Electrical

Daniel Smith | March 27, 2013

In a previous blog entry I discussed some of the exotic properties of graphene. The fact that graphene consists of a single layer of atoms means the aspect ratio of any graphene-based structure may be very high. High aspect geometries present their own array of modeling challenges.

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Fanny Littmarck | March 4, 2013

Last week you saw how you can simulate the heating of a car’s brake discs. This reminded me of another type of brake — the eddy current brake (also known as magnetic brake). Whereas the other model was a study in heat transfer, eddy current brakes deal with electromagnetics.

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Phil Kinnane | February 22, 2013

“The Bumblebee Flies Anyway” was a book by Robert Cormier that I read as a young teenager. In it, Cormier describes how bumblebees are natural anomalies as they seemingly do not have the aerodynamic capability to actually fly. Their wing span and flapping speed should not provide enough lift to allow flying, and this is a fact that I have always associated with bumblebees since. Yet, this has been proven not to be true, as a closer investigation of the […]

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Andrew Griesmer | February 20, 2013

The electrical grid describes the network created for producing electricity, transmitting it and delivering it to the consumers. A “smart grid” is an electrical grid that gathers information on the suppliers and consumers automatically to improve efficiency and sustainability in the system. As the automated technology improves, the hardware that physically connects the electrical grid together must improve as well. This hardware, the “nuts and bolts” of the grid, is comprised of transformers, cable joints, terminations, bushings, and fault current […]

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Andrew Griesmer | February 18, 2013

Induction occurs when a metal object moves in the presence of a magnetic field inducing a current in that object. The induced current causes it to heat up (called inductive heating), as all current does. Yet, simulating these two coupled physics together can be difficult to do as they are intrinsically based on different time scales. COMSOL Multiphysics is able to cleverly simulate them through combining the frequency domain modeling of the magnetic field with a stationary simulation of the […]

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Phil Kinnane | February 6, 2013

In its natural state, air is a good insulator. However, if it’s adequately ionized, it can ultimately lead to “corona discharge”. What does that mean and why is it important? Let’s find out.

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Fanny Littmarck | January 29, 2013

One of the classic multiphysics couplings in engineering and science is Joule heating, also called resistive heating or ohmic heating. Some Joule heating examples include heating of conductors in electronics, fuses, electric heaters, and power lines. When a structure is heated by electric currents, the device can reach high temperatures and either structurally degenerate or even melt. The design challenge is to remove this heat as effectively as possible. COMSOL eases these challenges by providing a specialized multiphysics interface for […]

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Fanny Littmarck | December 12, 2012

A while back, I wrote about permanent magnet generators and how they generate electricity upon being set in motion. When browsing the papers from our conference in Bangalore, one on the topic of ultrasonic micro motors caught my eye. These motors are electromechanical in nature and instead initiate motion with the application of an electric voltage. Furthermore, these motors are miniaturized to fit a micro-scale environment.

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Andrew Griesmer | December 4, 2012

Here’s a story we’ve all heard before: due to the inefficient nature and inevitable decline of fossil fuels, alternative energy resources are becoming increasingly popular. Wind energy is a popular source of alternative energy, with wind farms sprouting up all over the world. Here’s something you may not have thought about: lightning strikes are a major problem for these wind turbines. Intuitively, places with high wind speeds also have stormy weather, and a 150 meter tall metal pole makes an […]

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Andrew Griesmer | November 29, 2012

Growing older is an inevitable part of life, and with it, our body slowly begins to show that. I recently started wearing eye glasses because my eyesight is weakening. It’s a little unnerving, but I am comforted by the ever-improving technology being produced. My hearing is still fully intact, but the same cannot be said for 17% (36 million) of American adults who report some degree of hearing loss. In most cases, regular hearing aids are sufficient in treating hearing […]

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Andrew Griesmer | November 26, 2012

While alternative energy is the energy of the future, fossil fuels are the energy of right now. Coal, especially, is still heavily relied on for energy production and is a primary source of electricity generation in many countries including the US and China. In fact, world coal consumption is actually increasing year-to-year. Scientists need to be concentrating on how to make alternative energies more widespread, but they also need to make coal a better, more efficient fuel source. Designing systems […]

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