COMSOL Version 4.2 Introduced for Expanding Multiphysics Applications

Category: News
Burlington, Mass. - COMSOL Inc., announced the release of the latest version of COMSOL Multiphysics simulation environment. Version 4.2, which expands the scope of applications covered by COMSOL, is now available and will be shipped to all customers with current subscriptions.

"The vision behind Version 4 was to provide a foundation for our customers to reach broader audiences," says Svante Littmarck, president and CEO of COMSOL. "The implication, and what we're delivering with 4.2, is an expanded product offering based on that platform."

Version 4.2 expands the applications covered by COMSOL with three new application modules--Microfluidics, Geomechanics, and Electrodeposition--and new LiveLink interfaces for AutoCAD and SpaceClaim.

"This release really bolsters our offerings to meet market demands in several directions," says Littmarck. "Mechanical, electromagnetic, chemical, fluid, and CAD interoperability are all covered in this release. Even areas not explicitly addressed will benefit from the improved solver technology."

"The list of features included in Version 4.2 is indeed impressive," adds Littmarck. "By any measure, this is a major release. General geometry and meshing, solvers, postprocessing, and, as COMSOL's customers have come to expect, user interface enhancements have all been upgraded. These new capabilities reach all products throughout the COMSOL environment, both existing and new."

Central to this release are the core development initiatives undertaken by COMSOL. The result is improved and expanded multiphysics simulation performance for all users. New capabilities target geometry, mesh, and solver functionality. The impact is primarily on what is already a strength of COMSOL: speed.

Version 4.2 includes new virtual geometry tools for creating a mesh that identifies the essential parts of the original CAD model to enable faster and more memory efficient solving. Time-dependent adaptive meshing and automatic remeshing tightly link solvers and meshing algorithms for any moving mesh analysis. Models with moving diffusion fronts are solved more efficiently as are simulations involving removal and deposition of materials.

The new Parametric Surfaces feature allows for creation of surfaces based on analytical expressions or look-up table data. This is especially crucial for importing topographical data for earth science applications.

The COMSOL direct solvers have been multicore and cluster-enabled for several years. With Version 4.2, the multiphysics assembly algorithms and iterative solvers have now also been parallelized, bringing you faster and more memory-efficient computations on virtually any type of computer platform, from laptop to cluster.

In Version 4.2, COMSOL has responded to customers requests with a new Report Generator for publishing results data. For a given model, this integrated, customizable tool lets users create data- rich HTML reports of varying degrees of detail, from brief to complete. Several reports can be added to a single model, enabling users to communicate all their important data in a well-organized, easy-to-read format.

The COMSOL Desktop with the Model Builder is COMSOL's user interface first introduced with Version 4.0. Drag-and-drop is now supported in the Model Builder tree to quickly edit the contents of a model. The presentation of simulation results is also updated. In the Model Builder, default plots are customized to adapt to the physics in the model with descriptive names. New plot types include histogram plots for statistical analysis, Nyquist plots for frequency response studies, and ribbon plots for flows.

CAD interoperability has always been important to COMSOL users, and this core aspect of simulation has been expanded significantly in Version 4.2. The LiveLink for SolidWorks interface has been extended with a One Window Interface where a SolidWorks user can stay inside of the SolidWorks environment and work synchronously with COMSOL Multiphysics.

The new LiveLink for SpaceClaim interface fuses direct modeling and multiphysics simulation in a tightly integrated environment. Similarly, with the new LiveLink for AutoCAD users can transfer a 3D geometry from AutoCAD to COMSOL Multiphysics. For both products, the synchronized geometry in the COMSOL model stays associative with the CAD geometry in its native format. This means that settings applied to the geometry, such as physics or mesh settings, are retained after subsequent synchronizations. The LiveLink interface is also bidirectional, allowing users to initiate a change of the CAD geometry from the COMSOL model.

The Acoustics Module features new dedicated modeling tools for thermoviscous acoustics that enable highly accurate simulations of miniaturized speakers and microphones in cell phones and other handheld devices.

The Structural Mechanics, MEMS, and Acoustics Modules offer new powerful and easy-to-use tools for prestressed analysis of eigenmodes and frequency response. Structures modeled with the Solid Mechanics interface can be prestressed by mechanical, thermal, or arbitrary multiphysics-based loads.

The new High-Mach Number Fluid Flow interface in the CFD Module applies to viscous, compressible flows with velocities greater than 0.3 times the speed of sound. The flow can be choked or non-choked and shock waves may or may not be present. The interface is suitable for designing nozzles, pipe networks, and valves, and for modeling aerodynamic phenomena.

For heat transfer in thin layers, a new multilayer option in the Heat Transfer Module makes it easy to model thin structures with multiple layers of different conductivity quickly.

The Chemical Reaction Engineering Module and the Plasma Module have been enhanced with new surface reaction tools for bidirectional adsorption-type simulations where surface species communicate with species of the surrounding bulk. Important applications include chemical vapor deposition (CVD) as well as plasma-enhanced CVD. The Batteries & Fuel Cells Module now features a new AC Impedance Study type for simulating electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). A new Surface Reactions interface enables modeling of surface reactions on boundary surfaces. The updated Batteries and Fuel Cells Material Library now comes with common battery electrode materials and electrolytes.

The RF Module features new tools for efficient plasmonics simulations where coefficients for refraction, specular reflection, and first- order diffraction are all computed as functions of the angle of incidence. This analysis is made possible by a new Floquet-type periodic boundary condition.

The new Microfluidics Module brings easy-to-use tools for the study of microfluidic devices and rarefied gas flows. Important applications include simulations of lab-on-a-chip devices, digital microfluidics, electrokinetic and magnetokinetic devices, inkjets, and vacuum systems.

In addition to enhanced interfaces for single-phase flow, Microfluidics Module users have dedicated interfaces for two-phase flow using the level set, phase field, and moving mesh methods. Each of these interfaces includes surface tension forces, capillary forces, and Marangoni effects.

COMSOL's general-purpose multiphysics features make it easy to set up coupled electrokinetic and magnetodynamic simulations such as electrophoresis, magnetophoresis, dielectrophoresis, electroosmosis, and electrowetting. The chemical diffusion and reactions for dilute species interfaces included in the Microfluidics Module enable the simulation of processes occurring in lab-on-a-chip devices. For simulating rarefied gas flows, specialized boundary conditions that activate flow simulation in the slip flow regime are provided.

A new free molecular flow interface using the fast angular coefficient method allows for simulations where the molecular mean free path is much longer than the geometric dimensions.

The new Geomechanics Module is a specialized add-on to the Structural Mechanics Module that enables simulations of geotechnical applications such as tunnels, excavations, slope stability, and retaining structures. The module features tailored interfaces to study plasticity, deformation, and failure of soils and rocks, as well as their interaction with concrete and human-made structures.

A variety of material models for soils are provided: Cam-clay, Drucker-Prager, Mohr-Coulomb, Matsuoka-Naka, and Lade-Duncan. In addition to the built-in plasticity models, user-defined yield functions can be created using the equation-based user interface provided by the COMSOL Multiphysics environment. Dependencies of a computed temperature field as well as other field quantities can be blended into these material definitions.

The Geomechanics Module is also a powerful tool for modeling concrete and rock materials. The Willam-Warnke, Bresler-Pister, Ottosen, and Hoek-Brown models, which are available as built-in options, can be adapted and extended by users to a more general class of brittle materials. Additionally, the Geomechanics Module can easily be combined with analyses from other COMSOL modules such as the porous media flow, poroelasticity, and solute transport functionality of the Subsurface Flow Module.

Modeling and simulations are cost effective ways for understanding, optimizing, and controlling electrodeposition processes. A typical simulation yields the current distribution at the surface of the electrodes and the thickness and composition of the deposited layer. They are used to study important parameters such as cell geometry, electrolyte composition, electrode kinetics, operating voltages and currents, as well as temperature effects.

The Electrodeposition Module brings the power of COMSOL Multiphysics to simulate electrodeposition processes. Easy-to-use physics interfaces are provided for primary, secondary, and tertiary current distribution models, while very accurate geometric representations of deposited layer buildup are included as model parameters.

The Electrodeposition Module is applicable to a variety of diverse applications including; metal deposition for electronics and electrical parts, corrosion and wear protection, decorative electroplating, electroforming of parts with thin and complex structures, and metal electrowinning.

COMSOL Multiphysics 4.2 represents a significant expansion of the software's applications, features, and functionality. Version 4.2 empowers current users to do more with their simulation environments, while new industries will now be able to leverage the innovation of multiphysics simulation. With this release, COMSOL continues to deliver on its promise to supply the science and engineering markets with the state-of-the-art simulation products for an expanding set of applications.

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