October 5, 2023 11:00 a.m.–4:05 p.m. EDT

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COMSOL Day: Aerospace & Defense

See what is possible with multiphysics modeling

The use of modeling and simulation for 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 aeroacoustics, 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.


11:00 a.m.

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.

11:20 a.m.
Keynote Talk
COMSOL Multiphysics® for Circuit Board Thermal Analysis

Russell Rioux, Northrop Grumman

At Northrop Grumman, COMSOL Multiphysics® is used to perform thermal analysis on RF, digital, and mixed-signal circuit card assemblies. Utilizing the Application Builder, circuit board thermal models are built placing thousands of parts, each with individual power dissipations and properties, on a board to be solved. Utilizing the COMSOL® software's image processing ability, complex circuit board layers are incorporated into the models to reduce model meshing while maintaining physical accuracy.

11:40 a.m.
11:50 a.m.
Keynote Talk
Thermal Modeling of a Compressor for CO2 Removal in the International Space Station

Hannah Alpert, NASA Ames

Contaminant removal technology — such as the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) on the International Space Station (ISS) — is critical to Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSSs), which enable humans to live and work in outer space. The CDRA includes an adsorbent bed, which absorbs CO2 from the cabin air and releases it to a Sabatier reactor for water production when thermally cycled. An effective system would heat and cool the adsorbent quickly and uniformly to maximize the amount of CO2 removed from the cabin and delivered to the Sabatier reactor. Air-Cooled Temperature Swing Adsorption Compressors (AC-TSACs) are promising for use downstream of the CDRA because they are a simple alternative to more mechanically complex compressors, which are currently in use on the ISS.

In this keynote talk, Hannah Alpert of NASA Ames will discuss how COMSOL Multiphysics® modeling is being used in the research and development of the AC-TSAC. A thermal model of the AC-TSAC was created in COMSOL Multiphysics® and validated by comparing the model outputs to experimental data for the heating phase of the cycle. Subsequently, several design trades and performance sensitivities were conducted, including bed geometry (rectangular vs. cylindrical), bed structural material (i.e., the material that makes up the walls and shelves), thermal conductivity of the adsorbent material and bed structural material, and the input power for heating. The results from these studies will inform the design of the next generation of the AC-TSAC, and the thermal modeling results will be further validated through testing.

12:10 p.m.
12:20 p.m.
Parallel Session

In the rapidly progressing field of plasmonics and metamaterials, harnessing the unique interactions between electromagnetic waves and designed materials offers groundbreaking potential.

COMSOL Multiphysics® can be effectively used to model a diverse range of plasmonic and periodic structures, such as plasmonic wire gratings and hexagonal gratings. The software provides specialized features for analyzing diffraction modes, resonance, and scatterer behavior in both frequency and time domains.

Join us in this session to learn more about how COMSOL Multiphysics® can be used in the design and analysis of metamaterials.

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.

12:50 p.m.
1:05 p.m.
Parallel Session
Tech Lunch

Tech Lunches are informal sessions where you can interact with COMSOL staff and other attendees. You will be able to discuss any modeling-related topic that you like and have the opportunity to ask COMSOL technology product managers and applications engineers your questions. Join us!

Introduction to COMSOL Multiphysics®

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.

1:35 p.m.

Inertial measurement units (IMUs) are electromechanical systems for measuring inertial and rotational forces acting on an object. An IMU includes a set of accelerometers and gyroscopes for the different axes in space along with the accompanying electronics that drive them and generate readout signals. As microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology has advanced, IMUs have steadily become smaller, less costly, and more sensitive. This has created an ever-expanding range of applications for IMUs that includes vehicle navigation and motion detection in mobile phones, cameras, and game controllers.

Modeling and simulation of these devices is central to the design process, where accurate models can reduce development cost and predict design manufacturability. Thanks to its unique multiphysics capabilities, COMSOL Multiphysics® has become a preferred platform in the field.

In this session, we will discuss the benefits of using the COMSOL® software for modeling MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes. We will also show an example of how to model an accelerometer that involves coupling electrostatics and solid mechanics.

2:05 p.m.
2:20 p.m.
Keynote Talk
Multiphysics and Metamaterials: Applications and Opportunities

Scott Sorbel, Raytheon Technologies

Metamaterials and metasurfaces can be used in a wide range of applications, including antennas, polarization converters, wave refractors, and absorbers, and can control the amplitude, phase, and polarization of reflected and transmitted waves. This applies to acoustic waves, electromagnetic waves, and any other type of waves. Understanding the multiphysics aspect of how these systems interact with stress, strain, heat, transmissibility, and/or other phenomena is vital for performance verification. As metamaterials become ubiquitous in common products, this understanding of the multiphysics effects involved becomes an important consideration for manufacturability as well, as the physics may change after a product is made.

2:40 p.m.
2:50 p.m.
Parallel Session

Using simulation-based optimization to automate the improvement of designs and processes leads to reduced cost and increased performance. The Optimization Module, an add-on to COMSOL Multiphysics®, offers integrated functionality for parameter, shape, and topology optimization as well as parameter estimation. It can be used in combination with other modules in the COMSOL suite to optimize devices and processes in the fields of electromagnetics, structural mechanics, acoustics, and more.

Once an objective function has been defined, design variables have been selected, and any constraints have been put in place, the Optimization Module seeks the best design solution. Inputs to the model, whether they are related to size, shape, material properties, or distribution, can be adjusted as design variables. Similarly, any model output can serve as the objective function, giving users the option to either minimize or maximize it.

Join us in this session to explore the optimization capabilities of the Optimization Module.

Heat Transfer in Spacecraft

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.

3:20 p.m.
3:35 p.m.
Parallel Session
Acoustics & 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.

Low-Frequency Electromagnetics

As we advance toward a more electrified future, understanding and optimizing the electromagnetic behavior of various devices becomes more important. Low-frequency electromagnetics simulations can be used to analyze and predict the performance of a wide range of electric components, from electric motors and drivetrains to high-voltage components and inductive devices.

COMSOL® and the AC/DC Module feature a wide range of specialized functionality for modeling electromagnetic fields in low- and high-voltage components as well as unique multiphysics capabilities to account for thermal, structural, and other physical effects.

Attend this session to get an introduction to electromagnetic field modeling. We will showcase the use of the AC/DC Module with modeling examples as well as industry case studies.

4:05 p.m.
4:20 p.m.
Closing Remarks

Register for COMSOL Day: Aerospace & Defense

To register for the event, please create a new account or log into your existing account. You will need a COMSOL Access account to attend COMSOL Day: Aerospace & Defense.

For registration questions or more information contact info@comsol.com.

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COMSOL Day Details

Local Start Time:
October 5, 2023 | 11:00 a.m. EDT (UTC-04:00)
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Invited Speakers

Hannah Alpert NASA Ames Research Center

Hannah Alpert received her PhD in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University. She is currently working as an aerospace systems engineer at NASA Ames Research Center in the Entry Systems and Vehicle Development Branch. Her work includes heat shield design, post-flight analysis, instrumentation, and thermal modeling.

Russell Rioux Northrop Grumman

Russell Rioux is a thermal analyst at Northrop Grumman, working on space based electronics. Rioux has worked in R&D, technology qualification, and hardware delivery. Currently, Rioux is the advanced packaging lead for Northrop Grumman’s Strategic Space Systems Division Technology Council.

Scott Sorbel Raytheon Technologies

Scott Sorbel has been working in the multiphysics field since 1998. He has enjoyed how COMSOL Multiphysics® has flourished into one of the most well-respected, well-used, and well-received multiphysics modeling tools available. He has used the tool in many different ways to solve problems in a wide variety of fields, such as mechanical, electrical, and optical engineering. Currently, Scott is using COMSOL Multiphysics® to solve multiphysics coupling problems, which COMSOL is known for, for a variety of different physics situations.