Building on the completely new architecture delivered in
Version 4.0 of its multiphysics simulation tool, COMSOL
Inc. released a 4.1 upgrade that focuses on productivity with an array of
practical new features designed to ease the modeling and simulation process.
4.0, released late last year, takes a page from CAD tools with a completely
revamped user interface designed to make multiphysics simulation more accessible.
At the heart of the 4.0 architecture is Model Builder, a set of graphical
programming tools that guide users through the process, from model creation to
simulation results, letting them right-click to perform common tasks like CAD
geometry imports, meshing and specification of materials properties.
In the latest 4.1 release, the tree-structured Model Builder
has evolved to make the modeling process even more intuitive. Specifically,
users can now copy and paste nodes within Model Builder, allowing them, with a
click of a button, to duplicate selected nodes as functions, geometry
selections, plot settings and visualization effects in addition to employing
the duplicated nodes to create new images or prepare data for export. There is
also a new Undo/Redo function for added convenience.
"Version 4.1 is all about usability," says John Dunec,
COMSOL's vice president of sales. "We've taken things we saw people commonly do
that were further (down) in the (Model Builder) tree and pushed them to the top
of the tree so they can do things easier."
A number of new capabilities in 4.1 focus on delivering
faster simulation results. For example, a new physics-controlled meshing
feature, currently available in other COMSOL modules, now frees up users from
having to perform the time-consuming mesh-creation process. There are also new
job management tools, including an automatic save and recovery feature, which
ensures that simulations can be recovered in the event of an unexpected interruption
or unpredictable event. This capability is extremely reassuring to users
running large-scale simulations which can last for days, even weeks, says
COMSOL Multiphysics 4.1 joins a series of new add-on modules
designed to bolster the platform's capabilities in particular simulation
competency areas or for specific engineering domains. This summer, COMSOL
released three new modules: a Chemical Reaction Engineering Module, aimed at
scientists and chemical engineers; a Plasma Module, for the study of low-temperature
plasmas; and the Batteries and Fuel Cell Module, for the set-up, simulation and study of all major electrochemical
batteries and fuel cells, including lithium-ion batteries, nickel metal-hydride
batteries, solid oxide fuel cells, and proton exchange membrane fuel cells.
Each of these modules combines many
of the core capabilities of the COMSOL platform along with special features and
functionality designed to ease multiphysics simulation tasks for that
particular domain. Beyond a simple repackaging, Dunec says the add-on modules -
of which there are now 11, not including the LiveLink integration modules for
CAD programs - are intended to give engineers all the simulation tools they
require for that particular task in one place in the language and context of
the engineering disciplines they're accustomed to working in.
The new Plasma Module brings a
number of new features to the COMSOL platform. The tool takes on the simulation
of plasma, a true multiphysics problem involving the amalgamation of fluid
mechanics, reaction engineering, physical kinetics, heat transfer, mass
transfer and electromagnetics, Dunec explains. The tool offers
application-specific interfaces for the most common types of plasmas along with
features for adding and removing reactions, surface reactions and species to
create arbitrarily complex plasma chemistries.