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Mechanical Blog Posts

The First Flyer Optimized Using Multiphysics

November 12, 2012

December of 1903 marked the commencement of the Age of Powered Flight, and the Wright brothers went down in history. This was a time before personal computers and simulation software existed. Determining the optimal design of their airplane had to be done using physical prototypes and real-life experiments. What had the design looked like if the Wright brothers had been able to use computers and modeling software? Three researchers from Pennsylvania State University sought to find out how the design […]

Microfluidics Model of an Electroosmotic Micromixer

October 31, 2012

When you need to mix something at a very small scale you don’t reach for a teeny-tiny whisk. If you’re working with microscale biochemical applications you’d be more likely to rely on diffusion to mix fluids. With highly ordered laminar flow there is no turbulence involved, thus making diffusion a prime candidate for “getting the job done”. But what if you need to mix larger molecules? Larger molecules mean higher molecular weight, which in turn leads to very long equilibration […]

FSI: Aluminum Extrusion Model

October 26, 2012

Out of all metals, the most frequently extruded is aluminum. Aluminum extrusion entails using a hydraulic ram to squeeze an aluminum bar through a die. This process will form the metal into a particular shape. Extruded aluminum is used in many manufacturing applications, such as building components for example. The process of shaping metal alloys, like aluminum, can be modeled using COMSOL Multiphysics.

New Product that Helps Electrical and Electronics Engineers

October 18, 2012

As much as we would like to think that finite element analysis (FEA) is the be-all and end-all of simulations, it’s not true. There is also a camp of engineers out there that model integrated circuits and similar systems. These are based on different physics and equations than what FEA typically solves for. Yet, as is happening more and more in the world of virtual prototyping, the two types of simulations are converging. Now they need to integrate with each […]

Why Should You Simulate Fatigue?

October 8, 2012

The Fatigue Module, an add-on to the Structural Mechanics Module and the COMSOL Multiphysics® software, can be used to perform structural fatigue life computations for both strain-based and stressed-based fatigue. In this blog post, we discuss some of the potential application areas and benefits of fatigue testing.

Fatigue — When Cyclic Stress Produces Fractures

September 26, 2012

Many of the products that engineers design experience cyclic stresses during use that are below the material’s yield stress; unfortunately, these stresses can still be the primary reason for failure. Thus, engineers and designers must find ways of including the effects of cyclic stresses when designing products for long-term use.

The Stresses Subsea Cables are subjected to

September 5, 2012

In these days of globalization, keeping the world connected is imperative. Information needs to pass as freely and quickly as possible in order to keep markets up-to-date with the latest news and to ensure that commerce can be conducted without hindrance (at least of the technical kind). So what do you do – look to the sky? The answer is no; in fact, 99% of this information is carried by undersea cables. These unsung heroes sit at the bottom of […]

Solar Radiation: How Engineers Can Stay Cool on the Beach (Maybe)

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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