September 21, 2023 10:00–15:35 BST

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COMSOL Day: Automotive

See what is possible with multiphysics modeling

In the field of automotive technology, components such as drive systems, infotainment systems, power electronics, and those related to electric vehicle (EV) applications can be better understood in early development phases using modeling and simulation (M&S). In the product design process, M&S helps develop and implement innovative ideas and identify optimal configurations.

In order to provide these benefits, 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. In EV applications, for example, multiphysics modeling capabilities are essential for finding and preventing hotspots in motors, understanding the effects of mechanical loads on battery cells, and accurately modeling concurrent flows of liquids and gases in the porous electrodes of fuel cells.

Along with electrification, this COMSOL Day: Automotive will feature dedicated sessions on rotordynamics, multibody dynamics, acoustics, and vibration analysis. These sessions will provide overviews of topics such as speaker placement, cabin acoustics, and motor vibrations. Through technical presentations, COMSOL engineers and experienced keynote speakers from the industry will provide insights into the possibilities and how-tos of using multiphysics simulation for automotive technologies.



Fierce competition in the automotive industry has driven widespread adoption of the use of modeling and simulation in product development. Modeling and simulation tools for the fields of structural mechanics, acoustics, and CFD have become standard in the industry. The electrification of cars has expanded the modeling scope to fields involving electric motors, batteries, and fuel cells, i.e., the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemical engineering. COMSOL Multiphysics® has been an important tool for many years in all of these fields, and, more specifically, for multiphysics modeling.

As competition and the pace of development have accelerated with the shift to electric cars, the benefits of multiphysics modeling have become clear for many players in the industry. COMSOL Multiphysics® has facilitated this acceleration in development by enabling in-house modeling experts to easily create customized simulation apps using the built-in Application Builder. These apps can be built for very specific tasks so that domain experts, but not necessarily modeling experts, can leverage multiphysics modeling to their advantage. With the built-in Model Manager, team members throughout an organization can collaborate on modeling projects, from operators on the workshop floor to modeling experts in the R&D department.

This session gives an overview of the modeling and simulation tools that COMSOL offers to support the rapid changes in the industry. We cover new functionality in the Model Builder, Application Builder, and Model Manager.

Keynote Talk
COMSOL® Template Development for Lumped-Parameter Speaker Modeling in Automotive Applications

Peter Akos Gajdatsy, Jaguar Land Rover

In order to predict and optimize audio system performance in a new vehicle, the interior acoustics of the vehicle needs to be modeled, including the loudspeakers. In most cases, using a simple lumped-parameter speaker model will yield good results. As of version 6.0 of the COMSOL® software, such a speaker model is available. However, setting up a simulation for a complex vehicle interior with over 18 loudspeakers and 24 microphone positions is a tedious task. To simplify and speed up the model creation process, Jaguar Land Rover developed a number of simulation templates in-house. During this presentation, the design and development of these templates will be discussed.

Keynote talk
Lithiation-Induced Expansion of a Single Silicon Particle

Carlos Hernandez-Tamargo, Ilika

The utilization of silicon as the active material of the battery anode could significantly increase the range and charge speed of electric vehicles. However, silicon goes through a considerable expansion during lithiation, reaching close to 300% of the original volume at full loading. Such a volume variation would have a detrimental effect on the battery performance, and thus understanding the mechanism of this transformation is critical for improving the efficiency of silicon utilization. This presentation shows how to model a single silicon particle and study its electrochemistry and mechanical properties while assuming it as part of a full battery. Only the silicon particle is explicitly modeled, while the rest of the battery is implicitly included by choosing the correct boundary conditions. This setup makes it possible to simplify the model and reduce the number of parameters, leading to a faster learning cycle of the system of interest.

Parallel Session
Acoustics & Vibrations

Customer demand, vehicle electrification, and government regulations have intensified research into the development of quieter and safer cars. This research has been aimed at developing new materials and better designs, and modeling and simulation have become integral parts of the development process. As a result, new requirements exist for noise vibration, and harshness (NVH) and comfort, as well as automotive audio. COMSOL Multiphysics® and its structural mechanics and acoustics add-on products are important assets in this research, especially when multiple physics phenomena must be considered.

The latest version of the COMSOL® software features new functionality for modeling sound sources with full wave description and coupling them to ray tracing, as well as improved solver performance and numerical formulations that push the limit for full wave simulations — adding to an already comprehensive platform for acoustics modeling and simulation. The software also has the capacity to model layered materials, damping properties of materials, and transducers and perform shape optimization. This functionality, in combination with the software's multiphysics capabilities, makes the latest version of COMSOL Multiphysics® uniquely effective for modeling acoustics and NVH.

In this session, we will present the new features and improved functionality for modeling acoustics and NVH in COMSOL Multiphysics® and its structural mechanics and acoustics add-ons. We will demonstrate their use with a wide range of models from our Application Library and from users who have shared their work.

Battery and Fuel Cell Design

The electric car revolution is progressing at an accelerating pace. The development of the lithium-ion battery has made this innovation possible, and modeling and simulation have been crucial for this development. With its high energy density, the fuel cell offers a future alternative for trucks that can be used in combination with batteries. COMSOL Multiphysics® has been one of the most commonly used modeling and simulation software platforms for the study of batteries and fuel cells since the original release of the add-on Batteries & Fuel Cells Module.

The Battery Design Module and Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module are the successors to the Batteries & Fuel Cells Module and offer even more feature-rich modeling and simulation capabilities. These modules allow for the fundamental investigation of unit cells as well as the design of battery packs and fuel cell stacks. Evaluation of performance and safety, with thermal management, short-circuit, and leakage scenarios, can be completed with ready-made functionality.

In this session, we give you an introduction to modeling and simulation of batteries and fuel cells using COMSOL Multiphysics®. We demonstrate models from the microscale, where the detailed structure of the porous electrodes is investigated, to the pack and stack scale. The use of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and transient, stationary (fuel cells), and charge–discharge (batteries only) studies is also demonstrated.

Break for Lunch
Parallel Session
Thermal Management Modeling

Thermal management is an important aspect across different automotive applications. Within vehicle electrification, thermal management is crucial, since batteries, fuel cells, and many other components produce heat and work best within narrow temperature intervals. Additionally, the ability to dissipate heat is one of the most important features of modern electronic devices and is usually a limiting factor in the miniaturization of these devices.

COMSOL Multiphysics® includes functionality for modeling heat transfer that occurs through conduction, convection, and radiation. The software's ability to treat conjugate heat transfer, including laminar and turbulent flow as well as surface-to-surface radiation, has made it a leading platform for the design and optimization of thermal management systems in electronics. Its unique multiphysics modeling capabilities enable the study of thermoelectric effects as well as thermal–structure interactions, such as thermal expansion. The latest version of the software features ready-made formulations for accurate phase transition, which can be used, for example, for modeling heat pipes.

In this session, we will demonstrate how to create models and apps for conjugate heat transfer in electronic devices and for thermal management in general. We will also provide an overview of the software’s capabilities for multiphysics modeling, including heat transfer as one of the modeled phenomena.

Electric Motors and Drivetrains

The demand for and development of electric motors has increased exponentially, with hybrid and electric cars expected to make up a major portion of new car sales in the near future. Designing electric motors and drivetrains that maximize efficiency is crucial for increasing range and reducing battery capacity requirements. Modeling and simulation are integral parts of the R&D process for maximizing this efficiency, and COMSOL Multiphysics® and its AC/DC Module and Battery Design Module add-ons have become important tools for many R&D departments in the industry.

Electric traction motors also need to deliver high torque over a wide speed range while staying within temperature limits and allowing for efficient manufacturing. The most common types, synchronous permanent magnet and asynchronous motors — as well as more recently researched alternatives such as synchronous reluctance or axial flux motors — can be modeled and optimized in COMSOL Multiphysics®. The software's capability to effectively capture multiphysics effects and apply powerful optimization techniques has empowered designers to improve efficiency and decrease costs.

We welcome you to this session, where we will discuss these subjects and demonstrate how COMSOL Multiphysics® can be used in the research and development of electric motors and drivetrains.

Keynote talk
Physics-Informed Lithium-Ion Battery Cell Design and Optimization Workflow

Kenneth Nwanoro, UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC)

The design of lithium-ion battery cells required for specific applications, longer lifetime, and performance is very complex and challenging. In this keynote talk, Mr. Nwanoro will discuss the benefits of using the COMSOL Multiphysics® software to support cell design and battery technology scale-up. The talk will present the role of UKBIC — a brand new facility in the UK — in supporting the scale-up of battery technologies and how high-fidelity, coupled multiphysics modeling and software tools can help in performing rapid cell design optimization, design-parameter sensitivity studies, and due diligence on tight design specifications. The simulation results and validation of UKBIC's high-energy-density 21700 cell design will be presented.

Parallel Session
Rotordynamics & Multibody Dynamics

This session will explore the use of COMSOL Multiphysics® for simulating rotordynamics and multibody dynamics in automotive applications. We will demonstrate how the COMSOL® software addresses critical speed analysis, bearing performance, mixed systems of flexible and rigid bodies, and multiphysics effects. Emphasis will be placed on the software's unique ability to couple phenomena from multiple physics domains for a holistic analysis. The modeling demonstrations will highlight design optimization and performance prediction in automotive components, illustrating how simulation tools can drive innovation and efficiency in the automotive industry.

Battery Degradation

Battery systems are often burdened by unwanted side reactions at the electrodes. The Battery Design Module can be used to simulate various aging and degradation mechanisms and the resulting capacity fade in batteries.

Any arbitrary by-reaction, such as hydrogen and oxygen evolution, the growth of a solid electrolyte interface due to deposition, metal plating, metal corrosion, and graphite oxidation can be included in a battery model through the flexibility built within the Battery Design Module.

In this session, we will present and demonstrate the capabilities of this module to model degradation in batteries and the process of building and running a capacity fade model.

Closing Remarks

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Invited Speakers

Peter Akos Gajdatsy Jaguar Land Rover

Peter Akos Gajdatsy, PhD, is a virtual audio simulation technical specialist at Jaguar Land Rover. Gajdatsy received his MSc in electrical engineering from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME), Hungary, specializing in vibroacoustics. He went on to receive his PhD from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) focusing on vehicle noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH). Since joining Jaguar Land Rover, he has introduced full-frequency range vehicle-level audio simulation of the infotainment system in order to enable virtual acoustic prototyping of new vehicles and audio systems.

Carlos Hernandez-Tamargo Ilika Technologies Ltd

Carlos Hernandez-Tamargo is a battery modeling scientist at Ilika Technologies Ltd who applies finite element analysis simulations to the development of next-generation solid-state batteries for future applications in Medtech, industrial internet of things (IoT), electric vehicles, and consumer electronics. He holds a PhD in computational chemistry and materials science, and before joining Ilika, he worked as a researcher in academic institutions in the UK and India, amassing expertise in the field of catalysis, molecular diffusion in porous materials, and electrochemistry.

Kenneth Nwanoro UK Battery Industrialisation Centre

Kenneth Nwanoro is a senior modeling and simulation engineer at UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC). He uses numerical methods and optimization algorithms to support lithium-ion battery cell design, cell performance prediction, and battery pack and battery systems simulation and analysis. Nwanoro previously worked as a research associate at different U.K. academic institutions, where he focused on experimental testing and modeling of lithium-ion battery cell performance and degradation methods as well as using computational solid mechanics and digital image correlation techniques for design analysis and condition monitoring. He holds a PhD in mathematical sciences from the University of Greenwich, London.