Performing a Multiphysics Analysis of a Thermal Microactuator

Bridget Paulus March 8, 2019

Small, powerful, and efficient, thermal actuators are a good choice for devices such as thermostats and MEMS. This type of actuator heats up via an applied voltage and deforms in such a way that it “actuates” another component. Thermal actuators involve tightly coupled electrical, thermal, and structural phenomena that affect device performance and must be accounted for. Using the COMSOL® software, you can gain insight into these multiphysics interactions and optimize thermal actuator designs.

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Bridget Paulus March 5, 2019

Charge exchange cells can alter the charge of an ion beam, making them useful in fusion reactors, particle accelerators, and semiconductor fabrication equipment. Improving the design of these devices, though, can be time consuming, as many factors (like the input beam’s energy, cell geometry, and neutral number density) affect their performance and must be tested. While these analyses are typically done by simulation experts, they can make the design of such devices accessible to others by building a simulation application…

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Bridget Paulus February 12, 2019

Heating circuits can be found in airplanes, electronic message boards, medical storage devices, and much more. Like many other heating elements, these circuits work through resistive heating, a multiphysics process involving electric currents, heat transfer, and structural deformation. To account for these phenomena and other key design factors, engineers can create virtual prototypes of heating circuits using the COMSOL Multiphysics® software.

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Bridget Paulus January 28, 2019

Cables provide power to sky-high airplanes, underground mines, and offshore wind farms. Depending on the use case, cables can have vastly different shapes, sizes, and environments — all of which affect their performance. In his keynote talk at the COMSOL Conference 2018 Lausanne, Adrien Charmetant of Nexans explained how multiphysics modeling is used to optimize cable designs. Below, you can find a summary and video of his presentation.

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Bridget Paulus January 14, 2019

How can teachers improve student learning in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses? To find out, Ivana Milanovic, a professor at the University of Hartford, developed a simulation-based approach that combines problem-based learning (PBL) and inquiry-based learning (IBL). Milanovic discussed her strategy and its benefits during her keynote talk at the COMSOL Conference 2018 Boston. Below, you can find a summary and video recording of her presentation.

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Bridget Paulus January 11, 2019

From blood pressure sensors to electronic money cards, planar coils are widely used. Found on circuit boards, these coils are a good choice for inductive coupling, especially when space is limited. When designing these coils, it’s important to calculate both their inductance and resistance, as these factors play a key role in the device’s performance. To do just that, engineers can use layered shell functionality in the COMSOL® software, which enables them to model all coils on one plane.

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Bridget Paulus December 31, 2018

An air ambulance flies overhead, speeding toward a hospital with a life-saving treatment. This “treatment” isn’t a new medicine or machine but an organ on its way to a patient on a transplant list. To keep the organ at just the right temperature during transport, it’s placed inside a special container called a cold or isothermal box. By using simulation, you can analyze the design of these boxes, making sure that they’re reliable for their life-saving purpose.

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Bridget Paulus December 19, 2018

When it comes to synchrotron light sources, brighter is better. By using bright beams in their accelerator, researchers at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) synchrotron facility can efficiently gather detailed data. In collaboration with APS engineers, Nicholas Goldring of RadiaSoft LLC creates and distributes simulation applications for designing vacuum chambers relevant to the APS. Below, find a video recording and summary of his keynote talk from the COMSOL Conference 2018 Boston.

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Bridget Paulus December 13, 2018

Groundwater is an important source of irrigation and drinking water, so keeping it pure is crucial. However, once contaminants get in, it isn’t so easy to get them out — creating systems to remove contaminants from groundwater requires an understanding of the complex way immiscible fluids move through soil. To gain insight into this behavior, engineers can use the phase transport functionality in the COMSOL® software.

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Bridget Paulus December 3, 2018

A pioneer in chemistry, sanitary engineering, and human ecology, Ellen Swallow Richards paved the way for women in science. She was the first woman to attend, graduate, and teach at MIT. During her career, she developed standards for water quality and isolated the chemical element vanadium. In addition, Richards was passionate about using science to create a better home life, founding the field of home economics.

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Bridget Paulus November 12, 2018

Ever wonder why the sky is blue? Lord Rayleigh answered this question, explaining that the color comes from the scattering of sunlight off small particles in the atmosphere. A prolific scientist, Rayleigh made notable contributions to a wide range of fields, including optics, acoustics, and fluid flow. He is best known for discovering argon, an accomplishment for which he won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

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