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Numerical Simulation of a Joule Heating Problem

S.M.F. Garcia[1], and P. Seshaiyer[2]
[1]U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, USA
[2]George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA

In this work we consider a 1-D mathematical model that describes a heating problem combined with electrical current flows in a body which may undergo a phase change as a result of the heat generated by the current, so-called Joule heating. The model consists of a system of nonlinear partial differential equations with quadratic growth in the gradient. Joule heating is generated by the resistance of materials to electrical currents and is present in any electrical conductor operating at normal temperatures. The heating and melting of such conductors are usually undesirable side effects, but in electrical heaters the heating is welcome. The melting of the conductor is useful in fuses and is the basis of the industrially important process of electrical welding. The governing equations are solved numerically by using COMSOL Multiphysics. Simulation results are presented.