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Mechatronics & Fluid Power “Physics for simulation”

Dec 1, 2015

Nicolas Huc, VP of Development & Product Manager, COMSOL, briefs on combining many areas of physics for simulation purposes and features of the new version of COMSOL Multiphysics®, and shares his views on challenges in scientific modelling, in an interview with Shekhar Jitkar. Excerpts…

Tell us more about the simulation software models that can be used to predict effects of heat transfer and thermal stress and to improve thermal performances of a given application?

Heat transfer modeling in COMSOL Multiphysics® covers the 3 means of heat transfer: conduction, convection and radiation. Heat transfer by conduction handles non-linear material properties which can be, for example, temperature dependent. It also supports anisotropic material properties which is often needed for composite material modelling. It can be combined with the “Curvilinear Coordinates” interface to define the orientation of anisotropic material that have complex geometry configurations. Heat transfer by convection is supported for laminar and turbulent flow regimes, it can be combined with phase change to achieve high cooling performances. Heat transfer by radiation is implemented for surface-to-surface radiation and radiation semi-transparent media. All the heat transfer capabilities can be freely combined with all our structural mechanics capabilities for thermal stress modeling.

The ability to combine many areas of physics for simulation purposes is the latest innovation of COMSOL. Can you elaborate more on it?

COMSOL Multiphysics® has been designed to combine multiple physics from the beginning. This is not something that has been introduced recently, it is a pillar of the software. We are using a patented method for assembling the finite element discretisation of arbitrary equations. It offers an optimal framework for the numerical treatment of multiphysics problems.

What is new in COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.2?

A lot of efforts has been put to implement hundreds of enhancements on existing capabilities. This makes COMSOL Multiphysics® 5.2 the most stable and finished product we ever released. Of course, there are new functionalities, but it is important to stress that great attention was paid to details and feedbacks to improve the software in all aspects (accuracy, performance, usability). The version 5.2 provides simulations experts the Application Builder, a mature simulation app design. It is a highly productive interface for app design that makes it possible for experts to embed their expertise in COMSOL Apps. COMSOL Server™ allows to deploy their simulation applications and have them used by users everywhere.

Which are the industry segments that COMSOL is targeting globally and in India for the latest version of Multiphysics software?

One strength of COMSOL is that COMSOL Multiphysics® is used for a wide range of applications in several different industries. It is used in automotive industry, for MEMS design, for defense and electronic industry as well as in food industry, medical applications, etc.

How do you see FLIR technology progressing over the next decade and what do you see as being the biggest challenge in relation to this?

We see very good growth potential and that’s the reason our company has always been in the forefront to invent new innovative and affordable products every year. Our biggest challenge is awareness.

How challenging it is to make the industry receptive to scientific modelling?

My experience is that every industrial player has a number of challenges to address and that in some cases modelling and simulation provides a solution. In this case, scientific modeling is easily adopted. When scientific modeling doesn’t provide a satisfactory solution or when there is no identified challenge for it, then it’s almost impossible to convince someone to invest in something that does bring any identified benefit. I would say that the industry is already rather receptive to scientific modelling. The fact that simulation market is continuously growing tends to confirm that. I believe that the challenge is on our side. The more industrial challenges we address the more the industry will use scientific modelling and simulation.

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