June 15, 2023 10:00–15:00 CEST

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COMSOL Day: Aerospace & Defense

See what is possible with multiphysics modeling

The use of modeling and simulation for research and development (R&D) was pioneered in the aerospace and defense industry, where COMSOL Multiphysics® has become a trusted project platform. New challenges, such as decarbonization of aviation, electrification, use of composite and ceramic materials, integration of multiple sensors in digital twins, and new manufacturing processes, require high-fidelity modeling for efficient and reliable R&D processes.

In particular, the models used must take into account the multiple phenomena that may impact the performance of a process or device — in other words, they must be multiphysics models. For instance, electrification implies high operating power in electric devices, which means that new designs of these devices must be developed using accurate heat transfer, electric heating, and thermal expansion models. Another example is the use of composite materials, which requires controlled manufacturing and assembling processes. Models of such processes need to account for mechanical stresses and strains, phase change, and curing of resins and other polymers, as well as heat transfer during manufacturing and welding.

The COMSOL® software provides unique multiphysics modeling capabilities to address the latest design challenges of the aerospace and defense industry. It also provides built-in functionality for simulation app creation and model data management that can be used to facilitate collaboration and extend the benefits of simulation to customers and colleagues.

This COMSOL Day will showcase the use of multiphysics modeling and simulation for compressible and turbulent flows, thermal management, composite materials, electrical breakdown, and more. Through technical presentations, COMSOL engineers and keynote speakers with practical modeling experience will provide insights into the benefits and possibilities of multiphysics simulation in the aerospace and defense industry.



The aerospace and defense industries require very-high-quality standards, with a focus on safety. They constantly strive to incorporate new materials with specific properties, such as being lightweight, highly resistant, and stealthy, to name a few. In this challenging context, multiphysics simulation plays an important role in accelerating the development of complex and interdependent systems.

COMSOL Multiphysics® offers unparalleled coupling capabilities based on physics, enabling the creation of simulation apps as well as collaborative modeling. The software also offers simulation and model management tools for efficient development.


Wendy Tomboza, SAFRAN TECH

This presentation will demonstrate the modeling of a fiber optic transducer for pressure sensing in the aeronautics field. A 3D model is implemented, based on structural mechanics, in order to study the effect of structural parameters (for example, membrane shape, Fabry-Pérot cavity geometry, etc.) on the performance of the pressure transducer in terms of pressure sensitivity. Moreover, the model shows good agreement with experimental results.

Parallel Session
Compressible and Turbulent Flows

CFD computations are valuable tools that help engineers and researchers to design optimized aerospace systems. Depending on the speed and compressibility of the fluid considered, various flow models may be used in a simulation, such as laminar or turbulent flow models or those accounting for transonic or supersonic regimes. Other factors, such as temperature or chemical composition, can also affect the flow significantly by changing the properties of the fluid.

COMSOL Multiphysics® provides functionality for modeling turbulent and compressible flows as well as predefined couplings for analyzing the impact of other phenomena on the flow. Join this session to learn how to use these dedicated features in your CFD simulations.

Composite Materials

Composite materials have been widely used in the aerospace industry in recent decades due to their exceptional mechanical properties, and researchers continue to find new uses for them. However, designing composite structures poses many challenges and may require investigating specific failure mechanisms, such as delamination or buckling. Additionally, characterizing thermal and electrical properties can be complex but is necessary for creating reliable products.

The Composite Materials Module, an add-on to the Structural Mechanics Module, provides specialized features for modeling the mechanical behavior of layered materials like laminated composite shells.

This session will give an overview of the features available in these two modules that can be utilized for composite materials modeling and design.

Parallel Session
Acoustics and Aeroacoustics

Predicting and managing the propagation of acoustic waves is crucial to the advancement of new designs and materials. Numerical modeling can be of great value in reducing physical testing costs and providing a better understanding of system behavior.

The Acoustics Module offers a wide range of features for studying acoustic phenomena, from low to high frequencies and on small to large scales. These features are based on various numerical methods, including the finite element method (FEM), the boundary element method (BEM), the discontinuous Galerkin finite element method (dG-FEM), and ray tracing.

When analyzing acoustic waves propagating through moving fluids, it can be necessary to consider convective effects, reflection and refraction in flow gradients, as well as flow-induced noise. These phenomena can be modeled in the COMSOL® software using predefined features created specifically for aeroacoustics modeling.

Join us for this session to learn more about this dedicated functionality. You will learn how COMSOL Multiphysics® and the Acoustics Module can be used for aeroacoustics modeling.

Fuel Cell Modeling

Hydrogen fuel cells are a widely used technology in the space industry for generating electricity and potable water for astronauts aboard spacecraft. Recently, researchers have been exploring the potential of this technology for use in civilian and military applications, such as airplanes and drones. Due to the complexity of fuel cell design, modeling and simulation play a crucial role in their development, involving electrochemistry, fluid flow, multiphase transport, heat transfer, and other coupled phenomena.

The Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module add-on to COMSOL Multiphysics® provides a unique platform for understanding and predicting fuel cell performance in the real world. This module provides features for predicting current and potential distribution, chemical species distribution, as well as temperature distribution in the system based on different electrolyte types, such as proton exchange membranes, alkaline, molten carbonates, and solid oxides. By utilizing this information, design choices can be made a priori to avoid nonuniform utilization of the cell, thereby reducing development time and costs.

To learn more about the capabilities of the COMSOL® software for modeling fuel cells, join this session, where we will demonstrate modeling at the fuel-cell unit cell and fuel-cell stack scales.


Learn the fundamental workflow of COMSOL Multiphysics®. This introductory demonstration will show you all of the key modeling steps, including geometry creation, setting up physics, meshing, solving, and postprocessing.


Astrid Røkke, Rolls-Royce Electrical Norway AS

Electrical propulsion of air traffic is no longer a vision for a distant future: It is fast approaching. To achieve certification and to comply with safety regulations, new electrical equipment has to be modeled with extreme precision. As there is limited data on existing hardware that can provide reliability numbers for aerospace-operated electrical machinery, we are more reliant on high-fidelity simulations than ever.

Parallel Session
Battery Design and Thermal Management

Batteries are widely used to power equipment in the aerospace and defense industries. The most commonly used technology is lithium-ion, which boasts a high energy density, long cycle life, and low rate of self-discharge. However, lithium-ion batteries are sensitive to temperature conditions, which can impact their performance. To ensure optimal performance and efficient thermal management, the use of modeling and simulation in the design process is crucial. Modeling and simulation are powerful tools that can help us understand and predict the behavior of battery systems while also reducing development time and costs.

COMSOL Multiphysics® and the Battery Design Module offer a range of capabilities for building detailed models of battery cells and packs, capturing phenomena such as electrochemistry, species transport, heat transfer, fluid flow, and structural mechanics. When combined with the Heat Transfer Module, users can access a unique environment for running thermal analyses of battery systems, accounting for heating due to activation losses, Joule heating, conjugate heat transfer, nonisothermal flow, and other coupled phenomena.

In this session, we will provide an overview of the functionality that COMSOL Multiphysics® offers for battery design and thermal analysis. We will demonstrate these capabilities using models at both the battery cell and battery pack levels.

Electric Motors & Cables

Electric motors, coils, and cables play a vital role in many products such as electric cars, household appliances, and more. When designing these devices, it is important to evaluate aspects such as their power-to-weight ratio, behavior at low and high frequencies, skin effect, eddy current losses, iron losses, and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) with nearby devices and materials. Multiphysics modeling and simulation has proven to be an invaluable tool for accounting for these phenomena in the design process.

The value of an electric motor model is twofold: It can accurately and efficiently represent the configuration of coils, magnets, and other materials within and around the motor. The information from this representation can then be used to accurately predict key characteristics of the motor, such as torque, losses and heating, vibrations, inductive and capacitive coupling between the different parts of the motor, and even interaction with nearby devices. While the focus for electric motor models is on power conversion, the focus for cable models is power delivery. Like motors, cables are subject to skin and proximity effects, electromagnetic forces, and heating.

In this session, we will discuss and demonstrate how dedicated features in COMSOL Multiphysics® and the AC/DC Module for modeling electric motors, coils, and cables can be combined with the software's general electromagnetic modeling functionality to successfully model these devices.


Jan-Willem Arink, GKN Aerospace

Decarbonizing the aeronautics industry is extremely challenging, and many efforts are being made throughout the entire supply chain to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In addition to optimizing conventional kerosene-powered aircraft by, for example, implementing more lightweight structures or improving engine efficiency, a significant portion of R&D is focused on the electrification of aircraft propulsion.

At GKN Aerospace, the Electrical Systems division is developing electrical wiring interconnection system (EWIS) solutions that are enabling the energy transition to hybrid and fully electric propulsion for aircraft ranging from small urban air mobility (UAM) aircraft to larger wide-body aircraft. However, transporting multi-MW power levels at high altitude introduces many thermal, electric, and electromagnetic (EMI) challenges that need to be understood and overcome.

In this keynote talk, Jan-Willem Arink will cover some of the challenges that GKN Aerospace is seeing now and foresees for the future. He will then discuss how his team is using COMSOL Multiphysics® to quantify the risks of these challenges and thereby help accelerate technology development.

Parallel Session
Heat Transfer in Spacecrafts

The Orbital Thermal Loads interface that is new in the Heat Transfer Module as of COMSOL Multiphysics® version 6.1 enables the computation of radiative loads on satellites in orbit. By defining satellite orbit and orientation, orbital maneuvers, and varying planetary properties, this user interface computes solar, albedo, and Earth infrared thermal loads to determine satellite temperature over time.

This presentation will explore the challenges of satellite thermal design and demonstrate how the Heat Transfer Module can be used to manage radiative heat transfer and keep satellites within desired operating conditions.

Electrical Breakdown and Lightning Protection

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) and lightning can have detrimental effects on electronic components. Assessing the risk for electric breakdown and understanding ESD is important for the design of both low-voltage devices, such as capacitive touchscreens, and high-voltage devices, such as circuit breakers and bushings. Electric breakdown in high-voltage components needs to be managed from a safety as well as a reliability perspective. COMSOL Multiphysics® and its add-on products provide a variety of tools for electrical breakdown detection and electric discharge modeling. The software also makes it possible to couple the other physics phenomena involved using multiphysics couplings and equation-based modeling.

Attend this session to learn more about the best modeling approaches for the various modes of electric breakdown and discharge.

Closing Remarks

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COMSOL Day Details

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June 15, 2023 | 10:00 CEST (UTC+02:00)
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Invited Speakers

Wendy Tomboza Safran

Wendy Tomboza holds an engineering degree in optics and photonics from Institut d’Optique Graduate School and is currently finishing a PhD degree from CEA LIST and the University of Lille in fiber optics sensor engineering at Safran. She is also working as a research engineer for Safran's research and technology center, Safran Tech. As a member of the center's Safran Sensing System Application Research (S3AR) group, Tomboza aims to develop innovative sensing technologies solutions for use in aeronautics.

Astrid Røkke Rolls-Royce Electrical Norway AS

Dr. Astrid Røkke is an expert in the electromagnetics design of permanent magnet machines. After delivering her master's thesis in 2007, she joined the R&D company SmartMotor AS, which later became a part of Rolls-Royce. At Rolls-Royce Electrical Norway AS, she has worked on the design of permanent magnet machines for various industries, including marine, subsea, traction, and renewable energy, and is now mainly focused on electrical machines and equipment for aviation. In 2017, Røkke received a PhD in electric machine design from NTNU Trondheim, Norway, with a focus on the optimization of multiphysics problems. In her current role she is a manager for the electromagnetics, insulation, and thermal team at Rolls-Royce Electrical Norway, where she also leads technology development projects for aviation.

Jan-Willem Arink GKN Aerospace

Jan-Willem Arink is a research and development engineer working for GKN Aerospace (formerly known as Fokker Elmo), where they mainly focus on the technology development of novel electrical wiring interconnection system (EWIS) solutions that enable MW power distribution for the future of flight.