Using Effective Mass for Thermomechanical Calibration

Laura Bowen | September 2, 2014

Micromechanical sensors are crucial to many standard commercial products in nanoelectronics and nanomechanics. These are sensors that are so small they operate on the nanoscale, with parts measuring in billionths of a meter. Researchers at the University of Alberta are exploring ways to find the effective mass — the mass of a particle when reacting to a force — of micromechanical sensors in a faster way. This measurement is key to performing thermomechanical calibration.

Laura Bowen | July 16, 2014

The need for a contaminant-free space to manufacture medicine has led scientists to try many creative new approaches to improve the process. At Argonne National Lab, creating a device that floats and rotates chemical compounds in thin air was just the answer they were looking for. It meant two important changes: the amount of each chemical necessary could be implemented very precisely and the risk of outside impurities disrupting the results was minimized.

Laura Bowen | June 11, 2014

With all of the other components of an automobile to consider, it is easy for drivers to forget to routinely check tire pressure. Thankfully, companies are actually beginning to assemble most of their newer vehicles with built-in tire pressure monitoring sensors. These devices are placed at the bottom of the tire hub and measure air pressure automatically — all while the car is still in motion.

Laura Bowen | December 20, 2013

The question of exactly how strong living bones are poses many important considerations for the medical industry. There is not currently a single-purpose device in the field to test bone strength. However, it is possible for researchers to get measurements of bone strength by modeling the entire makeup of the bone and using multiphysics simulation to perform stress and strain analyses. Simulating bone strength starts with a simple map of the external topology of the bone and then delves into […]

Laura Bowen | July 19, 2013

The way the sound is shaped as it passes through the pipe of an organ is the result of a carefully calculated and intricate pipe design. Browsing through the Model Gallery, I came across a model of an organ pipe, and it happens to be a great acoustics tutorial for using the Pipe Acoustics, Frequency Domain interface in COMSOL Multiphysics. Let’s talk organ pipe design, and walk through how we can model it with multiphysics software.


Laura Bowen | June 18, 2013

If you roast a turkey for dinner and you need to check the temperature, the technology exists to find it. But what happens if the temperature is so hot that a consumer-grade thermometer, or any man-made device, really, would instantly melt and be destroyed? This might not be a common occurrence in your kitchen, but it is a real concern in blast furnaces, where temperatures can reach close to 1,500°C. Simply guessing is far from safe. Luckily, by simulating with […]

Laura Bowen | June 24, 2014

The Passive Vaccine Storage Device (PVSD) is a highly advanced container that combines ingenuity and insulation technology to empower aid workers delivering vaccines to the toughest-to-reach corners of the globe. Designed as a prototype that improves upon earlier models of vaccine transportation devices, this compact apparatus was developed with all the necessary steps: careful planning, simulation, and testing.

Laura Bowen | December 24, 2013

During snow storms or windy days, a branch might break and short-circuit a power line’s electric current as it falls. The first task of a recloser is to interrupt this short-circuit, i.e. to open or disconnect the affected overhead line from the feeding network source. The second task is to try to re-establish power after a short time by to re-closing the line, taking advantage of the fact that most of the reasons for a short-circuit of an overhead line […]

Laura Bowen | August 29, 2013

When it comes to recreational water sports, simulation can make a dramatic difference in performance. Skimboards are a perfect example of this. These short, thin boards are similar to surfboards without fins and they allow riders to float on the water’s surface and glide. In order to improve the design of the board, one group of researchers relied on hydrodynamics to understand the interaction between water and skimboards.


Laura Bowen | June 26, 2013

It’s not always obvious what a major role temperature control plays in modern technology, as the interchange happens in the background. Plate heat exchangers, made up of successions of metal plates and various coiled pipes, regulate and manipulate temperature, and they get the job done quickly — thanks to an active surface that is large with respect to their volume.

Laura Bowen | May 17, 2013

Magnetic levitation, or maglev, involves suspending materials with magnetic fields. When gravity, acceleration, and other forces weigh down on an object, they can all be counteracted by magnetic pressure. Some uses that may appear to go completely against nature can actually be explained by fundamental science.