Productivity Gains the Theme of COMSOL Multiphysics 4.1Productivity Gains the Theme of COMSOL Multiphysics 4.1
October 8, 2010
Building on the completely new architecture delivered inVersion 4.0 of its multiphysics simulation tool, COMSOLInc. released a 4.1 upgrade that focuses on productivity with an array ofpractical new features designed to ease the modeling and simulation process.
COMSOL4.0, released late last year, takes a page from CAD tools with a completelyrevamped user interface designed to make multiphysics simulation more accessible.At the heart of the 4.0 architecture is Model Builder, a set of graphicalprogramming tools that guide users through the process, from model creation tosimulation results, letting them right-click to perform common tasks like CADgeometry imports, meshing and specification of materials properties.
In the latest 4.1 release, the tree-structured Model Builderhas evolved to make the modeling process even more intuitive. Specifically,users can now copy and paste nodes within Model Builder, allowing them, with aclick of a button, to duplicate selected nodes as functions, geometryselections, plot settings and visualization effects in addition to employingthe duplicated nodes to create new images or prepare data for export. There isalso 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 dothat were further (down) in the (Model Builder) tree and pushed them to the topof the tree so they can do things easier."
A number of new capabilities in 4.1 focus on deliveringfaster simulation results. For example, a new physics-controlled meshingfeature, currently available in other COMSOL modules, now frees up users fromhaving to perform the time-consuming mesh-creation process. There are also newjob management tools, including an automatic save and recovery feature, whichensures that simulations can be recovered in the event of an unexpected interruptionor unpredictable event. This capability is extremely reassuring to usersrunning large-scale simulations which can last for days, even weeks, saysDunec.
COMSOL Multiphysics 4.1 joins a series of new add-on modulesdesigned to bolster the platform's capabilities in particular simulationcompetency areas or for specific engineering domains. This summer, COMSOLreleased three new modules: a Chemical Reaction Engineering Module, aimed atscientists and chemical engineers; a Plasma Module, for the study of low-temperatureplasmas; and the Batteries and Fuel Cell Module, for the set-up, simulation and study of all major electrochemicalbatteries and fuel cells, including lithium-ion batteries, nickel metal-hydridebatteries, solid oxide fuel cells, and proton exchange membrane fuel cells.
Each of these modules combines manyof the core capabilities of the COMSOL platform along with special features andfunctionality designed to ease multiphysics simulation tasks for thatparticular domain. Beyond a simple repackaging, Dunec says the add-on modules -of which there are now 11, not including the LiveLink integration modules forCAD programs - are intended to give engineers all the simulation tools theyrequire for that particular task in one place in the language and context ofthe engineering disciplines they're accustomed to working in.
The new Plasma Module brings anumber of new features to the COMSOL platform. The tool takes on the simulationof plasma, a true multiphysics problem involving the amalgamation of fluidmechanics, reaction engineering, physical kinetics, heat transfer, masstransfer and electromagnetics, Dunec explains. The tool offersapplication-specific interfaces for the most common types of plasmas along withfeatures for adding and removing reactions, surface reactions and species tocreate arbitrarily complex plasma chemistries.
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