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Céline Chicharro

Standalone Simulation App Guides Project Decisions at Construction Sites

A leading global cement supplier provides its customers with a compiled multiphysics simulation application that predicts curing times for concrete casting at construction sites.

BURLINGTON, MA (October 17, 2023) — Heidelberg Materials, one of the world's largest suppliers of building materials, is putting multiphysics simulation into the hands of contractors with a compiled simulation app called HETT22. The app enables Heidelberg Materials' customers to use simulation to make informed decisions regarding cost-effective casting strategies at construction sites.

The app predicts curing times and accounts for variables that affect concrete strength and durability, such as time, temperature, material selections, and casting technique. Ambient temperatures have a major impact on the curing time, and the app was built to use site-specific weather forecasts to provide the best possible predictions.

"We provide HETT22 to our customers because of the value it adds for them at each decision point of a concrete casting job," said Tom Fredvik, technical manager at Heidelberg Materials' Sement Norge. "We see it as a core part of our tech support offering."

Heidelberg Materials engaged consultancy Deflexional to create HETT22 and its associated models. After building the models in the COMSOL Multiphysics® software, Deflexional used the software's Application Builder to turn the models into a custom app, which they compiled into a standalone app using COMSOL Compiler™.

In just six months after launch, HETT22 was downloaded more than 1100 times.

alt="The UI of the simulation app with a ribbon at the top containing items for the project, simulation, graphics, data, documentation, library, graphics window, and settings; sections for the menu and results; and four graphics windows showing temperature and strength plots in 1D and 2D."

The simulation app's user interface showing the temperature and strength of a concrete casting.

Simulation Results Guide Preemptive Adjustments

The app also features a menu of Heidelberg Materials' cement materials for the user to choose from. The company offers its customers hundreds of potential concrete recipes, including supplementary cementitious materials to be mixed with the concrete. By predicting the effects of choices related to physical conditions, a construction team can use the app to better manage the economics and carbon footprint of each project.

Mikael Westerholm, project manager at Heidelberg Materials' Cement Sverige, said, "We wanted HETT22 to help users predict the behavior of concrete that they may not be familiar with."

Sharing the Power of Simulation

The Application Builder in the COMSOL Multiphysics® simulation software makes it easy for users to build and maintain their own apps and the COMSOL Compiler™ add-on product makes it possible to turn them into standalone executable files with just a click. The compiled apps can be distributed to anyone, even those without a COMSOL license.

"The app developed for Heidelberg Materials by Deflexional is a perfect example of how simulation apps extend the benefits of simulation beyond the simulation engineer," said Per Backlund, sales and marketing manager at COMSOL. "The collaboration between the companies resulted in an app that contains crucial knowledge about concrete curing, packaged in an intuitive user interface. When we created the Application Builder and our products for deploying simulation apps, we envisioned that our users would create apps that are accessible to anyone, no matter their simulation background. This project aligns perfectly with our vision."

Heidelberg Materials' work with simulation apps is discussed in further detail in the COMSOL User Story Gallery.

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COMSOL is a global provider of simulation software for product design and research to technical enterprises, research labs, and universities. Its COMSOL Multiphysics® product is an integrated software environment for creating physics-based models and simulation apps. A particular strength is its ability to account for coupled or multiphysics phenomena. Add-on products expand the simulation platform for electromagnetics, structural, acoustics, fluid flow, heat transfer, and chemical applications. Interfacing tools enable the integration of COMSOL Multiphysics® simulations with all major technical computing and CAD tools on the CAE market. Simulation experts rely on COMSOL Compiler™ and COMSOL Server™ to deploy applications to their design teams, manufacturing departments, test laboratories, and customers throughout the world. Founded in 1986, COMSOL has 17 offices worldwide and extends its reach with a network of distributors.

COMSOL, COMSOL Multiphysics, COMSOL Compiler, and COMSOL Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of COMSOL AB.