Adding Information to Materials in User-Defined Material Libraries

May 10, 2024

Did you know that when you’re creating user-defined material libraries in the COMSOL Multiphysics® software, and adding custom materials to the libraries, you can add information about your materials? This includes information such as references for material properties as well as phases, orientation, material numbers, and other general information. In this blog post, we will show you how to do so.

Adding References and Other Information to Material Properties

All material properties in the Material Library product include references that describe the sources for the material property data with additional notes about things like how the data was calculated or limits for interpolation of temperature-dependent data. Additional products in the COMSOL product suite include material libraries that also contain material references to some extent, such as the Battery material library. To view these material property references, open the Material Browser window (by clicking the Browse Materials button on the Materials ribbon, for example). When choosing a material with property references, click on a property to view its reference information.

A screenshot of a steel material available in the Material Library, an add-on to COMSOL Multiphysics.
Property reference information for the heat capacity at constant pressure for the Docol S355 steel material in the Material Library product. In the Orientation/variation field, the steel composition appears.

Adding Your Own Material Property References

If you want to add your own material property references to materials that you are adding to a user-defined material library, you can do so using the following steps:

  1. Add a new material and define the output properties and model inputs that you want to use in a property group subnode, such as Basic, which contains common material properties.
  2. Define the expressions for the material properties, which can be numerical values or a call to an interpolation function, added as a subnode, for example.
  3. In the Output Properties section, the added material properties are listed in a table together with their variable names, expressions, and units. The rightmost column, Info, is initially empty but will eventually contain the symbol A screenshot of the info symbol in COMSOL Multiphysics., which indicates that a reference or other information is available.
  4. Click on the row for the property that you want to add some information about. This activates the Edit/Show Property Information button below the table. (This button is the same as the symbol that appears in the Info column: A screenshot of the info symbol in COMSOL Multiphysics..) Click it to open the Edit/Show Property Information dialog, where you can type any reference or other information into the Information field.
  5. When done, click OK to save the property information and close the dialog. The A screenshot of the info symbol in COMSOL Multiphysics. symbol then appears in the Info column for that property. You can click the Edit/Show Property Information button again to view or edit the information.
  6. If you save the material to a user-defined material library, you can then access the property information in the Material Browser window as described above.

The Model Builder with the Basic subnode highlighted and the corresponding Settings window with the Output Properties section expanded.
Click on a property to activate the Edit/Show Property Information button, A screenshot of the info symbol in COMSOL Multiphysics., underneath the table.

A screenshot of the Edit/Show Property Information dialog box.
The Edit/Show Property Information dialog with some reference information for the density of a material.

Adding Phase, Orientation, and Other Material Information

For custom materials that you want to add to user-defined material libraries, you can add optional material information, such as a phase or orientation. You find those settings in the Material Library Settings section in the Settings window for a Material node. To activate that section, which is only available for materials added under the Global Definitions node, open the Show More Options dialog and then select the Material Library Settings checkbox under General and click OK.

In the Material Library Settings section, you can define a phase — Solid, Liquid, Gas, or Custom — from the Phase menu and add a material orientation or variation of some kind in the Orientation/variation field. Those settings can be used when you set up a user-defined material library using Group nodes to create a structure in a material library with folders and potentially materials with different phases, orientation, or some other variation. To create a user-defined material library with these properties, save the material library as an MPH-file and then import that file into the Material Browser window. The Label fields in the Group and Material nodes then need to use the same material name, followed by the phase in brackets, such as [solid], or both the phase and some orientation and variation in brackets, such as [solid,nbc]. These labels are then converted to list entries in the Phase and Orientation/variation menus in the Material Browser window.

Under Material information you can add various types of material information, including any of these standards for classification and numbering or other designations of specific materials:

  • AFNOR: Association Française de Normalisation (AFNOR), a Paris-based standards organization and a member body for France at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  • AISIM: designations for materials from the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI)
  • AMS: Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) aerospace material specifications (AMS)
  • ASTM: ASTM International, an international standards organization
  • Custom (the default): adds any custom material information type
  • DIN: the Deutsche Industrie Norm (DIN), a German standard
  • ISO/EN/DIN: numbering common to the ISO; European Standards, also known as Euronorm (EN); and DIN
  • JIS: the Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS), a Japanese standard
  • SAE: designations for materials from the SAE
  • UNS: the unified numbering system (UNS), an alloy designation system widely accepted in North America
  • WNr: the Werkstoffnummer (WNr), a German material numbering system

To add a new row with material information, click the Add button (A screenshot of the add button in COMSOL Multiphysics.) under the table. Then click the Edit Material Information button (A screenshot of the edit information button in COMSOL Multiphysics.) to open the Edit Material Information dialog and add the information. Choose one of the material information types from the Type list. For Custom, also fill out the Title field for the information type. For all entries, add the desired text in the Information field. When you have defined one of these material data numbers or designations, you can search for a matching material in all material libraries using the search field at the upper-left part of the Material Browser. Enter a search term, such as G10060 for a UNS number, and then click Search. The material library tree underneath the search field then only shows materials that match that search term.

Next Steps

In this blog post, we have showed you how to add material property information and other information to materials that can be added to your models and stored in user-defined material libraries. These libraries can be used to store materials for your own use or for use within your organization.

To learn more about using materials in the software, check out these resources on the COMSOL website:


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