Energy Efficiency

COMSOL Introduces New “Multiphysics” AC-DC Module

COMSOL has introduced a Multiphysics ac-dc module that accelerates the design and prototyping of devices such as motors, magnets, transformers, power lines, and energy-conversion systems. Users can select better materials and also help a device or component reach an optimal value of a desired circuit parameter with minimum cost, time, size, and peak performance. Engineers can configure better layouts and cooling systems, perform failure analysis, and otherwise explore multiphysics aspects such as electrical and heat losses that make such models closely mirror the real world.

The ac-dc module handles general static and quasi-static electromagnetics for 2D, 2D axialsymmetric, and full 3D geometries. It supports time-harmonic, transient, and static analysis. Users can conduct virtually any type of simulation. For instance, it allows couplings to many physics other than electromagnetics including acoustics or structural mechanics such as to analyze rotating machinery or determine the frequency response of a loudspeaker. Next, it is extremely flexible in allowing users to couple any arbitrary physics as well as define material properties in a unique, convenient fashion. The module comes with two ready-made multiphysics couplings for rotating machinery and inductive heating. In each case users set up the model with a few mouse clicks.

The module’s feature highlights start with support for sliding meshes and torque computations, which are very useful in rotating machinery. With infinite elements, the software allows engineers to define a field at infinity even while truncating a model’s domain to allow for the simulation of larger devices. The use of higher-order vector elements improves solution accuracy through more efficient solver settings. Finally, the product takes advantage of state-of-the-art solvers in COMSOL Multiphysics to reduce memory requirements by as much as an order of magnitude for some types of problems.

A major application area for the software is in device characterization and parameterization for electrical-circuit simulators such as SPICE. The module automatically extracts the values of lumped parameters such as finding the value of a fixed resistor. However, the software goes much further in that users can, for the case of a resistor, perform a temperature sweep and use these data to extract a SPICE model that makes the circuit’s operation temperature dependent. On the other hand, when users have fully specified SPICE models for components in a larger system, they can import a corresponding SPICE netlist into a COMSOL Multiphysics model for simulation of the entire system. In this way some ideal circuit components as determined by SPICE interact with a fully developed multiphysics model of a crucial circuit element, one that accounts for operational changes due to heat or structural effects.

COMSOL Multiphysics is a scientific-software environment for the modeling and simulation of any physics-based system. A particular strength is its ability to account for multiphysics phenomena. Optional modules add discipline-specific tools for chemical engineering, earth science, electromagnetics, heat transfer, MEMS and structural mechanics. Other products include COMSOL Reaction Engineering Lab,™ which allows users to model reacting systems; and COMSOL Script™ works both as a general-purpose scientific computational tool and provides a textual based interface to COMSOL Multiphysics’ models. The COMSOL products are available for the Windows, Linux, Solaris, and the Macintosh operating systems.

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