Fanny Littmarck | March 14, 2014

Branch line couplers, a type of 90-degree or quadrature hybrid coupler, are popular because they are simple to fabricate and easy to design. They are passive devices commonly used in single-antenna transmitter systems and I/Q signal splitters/combiners. Let’s look at the basics of how this type of coupler works and some of its important design aspects.

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Fanny Littmarck | February 19, 2014

On this day, in the year 1473, now famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Torun, Poland. His main contribution to science was the controversial concept of a heliocentric universe. Five hundred years later, we not only accept the sun as the center of our solar system, we even support new theories of planets orbiting two stars at once.

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Fanny Littmarck | February 5, 2014

Rockets have been refined over the past 150 years or so. Until the 1920s, when liquid-fuel rockets were invented, rockets were powered by solid propellants and oxidizers. Both these bring forth issues in how they’re handled on the ground or in flight. Private space flight companies are now working on hybrid rocket innovations to solve this problem.

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Fanny Littmarck | January 13, 2014

It’s easy to navigate from place to place thanks to GPS, but what about once you actually get there — what about navigating indoors? From venues of leisure to buildings in flames, there are many situations where indoor location tracking is useful. GPS technology does not work inside buildings, but there are now other methods under development that will make indoor navigation possible as well.

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Fanny Littmarck | January 3, 2014

Before conducting certain blood sample analyses, researchers need to separate the red blood cell particles from the blood plasma. Using lab-on-a-chip (LOC) technology, red blood cell separation can be achieved via magnetophoresis, i.e. motion induced by magnetic fields. Since the magnetic permeability of the particles is different from the blood plasma, their trajectory can be controlled within the flow channel of the LOC device and thereby separated out from the fluid.

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Fanny Littmarck | December 13, 2013

You’ve heard the story: a couple of scientists discovered graphene when they repeatedly pulled a strip of adhesive tape off a layer of graphite. Graphene has been all the rage due to its incredible strength, low weight, and electronic properties, but it’s not the only material of its kind. There are plenty of other 2D materials to consider for electrical applications — some of which may work together with graphene, and others that can be used in its place.

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Fanny Littmarck | November 27, 2013

You’ve seen glimpses of our new software release at the COMSOL Conference and perhaps engaged in commentary around it in social media. Today marks the official release of COMSOL Multiphysics version 4.4, and you can now learn about the software updates in detail and download it if you are on subscription.

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Fanny Littmarck | November 26, 2013

I recently stumbled upon a neat tool from Autodesk┬« called “Autodesk┬« Homestyler”. It’s surprising to see they have rolled out a tool that is more entertaining than utilitarian, but if a CAD company were to develop something fun for the general population, I suppose an interior design app makes sense. We took it for a test-drive. Here’s how it went.

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Fanny Littmarck | November 18, 2013

Joule heating is a fairly standard type of simulation for COMSOL users nowadays. It involves solving for electrical voltage and temperature fields simultaneously with highly temperature-dependent material properties. Controlling Joule heating is very important when designing and manufacturing electrical systems components. The electric protection group at manufacturing company Mersen France used to base their busbar and fuse designs on trial-and-error, but these days they turn to COMSOL Multiphysics.

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Fanny Littmarck | November 15, 2013

A broken street sign turned into an online contest at the Dutch university TU Delft earlier this month. The TU Delft Webcare Team challenged their social media fans to determine what wind speed led the sign to buckle over — and the winner happens to be a COMSOL user. Here’s how Rob Eling solved the street sign challenge using COMSOL Multiphysics.

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Fanny Littmarck | November 8, 2013

There were many interesting posters at this year’s COMSOL Conference in Boston. A couple that caught my eye involved microwave heating and chemical applications. One of them showcases the use of microwave irradiation to speed up chemical reactions. Another — one of the recipients of the Best Poster award — used simulations to optimize their microreactor design with respect to microwave propagation.

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