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Heat Transfer & Phase Change Blog Posts

NREL Enhances Biofuel Conversion Processes with Simulation

August 10, 2015

Biofuels are recognized as a valued source of renewable energy, with applications ranging from heating buildings to powering transportation. Increasing the availability of these fuels requires an understanding of the processes behind biomass conversion. With the help of COMSOL Multiphysics® simulation software, researchers at NREL are seeking to optimize such processes, making biofuel conversion more efficient and cost-effective.

Improving Phase Change Energy Storage: A Natural Approach

July 15, 2015

Phase change energy storage is an effective approach to conserving thermal energy in a number of applications. An important element in the efficiency of this storage process is the melting rate of the phase-change material, the storage medium. Using the principle of the constructal law as their foundation, a team of researchers sought to advance the performance of these storage systems.

Optimizing the Production Process for Solar Energy Cells

July 8, 2015

Solar energy is created by combining sunlight with a semiconducting material, often silicon. But solar, or photovoltaic, cells require such a high-quality silicon that the manufacturing process is complicated and costly. As a photovoltaic material producer and furnace manufacturer, EMIX turned to COMSOL Multiphysics® simulation software to optimize their cold crucible continuous casting (4C) process and create the silicon needed for a more efficient solar-powered world.

Modeling Marangoni Convection with COMSOL Multiphysics

July 7, 2015

Previously on the blog, we introduced you to the tears of wine phenomenon and its cause — the Marangoni effect. This effect results from a gradient of surface tension at the interface between two phases. In situations where a surface gradient is temperature dependent, the Marangoni effect is referred to as Marangoni convection. Here, we will demonstrate how to analyze Marangoni convection in COMSOL Multiphysics and easily separate effects, such as gravity, in your simulations.

App: Studying a Concentric Tube Heat Exchanger’s Dimensions

June 10, 2015

By design, heat exchangers transfer heat from one source to another. When analyzing the efficiency of this heat transfer, it is important to consider the impact of the system’s dimensions. Simulation offers a simplified approach to testing the performance of various designs. With simulation apps, you can now bring this power into the hands of those who are not simulation experts. Let’s get started by exploring the Concentric Tube Heat Exchanger Dimensioning Tool demo app.

Optimizing Heat Sink Designs with a Simulation App

June 4, 2015

Heat sinks are components designed to cool off devices by dissipating heat. They can be used passively or in active cooling systems combined with fans for example. When optimizing heat sink designs, you can turn to simulation for guidance. But what if you could simplify the design process by embedding your model in an app? You can — and the Heat Sink with Fins demo app is here to get you started.

How Can I Build an Efficient Stirling Heat Pump?

April 9, 2015

Stirling engines, or heat pumps, are systems that are able to work on incredibly low temperature differences. In fact, some types of Stirling engines only need human body heat in order to operate. Here, we explore the dynamics of this interesting machine that you can build at home and demonstrate how to model it using COMSOL Multiphysics.

Using the Boussinesq Approximation for Natural Convection

April 7, 2015

Today, we compare the Boussinesq approximation to the full Navier-Stokes equations for a natural convection problem. We also show you how to implement the Boussinesq approximation in COMSOL Multiphysics software and discuss potential benefits of doing so.


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