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Infamous Failures of Fatigue

February 7, 2013

If you’ve studied structural mechanics you’re probably familiar with stories of planes falling out of the sky due to fatigue (no one wants to be the engineer who designed an airplane that crashed…). Jimmy Stewart made a famous movie about that, but different from the usual horror stories of fatigue is the accident in 1919 of a storage tank that burst in Boston, spilling molasses onto the streets at 35 mph (56 km/h). The Boston Molasses Disaster, as it’s referred […]

Corona Discharge

February 6, 2013

In its natural state, air is a good insulator. However, if it’s adequately ionized, it can ultimately lead to “corona discharge”. What does that mean and why is it important? Let’s find out.

Electroplating Simulations Cut Down on Wasted Metal

February 4, 2013

Electrodeposition is the process of making a substance adhere to an object through electrochemical reactions. Sometimes the substance is available in the solution form and other times it is a solid object too, and needs to undergo electrochemical reactions in order to dissolve into solution; often as part of the electrodeposition process. Electrodeposition can be an important part of the refining process of certain metals, such as copper, silver, and gold and is often referred to as electrorefining or electrowinning. […]

Injectable Microbubbles in Hydrology and Healthcare

February 1, 2013

Microbubbles filled with oxygen can be injected into contaminated lakes to restore the water quality. Typically, water is purified via water-treatment plants, but this microbubble technique is both inexpensive and more environmentally-friendly in comparison. As seen in a COMSOL News 2011 article, oxygen microbubbles are a researcher’s way of copying nature’s own self-restoration mechanism for cleaning contaminated lakes.

In Silico: Numerical Simulations in Biomedical Engineering

January 30, 2013

Students at Ohio State University can take a course on numerical simulations in biomedical engineering with Richard T. Hart. In the course, they will learn how to use computer modeling to solve biomedical engineering problems. Hart is now providing anyone who is interested in this application area with three video tutorials from the course via the Ohio State University iTunes U page.

Joule Heating Simulations Tutorial

January 29, 2013

One of the classic multiphysics couplings in engineering and science is Joule heating, also called resistive heating or ohmic heating. Some Joule heating examples include heating of conductors in electronics, fuses, electric heaters, and power lines. When a structure is heated by electric currents, the device can reach high temperatures and either structurally degenerate or even melt. The design challenge is to remove this heat as effectively as possible. COMSOL eases these challenges by providing a specialized multiphysics interface for […]

What is Efficiency?

January 28, 2013

When I first heard about Carnot’s theorem, I was impressed with its simplicity. Yet, no matter the amount of hard thinking we put into the design of everyday heat engines, we will never reach the efficiency of a Carnot engine. Still, modern-day heat engines are still effective as they get us from point A to point B by car or truck.

SolidWorks World: Human Space Flight and Autonomous Flying Robots

January 25, 2013

SolidWorks always puts on a great show. I just got back from SolidWorks World where I was able to go to a number of technical sessions, and understand how CAD design can better complement finite-element analysis. We had a booth there, and it was great to meet a few COMSOL users, who like to use SolidWorks® and COMSOL Multiphysics together via LiveLink™ for SolidWorks®. I also got to meet potential customers-to-be. In typical SolidWorks World fashion, I and the other […]


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