during analysis, so it is important that “CID” and “TID” refer to the
contact and target real
all materials defined in the Commands
constant numbers.
object have the same units as the
active Simulation Units.

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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Using the Control Key, select both
“ground” and “keyboard” from the
Geometry branch
– In the Details view, ensure that “Plane
Stress” is the “Behavior”
– Enter “10” mm for the “Thickness”

In this example, the keyboard is


assumed to have a plane stress state
with a thickness of 10 mm.

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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Right-click on “Contact Region”
under the Contact branch and select
“Rename Based on Geometry”
– The contact pair will be renamed to
“ground To keyboard,” as shown on
the right

In this case, the automatic contact


detection selected the top of the
“ground” as the contact surface
(red). We need to flip the contact pair
such that the top of the “ground” is
the target, as it is the stiffer material.
• Right click on “ground To keyboard”
and select “Flip Contact/Target”
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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• In the Details view, select “Contact”.
– The bottom of the keyboard will be
highlighted. With the “Edge”
selection active and the Control key
pressed, select the other two lines as
shown on the right, as these will be
expected to touch the ground
– Click on “Apply” to complete the
selection
– Change “Type” to “Frictionless”
– Change “Behavior” to “Asymmetric”
– Change “Formulation” to “Augmented
Lagrange”
– Toggle “Pinball Region” to “Radius”
and enter “10” mm for the radius.
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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Select the Mesh branch and, in the
Details view, toggle the “Global
Control” to “Advanced”
– The “Element Size” should be set to
“1” mm
– Change “Curve/Proximity” to “100”
– The “Shape Checking” can be
switched to “Aggressive”
• Change the selection filter to “Face”
and select the “ground” part. From
the Context toolbar, select “Mesh
Control > Mapped Face Meshing”, as
shown on the right
– The “Element Shape” can be set to
“Quadrilaterals”

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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Change the selection filter back to
“Edge” and select the four lines of
the “ground” part, as shown on the
right
– From the Context toolbar, select
“Mesh Control > Sizing”
– In the Details view, change “Type” to
“Number of Divisions”, with the
number of divisions being 1

In this example, the ground is not of


interest and is much stiffer than the
keyboard, so it will be meshed with
just one element.
• Right click on the Mesh branch and
select “Preview Mesh”

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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Select the topmost line of the
“keyboard” part and select the
“Create Selection Group” icon
– When asked for a name, enter
“PUSH_TOP”

A new Named Selection branch and


PUSH_TOP object will be created in
the Tree.
The Named Selection can be
referenced as a nodal component in
ANSYS Command objects in order to
manipulate the model. In this case, a
special loading will be applied to the
nodes in “PUSH_TOP”
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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Highlight the Environment branch,
then select the leftmost line of the
“keyboard” part
– From the Context toolbar, select
“Structural > Frictionless Support”

• Do the same for the rightmost line of


the “keyboard” part and add a
Frictionless Support there as well.

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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Select the bottommost line of the
“ground” part
– Add “Structural > Fixed Support” from
the Context toolbar

• Right-click on the Environment


branch and select “Insert >
Commands”
– In the Commands object, select
“Import” from the Context toolbar
– Select “keyboard2.mac” as the file
– The contents of “keyboard2.mac” will
be inserted into the Commands object

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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


It may be worth pausing for a moment
to examine the commands inserted
from “keyboard2.mac”
/show,png
– All results are saved for each substep
time,54
– The nodal component (Named outres,erase
Selection) called “PUSH_NODE” is outres,all,all
selected, and a coupled set for the y-
direction is created for all of the cmsel,s,PUSH_TOP
nodes PUSH_NODE=ndnext(0)
– A displacement of –54 mm is applied cp,next,uy,all

in the y-direction on the master node d,PUSH_NODE,uy,-54

of the coupled set.


allsel,all
– An element plot is generated, so the
/pbc,all,1
user can see the mesh and boundary
eplot
conditions in Workbench Simulation
/show,close

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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Select the Solution branch. In the
Details view, change the following:
– “Solver Type” to “Direct”
• This model has hyperelastic and steel
materials, so the matrix may be ill-
conditioned. The sparse direct solver
will suffice for such a small problem.
– “Weak Springs” to “Off”
– “Large Deflection” to “On”
• Although the text box may change to
yellow, this is because no results have
been requested yet.
– “Auto Time Stepping” to “On”
– “Initial Substeps” and “Minimum
Substeps” of “10” and “Maximum
Substeps” of “1000”
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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• From the Context toolbar, select the
following:
– “Stress > Equivalent (von-Mises)”
– “Strain > Equivalent (von-Mises)”
– “Deformation > Total”
– “Tools > Solution Information”
– “Tools > Contact Tool”

• Change the Contact Tool detail to


“Worksheet”, change “Contact Side”
to “Contact” > “Apply”.
• Then RMB > Insert:
– “Contact > Pressure”
– “Contact > Penetration”
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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


There are some type of results that
cannot be viewed directly from
Simulation. These include load-
history response (POST26) as well as
element table items
• Right-click on the Solution branch
and “Insert > Commands”
– From the Context toolbar, select
“Import” and read in the
“keyboard3.mac” file
– The contents will be displayed in the
worksheet. Notice the inclusion of the
output parameter “MY_REACTION” in
the Details view.

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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• The “keyboard3.mac” contains postprocessing ANSYS
commands /show,png
– The Time-History Post- /post26
processor is used to plot rforce,2,PUSH_NODE,f,y,FORCE
force vs. displacement at the /axlab,x,Displacement
top of the keyboard /axlab,y,Force
– The General Postprocessor plvar,2
is then used to get the finish
reaction force due to pushing
the keyboard down. This is
/post1
reported as “MY_REACTION,”
which is also recognized by set,last

Simulation as an output *get,MY_REACTION,node,PUSH_NODE,rf,fy


parameter that can be used /title,Equivalent Stresses
with the Parameter Manager plesol,s,eqv,2
or DesignXplorer /title,Out-of-plane Thicknesses
– The resulting thicknesses are plesol,nmisc,1
also plotted. /show,close
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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Click on the “Solve” icon to initiate
the solution.
• Select the “Solution Information”
branch to review the contents of the
Output window.
– The “Force Convergence” graph can
also be reviewed during solution to
monitor the progress of the analysis
– At the end of the solution, a warning
message may appear. The user does
not have to worry about this, as the
frictionless supports used in this
example are fine for this large-
deflection solution.

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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• Select “Equivalent Elastic Strain” and
review the strains.
– Change the scaling in the Context
toolbar to “1.0 (True Scale)”
– The undeformed model may also be
superimposed to get a better sense of
how much the keyboard deformed.
– Note that the equivalent elastic strains
are very large (~66%), as this is a
hyperelastic model.

Review other results, such as


stresses, deformation, and contact
results. Contact pressure
distribution is shown on the right.

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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


Note that under the Commands object in
the Solution branch, there are four “Post
Output” objects
– If no objects are shown under the
Commands branch, click on the
Workbench Project tab on the very top,
then return back to Simulation tab to
refresh the window

• Select “Post Output 2” – this is a plot of


force vs. deflection in the y-direction.
– Note that the force is relatively small at
first. Then, the slope changes when the
front of the keyboard initiates contact.
Another change in slope occurs when the
middle contacts the ground.

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ANSYS Workbench – Simulation


• “Post Output 4” shows the final
thicknesses
– Recall that the initial thickness was 10 mm
(Step 3)
– Because of the incompressibility of the
hyperelastic material, some areas (yellow)
became thinner while other areas (red)
became thicker.
• “Post Output 3” shows equivalent
stresses
– Note that the max stress in ANSYS is 141
MPa while max stress is 140 MPa in
Simulation. This slight difference is due to
the fact that ANSYS has different options
for output, including averaged or
unaveraged stresses, so the user has more
control over output results with the
Commands object.

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