Seeing Through Solids: Discovery and Applications of Photoacoustics

Brianne Costa August 30, 2018

In 1880, Alexander Graham Bell wrote a letter to his father, saying: “I have heard articulate speech by sunlight! I have heard a ray of the sun laugh and cough and sing!” He was talking about his latest success, the photophone, which he called his “greatest invention” shortly before his death. The photophone did not revolutionize the field of imaging, but an unintended effect Bell noticed while developing it did…

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Henrik Ekström August 29, 2018

Ion-exchange membranes are widely employed within the field of electrochemical engineering. In polymer electrolyte fuel cells and vanadium flow batteries, they are used to conduct ions and at the same time prevent reactants and electrons from crossing between the two flow compartments. The ability to promote the passage of ions of either positive or negative charge is also used in electrodialysis for cleaning water from ions. In this blog post, we will explore the ion-selective capabilities of ion-exchange membranes.

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Siva Sashank Tholeti August 22, 2018

Sparging, a mass transfer process between a gas and a liquid, is commonly encountered in industrial applications such as beverage carbonation and photobioreactors, or even at home for aeration in aquariums. In this blog post, we detail how to model a type of sparging, carbonation, using the COMSOL Multiphysics® software.

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Bridget Paulus August 21, 2018

If you’ve ever gone on a road trip, you know that it’s a bit of a pain — literally. Part of why your body aches after driving long distances is due to whole body vibration (WBV), which can cause fatigue; motion sickness; and, eventually, serious health problems. To design systems that reduce WBV for cars and other applications, engineers need an efficient way to visualize the effect of vibrations on the human body. That’s where simulation comes in.

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Mats Nigam August 20, 2018

When setting up fluid flow simulations, we typically focus on a single (possibly a few) components in a larger system, such as a pump or sedimentation tank in a water treatment plant. Naturally, this raises a question: At what distance can we apply boundary conditions without interfering with the process? In this blog post, we look at the effects of the proximity of inlet and outlet boundaries for interior and exterior flows of a homogeneous fluid with negligible compressibility.

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Thomas Forrister August 17, 2018

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” — Nikola Tesla Can we “see” sound? Not directly, but we can come close. By changing our perspective, we can learn a lot about the nature of acoustics. One way to observe acoustics phenomena is by studying standing waves in a solid medium known as a Chladni plate. A special technique creates patterns on the plate that reveal sound’s physical nature.

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Brianne Costa August 14, 2018

If you ever visit the extravagant dome within St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, be careful what you say. As Lord Rayleigh discovered circa 1878, the vaulted structure exhibits an interesting acoustics phenomenon: Whispers from one part of the dome can be clearly heard in other areas. Rayleigh called the effect a “whispering gallery”. Surprisingly, you can observe a similar effect in another field of science entirely: light waves traveling in an optical ring resonator.

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Caty Fairclough August 13, 2018

Contributing to the development of a famous fluid dynamics equation, naming the phenomenon of fluorescence, and advancing the field of geodesy: These are a few of the many accomplishments of Irish physicist and mathematician Sir George Gabriel Stokes…

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Caty Fairclough August 9, 2018

Electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) is a type of nonvolatile memory that enables users to repeatedly store and erase small amounts of data by applying a voltage pulse. EEPROM is often used as a storage medium in computers and mobile devices and has applications in devices like microcontrollers. To analyze the designs of EEPROM devices, engineers can turn to semiconductor simulation.

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Thomas Forrister August 8, 2018

Paul Dirac was a theoretical physicist who laid the foundations for quantum theory as we now know it. He was highly motivated by the pursuit of mathematical beauty, and his calculations led him to predict the existence of antimatter and reconcile special relativity with quantum mechanics. Regarded as the founder of quantum electrodynamics, Dirac played an important role in the development of atomic theory for the 20th century and beyond.

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Bridget Paulus August 6, 2018

Efficient, cost effective, and environmentally friendly, friction stir welding (FSW) is useful for many applications. As the name implies, this process involves using friction to heat materials and then stirring them together. For optimal FSW performance, the generated heat has to be just the right temperature: Too high and the materials melt, weakening the weld; too little and the process is inefficient. Using the COMSOL® software, you can evaluate and improve heat transfer in the FSW process.

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