The 2014 edition of COMSOL News has been released. I highly recommend you get a copy for yourself. Why? It’s an engaging read from beginning to end.
The overview is that COMSOL News is all about multiphysics simulation from concept through deployment. It’s hands-on. Each article shows you how some smart people use the multidisciplinary analysis capabilities of COMSOL Multiphysics to advance product development and research. Every article is well illustrated with screen shots, graphs, photos and, when appropriate, reference materials.
COMSOL News is highly technical but also highly readable. That’s important since it means you do not have to have a background in a given topic, say, piezoelectric materials, to be engaged by an article. It’s also reflective of the software. COMSOL Multiphysics is meant to deliver high-level physics analysis capabilities to a broad range of designers, engineers, scientists and educators regardless of whether they are power users or newcomers.
Topic areas in the publication reflect the wide range of jobs where you can use COMSOL Multiphysics. Disciplines and industries represented in this edition are acoustic streaming, aerospace, automotive, bioengineering, biotechnology, computational electromagnetics, imaging spectrometry, materials science, medical technology, micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) & robotics, nuclear engineering, nuclear waste storage, passive vaccine storage, spacecraft atmosphere revitalization, the physics of buildings and steelmaking.
Such a broad swath of topics makes it difficult to nominate a particular article as the best. Not just because everyone’s interests varies, but also because they are all intriguing reads. With that disclaimer aside, here a couple of suggestions of where you can start exploring.
The cover story, “Boeing Simulates Thermal Expansion in Composites with Expanded Metal Foil for Lightning Protection of Aircraft Structures,” is fascinating. The background is that the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is built with more than 50% carbon fiber reinforced plastic. Lightweight and strong, these materials do not provide protection from the electromagnetic effects of a lightning strike. To deal with this, you can add to the composite structure layup an electrically conductive expanded metal foil, either aluminum or copper, to dissipate current and heat. The foil requires a protective coating.
Therein lies a problem. A typical ground-to-air flight cycle subjects protective coatings to lots of stress. Over time, thermal cycling can cause cracks in the protective coating. Cracks let in moisture, which causes corrosion. Corrosion lessens the protective material’s ability to perform its functions. So do you use aluminum or copper foil to reduce the chances of cracks forming? Each has its pros and cons, but you can learn how researchers are using multiphysics simulation to ensure the protective foil will hold properly during flight.
Also fascinating is “Optimizing Hematology Analysis: When Physical Prototypes Fail, Simulation Provides The Answers.” The gist of it is that a medical device manufacturer is using multiphysics simulation to analyze and optimize processes within its hematology analysis equipment that are highly difficult to measure physically. Perhaps more importantly, this article is like Exhibit A demonstrating what multiphysics simulation brings to product development. It stretches across such disciplines as design, electrical and mechanical engineering. It ranges across fluid, chemical and electrical analyses. And for good measure CAD importation and supercomputing are brought into the picture.
In total, the 48-page digital edition of COMSOL News 2014 offers 17 articles plus a guest commentary from the manager of the Health & Medical Devices group at Sharp Laboratories of Europe. By the way, that one-page commentary is definitely worth the read. It takes a look at how multiphysics simulation enables you to run experiments across the boundaries of different physical mechanisms efficiently and cost-effectively.
COMSOL News 2014 is available registration-free both as an online interactive document and as a downloadable PDF. You’ll find it at the other end of today’s Check it Out link, so click the link and enjoy. It’s really good stuff.
Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering