Oil Companies Rely Heavily on Engineers

Fanny Griesmer October 24, 2012

It’s no secret that there’s a lot of guesswork involved in oil production. Oil companies make “Big Money” decisions based on estimates – estimates with huge margins of error. What’s more, there is an incredible amount of risk involved, but with the potential for a large pay-off if all goes according to plan. The plan is based on “best guesses” and less than perfect data. Still, there are many big players in the oil industry that are doing very well […]

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Cinzia Iacovelli October 23, 2012

When you work with multiphysics all day you tend to notice physics phenomena everywhere you go. For me, one such moment was when I was walking on the beach this past summer. I noticed that the sand appears whiter around a person’s feet than elsewhere. You may have noticed this too, and like I, wondered “why?” This phenomenon can be explained by the theory of poroelasticity.

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Fanny Griesmer August 29, 2012

The end of August marks the end of summer here in New England. Already nostalgic and unwilling to let the season go, I decided to look into some “beach physics”. In May we released a new solar radiation feature in our Heat Transfer Module that will be helpful in many solar applications — including how to avoid overheating on the beach, apparently. Here’s how engineers can stay cool on the beach.

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Fanny Griesmer August 21, 2012

When it gets dark, you flick on the lights. If you were to model this simple example, you would need to take all forms of heat transfer within consideration; convection, conduction, and radiation are all at play when a light bulb is flicked on.

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Phil Kinnane July 26, 2012

Much has been written lately about increasing the energy efficiency of cars. Batteries and fuel cells are very hot topics, and not so long ago I blogged about the University of Michigan’s use of solar cells to fully power a car. Yet, even on the smallest of scales, such as the sensors in your car, improvements are being made. Utilizing a MEMS (Micro Electromechanical System) piezoelectric energy harvester, Alexander Frej and Ingo Kuehne at Siemens Corporate Technology in Munich are […]

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Valerio Marra July 19, 2012

Remember those retro desk ornaments of the 1960’s, those lamps filled with colorful wax that began to move when the lamp was lit? I’m talking about lava lamps, or as I like to call them, “Rayleigh–Taylor instability machines”. They may not be popular among today’s youth, but I still own one and I thought it would be interesting to look beyond the dyed blobs of wax and observe the physics involved in lava lamps.

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Phil Kinnane July 17, 2012

Düsensauginfiltration (DSI) is a novel technique for lowering water levels at mining and construction sites while not actually having to transport the water away from these sites. This came to my attention at the latest COMSOL Conference in Stuttgart. There, Ph.D. student Yulan Jin and Assistant Professor Dr. Ekkehard Holzbecher from the Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany was presenting their research into this groundwater lowering technique.

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Phil Kinnane July 13, 2012

Transformers were first commercially used in the late 1800’s, but they are still being investigated at their fundamental levels. One of the stories from our latest COMSOL News concerns ABB (who themselves have been around since the late 1800’s) and their research into these apparatuses.

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Phil Kinnane July 6, 2012

I have just come back from a bit of a vacation and boy was it hot! Here, a large part of the US has been going through record high temperatures and most of my time was spent trying to keep cool. How nice then to mention a story about cooling.

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Fanny Griesmer July 4, 2012

The end of July marks the beginning of a $20 million R&D project led by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to produce and process plutonium-238. The U.S. space program will be using the Pu-238 that is to be produced by ORNL as fuel for future deep-space missions.

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Phil Kinnane June 28, 2012

One of the interesting stories to come out of the latest COMSOL News concerned a couple of great researchers, Dr. Ozgur Yildirim and Dr. Zihong Guo, and how they use simulations in their inventing process. They work in an invention/prototype laboratory in Bellevue, WA for Intellectual Ventures, a global leader in the business of invention.

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