Improving Phase Change Energy Storage: A Natural Approach

Bridget Cunningham | 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.

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Brianne Costa | 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.

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Eric Favre | 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.

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Walter Frei | June 22, 2015

A question that we are asked all of the time is if COMSOL Multiphysics can model laser-material interactions and heating. The answer, of course, depends on exactly what type of problem you want to solve, as different modeling techniques are appropriate for different problems. Today, we will discuss various approaches for simulating the heating of materials illuminated by laser light.

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Jennifer Segui | June 11, 2015

At Boeing, innovation comes in the form of modern aircraft such as the 787 Dreamliner, whose body is made up of over 50% carbon fiber composite. While incredibly lightweight and strong, such aircraft composites are not inherently conductive, thus requiring additional protective coatings to mitigate lightning strike damage. Here, we describe how multiphysics simulation is used to evaluate thermal stress and displacement in the protective coatings that undergo temperature fluctuations associated with the typical flight cycle.

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Bridget Cunningham | 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.

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Caty Fairclough | 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.

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Phillip Oberdorfer | 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.

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Fabrice Schlegel | 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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Walter Frei | February 19, 2015

A thermostat is a device that senses the temperature of a system and uses this information to control the system’s heaters, or coolers, to keep the temperature close to a desired setpoint. While there are many different types of thermostats, we will focus today on one that turns a heater either on or off based upon two setpoints. This is known as an on-off or a bang-bang controller, and it can be implemented with the Events interface in COMSOL Multiphysics.

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Nicolas Huc | January 2, 2015

In the past, I’ve received regular requests for the ability to check the view factors used by COMSOL Multiphysics. How accurate are they? What is the impact of a given parameter (mesh size, radiation resolution, etc.) on their accuracy? Good news: Version 5.0 provides new operators for postprocessing that correspond to the operators used to generate surface-to-surface equations. Allow me to demonstrate how to compute geometrical view factors.

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