Apps Expand the Use of Multiphysics Simulation

Figure 4. Cornell Dubilier created several apps for electrical optimization. The image shows one app that calculates effective series inductance (ESL) of a single-tab film capacitor. (Simulation app made using COMSOL Multiphysics® software; image courtesy of Cornell Dubilier)

Designers who have simulation expertise often find themselves in unique positions. In addition to being able to simply adjust definitions of variables and values, and rerun the simulation, they can also make significant modifications to the mathematical model; for example, if they were to realize a phenomenon had not been included or a new material or condition needed to be specified. However, with the shortage of simulation specialists, often the designer is an expert in the device being designed, but not in the numerical methods and software needed to run a multiphysics model. Simulation specialists then find themselves creating a bottleneck for innovation.

To remove this bottleneck and foster a culture of collaboration, the simulation specialists could build a user interface that simplifies the use of a multiphysics model by including only the input and output fields and reports needed by the device designer. Such a packaged simulation application would hide all of the modeling details, and show only the inputs needed for the simulation to provide accurate results (Figures 4 and 5). The app would only present the results and reports that the designer is interested in, and could be shared with a large group of users within an organization, or even with customers worldwide. Such a group can go beyond the device designer and include, for example, experts in other disciplines like packaging and manufacturing.


Figure 5. Using a local installation of the COMSOL Server™ product, GrafTech gives colleagues worldwide access to apps over the company’s intranet. Shown are apps used to compare heat transfer among graphite foils, which are used to dissipate heat in consumer electronics. (Courtesy of NeoGraf Solutions, LLC, formerly a part of GrafTech International Holdings, Inc.)

Multiphysics simulation can boost device design in many ways, including the three discussed previously: reduced need for physical prototyping, high-fidelity modeling by taking into account any physical interactions as they happen in the real world, and facilitating the collaboration between simulation specialists and experts in device design and other disciplines through apps.

The real and most effective differentiator in today’s competitive landscape is the adoption of simulation apps, as they offer a streamlined and inclusive workflow. Design teams can reach the optimal solution faster by providing other departments with apps to let them experiment with parameters affecting manufacturability and esthetics, for example. With simulation apps, one does not have to be an expert in numerical simulation to suggest a design iteration based on high-fidelity multiphysics simulation results. By removing the bottleneck created by the shortage of physicists and applied mathematicians, the adoption of simulation apps leads to a more efficient use of talent and resources. Projects would become more strategic, and thousands of ideas could be tested quickly by several team members.

Multiphysics simulation has a lot to offer to any industry, and through the adoption of simulation apps, its predictive power can be put into the hands of simulation experts and device designers alike.

This article was written by Valerio Marra, PhD, Marketing Director at COMSOL, Burlington, MA. For more information, Click Here.