“Modeling Lightning Strikes is a Multiphysics Problem”

Phil Kinnane | March 23, 2012

There is a site that is dedicated to “The Physics of Lightning Flash and Its Effects” whose goals are to “increase the knowledge of the physics of the lightning discharge and of its effects on natural and man-made systems”. It was here that I was pleasantly surprised to find a presentation by a group from EPFL, in Lausanne, Switzerland, and The University of Bologna in Italy.

They of course used COMSOL Multiphysics to model lightning striking a wind turbine, but did so in the context of comparing the finite element method to EMTP, which is based on transmission line equations (Download a PDF of their presentation here).

While EMTD may be computationally cheaper, the authors’ big conclusion at the end of their presentation was that “[the] Interaction of lightning with modern wind turbines is a multiphysics phenomenon”. This was followed by the conclusion that “The whole multiphysics problem should be solved in a single solution”. In other words, you need COMSOL Multiphysics!

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